John Cassidy

John Cassidy

Managing Director

You’d be hard pushed to find anyone with more experience in design research than John.

His career began in 1984 with The Research Business (now Synovate), after which he helped to establish the fledgling research division of The Added Value Company, one of the original pioneering marketing agencies.

He co-founded The Big Picture in 1993, and the rest is history. While he remains hands-on in the day-to-day of research, John is, appropriately enough, a ‘Big Picture’ thinker.

His vision for the company has been fundamental in the development of our clear philosophy, bespoke approach to design insight and – we like to think – charm.

Suranee Abeysuriya 


Suranee Abeysuriya 


Board Director, London

Su’s love of design and global culture led her to The Big Picture back in 2007.

She’s now a Board Director, and her role as Strategy & Communication Director encompasses a breadth of business functions. While she sets the company strategy and helps implement it with our Futures team, her main focus is building relationships with partners to create better ways of generating insight through innovation.

A real people person, Su loves working with new clients and agencies and so is often the first port of call for new enquiries.

Su also represents the company on the international stage, and has presented pieces ranging from The Relationship between Consumers and Cosmetics, and The Future of Digital.

Chris Aukett

Chris Aukett

Board Director, London

Chris’ decade in research has seen him take on the role of strategic partner for some of the most iconic global brands. From the world of spirits to sporting events, he’s informed effective design strategy for the likes of Maker’s Mark, Courvoisier and the International Olympic Committee.

Helping brand design deliver a real impact is a passion that runs deep for Chris. Driven by his interest in the environment and roots in design (he used to be a product designer, you know), he’s committed to helping clients confidently deliver on the sustainability demands of their consumers. In fact, he was awarded Unilever’s Global CMI Excellence Award in 2019 for doing just that!

When not spearheading design insight studies, you’ll find Chris setting out on an expedition into the great outdoors. Cycling the Ride London circuit, hiking up the nearest peak or running the local river path… wow, we’re puffed out just thinking about it!

Laura Pereira

Laura Pereira

Head of Quant, Board director

Laura joined us in 2019, bringing with her with over 14 years of experience as a Quantitative specialist.

Laura had an interest in brand and comms from an early age. She chose to study Advertising and Marketing Communications at Bournemouth University, and then joined the Brand and Communications team at TRBI (now IPSOS). Following this, she spent over 10 years working in the Quantitative team at a growing independent agency, working across a huge breadth of clients, sectors, methods and markets.

Laura is passionate about using quant techniques to address design led questions – whether this is working collaboratively with other qualitative methods or seeking out the latest tools and techniques to address client objectives.

Outside of work, Laura ‘relaxes’ with her family and two young boys. She’s also a keen restaurant goer – and when she does get a spare minute to herself, likes to unwind with some Pilates.

Cecilia Sylvan Martin

Cecilia Sylvan Martin

Director, London

With over 15 years of qualitative research under her belt, Cecilia has experience that spans the entire brand journey.

From innovation and brand development, through to the challenges of efficient design planning and development, Cecilia has applied her energetic and passionate approach to all aspects of design research including packaging, NPD, retail, positioning and semiotics.

Aoife Chew

Aoife Chew

Director, London

Aoife’s journey into market research spans a few different countries and vocations.

Spending some time travelling and teaching English abroad, Aoife developed a keen interest in people and learning what made them tick. Since joining the world of qual research, Aoife’s worked at a couple of research agencies, big and small, before her love of design and semiotics led her to join The Big Picture in 2016.

Outside of work, when she’s not running off to travel the world, she’s running the streets of London – just one of our club of runners at The Big Picture,  Aoife’s just completed her first marathon. Go Aoife!

Dom Michaelides

Dom Michaelides

Associate Director, London

Dom’s itch for design landed him on our doorstep in early 2016, after spending his early years exploring consumer journeys with some of the UK’s biggest brands including BBC, British Gas and Lloyds Bank.

Since then, he’s channelled his love of food through NPD, innovation, and rebrand projects exploring anything from hot sauce, to sports nutrition. He’s a mixed methods researcher through and through – he’s as happy trawling through data tables as he is moderating focus groups.

He’s also the closest we’ve got to a celebrity at The Big Picture, having made a winning appearance on the TV gameshow Pointless, walking away with a cash prize and the pride of correctly identifying a Theremin (we had to Google it too).

Giulia Berna

Giulia Berna

Associate Director, London

Whilst studying for her MSc in Marketing, Giulia first heard about Behavioural Economics: it was love at first ‘sound’

Understanding human behaviour is what led her into research; for over 6 years Giulia worked as a quantitative researcher across the spectrum of FMCG categories, in markets far and near, always evaluating design through the lens of behavioural sciences.

When not at work, Giulia loves a show, she is always up for a musical and will watch any National Theatre production. On weekends you might catch her rowing in Putney, trying very hard not to fall into the river.

Sarah Beattie

Sarah Beattie

Associate Director, London

Tess Kenning

Tess Kenning

Associate Director, London

After graduating from her degree in Product Design, Tess worked with a bespoke lighting designer for a year, creating installations for hotels and exhibiting at events like 100% Design.

Her interest in trends and consumer behaviour, which she developed while writing her dissertation, led her to joining our in-house training programme at The Big Picture in 2014.

Outside of work, outdoorsy Devonshire lass Tess up-cycles old chairs, or cycles-up hills for fresh air (depending on the weather).

Sam Connor

Sam Connor

Associate Director, London

Sam joined The Big Picture following two great internships working with our internal craft beer and spirits team, and since pursued his passion on a number of beer projects and beyond.

Beyond food and drink, he’s also a big fan of furniture design – 1950s in particular – and reading; 20th Century American lit has him lit at the moment.

Alexia Carré

Alexia Carré

Research Manager, New York

Alexia chose to specialise in design and packaging research after being drawn to behavioural economics and the psychology of consumer insights

After completing her master’s in marketing, she spent seven years guiding global CPG brands in new product development strategy, optimising packaging design and retail presentation

Outside of work, Alexia enjoys yoga and hunting out places to eat around New York City

Amanda Merrick

Amanda Merrick

Research Manager, London

Frankie Swaine

Frankie Swaine

Research Manager, New York

Globe-trotting Brit Frankie loves to immerse herself in culture.

Having bounced between Europe and Asia for much of her life, Frankie found herself in the US for University, where she pursued her interest in the relationship between design and anthropological research methods. Intend on building a career on her curiosity for people, culture, and design, Frankie returned to London and found her ‘dream job’ at The Big Picture… which led to her promptly moving back across the Atlantic to join our New York office in the summer of 2017. 

When she’s not at her desk, you’ll find this self-professed ‘art dork’ browsing museums, throwing spouted ceramics at a potter’s wheel in Brooklyn, or at home whipping up baked goods for friends.

Ilenia Liber

Ilenia Liber

Research Manager, London

In fair Verona, where we lay our scene, a young Ilenia ventures from her home city to London and a career in design research.

Ilenia’s background in cultural anthropology has given her a real passion for ethnographic study. After graduating from the oldest university in the world* and working for 3 years across a range of industries, from media to hospitality, Ilenia joined The Big Picture to continue to explore her interest in human behaviour.

Outside the office, she’ll be serving ‘attitude’ at ballet or climbing a mountain near you.

*answer: University of Bologna

Kate Ortbal

Kate Ortbal

Research Manager, New York

Kate loves a good mystery— digging deep into the human truths that drive behavior has always fascinated her.

With a background in ethnography and a keen interest in innovative research methods, Kate’s ventures have taken her from academic sociological research, to international non-profit work, to the thick of New York’s qual scene.

Once she’s punched out for the day, you’ll spot Kate enjoying a beer or two with friends at one of Brooklyn’s many music venues, getting her hands dirty building stuff in her apartment, or (wo)manning the urban garden she’s created atop her roof.

Laurel Russo

Laurel Russo

Research Manager, New York

Brooklyn native, Laurel, is always on the lookout for meaning.

With a background in marketing and strategy, and years of experience on both the agency and client side of things, her desire to understand the “why” first and to use this to drive more meaningful connections between brands and people brought her to the world of research. After 4 years at a boutique qualitative agency, Laurel’s increasing interest in design lead her to join The Big Picture last fall. 

When she’s not at her desk, you’ll find Laurel exploring New York’s neighborhoods tastebud-first with a plate of whatever new and interesting food she can find, feeding her passion for interior (and exterior!) design with classes like Landscape Design 101, or home in Jersey City, hanging with her husband, Andrew, and waiting hand and foot on her longhaired calico cat, Daisy.

Ana Turco-Rivas

Ana Turco-Rivas

Senior Research Executive, New York

Originally from Caracas, Venezuela, Ana found herself in the world of research rather serendipitously after taking a moderator’s business card!

Diving head-first into the New York strategic insights scene, she developed a keen interest in ethnographic and digital research, but her passion for art and people — fueled by her training in Art History and Communications — led her to The Big Picture.

When she’s not working, you’ll find Ana zipping around the city on her skateboard, spending quality time with her nieces and nephews, listening to audiobooks in Central Park, or checking out the latest broadway show.

Eric Tepper

Eric Tepper

Senior Research Executive, New York

Always someone curious who likes to know the ‘why’ behind the way people act, Eric first became interested in human centred research and design while pursuing a degree in Health and Societies, and a masters in product design. He likes to get to the bottom of ‘how people think’ and the problems they face, which explains how he found a space in research, insights, and strategy

Eric has focused on CPG and healthcare and enjoys helping companies figure out their future. When he’s not at work, Eric likes to spend his time exploring the outdoors hiking and the underwater world scuba diving or discovering a new side of NYC with a local cultural event

Gabriella Samarasekara

Gabriella Samarasekara

Senior Research Executive, London

Equipped with a BSc in Geography and a MA in ‘Material and Visual Culture’, Gabri is no stranger in uncovering how material design creates, moderates, shapes and challenges the labile socio-cultural paradigms that people use to make sense of their world

Her desire for commercial research and unpicking shopper behaviour, lead her to a qualitative tenure at Simpson Carpenter for two years. There, her work helped optimise NPDs, identify the best learnings to execute in-store trials and refine shopper journeys for well known supermarkets, high-street retailers and airports around the UK and abroad. Some of her favourite projects enriched shopper insight with semiotic coding, or de-mystified implicit shopper behaviour and store signage by means of behaviour economics

Now she looks to balance her qualitative aptitude and visual appreciation at The Big Picture, and help unlock the exciting opportunities for FMCG design to resonate with shoppers and enhance brand equity

Outside of work you may find Gabri painting with watercolours, experimenting on new recipes in the kitchen -she once stirred a cup 200 times to make a Korean Dalogna coffee- or discovering new hair products to keep up with the ‘Curly Girl’ method!

Hannah Loftus

Hannah Loftus

Senior Research Executive, London

Hannah developed a love for research while working as a junior creative strategist, prior to joining The Big Picture in early 2018

Her fascination with people, however, began much before this, while studying Creative Advertising at University in Falmouth. She relishes the opportunity to escape the ‘London bubble’ to speak to real people and find out what makes them feel and think they way they do.

Outside of the office, you’ll most likely find Hannah doing something creative – crafting bespoke festival headwear with a glue gun or curating her Pinterest board. She’s also a keen ‘hoop-er’ – yes, this is 100% a ‘thing’. She loves nothing more than to spin away to music with her weighted hula hoop – we’re dizzy just thinking about it!

James Murray

James Murray

Research Executive, London

The story of James’ journey to The Big Picture begins in Barcelona, where he studied for his Master’s degree in Economics.

After graduating, he secured himself a job at the WHO as a health economist before joining Kantar Media as a social media analyst. Picking up a breadth of experience in the realms of quant, social scraping, and tracking, James decided he wanted to explore the more human side of research; this is where The Big Picture comes in. Our resident Jazz fanatic, James likes to spend his free time listening to vinyl and has a particular interest in how musicians express themselves visually through album artwork.

 

Caroline Bartlett

Caroline Bartlett

Research Executive, London

Multi lingual Caroline developed a passion for people and culture during her year abroad studying, working AND travelling in Brazil and Spain! This sparked off a keen interest in human behaviour leading her to seek a career in market research. 

After graduating from Cambridge Caroline entered onto Flamingos internship program working on big name fashion and make up brands, before her love of design landed her at The Big Pictures doors in 2019.

Outside of the office Caroline is a major film buff and loves to browse her nearest cheese aisle

Chloe Rynhold

Chloe Rynhold

Research Executive, New York

Chloe’s Marketing and Information Sciences degree sparked her passion in consumer behaviour and motivation, beginning in a career in quantitative research.

Her interest in the dynamism of qualitative research brought her to The Big Picture in 2020, as part of our NY team. While her British accent leads people to believe she has only just arrived in the US, Chloe has lived in NY since aged nine which is now longer than the homeland.

Outside of the office, Chloe can be found watching crime thriller series’, shopping for the latest fashions, or trying out new Italian restaurants.

 

Nikita Simone

Nikita Simone

Trainee Research Executive, London

When faced with the choice of studying either psychology or product design at university, Nikita realised the role that design plays on influencing all aspects of peoples lives and how the two interact so closely as if one is the catalyst for the other.

Nikita went on to study Product Design at Sussex with her focus heavily on sustainability, specifically the circular economy and plastics. The Big Picture’s focus on sustainability is what led her to us one year later after meeting Chris at her degree show.

When the day is over, you can find Nikita scaling rock climbing walls with friends to have fun and destress, in the kitchen baking loaves of bread and experimenting with various dinner recipes (some successful, some not), and with a love for music (complete understatement) going to as many live gigs and festivals as possible.

Vickie Landell Mills

Vickie Landell Mills

Trainee Research Executive, London

Emma Howlin

Emma Howlin

Talent Development Director

Emma joined The Big Picture in 2007 and rose through the ranks to Director, gaining a wide range of experience on a whole host of major global brands for firms including GSK, AkzoNobel and Unilever along the way.

She’s now applying that decade of design research experience to training and developing our research team, as well as maintaining the all-important culture that we believe makes The Big Picture a special place to work.

Jo Hankin

Jo Hankin

People Director

Jo found that HR was her calling in her first ever job in a Market Research agency many moons ago whilst working on their graduate recruitment programmes. She’s honed her HR skills in various creative companies ever since including Burberry and Jamie Oliver.

Her favourite thing is watching new joiners settle into their roles and seeing how their development progresses. Taking care of people doesn’t stop when she leaves the office as she has a toddler to run around after. When she gets a chance she’ll be baking or trying to keep up with where the best places to eat are in London.

Kristina Auten

Kristina Auten

Operations Manager, New York

Always up for an adventure, Kristina moved from NC to NY to pursue an MFA at Sarah Lawrence College.

Kristina’s background in office operations, finance, and HR support led her to the NY branch at The Big Picture. Now, she oversees all things operational at the NY office. Her biggest focus is to keep everything running smoothly and to promote TBP’s culture both internally and to potential new joiners.

Outside the office, she loves catching the latest new fringe theatre performance, investigating the restaurant scene, or relaxing at home with her cat Marlowe.

Fiona Haysom

Fiona Haysom

Operations Manager, London

Fiona has been with The Big Picture since the very early days of the company’s 25 years in the business and has seen the firm grow from humble beginnings to its role today as a leading authority on design.

She does invaluable work behind the scenes to oil the cogs of The Big Picture’s insight machine, ensuring we run smoothly and efficiently.

Olivia Patten

Olivia Patten

Office Manager, London

Olivia is the star behind the scenes of the London office.

With a firm hand on everything from travel to telecoms, Olivia just makes sure everything is running smoothly, so our research team can focus on insight, not IT.

Well-travelled Olivia grew up in Bermuda and Dublin, before settling in London to study law. Perhaps that would explain why she’s so good at keeping us all in order.

Katherine Pearce

Katherine Pearce

Creative Output Manager, London

Kat’s the everyday hero that keeps the London office moving.

Whether it’s making sure all of our documents hit the mark visually (she’s one of our brand guardians), creating stimulus for fieldwork (also a trained graphic designer), or making sure we’re all having a giggle with her brilliant musical impressions (just an all-round awesome person), Kat’s an invaluable support to the team.

Outside of work, you might find Kat enjoying the atmosphere at a live music gig. Alternatively, you could catch her with a bow and arrow in hand, honing her archery skills at target practice; just don’t go calling her Katniss. You’ve been warned.