Who We Are

Upwords is a pioneer in online qualitative research.

We’ve been at this since 2008, and have built quite a track record of unearthing valuable insights for our clients. Along the way, we’ve won international recognition for what we do, as well as love from the people we work with.

We get marketers because we’ve been in their shoes. We dig for the consumer intelligence we know marketers will need to make better-informed decisions. We are lean and we work from virtual offices which translates as cost effective and agile. It also means we can scale up to do wide reaching international studies through our global network. With field-tested methodologies, we bring exceptional quality control to each project.

Upwords is a collective of top research talent anchored by Founder and Chief Insights Officer, Layla Shea, Insights Manager, Bronwen Ward, and Strategy and Insights Partner, Eva Van Krugel. To stay agile and lean, we engage partners from our trusted network of multilingual moderators, strategists, analysts and project managers to suit the requirements of any given project.

Meet Layla Shea, Founder and Chief Insights Officer

Layla Shea

Founder and Chief Insights Officer

Layla Shea started Upwords in 2008. Ever since, she has been designing and moderating highly effective online qualitative research for major brands.

In the quest to uncover valuable insights, Layla’s background has set her up well. Formerly a marketer at Coca-Cola and S.C. Johnson, a research consultant and facilitator at Sklar Wilton & Associates, and a RIVA Trained Focus Group Moderator, Layla’s finely tuned skills help her connect with participants’ true feelings and she relishes the role of connector between clients, brands and consumers. She has conducted groups of C-level executives, web entrepreneurs, senior citizens, hard-to-reach teens and everyone in between. Layla is an expert at making the complex simple.

A leader in the North American online qualitative research community, Layla has won international awards for the impact she’s had on her clients’ businesses, and is a sought-after speaker at industry conferences.

Layla is the lead strategist, senior moderator, and oversees analysis at Upwords.

Meet Bronwen Ward, Insights Manager

Bronwen Ward

Insights Manager

Bronwen Ward has been immersed in every aspect of qualitative research, with specific expertise in the online variety. Bronwen’s experience helping lead multi-country/multi-language studies, paired with exceptional attention to detail makes her a valuable asset to any project, particularly those global in scope and complexity.

Bronwen entered the qualitative world after a successful career in hospitality management, including a variety of senior roles spawning her interest in human behaviour. Since rounding out her management experience with a degree in Market Research, Bronwen has been involved in all aspects of online studies for some of the world’s biggest brands.

Bronwen is passionate about understanding the ‘why’ and always digging deeper to inform her clients’ complex business decisions. Her clients can count on her keen – verging on neurotic – attention to detail throughout each project; from proposal, to moderating, to analysis, right through to the final report.

Meet Eva Van Krugel, Strategy and Insights Partner

Eva Van Krugel

Strategy and Insights Partner

Eva Van Krugel is the newest member of our team. She brings an uncommon perspective to Upwords, having worked as a planner and marketing leader in the UK and Canada.

Eva has led diverse research and marketing programs with agencies big and boutique – on global, national and niche brands. Her clients have spanned sectors including financial, retail, automotive, not-for-profit, media and government.

Eva knows what success looks like, having been recognized internationally and nationally for her insight-driven strategies and the subsequent results they have brought her clients. A big believer in the power of true insights, Eva is committed to deeper discovery, agility and humanity in her work.

Eva is a strong strategic partner, facilitator, moderator and analyst. She is well versed in techniques for mining deep human truths and is fascinated by connecting with consumers from all walks of life.