About Us

Who we are

We get down to business, achieving your research and development goals

We keep it real and are experts at having important conversations with vulnerable, hard-to-reach populations with compassion and grace. Our ability to engage and gain trust with people from all walks of life means we gather deeper and richer insights than traditional marketing firms, giving you critical data that will improve the bottom line of any research and development project. 

We celebrate the diverse stripes of society

You’re probably wondering what’s up with the zebras? Zebra Strategies was born from the fact that no two zebra in the world have the same stripe pattern. We embrace this similar and beautiful nuance in humanity by addressing the intricate intersectionality of race, religion, income, sexuality, and gender and so many other markers of identity in our work, recognizing the rich, diverse marketplace in which we all live and create. 

 

We back up data with actionable insights you can use to make better business decisions today (not later, not when the stars magically align—today)

We’re not just researchers, we’re market research strategies too. We layer our target and category knowledge into insights to provide actionable recommendations on hard-to-reach populations that enable your team to do its best work. Our experience with advertising, marketing, and consumer psychology allows us to tailor the research process and findings to best address your objectives, creating inclusive market research that produces better products, better campaigns, and a better bottom line for you. 

We’re the love child of curiosity and non-judgment

We’re all handed various lots in the lottery of life- some of us are lucky with the circumstances we start with, and others are not. Many of our subjects experience few spaces and processes where they feel dignity and respect. Our unique research process creates a safe space for these individuals by ensuring all voices are heard. Regardless of backgrounds, we treat every research subject like we would treat a client, leading with compassion and empathy. We don’t just put ourselves in their shoes, we take action on uncovering solutions to their unique challenges and life circumstances. 

Who you are

Just like a great meal has the right ingredients, a great partner has the right qualities. if the below describes your outlook and attitudes, you’ll gain the most out of working with us:

  • Keep an open mind: You are open-minded in conversations and interactions, especially if culture, race, or experience is different from your own. 
  • Stay curious, but not judgmental: You make no assumptions or judgments about the people you want to learn about, and remain in a place of curiosity. 
  • Know what you don’t know: You go into a research process looking at what you can learn, and are inquisitive. You know you aren’t an expert at the new topics you’re exploring and are looking for guidance. 

If this is what you aspire to be on your best day- so do we! Let’s collaborate on your project and make it happen. 

Our team

Denene Jonielle Rodney
CEO & Founder, Moderator

Curiosity may have killed the cat, but in Ms. Rodney’s case, it gave birth to a ZEBRA. Considered the research whisperer, Denene is the founder of the full service multi-disciplinary qualitative & quantitative research firm, ZEBRA STRATEGIES, which specializes in research design, focus group moderating, and recruiting. She created Zebra Strategies because she wanted to provide a conduit through which multimillion-dollar corporations, agencies, and organizations could understand the importance of nuance in culture, ethnicity, and socioeconomic experiences. Denene has always lived by the motto, “Be curious but not judgmental” and an indispensable element of Denene’s research approach is the welcoming space she creates; fostering a safe environment for participants to share deeply personal and often painful life experiences, even in a group setting. She utilizes empathic listening to affirm the experiences of those facing even the most challenging experiences, including: Sexual Health, HIV status and other disease states, racial discrimination, and gun violence, giving overlooked voices the much-needed opportunity to express their needs, their desires, their experiences, and tell their stories. Denene knows that when we try to group people together and affirm that they must be the same because they all check a particular box, “we lose the opportunity to learn.” We have seen the market implications when large corporations fail to take into account the nuance of one’s individuality – when they “overlook the unique stripes” of each person, and Denene prides herself on the fact that it’s her job to not only acknowledge those differences, but to use that knowledge to develop more inclusive, impactful, and strategic marketing plans for her clients.  Ms. Rodney holds a B.S. from Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Communications and an M.S. from New York University’s School of Continuing Education. 

Larry Zimmerman
Vice President of Zebra Strategies

Larry has over twenty-five years’ quantitative and qualitative market research experience. He holds an MA in Social Psychology and an MBA in Marketing from Wayne State University. In his
career he has worked with a number of leading corporations, financial services organizations, advertising agencies, publishers and consumer goods organizations. He has extensive experience developing market research studies to meet the strategic needs of a variety of businesses. Larry is an experienced focus group moderator who has conducted thousands of focus groups and in-depth interviews.

Reema Vyas
Senior Brand Strategist/Moderator

Reema brings 20+ years brand strategy experience from roles at top agencies including McCANN, Deutsch, Inc., TBWA / Chiat / Day and Ogilvy + Mather. She takes pride in her ability to fuse art and science to inspire simple yet sophisticated ideas that transform businesses and brands and work to enrich people’s lives.

Lita Balram
Director, Business Development & Retention

Lita Balram is a seasoned project manager with a proven successful track record of utilizing tactical strategies to successfully lead and execute projects. Her diverse project management experience includes marketing and product management expertise, international markets, and sales strategy and support. Lita possesses a highly skilled aptitude for addressing cultural diversity and working in international markets including Asia, Australia, Europe, and South America.

Sharon Arthur
Director, Brand Management/Moderator

I am Passionate about the amazing work that Zebra Strategies does with marginalized and disenfranchised people. We give these groups a well deserved and necessary “seat at the table” of policy and program development in a way that mainstream marketing organizations cannot. Key to our success in these markets is the understanding of the significance of being trauma-informed, and cognizant of the toxic, long term stressors experienced by most out groups or othered groups. Whether it be due to race, ethnicity, religion, gender, orientation, SES, immigration status, education level, all of these groups; and the places where there are multiple intersections, bring unique perspectives into their life experiences in a larger world where they are quite often unseen.

Demetra Denmon
Program Project Director

Demetra Denmon, MA-WSD, Program/Project Manager is a healthcare operations and executive project manager with 20+ years of experience in healthcare management, who provides technical review, project oversight, focus group observation, data collection & interpretation; and assesses the marketing implications of consumer perceptions–working frequently with private, public and state-based agencies and organizations. 

Kristian Keene
Manager of Opportunities

I’m Kristian and I am passionate about the work Zebra has conducted around mental health and access to non-traditional forms of therapy for at risk and disadvantaged populations.

Her flexibility in the office is her strong suit, jumping in to help on various things at a moments notice. She works on everything from the day-to-day office work, to recruiting and outreach, as well as intercept work. Kristian Keene has her Bachelors in Global Studies from the New School and is working on completing her Masters in International Affairs & Adolescent Psychology.

Tristan Scatliffe
Project Manager

I have found all our studies to be rewarding. One case study in particular that I enjoyed was our Rent Regulation study! We had respondents who were LGBTQ, Minorities, Ages 21-82 and other mixes that represented the heart of NYC. People have different personas (Work, Home, Outside, etc.) that we may not always see so getting insight into the worlds of each respondent was Interesting. I love that Zebra Strategies actively looks to recruit people from all walks of life.

Georgia Graham
Writing Guru

I’m Georgia and I find the work we do gives me a greater understanding of those with different experiences or realities. This includes the projects we’ve conducted with taxi drivers, teenage e-cigarette smokers, and New Yorkers living with HIV/AIDS. I’m passionate about accessible healthcare, immigrant rights, ending the opioid crisis, and providing a supportive platform for people to have their voices heard.

Brandi Cumberbatch
Sr. Brand Ambassador

I am Brandi Cumberbatch I enjoy working with Zebra Strategies because a lot of the studies we work on give underserved communities a voice. Getting a chance to hear experiences that can help understand personal circumstances. I am passionate about equal rights for African Americans, Hispanics and LGBTQ.

Michael Lawrence
Recruiter

I have found all of the studies we conduct to be insightful, important and relevant. I am especially passionate about LBGTQ issues, racial discrimination and gun violence. I hope we can continue to work on bringing attention to these issues and others so that the voices of all may be heard as opposed to the few.

Ready to work together?