OPINION17 March 2014

Liz Rattray – in memoriam


Liz Rattray, a former TNS, Martin Hamblin, Holden Pearmain and Impact Research executive, died earlier this month after a three-year battle with cancer. She was 47.

In this piece, Impact Research director Michael Brainch remembers his friend and colleague.



In loving memory of Liz Rattray, loved far too much to ever be forgotten.

Liz passed on the 4 March 2014, ending her three-year battle with cancer. Liz passed away in her sleep, peacefully, with the loving care of her family around her.

With over 20 years’ of market research experience, Liz went through the classic journey of a quantitative researcher. She started her career as a junior executive at TNS followed by Martin Hamblin and later Holden Pearmain.

It was at Holden Pearmain, in her tenure as senior associate director, that she received the unfortunate news of her cancer. After initial positive results from the treatment, Liz went back to work, initially to Holden Pearmain and then to Impact Research, which she joined as an associate director.

Her colleagues, clients and suppliers will remember her for the endless reserves of optimism and ability to simply make things happen through her “roll your sleeves up and get on with it” mentality.

With her years of experience, Liz has come into contact with a breadth of researchers, colleagues, clients and suppliers. She brought a positive and caring influence to a small corner of the market research world, making it a better place for us all to work in.

Comments made by former colleagues, clients and suppliers on hearing the sad news are a testament of her talents, as a professional, level-headed and supportive worker and friend. Liz’s qualities can be summed up with some of the following memories:

On her remarkably controlled, stress-less and positive manner, that we can all learn from, clients had this to say:
“I will remember that you conveyed positivity and warmth whenever I worked with you and that all of our team thought that you were lovely.”

“Truly a quantitative researcher, never phased by the complexities thrown at her.”

“A friendly smile, even when we gave you the conjoint briefs from hell!”

At Holden Pearmain and Impact Research, we all loved her phrases such as “crumbs!” when seeing some project timings, or referring to a team’s workload as “bonkers”.

On her leadership qualities:
“I remember when you interviewed me for my first market research role and how supportive and caring you were when we were working together. Thank you so much for believing in me! You were my inspiration you were always positive, had the smile on your face and were giving me all this valuable advice and confidence.”

“Liz, you taught me a lot about market research and working life and I owe a lot to you for where I am today. No matter how ominous, you could always see the bright side of a situation, remain calm, and provide guidance, be it in a professional or personal capacity.”

“My happiest memory of you was when I heard you were joining Impact as my line manager. I always enjoyed working with you.”

“Liz was my first manager and she has had a tremendous influence on me. She was loving, caring and brilliant at her job but most importantly I knew she was an amazing mother, wife and daughter.”

“She always saw the best in people and had this magic touch that brought out the best from the people she worked with. She was loved by colleagues and clients alike.”

Her entrepreneurial ambitions?
“Liz and I had a running joke that all of our projects involved a hall test in Gosport. We were going to open a facility there and make our fortunes,” said one former colleague.

Most of all, Liz will be remembered by her kindness and generosity:
“Always kind, ever thoughtful, cheerful and so gentle. An ever present smile and a cheeky, knowing sense of humour to carry you through the challenging times.”

“One of the nicest people, you truly led by example. Positive, caring, working hard, friendly, we all wanted to work with you, because we enjoyed being a part of your team.”

This is just one side of Liz. She was so much more. She was not just a friend and colleague; she was an incredible mother, wife, daughter, sister and loved her family deeply. Anyone that knows her boys Felix and Dylan will know that they are a credit to her memory and embody everything that was good and pure about Liz. They have already and will continue to make Liz and husband Nick proud.

Thank you Liz for being such a wonderful colleague and for contributing so much to our industry through your dedication to producing and inspiring a very high standard of market research. Professional, caring, you took on everything with such a positive attitude and were so supportive to everyone who worked with you.


1 Comment

10 years ago

I'd just like to note and recognise Michael for his unbelievable compassion, care, love, decency, practical help and perspective which he demonstrated/gave to me and the boys when Lizzie died. He is a special human being; also, I seem to remember Liz rating him as the best--a real market research guru---but I also remember her wanting to pack research in and start an animal orphanage---I guess the lesson is "Life is Short"; live your dreams.

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