Much of our work at Ignite 360 revolves around stories. We listen to stories of real life and gather perspectives of people as shoppers, customers, and consumers. We take these stories and identify common threads that link to a bigger picture insight which in turn unlocks growth for our clients. Then, of course, we turn our learning and insights back into sharable stories. We do this to ensure the voices of the consumers we meet are heard and resonate… that their needs, beliefs, and behaviors are memorable and inspire action for our clients. Stories are what we do and we love it!

On the front line of gathering these amazing consumer stories is our Investigadora, Kirsten Killean. A Chicago native and long-standing member of the Ignite 360 ensemble, Kirsten is a skilled interviewer who is among the first to speak with the recruited consumers we bring in for our research initiatives. In most instances, we employ two layers of screening in order to identify the most articulate and engaged consumers. Why? Because they form the basis of the learning we deliver. First, we narrow down to the right target audience by screening against criteria such as particular demographics or purchase behaviors as defined with our clients. Then, we often follow-up with an audition of sorts where Kirsten leads the charge to ensure our final set of consumers have what it takes to get us closer to insights pay dirt.

Kirsten sharing stories at Qual 360 in Europe

Kirsten sharing stories at Qual 360 in Europe

Ideally suited for her role as auditioner, Kirsten, at her core, is a self-professed people person who enjoys the social aspect of what she does. Although her screening interviews – primarily done via phone – can be brief, she learns a lot about people’s unique circumstances. She gets that first glimpse into their story and gathers invaluable context thereby bringing greater meaning to our exploration. The categories and topics run the spectrum from high tech junkies to home gardeners; from first-time expectant mothers to freelance workers. Throughout each project, Kirsten identifies the first hints of human truths and individual personality traits which contribute to that big story of need, motivation, challenge, and aspiration.


It’s interesting to hear many different people’s stories and if only for a short period of time get a little picture of their life, challenges, joys, and struggles. It’s rewarding when it all comes together at the end.
— Kirsten

In addition to her ability to get strangers to open up in a short interview, Kirsten also holds the distinction of being the most remote member of the Ignite 360 family. Her primary residence is in southern Spain where she lives with her husband, Ramón and baby-on-the-way. So, it is from this locale where our expat ensemble member talks with our recruits who live many miles and time zones away.

Kirsten and charming hubby Ramón share a passion for life in Spain

Kirsten and charming hubby Ramón share a passion for life in Spain

While the difference in time zones can be a challenge, Kirsten finds balance in a flexible schedule where down time is in the morning and work hours extend into the evening. But, like many of our remote working ensemble members, work and life do happen simultaneously. For a virtual company in the client service space, work and life are fluid, and flexibility is a must-have. This means Kirsten can, and does, work from different locations to fit within her own personal interests and pursuits.


I have learned that sometimes I just have to take my office with me, stop to work and then resume life. I try to power down at a certain hour. A big benefit of working remotely is the autonomy. I am trusted to get the job done and do it well.
— Kirsten

Beyond the what and the how of her job, Kirsten’s ‘why’ for doing what she does really comes down to connection. Fluent in Spanish, Kirsten shines in her ability to connect and easily bridge any cultural differences or physical distance. She also brings her well-honed research skills with her as she jumps into the role of field researcher for us both in the States and in Europe. And, in these points of connection – consumer auditions and field research – Kirsten feels inspired while she also plays an integral role in getting us closer to insights that, in turn, inspire our clients.


I get to talk to so many interesting and super inspiring people. It is so much fun to hear stories of how people live their lives, start businesses, raise families. I feel so enriched after these conversations.
— Kirsten

Interested to learn more about Ignite 360’s recruitment and consumer audition best practices or hear more from Kirsten on working remotely in a virtual organization? Connect with us and get more of the story by commenting on this post and following us on FacebookLinkedInTwitter or Instagram.

Get to know the Ignite 360 ensemble:

Storyologist, Stephanie Spencer

Project Manager, Tori Palmer-Kern