Kerry Gross spent the summer of 2017 biking across the United States, gathering stories of inspirational women.

PROFESSIONAL TRAJECTORY

After graduating from Bates College in 2012, Kerry began a career in market research. Working first for Digital Research Inc, a firm serving major grocery stores, pharmacies, consumer goods producers, and travel and tourism bureaus, Kerry learned the ins and outs of market research. Projects included studying customer satisfaction, brand positioning, and product packaging as well as deep dives into customer’s journey through product research, selection, purchase, and use. During this time, she added programming and project management skills to her already strong acumen for survey development and presentation creation.

n 2014, Kerry took the opportunity to test her market research skills in a new position: market

research analyst at Diversified Communications, an international media company. While at Diversified, Kerry partnered with product teams to provide timely insights about industry trends and customer satisfaction. Key initiatives include program evaluations of new educational products, leadership of strategy meetings, and a consumer market segmentation.

Realizing that she wanted to answer questions that required more intensive statistical techniques, Kerry headed back to school for a Ph.D. in Sociology. Taking courses with an emphasis on statistics, Kerry pursued her passion for sociological and computational methods. Her scholarly research addresses the relationship between place and space and social networks.


SWITCHING GEARS

During her time at Indiana University, Kerry began adventure racing. The challenge of endurance racing paired with on-your-feet navigation coupled Kerry’s love for outdoor adventure with her competitive spirit. In her first year racing, Kerry was privileged to race with many different team configurations and race lengths. 

During the summer of 2016, Kerry challenged herself to a modified Ironman training program. Initially conceived as preparation for the US Adventure Racing Nationals, this training proved to be a catalyst for a bigger life change.

In August, while on a long training ride, Kerry realized that she wanted to be learning while biking around the country rather than while sitting in a classroom. Knowing that her ride would need more focus to be personally sustainable, Kerry spent the next few weeks considering a central focus for her adventure. A long swim after reading the story on the back of a Clif Bar was all the spark Kerry needed to kick of her Women Who Dare project.

“I knew that if I wanted these stories, I should go and find them myself.”


 

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