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Alumni spotlight

Arts alumni are an accomplished crew. They have great advice for students and fellow graduates, and know that arts degrees teach skills that are sought-after in the professional environment. 

Derek Blair, PhD'00 (Anthropology)

President, Insights Matter


Derek Blair completed his Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology at the University of Calgary from 1996 to 2000. His Ph.D. research was funded by a 4-year SSHRCC fellowship, focused on understanding what makes new symbolic-religious systems sticky with participants, and was based in principles of Cognitive Anthropology. He conducted a pilot study in New Mexico, and 12 months of fieldwork on a First Nations reservation in British Columbia. Since graduating, Blair has worked primarily in the area of marketing research. He has spent his career helping companies and organizations understand and solve marketing-related challenges and questions: How do we build our brand and reputation in a relevant way? How do we create customer engagement? Who are our target customers? How can we differentiate ourselves? Blair has had numerous roles including Vice-President at Ipsos-Reid, Senior Vice-President and Partner at NRG Research Group, and Managing Director of Intelligence & Innovation at ATB Financial. He is currently President of Insights Matter, a Calgary-based market research and insights generation company. He has worked with over 100 local, national and international brands including the Calgary Exhibition & Stampede, BC Hydro, H&R Block and the International Olympic Committee.