meet your moderator

My passion for understanding people—who we are and why we do what we do—has shaped my career. I am a subject matter generalist and a lifelong learner, which allows me to adapt easily to new categories and industries. My super power is developing rapport quickly, so that I can encourage deep candor from respondents while exploring the issues of importance to my clients.

Before founding VMHQ Research in 2008, I built my career at prominent New England research firms, leading projects, managing operations, and mentoring staff. With expertise in healthcare, media, women, and unique consumer and B2B populations, I am adept at navigating sensitive topics, plumbing the depths of the issue at hand, and crafting actionable business recommendations.

I hold a B.A. in English from the University of Notre Dame and an M.A. in English from the University of Chicago. I live in Portland, Maine with my husband and two dogs. 

- Vivian Harris, Founder & President

Vivian harris, founder & president

"Vivian is a consummate professional—while she will do all she can to accommodate your project needs and schedule, she also acts as an engaged consultant on your projects. She gets involved, providing the prospective and guidance needed to fit your industry and project-specific needs. Vivian is a team player working seamlessly with cross-functional and agency partners. Vivian loves her work and it shows! It is always a pleasure to work with someone who makes work feel less like work and more like a fun human study."

- Global Product Portfolio Strategy, AstraZeneca

"When PBS embarks on the debut of a significant TV and streaming event and, hence, the creation of a national brand, like The Vietnam War, from Ken Burns, we do so with great admiration of and enthusiasm for the viewer. And when we want to know people's thoughts, feelings, attitudes and behaviors about the subject of a show, we turn to Vivian. Managing a room, and a discussion guide, matter; paramount, though, is the ability to discern fact from fiction, talk from truth, substance from trifle. Few rise to the occasion like Vivian. Even fewer are as adept at communicating observations and conclusions."

—Vice President, Consumer Strategies and Content Marketing, PBS

"Vivian is one of the best moderators I’ve worked with in my 26-year career in pharmaceutical marketing. Her ability to put patients at ease, uncover true unmet needs in the marketplace, and provide critical insights into launch planning puts her in a class by herself. She instantly became part of my team the moment we had our kick-off meeting, and her collaborative nature made her a huge asset in the multiple projects we utilized her for."


at a glance

contact vivian

30 years of marketing research experience

20 years of moderating experience

Naturally interested in understanding people

Skilled at leading focused and flexible conversations

Adept at helping clients refine objectives and at developing effective study designs

Expert at translating learning into actionable insights

Committed to developing longtime client relationships


On the day I left my last job in February 2008, I drove home through the snow thinking about this new business I was about to begin. As I passed under telephone wire, I noticed a barred owl perched there—a bit strange, as owls are not a typical sighting, especially on a snowy afternoon. But there he was—solitary, strong, braving the cold and snow to stake his ground. As I launched VMHQ, this owl became a personal but private totem, a lucky charm. 

It's a fitting symbol for a moderator and researcher, as owls have very keen listening skills. Privately, I also love that much of the owl's hunting success lies in its ability to be stealthy, to slip through the night observing and often unnoticed. Some moderators are peacocks, but I take the lead from the owl: creating an environment where I slip into the background and bring the focus to the respondents. So whether I’m embarking on the first interview of the day or analyzing research late at night, I remain on the hunt for insights that can make a real difference for my clients.