Dr Elsa Thirion-Venter has been in the research industry for more than 26 years, practicing in various fields of research, including psychological evaluation and test construction, survey methodology and media and communication research. She started her career at the Human Sciences Research Council as a researcher in the Human Resources group. She later moved to MarkData as a Survey Manager. In 1993 she was appointed as a Research Manager: Television at the SABC and later on Research Manager: Special Projects. In 1996, when MarkData was privatised, she moved back to MarkData as a director. She holds an MBA (UNISA, 1999) and a D Litt et Phil (Consulting Psychology) UNISA, 2012). Elsa is registered as a Research Psychologist at the Health Professions Council, and is a SAMRA Accredited Researcher (2010 onwards).
Elsa has been lecturing part time on a tertiary level since 2002. She lectured Marketing Research at the Graduate School of Business in 2002 and she was a facilitator for the University of North West’s MBA course in Statistics and Economics in Pretoria from 2002-2005. She lectured statistics in 2010, the media module for the Research Psychology Masters degree at the University of Pretoria since 2010 and Design Psychology since 2011. She also serves as supervisory psychologist for research psychology interns, and as field supervisor at the Da Vinci Institute. She is an external supervisor and examiner for MBL and DBL students at UNISA’s School of Business Leadership. MarkData has been a SAMRA Corporate (now Organisation) member since 2006.
Elsa has served on the SAMRA Pretoria branch management, and was chairperson of SAMRA Pretoria branch in 2009, 2010 and 2012, and Chairperson of SAMRA in 2010/2011. She currently serves on the SAMRA Board as representative of Academia, and is the SAMRA Treasurer. She also previously represented Small- and Freelance Suppliers on the SAMRA Board.
In addition to her contributions in the above official roles within SAMRA, Elsa has gone above and beyond these to assist SAMRA whenever necessary and to promote SAMRA and its objectives.
- Contributed to the development of the Professional Recognition programme, in particular, SAR
- Contributed to the SAMRA Journal and SAMRA Yearbook in the form of written contributions and proofreading/editing
- Served on the SAMRA Conference and Technical Committees in one or other capacity for several years
- Sourced keynote speakers for a number of SAMRA Annual Conferences
- Facilitated SAMRA Annual Conferences since 2014
- Advocates for the SAMRA Bursary and Looking for Work services
- Attends SAMRA stakeholder meetings when the SAMRA CEO is not available (e.g. SAQA Professional Body Forum)
- Advocates for SAMRA with the various student groups that she is involved with
- Plays a watchdog role in terms of any public and ethical issues related to and developments that could impact on the industry
- Mentors young talent in the industry
There are many more examples of specific assistance given to SAMRA – in thousands of emails and minutes on record, going back to the 1990s.
In recognition of Dr Thirion-Venter’s significant contribution to the advancement of SAMRA’s activities, and to the industry at large, the SAMRA Board conferred honorary status on Dr Thirion-Venter on 18 August 2016.