the senior team

At UMR clients enjoy direct access to some of the most experienced research practitioners in the industry – projects are typically led by the very people who own the business. We bring together a broad range of professional backgrounds, and that breadth of experience delivers a pragmatic focus and added value to research findings.

Stephen Mills

Executive Director

As a company founder and key adviser for thirty years to many Australasian political and business leaders Stephen brings deep knowledge and extensive experience to every project. A frequent writer and commentator on current issues, he can be heard most weeks on New Zealand’s “Nine to Noon” politics segment.

Andrea Kan

Executive Director

Andrea is a master qualitative and quantitative research practitioner who makes projects work. Throughout a career spanning over twenty years she’s worked across a highly diverse range of clients and markets. Through that time she’s honed the art of translating big picture ideas and objectives into the focussed research insights our clients demand.

Alice Kan

Director (Social and Policy)

Alice specialises in social and public sector research. In UMR she has frequently championed innovative qualitative research methodologies which have helped to extract valuable insights on challenging issues.

Marc Elliott

Director (Rural)

Marc heads UMR’s rural practice. Having grown up on a farm, Marc lives and breathes rural issues, and understands the sector better than any researcher in the country – the communities, the people, and the work.

Vanessa Leonard

Director (Quantitative)

Vanessa is UMR’s quantitative director – she’s our statistical and numerical conscience. Vanessa brings a no-nonsense approach to quantitative practice and ensures the results we produce are trusted and robust.

the supporting team (section in progress!)

Thomas Butt

Senior Data Analyst

Thomas is an expert at making sense of data – ensuring findings that are relevant, useful, and accessible. In UMR he’s our go-to for beautiful data visualisations and a range of advanced statistical techniques like Bayesian hierarchical modelling. A mouthful yes, but often just what’s needed!

Marcus Downs


Marcus contributes across an ever-growing range of our qualitative projects, but most often plays a key support role in UMR’s rural research division. He grew up on a dairy farm in the Manawatu, and has since amassed literally hundreds of interviews with farmers – at kitchen tables up and down the country.

Andrew Whitsed

Online Research Manager

Online surveys are a huge growth area across the research industry, and nobody knows them better than Andrew. With vast experience covering an ever-growing suite of survey platforms, Andrew helps clients find the right audiences and deploy well-designed, highly-engaging surveys.

Sinéad Dunn

Research Analyst

Sinéad has an eye for detail and excels at making sense of numbers. As a member of UMR’s Auckland-based quantitative team she’s an expert at analysing and communicating quantitative research insights quickly and effectively across the whole spectrum of our work.

Britta Kastler

Financial Controller

Britta plays a vital role in keeping UMR humming. Core to her role is ensuring financial legislative compliance but her instinct for strategy and processes has more recently seen her driving a suite of innovations across our internal business systems with the aim of delivering increased value for clients.