Manuel ("Manolo") Barberena was one of the market research industry's most dynamic and enthusiastic leaders. An entrepreneur who led his company to be one of the largest and most influential in Mexico and Latin America, he was also instrumental in setting up AMAI, the Mexican MR trade association, dedicated to bringing standards and education to the fast-growing Mexican research industry. Not content with leading his industry at home, he reached out to researchers and associations in the US and Europe, eventually becoming a Board member at CASRO and a Council Member at ESOMAR. These initiatives and the companies he left behind (Pearson and Kitelab) are lasting legacies to a life of leadership that was cut tragically short at the age of 48, on May 2011.

Manolo's passion was to enable the Latin American research industry to engage with the industry around the globe. He was also a passionate believer in the coming generations of industry leaders as facilitators of this vision.


The member companies of the eleven National Associations belonging to ARIA have decided to keep the flame of Manolo's vision alive by enabling emerging research industry leaders across the Americas to benefit from exposure to other research cultures in countries other than their own. To this end, they have established The Manolo Award for Future Industry Leaders in the Americas, or Manolo Award for short.

The Manolo Award will be given to one or more emerging research industry leaders selected from an ARIA association member. These emerging leaders will:

  • attend an industry event or conference free of charge in another ARIA country
  • spend an additional two weeks with a sponsor research company in that country
  • learn through immersion about research culture and approaches in the host country.

In this way, we hope to encourage emerging leaders from all across the Americas to experience new ideas, new thinking and new environments that they can then take back to their own country and company; and to build on the leadership skills that they are beginning to demonstrate.


The Manolo Award will be administered by ARIA.

It will be funded through donations by individuals and institutions. The fund's sponsors will include ARIA associations themselves, research companies who are members of ARIA associations, individuals in the industry and family or friends of Manolo's. Our aim is to keep an endowment that is large enough to sponsor multiple award winners every year.

To be eligible for the award, an entrant must:

  • be nominated by his or her company to their national association
  • have 4 years or more experience in the research profession
  • have demonstrated clear leadership potential in their company and in the industry
  • be interested in developing their leadership skills
  • be interested in global research
  • indicate country preference(s) for their immersion experience

There will be a limit of one nominee per company per year.

The nominating company will be required to complete the nomination application, including a short essay describing the nominee, the leadership that they have demonstrated and why they believe this individual in particular should receive the award.

An international panel of judges in ARIA will make a final decision on which nominees will receive the Manolo Award for that year. (There will be nothing to prevent unsuccessful nominees in one year from applying in other years.)

The Manolo Award will pay for the winner's airfare to their country of choice, accommodation expenses while there as well as a small allowance; while the local association in the destination country will host the winner free of charge at one of their premier industry events (e.g. an Annual Conference).

In each of the countries participating in the award, companies will be encouraged to volunteer as "hosts" for award winners. These companies will take in winners for two weeks and devise immersion programs through which they may experience the full array of research being done by that company, its interaction with clients and its solutions to clients' business issues. The host company will not be expected to pay a salary to the winning nominee (we expect that the original nominating company will continue to do that); however, contributions to accommodation, meals or other expenses are not discouraged.


You can contribute in two ways:

1) Become a contributor to the Manolo Award fund.
2) Volunteer as a host company.

Becoming a contributor

Volunteer as a Host Company

Put your company forward to host an award winner! You will be required to submit a short plan of the immersion experience that you aim to provide to your Manolo Award guest, as well as the structure of their stay with you. Any financial help you aim to give with meals, accommodation etc, should also be itemized.

Host companies will receive full recognition at ARIA events, on ARIA member websites and in presentations or events related to the Award itself.


María Belén Gonzalo. Datos Claros (Argentina)
Martha Alicia López Contreras. Pearson (Mexico)


YanHaas (Colombia)


ESOMAR (The Netherlands)
De La Riva (Mexico)


ABEP (Brazil)
Wilson Connexions (US)


Brain (Mexico)
IBOPE AGB (Mexico)
LEXIA (Mexico)
Nielsen (Brazil)


Paulo Pinheiro de Andrade (Brazil)
Decision Analyst (US)
Issues & Answers (US)
Martha Lobo & Alex Garnica (Mexico)
National Analysts (US)
Diane Bowers (US)
RTi Research (US)
Strategic Resource Partners (US)
Youth Pulse (US)
Nick Tortorello (US)