Leadership and Client Services Team

Cara Shugoll

Chief Executive Officer

As a third generation Shugoll, marketing research is in Cara Shugoll's blood. Her love of marketing began as a young girl when she chatted with her parents over dinner about what they did for a living at Shugoll Research, a marketing research company founded in 1957 by Cara’s grandmother, Joan Shugoll, and eventually diversified and run by Cara’s parents, Mark and Merrill Shugoll.

Cara's passion for understanding the consumer only grew as she entered young adulthood and attended Washington University in St. Louis where she majored in psychology and minored in business. After graduating, Cara began her professional career in research as a Research Manager at Ipsos ASI, one of the largest international research companies in the world. At Ipsos, Cara spent her time interpreting ad tracking and brand equity data to provide key insights and actionable recommendations to clients across multiple industries including CPG, media, retail, and healthcare.

Cara then decided that to be a successful provider of marketing research, it is critical to better understand the industry from the client’s perspective. She returned to school to earn her MBA from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan and upon graduating, went to work as an Assistant Brand Manager at the Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company. At Wrigley, Cara helped execute the in-market rollout of the Orbit brand's new, "best in class" packaging and its related integrated marketing campaign.

In 2010, Cara moved back to Washington, DC, and joined Shugoll Research as the first of the third generation in the family business. After spending 10 wonderful years providing full-service consulting services at Shugoll Research and being mentored and trained by her parents, both pioneers in the industry, Cara and her business partner, Rick Seale, started Limelight Insights, a next-generation Shugoll company. In addition to providing strategic direction for the company, Cara happily manages the Full-Service Consulting division.

Cara would like to thank her parents, Mark and Merrill Shugoll, and her grandmother, Joan Shugoll, for teaching her everything she knows about marketing research and how to be a good mentor and business owner. Cara and Rick look forward to what the future holds for their next-generation company, and they would love the opportunity to be your marketing research partner.

Outside of the office, Cara loves spending time with her beautiful family. In particular, she is an avid sports fan and can often be found cheering on her two favorite teams alongside her boys; the Michigan Wolverines (Go Blue!) and the Washington Capitals.

Rick Seale

Rick Seale


As President of Limelight Insights, Rick Seale oversees the strategic direction and day-to-day operations with a focus on the Data Collection Division including our online platforms and recruiting services. Rick became interested in market research while pursuing his MBA. He enjoys developing relationships with clients and helping them fulfill their research goals. Rick believes that his success in the industry comes from a combination of delivering the right respondents to his clients along with a strong commitment to customer service. He also had the privilege and advantage of having Joan Shugoll, a pioneer in the industry, as his friend and mentor.

With almost 30 years in qualitative research, Rick has learned how to proactively adapt to change and to innovate. Believing that learning never stops, he is always eager to add a new tool or technique to the Limelight Insights portfolio. Working directly with the company's online tech staff, Rick and his team are always looking to provide the best possible client experience on our platform. Rick is actively engaged in all aspects of data collection and works closely with the project managers to find creative solutions to even the most difficult recruiting projects.

Prior to partnering with Cara Shugoll to open Limelight Insights, Rick was Executive Vice President at Shugoll Research for 29 years. He holds a BS and an MBA from the University of Southern Mississippi.

Rick is very active in the marketing research industry. He is a past President of the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the Insights Association (IA), has served on numerous committees for the national IA, and was a committee member involved in the development of the Code of Marketing Research Standards and the Best Business Practices Guidelines, currently endorsed by the Insights Association.

Although originally from the deep south, Rick is a true Washingtonian at heart and he enjoys all the activities and opportunities that the DC area has to offer. An avid traveler, he anxiously awaits the opportunity to see more of the world.

Linda Hunt

Vice President of Field Services

As Vice President, Linda Hunt is responsible for overseeing the project management staff and the workflow for the Field department. She also manages projects herself, and attends to the hundreds of details that go into running a successful study, while keeping clients comfortable and well informed. She believes close communication is the key to her success.

Earlier in her career, Linda was a video producer specializing in corporate communications. She finds market research fascinating in its study of people’s behavior and attitudes, and enjoys its challenges.

In her spare time, she practices yoga and enjoys both cooking and reading about world cuisines.

Alex Garrido

Project Manager, Field Operations

As a Project Manager, Alex Garrido ensures all client needs are met in a timely manner throughout the entire study timeline. He works closely with the recruiting and online platform tech support staff to ensure that no detail is overlooked, while also keeping clients comfortable and well informed on study specifics.
Alex received a degree in Communications from the New England Institute of Art and began his career as a Production Technician for a television station in Boston, MA. Prior to his tenure with Limelight Insights, Alex began his career in market research with Adler-Weiner Research while spending a year in Los Angeles, and then became a Client Services Manager with Schlesinger Associates after returning to the Boston area.
In his spare time, Alex enjoys attending live music events with his wife, Rita, playing guitar, and watching his beloved Boston Bruins and Miami Dolphins.

Emily Hawkes

Research Manager

As Research Manager for Limelight Insights, Emily Hawkes works with clients to ensure successful full-service market research projects. Emily is involved in instrument design, field management, data analysis, and report writing and production.

Emily attended American University in Washington, D.C., where she completed undergrad in three years with a Bachelor of Science in Business and Entertainment with a specialization in Entertainment Marketing. She continued at American to earn a Master of Science in Marketing while working in the Kogod School of Business Behavioral Research Lab. She is fascinated by the way research forms the groundwork of marketing decisions and explores the way people think and feel.

Outside of work, Emily is a passionate theatre fan and frequently attends shows in both DC and NYC. She also enjoys discovering new restaurants, exploring the city, and spending time with family and friends.

Jacqueline R. Thomas

Project Manager, Field Operations

As a Project Manager, Jackie works closely with our clients and recruiters to ensure the quality recruitment processes for which Limelight Insights is known. Jackie also works with her clients to seamlessly manage all on-and-offsite project logistics.
Jackie worked part time as a qualitative assistant while attending college at Bowie State University. Her degree in social work enhances her skills in market research by giving her the ability to assess study participants and work collaboratively with clients when they need her support.
Jackie enjoys the relationships and challenges that the marketing research field provides. Her natural inquisitiveness, dedication and enthusiasm demonstrate why she is an asset to each and every project she manages.
Jackie enjoys spending her spare time with friends and family, attending book club meetings and coordinating and attending projects for Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated.

Summer Shelton

Research Director

As Research Director, Summer is responsible for qualitative market research design, implementation, and analysis which includes moderating focus groups and in-depth interviews, developing screening and discussion guides, data analysis, report writing, and presentations to clients. She is also responsible for identifying new business opportunities, proposal writing, and job costing. Summer is also involved in the management of quantitative research projects.

Summer found her passion for research when studying for her undergraduate degree in advertising & public relations at Marietta College. She decided she wanted to explore advertising and market research more and continued on to get her masters in integrated marketing communications from Florida State University (Go Noles!). Here, she found out she loved research and wanted to conduct her own original research so she went on to obtain her PhD from the University of Florida (Go Gators!). After receiving these degrees, Summer served as a professor of advertising at Idaho State University and then moved to the University of Southern Indiana for a similar role.

In these roles, Summer conducted mixed-methods research that was published in a number of academic journals, was presented at international conferences, and was often grant-funded. She has moderating experience conducting focus groups and in-depth interviews with the following groups: individuals aged 65+, members of the Gen-Z cohort, people with physical disabilities, expecting and vaccine-hesitant mothers, top-level executives at advertising agencies, physicians, underrepresented women from rural areas of the country, and plus-size women. She also taught college-level advertising and marketing courses and worked closely with McGraw Hill Textbooks as a subject matter expert for their advertising and marketing textbooks.

In her spare time, Summer enjoys thrifting, refinishing furniture, crafting, painting, watching psychological thrillers, true crime shows, and TikToks, and hanging out with her husband and orange cat, Oliver.

Click any team member to learn more

Looking to join the Limelight Insights Leadership and Client Services Team? Check out our Careers page!