Our Staff

Barbara Gassaway

President/CEO, Moderator

Named one of “Maryland’s Top Business Women” and “Future 50 Companies” by Smart CEO magazine, Barbara has over 20 years of creative market research experience in the health care and consumer industries. A differentiator appreciated by clients and colleagues is Barbara’s comprehensive understanding of strategic marketing principals, along with current trends and practices in the qualitative sciences.


As a seasoned research consultant and RIVA trainer, she is considered by many to be one of the nation’s market research industry leaders. She is expert in managing client teams, project priorities, and creatively implementing methodologies to discover intimate, underlying feelings from respondents. A loyal client refers to Barbara as the “rock star of moderators.”


Debora Davis

Senior Vice President of Finance

As the Research Group’s Senior Vice President of Finance, Debora works closely with Observation Baltimore’s senior management to ensure the financial health of the organization. As such, Debora executes financial policies, develops and keeps staff accountable to budgets, manages capital, and supervises all financial transactions. Her responsibilities include client invoicing and project budgets.


Debora’s Human Resources’ responsibilities include hiring, employee on-boarding exam administration, benefits, and assisting managers with employee accountability.


Debora worked as Director of Operations with The Harbor Sales Company, was with Observation Baltimore from 1993 to 2003, and returned in 2010. Her extensive experience in financial services began at Price Waterhouse, along with an impressive tenure as Assistant Comptroller at Kirk Stieff.


Karly Richins

Director of Marketing

As Director of Marketing, Karly will create relationships with outside companies and help expand our brand. She will work with these companies to create research plans that allow them to gain extensive customer insight. Karly will focus on creating awareness and the need for market research in our region.

She comes to us with over 5 years of management and business development experience. She earned her Bachelors of Science in Entrepreneurship from York College of PA. Karly hopes to use her expertise and knowledge to ensure clients are getting the information needed to help grow their businesses.


Molly (McNerney) Petro

Vice President, Operations

As Vice President of Operations, Molly oversees the day-to-day operations of Observation Baltimore. Molly has 10 years of Management experience and joined the Observation Baltimore team in 2013. She earned her BA in Mass Communications from Towson University, where she double majored in Advertising and Public Relations.


With a keen eye for details, Molly ensures that recruited respondents are the exact participants our clients are looking for and ensures a seamless project from start to finish.


Karen Hernandez

Senior Recruiter/Healthcare/Liaison

Karen is a seasoned researcher with over 20 years of market research experience. Her experience in staff training, client relations, and project management provide valuable leadership for our recruitment and interviewing teams. Karen has shared her expertise with Observation Baltimore for over a decade.


Along with an in-depth understanding of recruitment quotas and algorithm methods, Karen’s exemplary interpersonal skills allow her to work successfully with internal and external stakeholders to attain project objectives and quality recruits.



Adam Olhausen

Project Associate

As Project Associate, Adam, alongside the Project Manager oversees the operations of the recruiting center. Adam utilizes his seasoned supervising skills to ensure the recruiting staff adheres to quotas and project scope requirements. His primary objective is to deliver a recruit that produces optimal results for the client.

Adam earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science and Minor in History from Arizona State University and brings with him 6 years of management and communications experience. Having extensive interpersonal and problem-solving skills through working years in the rough and tumble field of political fundraising and campaigns, he understands time management and sustaining business partnerships is critical. Adam successfully balances the multifaceted tasks of supervising and focus group recruiting in a timely and effective manner.


Caitlin Elliott

Facility Supervisor

As the Facility Supervisor, Caitlin oversees all aspects of client and respondent details for upcoming projects. Caitlin comes to us with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from Salisbury University and experience in the fields of Marketing and Administration.


She has a keen eye for details and ensures that all aspects of project completion are done thoroughly. Working at the front desk, Caitlin welcomes all clientele and manages communication. With her strong organizational skills and tireless work ethic you can be sure all projects are executed with success.


Gisella Frisone

Hospitality Coordinator

As Observation Baltimore’s in-house Chef, Gisella brings over 25 years of hospitality and restaurant experience to her position. As famous as her Italian-born hospitable personality, Gisella creates fabulous and festive menus that satiate the most sophisticated palates. Although she is best known for her scrumptious desserts, her skill in anticipating a client’s need is unparalleled.


Gisella’s team is responsible for facility preparation, food and catering, and ensuring all in-house client requests are accommodated. She and her hospitality team’s priority is moderator care, and with great pleasure are proactively attentive to every client’s comfort.