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

Director of Finance & Human Resources

As the Research Group’s Director 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

Account Executive

As Account Executive, 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.


Alex Leisawitz

Project Manager

As Project Manager, Alex oversees the day-to-day details of recruiting projects. Alex’s degree in psychology laid the foundation for a deep understanding of the core components of research and the impact research has on making better business decisions.


With a keen eye for details, Alex ensures that recruited respondents are the exact participants our clients are looking for. He keeps clients updated daily with the status of their recruits and ensures a seamless project from start to finish.


Molly McNerney

Project Manager

As Recruiting Manager, Molly oversees the search for and screening process of potential respondents. Molly comes to us with 7 years of experience in management and customer service. She earned her BA in Mass Communications from Towson University, where she double majored in Advertising and Public Relations. With her leadership skills and attention to detail you can be assured our recruitment team will find the accurate respondents needed to make your project a success.


Caitlin Elliott

Facility Supervisor

As the Frontline Project Associate, 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.


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.



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.