SMRG leverages its expertise in Market Research best practices, its deep knowledge of various industries, its resources in subject matter expertise and its streamlined business model to deliver the vital information management needs to make market decisions.

Meet the Team

Ami Nienus

President & CEO

With over 16 years’ experience in branding and communications research and consulting, Ami brings senior-level experience to the management, design, execution and analysis of global market research studies. She has conducted hundreds of interviews and focus groups and has formal training in exploring the emotions and the “whys” behind what respondents say. Ami’s experience and adaptive style has made her invaluable to her clients across industries.


Ami graduated with a BA in Psychology from the University of Illinois Urbana, an MS in Psychology from Illinois State University, and an MBA from the Simon Graduate School of Business Administration at the University of Rochester.   Prior to obtaining her MBA, Ami worked as a counselor and as a therapist.  She also conducted social research.  After receiving her MBA, Ami worked for major market research firms, such as Harris Interactive and Synovate and is founder of Strategic Market Research Group, a qualitative market research firm. Ami has focus group training from Richard A. Krueger, Ph.D., Professor at University of Minnesota.  Ami lives in Michigan with her husband, son and two daughters.

Anjalee Krohn

Vice President, Client Relations & Senior Moderator

Anjalee is an experienced senior moderator with over 14 years of experience. She specializes in everything from exploratory research to branding for clients in various category areas. She has a keen interest in surfacing deep-seated, emotional motivations and drivers of behavior.


Anjalee has honed her moderating experience, specializing in understanding the deep attitudes and behaviors. Anjalee has developed a keen interest in understanding true research objectives, and spends much of her time supporting the client’s business needs in this area.


Over the years Anjie has worked with a broad range of satisfied clients and organizations. Clients return for additional projects and also refer her to new clients. Anjie graduated with a BA in Marketing Communications from Columbia College in Chicago. She has over seven years of experience working in management in market research analytics at a major healthcare IT firm called HIMSS-Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society and is currently working as Vice President/Senior Moderator at Strategic Market Research Group, a qualitative market research firm. Anjie has focus group training from Richard A. Krueger, Ph.D., Professor at University of Minnesota. Anjie lives in Illinois with her husband and two sons.

Raj Desai

Director of Business Development & Client Services

Raj is a multi-industry and multi-discipline professional with over 20 years of client and stakeholder-facing experience.  He specializes in having the pertinent conversations with key opinion leaders and customers, to best understand the end user and the strategies for successfully bringing products and services to market.


Raj has honed his market research experience by identifying and understanding the goals of each individual project.  His focus is on the emotions, attitudes, behaviors, opinions and feedback of respondents.  It is through this that Raj aims to best position decision makers and management with the information needed to maximize benefits for their market, organization and stakeholders.


Raj graduated with a BS in Finance, with a minor in international marketing, from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  Described as a versatile, sharp generalist by colleagues and clients, Raj has demonstrated his analytical capabilities by handling P/L for Bank of America’s Structured Credit Products desk and by being Six Sigma certified for improving its trading operations.  He has also demonstrated his communications skills, through B2B Account Director roles in industries ranging from:  Manufacturing to Software-as-a-Service to Human Resources/Talent Management to Branded Digital Content and to Entertainment.  Raj is an active listener and is very adept at conducting and having conversations with individuals that extract true feelings and actionable information--skills he developed  through successful completion of the Improvisation and Writing tracks at the world famous Second City.

Jessica Yen

Research Analyst & Presentation Specialist

Jessica has 20 years of multidisciplinary experience in the marketing field. Launching her career in the design of trade shows, events, print and digital marketing, Jessica is an award winning designer passionate about creating engaging experiences. This commitment led her to broaden her scope to include market research and marketing management.

Jessica’s career in B2B and client facing roles has cultivated her ability to craft successful campaigns for her clients. Her diverse background contributes to her ability to produce reports for industry leaders, Fortune 500 companies and prestigious brands that propel them forward with confidence. Jessica has a propensity for careful analysis and keen ability to translate concepts into engaging content.

Jessica graduated with a BA in Industrial Design from Purdue University of West Lafayette, Indiana and a MBA from DePaul University. She lives in Illinois with her husband and two sons.