Michelle Poris, Ph.D.

Quant Savant

Stamford, CT

As Smarty Pants’ resident Quant Savant, Dr. Michelle Poris oversees the company’s quantitative research practice. She is both a talented and meticulous researcher and a master of quant best practices across lifestages and around the globe. She ensures methods and questions are culturally appropriate, whether participants are 8 or 88.   ​

Michelle provides critical guidance to client partners and Smarty Pants’ core business teams. She has a gift for identifying the best solutions to meet business objectives and regularly leads concept, packaging and positioning evaluations, segmentation studies, discrete choice modeling, A&U studies, pricing assessments and more.

Michelle knows that actionable quant studies and deliverables are informed by qualitative insights. She guides mixed-method initiatives that answer both the ‘what’ and ‘why’… and, most importantly, the ‘what now’. Regardless of method, she ensures all projects are steeped in high quality sample, insightful data analysis and impactful data-based storytelling.


Michelle’s 25+ years of research experience includes designing and executing business-building research for many of the world’s largest brands. During her time at Smarty Pants, she has been a strategic partner to category leaders like Spin Master, PepsiCo, Kellogg’s, Target, Microsoft, Paramount, CVS Health/Aetna, Amazon and Netflix, as well as dozens of non-profits and agencies. ​

Prior to joining Smarty Pants in 2010, Michelle was a senior director at The Family Room (formerly Just Kid Inc.), where she spent six years building a thriving quantitative research group.

Earlier in her career, Michelle was a director at Yankelovich, where she identified emerging kids’ trends (long before she had kids of her own). She also worked as a research investigator at the non-profit Families and Work Institute studying work-personal life balance (long before she balanced work with her own family life). ​

Michelle has published works in academic journals such as Infant and Child Development and Young Consumers, and she regularly educates marketers and insights professionals on youth and family trends and research best practices at national conferences (and even the White House!).

She has been an academic advisory board member of the Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU) and currently serves on the industry’s Accessible Insights Consortium, working to ensure individuals with disabilities have a voice in research.​​


Michelle earned her B.S. with distinction in Human Development at Cornell University. Fun fact: she graduated third in her class!

She went on to pursue a Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology at the University of Michigan after being awarded a graduate research fellowship from the National Science Foundation (NSF). Her doctoral dissertation focused on the complex role of siblings in caregiving and learning.


Michelle lives in Connecticut in a house full of boys (her husband, two teenage sons and a male dog, too). ​She has joined the pickleball craze and now plays frequently at the biggest indoor facility in America.​

Fun Facts

  • Is a founding member of the longest running book club in Connecticut, once tweeted about by Judy Blume​
  • After 15 years as a hockey mom, she is now more knowledgeable about the game than some NHL refs​
  • Is a daily word puzzle addict and was devasted when her husband accidentally broke her 350+ day Wordle win streak​
  • Enjoys travel and has been to 48 states and 5 continents (so far!)​
  • Regularly volunteers in her community, with leadership roles including PTO treasurer, vice president of her religious organization and more