Shirley Shi

Insights Know-It-All

Los Angeles, CA

Shirley is a curious researcher, passionate storyteller and lover of numbers. Her experience spans qualitative, quantitative and mixed-method research, but she shines brightest in the quant world–managing complex A&Us, segmentations, brand/ad trackers, concept/positioning tests, pricing assessments and more.

Having lived in both the US and China, Shirley is passionate about bringing her cultural understanding of Asian markets to her strategic thinking and client services. She also enjoys connecting with consumers through her bilingual moderating. Whether uncovering motivations of play among six- to 12-year-olds or digging into healthcare barriers among seniors, Shirley combines her unique perspective with her methodical savvy to unearth key insights and bring them to life for client partners.​

Shirley joined Smarty Pants as an Insights Know-It-All in early 2022. She manages key healthcare, apparel, tech and gaming initiatives for the likes of CVS/Aetna, Nike, Unilever and Microsoft.


Shirley began her research career at Hypothesis Group, where she led project teams to answer critical business questions for Microsoft, Warner Bros., Dolby, Toyota, Disney, Meta, Amazon and LinkedIn. Her forte was – and remains – delivering data-driven insights in creative and compelling ways.​​


Born and raised in China, Shirley earned a BA in English Literature from Fudan University. Based in Shanghai, Fudan University is part of China’s elite C9 League (Ivy League) and one of the most prestigious universities in Asia.​

Shirley came to the United States in 2016 to obtain her master’s degree in Communication Management from the University of Southern California. In recognition of her academic excellence, she was the recipient of the William Randolph Hearst Scholarship.​​


Shirley lives in Los Angeles with her husband, two dogs and two cats. She is a lover of the great outdoors. On weekends, you can find her hiking, camping, skiing and kayaking under the beautiful SoCal sun. If she’s not outside, she’s either sweating in a Pilates or hot yoga class or reading books by her favorite authors: Oscar Wilde, George Orwell, Khaled Hosseini and Keigo Higashino, to name a few.​

Fun Facts

  • Is a native Mandarin speaker who also learned some Japanese and Korean in college – solely motivated by her desire to watch Japanese and Korean TV shows without subtitles​
  • Once hiked non-stop for eight hours in heavy rain with a 20 lb. backpack in Dunedin, New Zealand​
  • Is a HUGE Harry Potter fan. She has read all the books, watched all the movies, listened to all the audiobooks in both English and Chinese. She even auto-renews her annual pass to Universal Studios, Hollywood for occasional butter beer breaks and walks in Hogsmeade​
  • Firmly believes that Friends is the best TV show ever​
  • Had many hobbies as a kid: ballet, violin, Chinese calligraphy​
  • Once performed on live TV in China as a lead ballet dancer​