Meet the team

Dr Natalie Edwards

president, emea

One of Canopy’s co-founders, Nat works with clients to develop meaningful, commercially-viable and future-proofed innovations, market positions and communications through the practical application of cultural insight. Nat has led global projects across categories from FMCG, finance and healthcare to media, automotive and tech – helping her clients understand and connect with consumers from the US and Latin America, Indonesia and South Korea. She has a PhD in media, gender and cultural theory and an enduring interest in the construction and evolution of meaning in culture.

Siân Pearce

CEO

Sian specialises in semiotic analysis for brand redesign and market positioning. As a Director and cofounder of Canopy, she has conducted semiotics-led insight projects across markets from the UK to Argentina, South Africa and Indonesia, for categories spanning FMCG, alcohol, charity and automotive. A trained Demographer, she holds an MSc in Demographic Methods from the University of London, and before founding Canopy spent a decade in strategic communications roles in the energy and aviation sectors.

Dr Victoria Gerstman

president, americas

Victoria works closely with brands to deliver business results through in-depth cultural analysis. She has a PhD in Culture + Media and has lived in the US, UK and Japan. Victoria has led projects for global brands across categories spanning automotive, health, entertainment, alcohol and retail. Her interest in cultural analysis began during her undergraduate studies at Columbia University, where she studied Anthropology and East Asian Languages. She also holds an MA in Social Science from the University of Chicago. Prior to joining Canopy, Victoria worked on global media accounts in New York and London.

Becks Collins

Project Director

Becks has extensive experience in cultural analysis, semiotics and brand strategy - managing projects and providing strategic insight for clients. She has led cultural analysis projects in a wide range of markets and categories – from the global future of healthcare, to parenthood in China, to entertainment in Europe – and specialises in design, sensory and spatial semiotics. Becks holds an MA in Cultural and Creative Industries from King’s College London and enjoyed a varied career in the arts prior to cultural analysis.

Colette Sensier

Senior Project Manager

Colette is a semiotician, cultural analyst and brand strategist who manages projects, tracks changes in culture, and creates relevant insights that allow clients to stay ahead of the game. A keen writer, she holds an MA in Creative Writing from UEA as well as a BA in English Literature. Colette has worked on varied projects, including creating new sensory worlds for skincare brands, analysing health and ageing in Asia, and digging into the world of Gen Alpha girls. She specializes in verbal semiotics and visual analysis.

Eve Simnett

Project Manager

Eve is a cultural analyst and project manager with concentrated experience conducting research for brands across various markets. She has worked in markets from Brazil and South Korea to the US and France, recently leading research on the changing landscapes of UK mobility and gaming culture. Eve’s background in qualitative research and South African film-making have given her a passion for actively exploring cultures in-field, with a particular interest in youth culture, wellbeing and new technologies.

Dr Gianlluca Simi

Analyst

Gianlluca employs semiotics and cultural analysis to ensure maximum brand relevance and cultural significance across markets. A native Brazilian working across Latam and Europe, he holds a PhD and MA in Cultural Studies from the University of Nottingham, and a BA from the Federal University of Santa Maria. Prior to joining Canopy, Gianlluca worked in a range of academic, media and cultural industry settings.

Samuel Wilkinson

Analyst

Sam is a researcher with expertise in visual cultures, politics and the media in Western Europe, particularly France and the UK. He has a BA and an MA in French Studies and is completing a PhD on visual media and politics in contemporary France. He has worked as a lecturer in Graphic Design and taught extensively on visual communications. Sam has worked on a range of projects across television and film, food and drink, fashion and publishing.

Russell Williams

Pathfinder

Russell is Canopy’s fieldwork pathfinder. Before joining Canopy, he spent 8 years working in the US tourism industry – and before that, some 12 years in the United States Navy and the Merchant Marines. He has travelled widely across the length and breadth of the US, has extensive experience in project planning and logistics, and is particularly skilled in identifying and unlocking the changing meanings and insight use-value of places and spaces – both within the US and beyond.

Claire Thomas

Associate Senior Analyst

Claire's interest in research techniques including semiotics and ethnography began when studying for her first degree at the LSE, where she specialised in Social Anthropology. She went on to do a post grad in marketing at Kingston University to explore how research could be used in a commercial context. From here, she began a career in qualitative research, successfully running her own company (Mosquito) for several years, and most recently working at RDSi as a director.

Ally Castle

Associate

Ally is a creative strategist, specialising in content and communication in broadcasting. A former Senior Planner for BBC Entertainment, BBC Comedy and BBC Three, Ally uses many techniques – including audience insight, content analysis, storytelling tools and workshop facilitation – to develop frameworks in which creativity and editorial judgement can flourish.