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Meet the Team

Michael Carlon - Founder and Managing Storyteller

Michael Carlon is the founder and managing member of Vertigo Partners. He cut is teeth doing User Experience (UX) research at Modem Media, the world’s first interactive agency where, during the 1990’s, he worked with clients such as Delta Air Lines, Citibank, and JCPenney to understand what consumers wanted in a website. His findings would be the springboard for site development and ensured that what the agency built was aligned with user needs. Later on in the development process, his team would come back into the picture by conducting both prototype and usability testing.

UX research has remained a passion over the past two decades—and with more and more people relying on digital touchpoints to meet a variety of needs, good UX is more important than ever. Vertigo Partners exists to help clients design the right thing, and design it right.

Mike is a RIVA trained moderator and, in addition to the research business, he hosts the Uncorking a Story podcast featuring depth interviews with everyday people who are making extraordinary differences in the world today. He’s also the author of six novels and is currently working on his seventh.

Mike is an “out of the box” type moderator who brings his dynamic personality, quick sense of humor, passion for improvisation, and rapport building skills to every project. He’s worked across just about every category but his sweet spots are in financial services, CPG, healthcare, and consumer technology. Checkout our Podcasts to hear his interviewing style first hand. He holds a BA in Psychology from the University of CT and an MBA with a concentration in marketing from Fairfield University.


Wendy Waesche - Sr. Storyteller and Lead Strategist

Wendy started her career in research as a quantitative consultant with Nielsen.  She quickly caught the marketing bug and honed her brand strategy skills at Sara Lee and Cadbury Schweppes where she ultimately served as the Director of Marketing for the Mott’s portfolio.  

Wendy’s favorite part of marketing has always been talking to consumers and watching brand stories unveil.  She brings a client’s eye to research and a disciplined, yet creative approach to uncovering key, actionable insights.

In addition to packaged goods and beverages, her brand and insights work extends across the fashion, spirits and finance categories. She loves talking to parents and kids and specializes in dual parent/kid target research and positioning strategies.

Wendy has earned a BA in Government from Connecticut College and an MBA with a concentration in marketing from New York University.

Dana Gifford - Sr. Storyteller and Strategist


Dana’s interest for understanding people and cultures originated from an early obsession with National Geographic which lead her to pursue a degree in Anthropology from The College of William and Mary.  Her career took form conducting ethnographic research for an international healthcare and disaster relief organization.  She spent 4 years traveling around the world interviewing doctors, patients, Ministries of Health, and other healthcare professionals to understand the healthcare systems in developing countries.


After her globe trotting adventures, Dana spent over 7 years working as a Director of Qualitative Research for Taylor Nelson Sofres (TNS) based in San Francisco.  During this time Dana worked across all categories and research methodologies and developed an expertise in needs based motivational research, global research studies, and online platforms.  Her ability to demonstrate flexibility and improvisation enable her to easily adapt to her client’s evolving research needs.  This skill also allows her to relate to her respondents by adjusting her techniques, style, and mannerisms to evoke authentic and dynamic conversations.


Based in the heart of silicon valley, she is well experienced working in the technology and finance sectors and continues to be passionate about health, wellness, and women’s issues.

Joe Indusi - Technical Director

Former Hollywood insider who saw a niche in filming and editing insight interviews. He is personal friends with A-List director Joe Dante (Gremlins, Innerspace, The Twilight Zone) and can find a way to film any interview – anywhere – and deliver it to whatever screen a client would like to view it on. He was given the nickname Twilight by an intoxicated Texan who was none too pleased that Joe was playing pool with the former’s girlfriend in a hotel bar. To be fair, he was dressed quite vampiric that evening.

His multi-camera approach to filming interviews is unique and eliminates the dreaded “pan” from the equation.  His user experience setup is also miles away from what other companies can provide.

Beyond video capture, Joe’s videos have been praised by clients all over the world and brings a professional filmmaker’s eye to the editing process.

Vertigo Partners is honored to include the following organizations as part of our growing client base