Site Accessibility Statement
Wilfrid Laurier University Leaf
September 25, 2017
Canadian Excellence

Dr. Sarah J.S. Wilner

Assistant Professor (Marketing)

Contact Information
Phone: 519.884.0710 ext.4161
Other Phone: 416-817-4430
Fax: 519.884.0201
Office Location: P3024
Office Hours: By appointment
Languages Spoken



Sarah Wilner holds a PhD in Marketing (minor in Product Design) from York University, Toronto; an MBA in Marketing from SUNY Buffalo; a post-baccalaureate in Communication Studies from Bentley University and an undergraduate degree in cultural anthropology from Brandeis University (minors in sociolinguistics and women's studies). She is also a seasoned manager, having managed marketing and communications in a number of public sector organizations, as well as leading several as executive director. 

Research interests include:

  • product development and innovation; 
  • managers' interpretations of their consumers' needs, desires and behaviours; 
  • brand management and communication
  • industrial, service, communication and packaging design;
  • consumer culture  

Dr. Wilnerís research focuses on the idea of "consumer insight": what it is, how it's obtained, what's done with it, and who decides. She favours qualitative methods of inquiry, investigating phenomena by being immersed in them. Currently, she is examining consumer products firms' product design and development activities; issues related to sustainable new products and services; the role of empathy in product development and the use of product design to legitimize stigmatized consumption.

Her research has been published in the top-tier Journal of Marketing and the Handbook of Anthropology in Business and her peer-reviewed papers have been presented at Association for Consumer Research Conferences; the American Marketing Association Winter Educator's Conference; European Association of Consumer Research Conferences; the Product Development Management Association's Research Forum; the International Society for Product Innovation Management; Consumer Culture Theory Conferences and Ethnographic Praxis in Industry Conference (EPIC) meetings, among other conferences. 

Her scholarship has garnered multiple awards. She is a three-time recipient of the Ontario Graduate Scholarship and was awarded a Fellowship from the Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council of Canada in 2009. Dr. Wilner was named the Canadian Federation of University Women's Beverley Jackson Fellow in 2010-2011 and an M&T Bank Fellow from 2000-2002. In addition, she has received merit-based awards from York University; SUNY Buffalo's School of Management and Brandeis University and was elected to phi beta kappa in 1988.

Dr. Wilner's curriculum development and teaching experience includes:

  • Consumer Behaviour and Brand Management (BBA program at Wilfrid Laurier University)
  • Marketing Principles (MBA program at Wilfrid Laurier University)
  • New Product Development (MBA program at York University)
  • Qualitative Methods (PhD program at Wilfrid Laurier University)
  • Marketing in the Non-Profit Sector (continuing education at the University of Toronto). 

personal website: