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Stephen appears in the Top 100 

Innovators & Entrepreneurs Magazine

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Stephen Gabourel


In the realm of organizational transformation, Stephen Gabourel stands as an influential figure. Renowned as the founder and CEO of SG Insights, LLC (SGi), he's a fusion of sociologist and data scientist, wielding a unique proficiency in both quantitative analytics and qualitative understanding.


With over a decade immersed in organizational data, Stephen translates research into actionable insights that kindle tangible change. Having delved into the inner workings of over a hundred entities, he grasps their shared aspirations and hurdles and, armed with solutions, he orchestrates alignment with missions, fostering prosperity. Stephen's legacy encompasses 250+ strategic assessments, shaping a trajectory of evolution for diverse organizations and destinations. His expertise transcends data – it's a catalyst for metamorphosis, making him a quintessential partner for enterprises striving to actualize their societal and altruistic endeavors.


Stephen’s objective is most eloquently articulated in his own words: “There are a lot of wonderful things in the world that we need more of and a lot of challenges we need to work through. I see research as a bridge to revealing areas of consensus and benefiting the world. Things like creating jobs and social services, providing education, closing the achievement gap in Black and Brown communities, affordable housing, and access to health care—all of this is informed by data and if we can really understand the populations that need it the most, where they are, how their situations became that way, then maybe we could design a better way to address that and tell that story.”


We spoke with Stephen to learn more about SG Insights and how they are creating a better future for companies, large and small organizations, communities, and the people who live in them.


What inspired you to start the company?


I love applying the scientific method to day-to-day life and business. I have an investigative spirit. Studying sociology in graduate school and applying those skills during my career as a market research consultant has naturally ushered me to this position. Every day we face challenges. And there is sometimes painful uncertainty that goes along with that. For businesses, public service organizations, or even product or application developers, everyone is concerned with how on earth do we make sure what we are putting out there is valuable and relevant, and worth the time and resources. At the end of the day, that's what it's mainly about in this society. Ultimately, how do we do more of our mission and make the greatest possible gains or impacts. I want to use human-centered research methodology to improve service delivery as it may be relevant to all these entities. Strategic planning can be an unruly endeavor, but it doesn't have to be. I want to make that process as simple and reasonable as possible, to bring many stakeholders and community members along for the mission, without sacrificing validity and comprehensiveness of effort. Businesses can and should be better connected, in conversation with each other, and informed by their end users.


What makes your approach unique?


Not only do I bring an understanding of your business, I take into consideration the people that make your enterprise possible. Storytelling is an art and science. My research involves level setting your performance and systematically incorporating feedback from your staff, users, or customers to form a set of strategic priorities. As a sociologist, I have fine-tuned my listening and analytical skills for spotting key differences between groups. My concerns are not centrally financially based, but my task is to genuinely create an informed snapshot of things you are doing well and areas you can improve, whether that's fostering deeper member engagement, improving marketing messages, data governance, program delivery and beyond. If the conversations are being had in your constituency, the major themes will be surfaced through research and incorporated into your planning.


What do you enjoy most about your work, or what drives you?


Creating those moments of gold. No matter what, when I go into these types of evaluations, while there are a lot of affirmations of things these program managers, directors, VP's, and CEOs have already been sensing, there is often that one nugget of knowledge surfaced from the research that creates a stir and staff and leaders get excited about. And that's what excites me; being a part of positive, sustainable change, being a conduit of fresh ideas and new thinking that benefits people, life, and work processes. From a simple conversation or unique way of positioning springs a fountain of rich ideas and possibilities. Sometimes it takes an outside perspective to breathe refreshed energy into a vessel, make unseen connections, and catalyze new actions. As leaders, I feel it is our responsibility, if not our obligation, to use our voices and our power to ensure that the conversation and the initiatives that we’re spending our time, energy, and resources on actually benefit people, communities, and the greater good for all.


Stephen holds a master’s degree in sociology from Loyola University in Chicago.


Stephen Gabourel
SG Insights, LLC


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