Nancy Bader Leventhal, B.S.’77
The Key to Success
By Carol Olechowski
Nancy Bader visits the staff at Bader Media’s Mexico City bureau.
Hard work is the key to success. Ask Nancy Bader Leventhal.
“I always worked,” said Bader, who transferred from SUNY Oneonta to the University at Albany to study accounting but later switched her major to marketing. “I’d come home early for Thanksgiving and work the entire week before the holiday. I worked during the summers and during school breaks. I did everything. I worked for whoever would hire me: brokerage houses, law firms, a pharmaceutical company.”
Bader’s favorite job, at Scholastic Publications’ Co-Ed Magazine, put her to work on advertising campaigns. Invited to return, “I worked on contests and different campaigns.” Other positions gave her experience in marketing, affording Bader an opportunity to use the knowledge she’d acquired in her new major. She still has fond memories of the University. “I always knew I wanted something to do with business, so I decided on Albany, which had a good business school. It was an easy choice; I already had lots of friends there.”
Bader returned to her native New York City after graduation. She worked at a brokerage house and later at a communications company where she handled media buying. Meantime, “I typed letters and sent out résumés to every Fortune 100 or 200 company I could find, looking for a marketing or advertising job.”
Chemical Bank hired Bader to market some previously free, bundled services at a charge to customers. “It was an exciting time and a wonderful opportunity for me. I was involved with actual bank operations. I became an expert in some of the products they offered and traveled all over the country” – all while earning an M.B.A. at Baruch College at night.
In 1984, she married Michael Leventhal, then a sports producer for WABC-TV. Eager for a new career challenge, “my husband and I started a business in our studio apartment,” Bader remembered. “I wrote the business plan, and he did the work. It was a seven-day-a-week job, and we finally got a piece of business that gave us enough money to make some changes, so he left his job at ABC. I continued working so we could pay the bills. Within two years, I joined Michael. It’s a very interesting business; it’s taken the best of both of us.”
Bader Media Group “started as a television production company. I had some of that background through advertising and marketing, and I used my M.B.A. for all the financial stuff you need for business,” Bader explained.
Now “a niche business,” Bader Media “works for some of the largest companies in the world. We work for the leaders in every industry: technology, consumer products, automotive and financial services. You name the field, we have clients in it.”
Camera teams and field producers fluent in 16 languages create and provide content for the firm’s clients. Bader Media has offices in the United States, Asia and Europe. “As we speak, I have a team at the Detroit Auto Show. Tomorrow, I have a group going to the Sundance Film Festival. We’re involved with a lot of Super Bowl sponsors,” Bader said last January, when the company was preparing to cover the 2014 Winter Olympics. The World Cup this summer and the 2016 Summer Olympics are also on Bader Media’s agenda.
One of the business’s primary challenges is evolving technology. “Equipment especially has changed. When we started, everything was on tape. Now, everything is shot on memory cards and uploaded to the cloud,” commented Bader.
“We’ve been very fortunate in our business. We were affected by the economic downturn and made some changes, but we weathered the storm and are stronger than ever.”
Bader’s president observed that her senior vice president – Leventhal – is the ideal business partner. “He is very much an optimist. Nothing stops him. If he doesn’t have the experience or the knowledge for a project, he’ll figure it out, and it really has worked. We love it. After nearly 30 years, I still get to tell him what to do,” she joked.
The couple has two teenage sons.