Hall of Legends 2012: Miles Nadal

MDC Chair and CEO, Visionary

Chosen by a jury of their peers, the four 2012 Marketing Hall of Legends inductees come from four different corners of the industry. But all four share extraordinary records of professional accomplishment built upon personal foundations of insight and intelligence, passion, determination and vision.

Miles Nadal – Chair and CEO, MDC Partners


Marketing Hall of Legends Inductee 2012 – Visionary

If you follow Miles Nadal on Twitter you’ll find plenty of inspirational quotes from the likes of Wilfred Peterson, Christopher Reeve, Edmund Burke, F. Scott Fitzgerald and the odd “unknown.” He recently tweeted Anita Roddick: “Nobody talks of entrepreneurship as survival, but that’s exactly what it is. ” And yet Nadal makes it look easy—or at least like a lot of fun.

He famously launched Multi Discipline Communications in 1980 with $500 from his own credit card; today MDC is a global powerhouse marketing and communications network. In addition to his business success, Nadal is also known for his charitable endeavours, which includes the construction of the Miles
and Kelly Nadal Youth Centre for the Boys and Girls’ Club of Canada.

“Miles Nadal is one of the great entrepreneurs in marketing communications. The judges saw him as a top Visionary because of his unique partnership model that has driven the success of his businesses, his philanthropic generosity and his track record on attracting great talent to MDC,” said Jim Warrington, executive director at NABS and co-founder of MHOL.

What one lesson from your parents contributed most to your success?
I was incredibly fortunate to have parents who taught me the importance of dreaming big and building toward your goals with hard work and diligence. They also taught me the importance of who you surround yourself with . Finally, I came from humble beginnings and my parents taught me that your only true legacy is how you have bettered the lives of the next generation. This is a value I try to instill in my own daughters, and something that inspires my and my family’s commitment to philanthropy every day.

What’s the biggest gamble you’ve made in your career?
It wasn’t an intentional gamble, but we went public the day after the stock market crashed, on Oct. 16, 1987. It was an incredible lesson in perseverance as we worked to combat the changing tides of the market. We emerged from the tumultuous climate with a successful business, and facing those challenges early on ultimately created MDC’s strong sense of purpose. Going against the tide served us well not only in 1987, but ever since then, as we have successfully lived by Warren Buffet’s advice to “be fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful.”

Patience is a virtue, but in this business so is…
Humility , the desire and drive to always learn, and the ability to surround yourself with people who will fuel your intellectual curiosity. The potential of one person is limited but the potential of someone who can create, strengthen, motivate and benefit from a team is limitless.

The most exciting thing about the industry today is…
That we don’t know what the most exciting thing will be tomorrow.

What advice would you offer anyone starting their career today?
There is opportunity all around you if you know to look for it. To this day, I continue to find inspiration and business opportunities in the least expected places. Be curious, keep an open mind and know that there’s something to learn from every person and situation you encounter.

Marketing Hall of Legends 2012 Inductees
Allan Gregg
Paula Gignac

The Marketing Hall of Legends gala takes place Oct. 18 in Toronto. Tickets are still available.

Photo: Brad Bunyea

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