By RENEE FITE
Matthew Rader has taken his small-town Tahlequah upbringing and coupled it with an exceptional college education to make a splash in the Big Apple.
Rader now works in New York City as director of Men’s Shaving Systems Marketing for Schick Razors, a division of Energizer Holdings Inc.
“I truly enjoy the general manager nature of running a section of the company, and most specifically, developing the strategies to drive the business based on discovering new and different motivational and emotional insights about the male consumer target,” Rader said.
This past year, he traveled on business to South Africa, which offered a tremendous opportunity to see a different part of the world, he said.
Prior to landing a marketing career, he spent four years as a legislative aide on the staff of then-Rep. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., in Washington.
Rader has a Bachelor of Science degree from Cornell University, and Master of Business Administration from Zarb School of Business at Hofstra University.
“I was an economics major in undergraduate school,” he said. “I ended up in this major based on an interest in going into politics, and having a degree I felt had direct application to that interest. Going back for business school was a direction I chose after careful counsel with Coburn, and I felt having an advanced business degree would give me the right tools for pursuing my next step in life. It led me to brand marketing.”
Once or twice a year, Rader makes it back to Oklahoma. What he misses most about Tahlequah is the community feel and the ability to see friendly faces all the time.
“I love being connected to the towns I live in, and I miss that about Tahlequah,” Rader said.
Tahlequah is an exceptional place to grow up, Rader said, because it has such an amazing community connection.
“There is such pride in Tahlequah, and wanting to support what is going on in the community. Additionally, given its size and the fact that it has a university, there is the ability to have a wealth of experiences right at your doorstep,” he said.
What he enjoyed the most about growing up in Tahlequah was its Rockwellian feel.
“As I look back on my youth, I appreciate the comfort and safety I felt being able to be out and about just being a kid in a small town, enjoying running around with my friends, seeing parades, and seeing friendly faces at every turn,” he said.
He admitted boiling down his memories to one or two favorites is tough.
“My life as a kid in Tahlequah would be a great answer, but if we are being specific, first, being part of the 1989 Tahlequah High School Tigers state runner-up football team. The memory of that entire season and seeing how the town was so behind us really made that memorable and special,” he said.
He also has fond memories of canoeing on the Illinois River.
“I loved to do that, and have many great memories of doing that on weekends,” he said.
His mom, Deborah, a middle school teacher, first met his father, the late Dr. Brian Rader, a political science teacher at Northeastern State University from 1972-1995, when she was a student.
His siblings are Col. Ace Shrum, U.S. Air Force Academy, Bolivia, U.S. military attaché to the U.S. Embassy in Bolivia; Shane Rader, tennis instructor, Charleston, S.C.; and Melody Reed, a stay-at-home mom who lives in Little Rock, Ark.
Rader said a number of people have influenced him.
“Wow, so many people made an impact on me and shaped who I am today,” he said. “First, my family. [I appreciate] my dad, mom, brothers and sister for all the love, support, guidance and positive reinforcement they gave me. Coach Charlie Cooper, Connie and Marcus Hendricks were like second parents to me. [There were] teacher Jan Sheets, teacher Marjorie Malone, coach J.R. Winton, coach Ken Hayes, Wes and Brooks Connor, and many others too numerous to count and name.”
The positive benefits he got from growing up here vary from his family to work ethic.
“I firmly believe my balanced approach to life, my family first focus and blue collar-like work ethic are derived from my youth growing up in Tahlequah,” Rader said. “All my impressionable years taught me family was at the heart of a solid personal foundation, and that through hard work, dedication and passion for what you are involved in, success can be the result.”
He still maintains contact with his best friend, Chad Hendricks, who lives in Skiatook. He also stays in touch with Jeremy and Vida Berry, Bo Connor, Andrew Walker, and David McQuitty.
Rader is engaged to be married this coming summer to Meris Horowitz of Albany, N.Y. He has two children from a previous marriage: Madeline, 9, and Jackson, 6-1/2.
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