Alum succeeds by thinking beyond now to 'what is possible’

by Jennifer Johnson,

  • Nathan Love ’05 MBA’06, former vice president of TiVo’s ad sales and business development, rang the opening bell at Nasdaq in Times Square in 2017. It was the company's 20th anniversary of being listed on the stock exchange. Photo courtesy of Love.
    Nathan Love ’05 MBA’06, former vice president of TiVo’s ad sales and business development, rang the opening bell at Nasdaq in Times Square in 2017. It was the company's 20th anniversary of being listed on the stock exchange. Photo courtesy of Love.

Business students are often told that networking is everything. Any doubters of that adage should meet Nathan Love ‘05 MBA’06. 

Love amassed dozens of connections at Willamette University in the classroom, on the field and through student activities, leveraging the value of those daily interactions with his education — a combination of business, arts and science — to move up the ranks at Lionsgate, TiVo and T-Mobile.

Success in the business industry means making the most of timing, luck and connections, and Love didn’t wait until he graduated to start.  

First day decision 

Cross-country initially drew Love to Willamette, but on his first day, he met two people — Jim Booth ’64, a virtual Rolodex of connections, and David Douglass, former dean and Civic Communications and Media Studies faculty member — who influenced him beyond his academic career.  

They taught him how to make a difference through effective writing, networking and understanding Plato, Aristotle and Quintilian, principles that were required for his rhetoric and media studies major but ones that are still vital to his career today, he said.

But he gleaned the most from professors outside of class, a diverse and approachable group who could talk about big-picture ideas, and from activities like leading the Interfraternity Council, which taught him how to run events that appealed to the student body. 

Love also happened to be among a cohort of students — including Greg Orzell ’05, who helped launch streaming at Netflix — who had an entrepreneurial spirit and saw a future in technology. During his first year at Willamette, long before the advent of YouTube and Facebook, Love joined a huge student file-sharing network, trading photos and content from events and cross-country meets. Tastes change and you have to adapt, he said.

“You have to think beyond what is now versus what is possible,” he said. 

By the time he received his MBA, he felt ready for a career in any sector he chose. He’d met industry influencers and a host of other connections through classes, as well as professors like Mike Hand, who is now Atkinson Graduate School of Management’s dean. Hand taught him that applied statistics revealed the value of real world data analysis to make calculated decisions.   

Building relationships and careers

Willamette connections marked nearly every step of his career.

After his first job at Lionsgate in L.A. then New York, managing sales and promotion at the company, he spent a year at entertainment company Cinedigm Digital, where he converted more than 30 years of film to digital. 

While he was in New York, he started heading the university’s alumni association, hosting events in partnership with grads who worked for companies like Deloitte and at the World Trade Center. Through those gatherings he heard about a job at TiVo, and in 2012 started leading the ad sales team.

Some years later, he stumbled on an opportunity that brought him back to his MBA program — an experience that expanded his perspective and complemented what he learned in class. While studying abroad in Denmark, he became familiar with the Finnish “Long Drink,” a mixed beverage initially concocted to tide people over during Olympic events and only available in Europe. In 2017, he became the founding U.S. investor of the company to great success: More than 200 bars, restaurants and other businesses agreed to sell it on opening. 

And in 2018, when he felt ready for a change, he joined his friend Neil Berquist ’09, MBA’10, who had started Coinme, the first licensed bitcoin ATM company in the U.S., to build its sales team in Seattle. After Coinme partnered with Coinstar to move to a kiosk model, Love turned to T-Mobile, where he runs the largest account on the business development team and works with other alumni. He started at the job in April. 

Love credits his career so far to many factors, including luck. But at Willamette, it started with his network of friends and “the belief you can do anything.”

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