Lee Friedenthal

Senior Research Director

We get one shot on this Earth, so I want to do everything I can to maximize my time here. Experiences and people are what have had the most impact on me, so I'm always up for chasing the next adventure. There's nothing like the drama of a big game, the energy of a music festival crowd, the feels from genuine human connection, or the thrill of being in an unfamiliar place.

What's one of the best pieces of advice you've ever gotten?

My dad always told me to never lose my confidence. I grew up playing basketball, and I was normally a pretty good shooter, but one time I was just having a bad game and kept missing a bunch of shots. Eventually, I started passing up shots and handing the ball over to someone else. He pulled me aside and said, "You're a good shooter. Never lose your confidence. Things take work and you're going to have bad days, but if you lose your confidence to keep trying, you'll never know how good you can be." So, that was about basketball, but I've since expanded it to thinking about life, in general. The best way you learn things is by experience, and I'm never going to have those experiences if I don't have the confidence to try.

Tell me one thing on your bucket list.

What I've been thinking about recently is wanting to go to more concerts in natural venues. A couple years ago I went to The Gorge Amphitheatre in Washington, and to experience music in such a beautiful place was amazing. Being there and listening to one of my favorite bands with that natural scenery in the background was just like a mental explosion. I want to keep going to awesome places like that. Or even just, in general, I want to go to more concerts and festivals in new and different places. Last year my wife and I and some friends went to a big music festival in Barcelona, and the people there were from all these different countries and speaking different languages, but we were all there for the same reason: the music. It's this universal language. You can't understand a word the person next to you is saying, but you can enjoy the exact same experience with them. That's fascinating.

What's one quality you admire in someone else and wish you had more of?

My wife is insanely adept at spatial recognition. And I can't do that for the life of me. She just knows how to perfectly load a dishwasher or fit things into a trunk or build things, and I just suck at that. I wish I had any kind of clue how to do what she does. If I try hard enough, I can do it, but it doesn't come naturally to me

If you could have one superpower, what would it be and how would you use it?

I just want to help people who need it. It sucks to see people struggle. I feel like a lot of people have been dealt a raw deal, and everyone should have a fair shot at life. There are a lot of people out there who are just shut off from opportunity. People need access to the right things that will better their lives—give them a chance to become the best version of themselves—so I would want to be able to give them that, whatever it may be for their situation.

Why is being people-first important to you?

Being people-first is important to me because it's what the world is at its core. From as high level as society to as micro level as a company, it's all about people coming together to achieve a common goal. I believe we need to be true to ourselves and look out for one another to accomplish anything to be proud of.

What's your favorite part of the research process?

I really like how challenging research is. Every day there's something new that I'm energized by. And you have to have a certain level of intelligence to work in this business, so it's really cool to be around really smart people all day. But more specifically, I like the human interaction part of research. I like communicating with team members and clients and consumers. But I also really like the critical thinking aspects of it. I consider myself a pretty analytical person, so I really like analyzing data and being able to pull a story out of it and then writing the story. I'm a big-picture kind of guy, so I like those parts more than the minutia.

What's something that you're really proud of?

My vinyl record collection.

What's your favorite type of research project to work on?

I dig segmentations. It's pretty awesome to put some personality behind a ton of numbers and bring the data to life like that. I also love qual for the human element. I love talking to people. I think I'm good at it—I have good instincts about people and good energy and I can just talk to anybody. I really like brand strategy, too. I like to learn what brands stand for and what ideas they're trying to get behind—or if they even know what their identity is. I like figuring out who they should be talking to and what they want to accomplish, and then learning how receptive people are to those ideas.

Tell me about one of your colleagues.

I admire Cara's strength. She's very independent but also very loyal to us as a team and a company. She's always confident in what she's doing, and she's consistent with her beliefs; she doesn't flip-flop. I like her demeanor and her energy. We're very on the same page with a lot of things. She tells it like it is, doesn't sugarcoat anything, and that really resonates with me.

What's your idea of the perfect Saturday?

Watching a Trojan victory in the Coliseum with my family.

In the Industry: Since 2011

At Bovitz: Since 2016

Education: BA in Communications from USC

His best quality: Personable