Susan L. Bender will be VideoAge’s 17th International TV Distribution Hall of Fame honoree, in the publication’s L.A. Screenings LATAM edition.
Bender is the first female TV executive to receive such an honor: But she’s not the only female pioneer, of course; the international TV distribution industry has seen others, including Claude S. Perrier and Gilberte de Turenne in France, Giuliana Nicodemi in Italy, Mex Hartmann in Germany and Alice Donenfeld in the U.S.
But, starting in show business in 1969, she ended up handling the male-dominated Latin America market — without speaking Spanish — for Metromedia, Paramount, Harmony Gold and her own company, Bender Media. “It was no different really than handling Japan and not speaking Japanese!” she explained.
As much as Bender minimized her challenges, Marcel Vinay, Sr. gave some perspective for a woman, who in those times traveled alone throughout Latin America in an environment that he described as “very tough for women who had to deal with very aggressive Latin males.”
The LATAM environment is now completely changed and women constitute the majority of the international TV distribution sales force for the region, thanks to Bender’s pioneering role.