Home Archives June 2007 VIP: Conversation with Nike’s head of Global Women’s Fitness, Heidi O’Neill

VIP: Conversation with Nike’s head of Global Women’s Fitness, Heidi O’Neill

| Print |  Email
Friday, June 01, 2007
HeidiONeill0607.jpg
PHOTO BY ADAM BACHER

ViP

Heidi O’Neill

Head of Nike’s Global Women’s Fitness

Heidi O’Neill built her career by avoiding the shrink-and-pink approach to women’s athletics.

Shrink and pink is industry-speak for taking a men’s product, changing the size and color palette and marketing it to women. O’Neill prefers products designed to meet a woman’s needs, from extra shock absorbers in shoes to sports bras for active moms.

As head of Nike’s Global Women’s Fitness category, O’Neill leads a team focused exclusively on active females. Developing products tailored for the consumer seems deceptively simple; O’Neill and her team talk to women about their workouts and the importance of sports in their life. They take that information back to Nike’s lab, where researchers examine products from every angle.

“The fact that my team and I get to spend all day, every day thinking just about women is empowering,” she says. Nike’s role as an athletic wear juggernaut attracted her to Beaverton in 1998. “It’s an incredibly inspirational environment,” says O’Neill.

After working her way up to vice president of U.S. apparel, O’Neill, who is 42, was promoted to lead Global Women’s Fitness in January. The division conceives, designs and markets everything women need for running, yoga class or the dance studio.

O’Neill plans to use her new position to further connect with Nike’s consumers, even if it means following them into the gym. 

“I’ve been preparing for this job since I was 5,” O’Neill says. Growing up in northern Michigan, she skied, played tennis and swam competitively throughout her childhood. She also learned the retail business while working at Portside Sports, her parents’ sporting goods store.

Of course, walking past a perfectly groomed soccer field on the way to a meeting, planning a trip to Casablanca to oversee a women’s marathon or meeting some of the biggest names in sports — ever heard of Maria Sharapova? — are worlds away from stringing tennis rackets in the back of your parents’ store.

O’Neill sums it up: “I have the best job on the planet.”

— Colleen Moran


Have an opinion? E-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

More Articles

The Bookseller

November/December 2014
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
BY AMY MILSHTEIN

Everyone knows college is expensive, but a look at the numbers brings that into sharp — and painful — focus.


Read more...

Shuffling the Deck

November/December 2014
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
BY JON BELL

Oregon tribes still bet on casinos.


Read more...

Grape Expectations

October 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014
BY HANNAH WALLACE

Well-financed outsiders from France and California are buying up vineyards and wineries in the Willamette Valley.


Read more...

The Diaspora

October 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014
BY LEE VAN DER VOO

Former newspaper reporters move into brand journalism.


Read more...

The 100 Best Companies survey is open

News
Friday, October 24, 2014

100-best-logo-2015 500pxw-1How does your workplace stack up against competitors? How can you improve workplace practices to help recruit and retain employees? Find out by taking our 100 Best Companies to Work for in Oregon survey!


Read more...

Water World

November/December 2014
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
BY KIM MOORE

Fred Ziari aims to feed the global population.


Read more...

Fly Zone

November/December 2014
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
BY JOE ROJAS-BURKE

The black soldier fly’s larvae are among the most ravenous and least picky eaters on earth.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS