Home Back Issues 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
Archives - June 2007
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

Beyond cheese

June 2014
Thursday, May 29, 2014
BY SOPHIA BENNETT

Tillamook expands its tourism niche.


Read more...

Reader Input: Energy policy

June 2014
Thursday, May 29, 2014

How serious a problem is climate change? Readers want to have their cake and eat it, too.


Read more...

Risks & rewards of owning triple net investments

Contributed Blogs
Thursday, July 24, 2014
NNNinvestmentBY CLIFF HOCKLEY | OB GUEST CONTRIBUTOR

With the increasing retirements of Baby Boomers, a massive real estate shift has created a significant increase in demand for NNN properties. The result? Increased demand has triggered higher prices and lower yields.


Read more...

Portland: Where young people go to work?

News
Friday, June 06, 2014
UntitledBY KATIE AUSBURGER | OB GUEST CONTRIBUTOR

How to build a hipster-friendly work environment.


Read more...

Timber town

June 2014
Thursday, May 29, 2014
BY LEE VAN DER VOO

A forest collaboration saves the Rough & Ready Lumber Company.


Read more...

2014 Best Green Companies to Work For announced

News
Wednesday, May 28, 2014

100BestGreenMore than 350 people turned out today for Oregon Business magazine’s sixth annual celebration of the 100 Best Green Companies to Work For in Oregon.


Read more...

Q&A: David Lively of Organically Grown Co.

News
Tuesday, July 01, 2014
OGCLogoBY HANNAH WALLACE | OB BLOGGER

Demand for organic food continues to soar: Last year, sales of organic food rose to $32.3 billion — up 10% from 2012. In Oregon, organic produce wholesaler Organically Grown Co. has been championing organic growing methods for four decades.


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