Sponsored by Oregon Business

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

10 Oregon companies positioning themselves for growth

The Latest
Friday, March 13, 2015
vcthumbBY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Ten startups have secured venture capital, angel or seed funding in 2015.


Read more...

Beam Me Up

April 2015
Thursday, March 19, 2015
BY DAN COOK | Photos by Jason E. Kaplan

An alliance of developers, academics and timber industry executives wants to position Oregon as a front runner in the glamorous new world of wooden skyscrapers.


Read more...

Party Like It’s 1999

Contributed Blogs
Wednesday, February 25, 2015
pets-com-sock-puppetBY JASON NORRIS, CFA | OB GUEST BLOGGER

Pets.com, GeoCities, eToys, and WorldCom … blasts-from-the-past that all signify the late 1990s Internet bubble. Yet we believe the dynamics of the market, specifically in technology stocks, are much different today than it was during the late 1990s.


Read more...

4 highlights of the MLS labor deal

The Latest
Wednesday, March 04, 2015
timbersthumbBY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

On Wednesday night, a couple days ahead of the 2015 season kickoff, Major League Soccer and the Players Union reached an agreement.


Read more...

Green Rush: Cashing in on legal marijuana

March 2015
Friday, February 20, 2015
BY COURTNEY SHERWOOD | OB CONTRIBUTOR

Marijuana is big business in Oregon, and it’s about to get bigger.


Read more...

Tweeting Portland's State of the City address

News
Friday, January 30, 2015
Screen Shot 2015-01-30 at 3.08.19 PMBY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

For those who were working, here are a few highlights of Charlie Hales' State of the City address.


Read more...

Announcing the date of the 100 Best Green Workplaces in Oregon event

News
Friday, March 20, 2015
OBM-100-best-Green-logo-2015-250pxwBY OB STAFF

Join us to celebrate and network with Oregon’s best green workplaces!


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