This summer I had the great opportunity to intern with Nike at their world headquarters in Portland, OR.
I really enjoyed my time at Nike and the breadth of experiences I had. During my first few weeks I had the opportunity to help with a fashion show that the VPs of Apparel, Design, and Marketing organized to present the new apparel initiatives to the global apparel team. I was very excited to help out. The show included cool items like the 2014 world cup jerseys, which at that time hadn’t even been seen by the teams. I felt very exclusive. Nike values the art of storytelling – the company invests a lot of time and resources into conveying not only a message, but a feeling. The same attention to detail is required whether the story is aimed externally, at the public, or internally, to other employees. So, the show was an awesome way for me to see this firsthand and watch the apparel team’s excitement toward the company’s trajectory.
Nike is a non-hierarchical, matrix organization. It has a very collaborative culture and everyone there is very approachable. This was essential as I progressed through my projects and leveraged relationships to access any needed data. By the end of the summer, I had met with about 60 people and felt like I was really a part of the team.
A summer at Nike wouldn’t be complete without some extraordinary events (and we had quite a few of them while I was there). The North America team threw a carnival to celebrate their FY12 results (they achieved $10B in revenue), Nike basketball took over the campus and hosted events with LeBron James and Kevin Durant, and the Nike skateboarding team built a skate park for a one-day event.
Overall, I had a great experience (a lot of fun and a lot of learning). I appreciated my summer as it reminded me to value employee cultures and organizations that provide balance in the workplace (i.e., those that are able to work hard and play hard).