Nike VP Sarah Mensah empowers the next generation of female leaders

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Courtesy of Nike

In March 2021, Sarah Mensah, former manager of the Portland Trail Blazers and former vice president of the North America region of Jordan Brand, was tapped to take on her next role – vice president/general manager of the North America region of Nike. As the leader of Nike’s biggest market, Mensah was set to inspire women everywhere, but the talented leader also had the power to change her life by making history by becoming the first black woman to lead Nike’s North. . American business.

After working in the role for a full year, Mensah reflected on his journey so far in a Footwear News interview. In his interview, Mensah said, “I feel a huge responsibility because Nike means so much to the black community. To be the first black woman to lead this geography is an incredible tenure. »

It’s no secret that there is a lack of representation of female executives and women in leadership positions in the corporate world, but there are even fewer black women in leadership positions. . However, thanks to the progress of black entrepreneurs and the achievements of Mensah, we are seeing progress and making room for more black leaders to take on leadership positions.

While Mensah is doing a tremendous job leading Nike’s North America region, she’s also doing the job of empowering her team, especially the women. “I have an open door policy,” Mensah told Footwear News. “As a leader, it’s so important to create those spaces. I am comfortable listening and allowing my team – many of whom are senior female leaders – to help find the solution. They are the future leaders of Nike and they offer many strategies that will define the future.

Fortunately, today’s generations and generations to come will have a diverse group of leaders to show them that all dreams are possible for everyone, regardless of race or gender. However, it has not always been so. “A lot of us, especially in my generation, spent a lot of our time in business trying to emulate what guys were doing, thinking there would be a payoff in the end,” said Mensah in the interview. “The best way to unlock success is to trust that instinct and know that your voice matters.”

TOPICS: Black Frames Nike Sarah Mensah

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