The Nike Internship, week 1
The first week at Nike started with a lot of excitement. The first day was packed with small talks and events along with a campus tour, which took up an entire day from 7-5. All interns gathered at the EDO building, where we registered and got all our paper work sorted out in preparation for a great and busy summer to come. All interns got a chance to talk over breakfast and get introduced to one another.
After that was over we were invited into a hall where we were assigned our seats at different tables. The first speaker which was a great surprise to all of us, was the CEO of Nike Inc., Mark Parker. It was definitely great to see him make time to talk to us, listening to him and his story of how he joined Nike and his different moments at Nike was very inspirational. He talked about successes and failures, along with some tips to all of us to carry with us through our careers, whether it be at Nike or anywhere else. He gave us four advices which I thought were very beneficial:
1- Listen to others, always give others an opportunity to express their ideas and respect what they have to share.
2- Speak up, don’t be afraid to express your own ideas and bring what you have to the table. Titles and higher positions are meaningless in front of great ideas. He said something that I really liked, I quote: “Nike was not built by bowing down to titles”. That’s definitely very motivating and inspirational!
3- Focus! and as he said it “Stick to your core, commit to your work”. Therefore do what you are most passionate in, and try to excel as much as you can in it.
4- Team work, things you can do as a team you can’t dream of doing by yourself.
He also shared some things that Nike believes in, and the core principals it was built on. The main point is “Believing in Human Potential”, and that’s what they are all about, believing in the potential of their employees and athletes, achieving the impossible and unseen! That principal drives the company as a whole to bring innovation and inspiration to every athlete in the world! Another core principal was the importance of “Team Work” at Nike, and how the things you can do as a team you won’t even be able to dream of doing them by yourself.
The second speaker who followed was Rick Shannon, Director of the Department of Nike Archives. He spoke to us about the history and culture behind Nike, and showed us a lot of videos throughout his talk. He talked about 4 people who he thought had left a very strong impact on Nike and talked about what made them special. The 4 people he spoke of where:
1- Bill Bowerman, Co-Founder of Nike and University of Oregon’s track and field coach-
He had a mentor.
Shaper of Champions.
Tinkered with every aspect of performance
“If a fellow’s going to be so broken up over the fact that he didn’t win the race, it’s going to be a tough life… So we tried to condition their mental attitude so that they might not win the race but if they ran their best then they’ll win their prize.
2- Phil Knight, Co-Founder of Nike and ran track under coach Bill Bowerman at the University of Oregon-
“I knew a lot about track and a little about sneakers.”
When you’re working with debits and credits, it’s easy to think what’s the point. I guess the point for me was track shoes.
Until I realized Bill Bowerman’s waffle iron was for real, i’d never done a crazy thing in my life.
3- Jeff Johnson-
We weren’t in the business just to have jobs and paychecks. We were in the business to win, to win the race, our satisfaction was who’s wearing the stripe, and did we win the race?
4- Steve Prefontaine, International track star, running legend-
Greatest record: 4 years with never missing a workout, 4 years with never missing a race.
Outspoken, hones and competitive.
Pre’s spirit is the corner stone of the company’s soul
He liked to issue challenges to himself, to his friends and to this company.
These were some inspiration quotes by them or about them. Rick also covered the DNA of Nike and the things they believe makes the company what it is today:
Performance // Innovation // Teamwork // Commitment // Authenticity
The next couple of speakers kept giving us different kinds of advice and insight into Nike, expectations and work environment. I’ll fast forward to the last speaker we had who spoke of his inspirational story and how he got to be become a Designer at Nike, and this speaker was Ian Williams. Ian’s amazing story was about how his passion made him think of something crazy, which eventually made his dream of becoming a designer at Nike true. He started working a few years ago as a regular employee at the Nike Employee Store, until he got laid off from his job due to some cut backs. He then moved around doing different jobs, which non of them appealed to him as much as being around shoes when he was at Nike. He decided he had to get back to the Nike World Headquarters where he would be enjoying his time most, and not having much options or job openings ahead of him, he put his dream and goal right in front of him, and applied to work as a janitor… yes, a Janitor! This shows you how devoted this guy is towards his dreams.
While working as a janitor at the Nike WHQ, he was able to move around many departments and make lots of connections with people from all levels. He would take advantage of working after hours and engaging in some conversations with designers and creative directors working in footwear. He was able to show his interest in shoes very clearly, and started sharing more of his opinions on the different designs that were being worked on at the time. After showing more interest in wanting a job in footwear, he was given an assignment to design and present his ideas to one of the creatives, and so he did, he designed 3 shoes inspired by his job as a janitor, choosing the right materials and colors along with good story telling to back his cocnepts up. One of his concepts was the Windex which had lots of positive responses. It was after 3 years of working as a janitor that their was an opening and he was asked to take the job. Ian now works as an Associate Developer in Core Performance. I get two morals from this story, first is dream big, and do whatever it takes to achieve it, and second is make as many connections as you can wherever you are, you never know how you could give others a hand or they could give you one someday.
The rest of the day we were taken on a tour of the campus, and concluded with 4 hours of group activities and putting a bike together as part of the competition for young children who don’t own one. The day ended by visiting the Nike Employee Store, which is only open to Nike employees and their guests, and everything is about 50% the retail price, which is truly amazing!!
The next 3 days marked an amazing start for me as a Design Intern at the Nike Global Retail Design department, where I’ll be working with the experience design team. Experience design is a fairly new term for me, coming from a Graphic Design background and currently pursuing my Masters in Industrial Design. It was a great opportunity to meet and know everyone, along with my managers. I’ll talk more about my expectations, roles and goals, as well as what Experience Design is in my Week 2 post next week.
I’ll leave you with the pictures from week 1: