Nike VP of purpose comms: 'I train for my job like an athlete'

Vanessa Garcia-Brito on her unique title and role.

Vanessa Garcia-Brito at PRDecoded

 CHICAGO: Vanessa Garcia-Brito, VP of purpose communications at Nike, told the audience at PRDecoded on Thursday that she trains for her job like she would for an athletic competition. 

Garcia-Brito shared the inside story of her unique job title and role with PRDecoded attendees on Thursday. She stepped into the position last August, right before Nike’s 30th anniversary Just Do It campaign launched with controversial former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick as its star.

"My role is new, but purpose isn’t new," she said at the PRWeek Conference in Chicago. "It has been part of Nike’s heritage and DNA for a really long time and is so closely aligned to our mission."

Nike’s mission is to bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world, so to be effective, she must bring an athlete mindset to work. 

"You need grit, courage; you need to be optimistic and flexible," she said.

Nike drives engagement internally and externally to foster a more authentic purpose by putting employees at the center of the experience.

"External is not just external; it's an internal employee experience, as well," said Garcia-Brito.

She added that although the word "purpose" is in her title, Garcia-Brito noted that she is far from exclusively responsible for implementing it into Nike’s efforts. "Purpose is being brought to life by all of our 76,000 employees who are out there every single day," she noted.

In other words, when it comes to purpose, Garcia-Brito added, there is no finish line. 

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