As a young child, I dreamed of being a professional wrestler. The sport of wrestling is unique in that each moment of competition presents an opportunity to pivot moves, adjust your approach and adapt your strategy to ultimately come out on top. By the time I reached high school, reality set in that the dream of being a professional wrestler needed to be put aside. But in that realization, I kept my wrestler mentality: pivoting to a marketing class, adjusting my dreams, and adapting to my new new goals.

Hygie Ordono, golden trophy, adidas
Sport has always been central to my life so a summer job at an adidas store was the perfect fit.

By the summer of 2002, I found myself in a moment that would shift the trajectory of my life: my first day as an adidas retail sales associate. I knew I had a passion for sport and an interest in marketing, but what I didn’t know is that what began as a summer job would turn into a decades-long career of harnessing the power of sport to change lives.

My career at adidas: laying the foundation

Over the past 19 years, I’ve had so many opportunities to grow personally and professionally. I took advantage of development programs adidas offers to its employees to learn more about myself, the brand and how to maximize my skills and passions in the workplace. One of the programs I participated in was what is now known as the Management Development Experience. During that time, I was encouraged to explore my leadership capabilities and I also learned how to apply them across different projects. I enjoyed being part of the program’s cohort of like-minded individuals who also explored who they were – and who they could become – as leaders.

adidas, conference, room, presentation
Embrace the development opportunities on offer. You'll meet like-minded people and broaden your network all at the same time.

A key component of my longevity with adidas is the ability to integrate an athlete’s mindset to your career: thinking about what’s next, what’s possible and taking action to make it all come to life. My first major transition in the company was when I shifted from leading a retail store to working in the corporate office as a specialist with the human resources team. In my time with HR, I was able to use skills I learned from the development programs to accept new challenges that landed me in manager and senior manager roles before I was ultimately named a director for HR.

I was proud of what I was able to accomplish since first walking onto the sales floor, but I wasn’t finished yet.

My career at adidas: seizing opportunities

In my roles with HR, I had visibility into all areas of the corporate space, including sports marketing. When an opportunity arose to help integrate a new part of the brand, I jumped at it. Over the course of five years, I was involved in bringing the Five Ten brand into adidas. Not only did I focus on transitioning people over to adidas, but it allowed me to further understand the business of development, product, sales, and marketing. This assignment really got me excited about product storytelling and the importance of working with the right partners to authenticate those stories.

presentation, speaker, sports, adidas
Getting a broader view of the organization you work in could open up new possibilities for the future.

Today, in my role as a senior manager of sports marketing in cross categories, I am responsible for managing some of the most high-profile sports moments within the adidas brand. My role allows me to participate in key decision making by leading some of the most exciting projects that are shifting the future of sport. Whether I’m connecting with game-changing athletes such as Chris Nikic, the first adidas partner with Down’s Syndrome, or ideating the next big thing in keeping girls in sport, the foundation of my continued progress is rooted in my unique background and diverse perspective.

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Ein Beitrag geteilt von Chris Nikic (@chrisnikic)

My career at adidas: embracing community

No athlete, even a wrestler, can accomplish greatness on their own. Behind each athlete, there’s a host of coaches, trainers, and supporters who help them reach the next level. Part of my job involves cultivating genuine relationships with our partners to ensure they are supported in their journeys. If I’m chatting with Katie Ledecky about the Olympics, I’m also gaining invaluable insights from a world record holder, gold medalist and youth mentor. And I have the honor of taking those insights and learnings to my team to help apply them in our day-to-day efforts.

swimmer, pool, sports, training
It’s an honor to learn from elite sports people and take those learnings back to my own team. ©Tom Pennington /Getty Images

I’ve also had my own coaches, trainers, and supporters who made this incredible career possible, and there’s no way I would be where I am today without those who believed in me and my potential. There were those who told me to be patient and trust that opportunities were coming. There were those who took risks and bet on me when I was seeking new challenges. I’ll always be grateful for my adidas teammates and coaches who have supported me in each step of the way.

As I look toward what will be my 20th year at adidas, I’ll remember the younger version of me who dreamed of being a professional wrestler; because even though I don’t know what the next 20 years will bring, I do know that the wrestler’s mindset will always guide me as I pivot, adjust, and adapt to come out on top.

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