The role of sport in Nikki Neuburger’s success as a leader
How has the sports industry and the role of women in it changed over the course of your career?
The entire industry is changing to recognize, support and celebrate female athletes more frequently and consistently. Today there is more inclusion and representation than ever before – we are seeing more women both on the field and in leadership positions in business. There is now a body of data showing the long-term positive effects exercise can have on women and girls, and we have seen positive changes as a result. Examples include evolving policies to protect and support female athletes on maternity leave, marathon organizers expanding their support of mothers with lactation centers along racetracks, and governing bodies recognizing non-binary athletes and awarding prize money. It’s not perfect, but it’s progress.
As Lululemon’s Chief Brand Officer, how has the brand’s positioning evolved since its inception, and what do you want people to think of when they think of Lululemon?
Our goal is to increase human potential by helping people feel good. We live this daily by creating transformative products and experiences that build meaningful connection and unlock more possibility and well-being for all. Born out of yoga and yoga culture, the brand initially focused on innovating for women and building a community to help them achieve their goals in North America. Over the past 25 years, we’ve expanded on that foundation to innovate for more guests (e.g., all genders, extended sizes) across more activities (e.g., running, exercising, tennis, golf, and hiking) in more markets across the to offer all over the world. while we remain focused on enabling people to thrive.
How does Lululemon work to empower women and advocate for diversity, equity and inclusion?
As a global company comprised of approximately 75 percent women, an executive team comprised of 70 percent women, and a Board of Directors comprised of over 50 percent women (including our Chairman), Lululemon has a strong focus on supporting the… well-being, development and empowerment of this group throughout our organisation, supply chain and in the communities in which we operate. This year, we achieved our sixth consecutive year for gender pay equity, we were recognized in the Bloomberg Gender Equality Index for the fifth consecutive year, and our Center for Social Impact committed $2.25 million to women’s initiatives in community organizations and global NGOs . Gains focused on the well-being of women in the global supply chain.
What is the most rewarding thing about your work?
That I love what I do and who I do it with. I look forward to coming to work because I firmly believe in our purpose and our product. I can be creative and come up with amazing stories to share with the aim of inspiring others and I can do this with people I respect, admire and have fun with.
What were the biggest challenges you faced professionally and how did you overcome them?
Making the decision to leave my first company [Nike] looking for personal and professional development. I knew it was time to have a new experience and build new muscle, but I was also struggling to understand why I should step away from a comfortable place of exciting work, great success, and me lifelong friendships had developed. Ultimately, I decided to enter a new industry with a new team in a new city because I knew it would be an adventure and create more opportunities for my future.
Who are your role models or heroes and why?
Michelle Obama, Adele and Coach K.
Michelle is a queen. She radiates power, grace, charm and determination at the same time. She inspires action. I heard her speak recently, and even though there were hundreds of people there, it was like she was speaking directly to me, forcing me to hold myself to a higher standard.
There’s nobody in the world quite like Adele. Her authenticity, confidence and uniqueness shine so bright. She speaks about personal failure, growth and self-love in the most vulnerable yet empowering way. She makes people hopeful — and she’s hilarious, too. Adele also publicly celebrates and supports other women in music, which we need to see more of from the female leaders in any industry.
Coach K – the team leader GOAT [Greatest Of All Time]. Please just look The Redeem Team on Netflix.