How Melanie Harris Climbed the Ladder at Nike Inc. With Lessons Learned From Her Grandmother

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Melanie Harris has climbed the corporate ladder at Nike Inc. over the past five years, holding multiple leadership positions before landing the vice president and general manager role at Jordan Brand North America in January 2023. Having found success with the athletic giant, the exec is quick to offer valuable advice for other women who are also rising through the industry.

“In today’s fast-paced, dynamic world, being confident in and true to who you are has never been more powerful,” Harris said. “If you can be like a deeply rooted tree, flexible to adjust to temporary winds but committed to what’s right, you will always be valued as a leader and resource.”

Harris also said its critical for people to learn how to advocate for themselves, and that self-care should be a priority. “If you take care of yourself, you will bring your best self,” she said.

Aside from her role at Jordan Brand, the exec also values her role as a mentor and believes it is her responsibility to elevate others. Harris is able to serve as a mentor to others because of the lessons she learned from her grandmother.

“Any time that I doubt my ability to achieve a goal, I summon up the strength that my grandmother, who is now in her late 90s, used to bring her small children to this country decades ago to realize a dream and set a legacy that few believed she could,” Harris said. “Her determination and grit to defy the odds, and her love for so many, are the exact attributes I seek to bring to any challenge, and what I hope others will think of me one day.”

A version of this article appeared in the June 3 print issue of FN, as part of the “Women Who Rock” special section. On June 5, FN and Two Ten Footwear Foundation honored these women at a live event in New York City.

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