Season 4 - Ep. 1 | Outwork the Competition: Jordan Brand’s Winning Strategy with President Sarah Mensah

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January 17, 2024 | 38 min
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Sarah Mensah
President, Jordan Brand

Season 4 - Ep. 1 | Outwork the Competition: Jordan Brand’s Winning Strategy with President Sarah Mensah

Today, we sit down with one of those audacious leaders. Sarah Mensah is the first female president of Jordan Brand, which revolutionized sports marketing in 1984 when Nike partnered with Michael Jordan to create the first Air Jordan basketball shoe. Sarah has broken barriers throughout her career at the Portland Trailblazers, Nike, and now Jordan Brand. We’ll talk with Sarah about the power to be unabashedly yourself, harness humility and courage, and use your voice in the right way to be a trailblazer in your career. We’ll explore how Jordan Brand is committed to improving the lives of black people and inspiring communities across the world to ensure racial equality, social justice and greater access to education. And she’ll share how risk-taking, innovation, and values-based decision-making are core parts of the DNA driving Jordan Brand’s global growth.

We’ll also hear from Hetty Pye, a Managing Director in our London office, who will discuss the gender imbalance in today’s C-suites and the steps organizations can take to close the gap.

If you’d like to read more about Sarah Mensah and how women are rewriting the rules for success to close the gender gap at the top of organizations today, pick up a copy of To The Top by Russell Reynolds Associates Managing Director Jenna Fisher.

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Sarah Mensah
President, Jordan Brand

Sarah Mensah currently serves as President, Jordan Brand as of June 1, 2023. In this role, she is responsible for overall business operations for this unique and favored brand. Her previous role was Vice President/General Manager for North America. In this role, she was responsible for driving the brand and business in Nike’s largest geography — and where it all began for the business. A talented leader with a passion for team culture, Mensah has played key roles across Nike’s geographical and Jordan businesses. She served as Nike’s Vice President/General Manager for Nike’s Asia, Pacific & Latin America (APLA) geography, becoming the first Black female to hold the role of geography GM at Nike. In that role, she was responsible for driving the brand and business in Japan, Korea, Mexico, Southeast Asia, Australia, India and Latin America. Prior to serving in that role, Mensah led Nike Sportswear for APLA, taking pride in elevating and cultivating sneaker culture in both Asia and Latin America. Before working in APLA, she was the North American VP/GM for the Jordan Brand; overseeing all consumer segments, sales, operations, marketing, sports marketing, brand and human resources; and Senior Director of Global Strategy and Business Development for the Jordan Brand.

Prior to joining Nike in 2013, Mensah worked for 19 years for the NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers. She held roles of increasing responsibility, last serving as Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. In her role, Mensah oversaw all of the day-to-day management of the team’s business operations, revenue and brand management. This included the oversight of ticket sales and service, corporate sales and service, suite sales and service, marketing, communications, community relations, digital platforms, broadcasting, game operations and facilities management. Mensah earned regard as a ceiling shatterer and one of the highest-ranking women in professional sports. She is credited for her success in contributing to the rebranding and revitalization of the Trail Blazers brand and financial viability. Under her leadership, the team launched many successful, widely recognized ventures, such as the “Rise with Us” campaign, “Rip City United” fan loyalty program and the team’s “make it better” commitment to the community.

Mensah has been recognized as a Women in Sports Business Game Changer by the Sports Business Journal, as one of the 50 Most Influential Portlanders by Portland Monthly, as a Top Executive in Marketing and Advertising by Black Enterprise magazine, as a Woman of Influence/Orchid Award by the Portland Business Journal, and with the Urban League’s Equal Opportunity Day Award. Most recently, she was named by Adweek as one of the 50 Most Powerful Women in Sports. With a tremendous passion for equal opportunities for all people, she is a dedicated advocate for underrepresented communities and individuals, with an emphasis on children and on autism. Mensah resides in Portland, Oregon, with her husband, Eddie, and son, Davis.

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