Nike gathers female athletes from all over the world – one of the lead change makers behind-the-scenes is Amy Montagne.
Amy Montagne is a true Nike veteran.
She has been working for the brand for 14 years and holds one of the highest positions within the company as Vice President and General Manager of Global Categories. She is also the mother of triplet boys and doesn’t intend to stop “just doing it”.
Interview met her in Paris, when Nike presented the Women’s World Cup jerseys in a colourful and vibrant show that celebrated female athletes and female power.
Amy Montagne: How did you find the show?
Julia Deutsch: I loved it, it was a whirlwind of colours. It was also beautiful to see all of those female athletes celebrating together. Everything was vibrating and I mean, Naomi (Campbell) was there – Virgil (Abloh) was there.
AM: Oh yes, I sat nearby Naomi and I must say she was very calm – she took many pictures also. Naomi really loves football, that’s why she came. Football inspires all of us!
JD: Which role does Nike play in the careers of young athletes?
AM: As you’ve probably seen and felt today during the show: we are in this incredible momentum around women in sports and hopefully we captured that feeling today with this event. We are just excited to celebrate, elevate and inspire this next generation of young athletes. We are commited to see our brand as a catalyst and help do that and bring sports to more young people. So Nike works closely with the athletes and accompanies them through every step along the way.
JD: Would you even go as far as saying that the athletes are part of the family?
AM: Definitely, reciprocity is very important. Everything we do starts with sports and with the athletes. They come into the lab and we fit the garments to their body. We are having a lot of conversations with them and try to learn as good as we can in order to improve products like the sports bras that come in 57 styles or the sports Hijab.
JD: Do these conversations you have with the athletes also include sustainability?
AM: Definitely. For instance the newly introduced football jerseys for the women’s world cup are made out of a special fabric that includes the material of at least 12 recycled waterbottles. Nike has been the top user of recycled polyester in the textile and apparel industry for five years in a row.
J: You’ve been working with Nike for over 14 years. How has Nike changed as a workplace within that time? Do you engage in programs in order to help mentoring women in a professional matter?
Amy: Yes, for example ‚women of Nike’ is a network where I am lucky to be the executive sponsor of. We have amazing programs all year round. We are commited to just continuing to listen to our employees and what we hear about is: diversity, inclusion, areas of empowerment and how to drive respect in various areas. We have a lot of guest speakers over, that help women do their best in their personal as well as in their professional lives.
JD: Do you think opening salary reports to the public would help reduce the gender pay gap?
AM: We are very committed to open up about the numbers and it is very important for Nike as a company. There are countries like France and Great Britain where this is done already, also the US. Also you’ll find numbers in our sustainable business report that is published every two years.
JD: Where does the company turn to in order to get inspired for new products? New trends?
AM: First thing, we are always inspired by sports. We work closely with our elite athletes but we also find that it is not just about the elite. It is about how we act every day when we personally engage in a sport. We deliver different innovations – in a wider field, like the garments for the women’s Football World Cup e.g. or also on a more personal level like women’s sports bras. We also know that it is extremely important for a female athlete to live the entire sports and fitness lifestyle. Wheter you are participating in a World Cup or just living life in great sneakers. Like taking a yoga class in the morning and meeting up with friends in the afternoon. We want to be a partner and drive the sneakers culture with our products.
JD: Do you also work with trend agencies?
AM: We are working with great female designers and they are connected with various trend services. They are traveling a lot and soaking up inspiration. It is not so much about chasing a trend though, it is about how we are aware and how we want to lead. It is more about focusing on where we want to take a product.
JD: How did you incorporate the slogan ‚Just do it’ in your personal life?
Amy: Oh my goodness – it is probably the answer of having worked at Nike for 14 years and finding that you can use it every day for your personal and professional life. The idea is: get out there, take chances, break barriers. On a personal note, I am a mum of triplet boys so my personal as well as my professional life is very dynamic and interesting. When I go home I am working with three young boys, hanging out with them and helping them develop in their lives. Just do it for me also means: Trying things out.
Interview JULIA DEUTSCH