Maria Eitel is the founding president and CEO of the NIKE Foundation. Under her leadership, the Nike Foundation initiated the Girl Effect movement in 2004. Bloomberg Businessweek, Forbes, the New York Times and others have noted the Girl Effect’s powerful insight that investing in adolescent girls can transform a country’s economic development.
World Bank calculations demonstrate a staggering impact. With nearly four million new adolescent mothers annually, India alone loses $383 billion in potential lifetime income. If girls in Kenya completed secondary school, they would add $27 billion to Kenya’s economy over their lifetime. The Nike Foundation and its partners have invested more than $250 million to tackle these and other barriers to create opportunities for millions of impoverished adolescent girls across the globe.
As NIKE’s first Vice President of Corporate Responsibility, Eitel navigated the company through challenging labor issues in its global manufacturing base in the late 1990s. Her focus was to create sustainable change at NIKE, Inc. and in the industry to resolve the tension between profits and inclusive prosperity.
Eitel’s career has spanned the government, media, corporate and non-profit sectors where she is known for building outstanding teams. Before NIKE, Inc., she led: corporate, public and community initiatives for Microsoft’s European operation from Paris, France, public affairs for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, communications and community relations for MCI, and media affairs for the U.S. White House. She started her career as a television reporter and producer.
She is a keynote speaker and active participant at national and global forums such as the Clinton Global Initiative, the Guardian Summit, the World Economic Forum and Google Zeitgeist. On the cover of Fast Company’s July/August issue, Eitel was featured as a member of their “League of Extraordinary Women”.
Eitel has held a wide range of board and advisory positions including the SAFECO Corporation, the Stanford Graduate School of Business and the Eastern Congo Initiative.
Along with her Honorary Doctorate of Humanity from Babson College, Eitel received a Master of Science in Foreign Service from Georgetown University and a Bachelor of Science from McGill University. She is also a graduate of the Stanford Graduate School of Business Executive Program.