Vanessa Garcia-Brito is VP of North America Communications at Nike, one of the world’s top sports brands. This Latina executive is behind the strategy of some of Nike’s most significant moments, campaigns and initiatives, all driving powerful storytelling in support of the brand’s business, purpose and communities.
Born in New York and raised by her mother from Honduras and father from Argentina, Vanessa began her journey to success at Rutgers University, where she earned a Bachelor’s degree. She continued her studies and received a JD from George Washington University Law School, and shortly after began working as an attorney in Washington, DC, practicing in technology and international law.
Furthermore, she had the drive to take on added pro bono work, focusing on capital punishment, extradition and intellectual property issues, and also teach about women’s international human rights as and Adjunct Professor at the George Washington University Law School. We learned about how Vanessa overcame a major setback in an interview with Footwear News where she revealed that her father passed away after she was in college, but she rose above that hardship and came out stronger by using her strength and sports.
I come from humble beginnings, and some people assumed I wouldn’t be going to college — but that was always in my plan. When my dad died of AIDS while I was in graduate school, I was encouraged to step back [from my pursuits]. Instead, I went to law school and channeled my energy through tae kwan do.”
Vanessa also shared the how lucky she was to have incredible role models early in her career. “I started out as a lawyer and one of the first partners trained me to eliminate ‘no’ from my thinking and vocabulary. We approached every problem with curiosity and courage, looking for a ‘yes’ in the most impossible circumstances — and finding it.”
Now, she is leaving her mark and being a role model herself. At Nike, she is shaping and accelerating diversity across teams she manages. As one of a few Latinas within Nike’s VP Leadership Team, she is commitment to creating a culture of inclusion and is intentional about bringing others up and along, including the Latino community and women everywhere.
When asked about diversity in the above mentioned interview, she replied that “We’re living through one of the most culturally diverse moments. Homogenous thinking doesn’t win in this environment, and if we want to be the most innovative, authentically in tune with our consumers and agile, then we need to take diversity and inclusion seriously.”
Vanessa is helping Nike lead meaningful Partnerships & Strategic Communications such as for the Girl Effect, as well as create Nike’s first-ever Purpose Communications team, driving the brand’s committment to sustainability and empowering and investing in women, and the future in general.
Vanessa is the perfect advocate and Latina Powerhouse for a sports brand, on her spare time, she is a swimmer and a distance runner, who also loves to practice yoga. She is based in Portland, Oregon, where she lives with her husband, who according to the brand, also shares her love for adventure.