Maria Eitel

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Maria Eitel
Maria Eitel, President & CEO, Nike Foundation, speaking at the Girl Summit 2014 (14724578432).jpg

Maria Eitel (born June 26, 1962) is the founder and Co-Chair of the Nike Foundation,[1] where she works to advance the work of The Girl Effect, of which she is the founder and Chair.

Before working at the Nike Foundation, Eitel was the first Vice President for Corporate Responsibility at Nike Inc.[2]


Eitel graduated from McGill University in Quebec in 1983 with a B.A. in Communications and French, and later earned a master's degree in Foreign Service at Georgetown University in 1988.[3][4] In 2001, she completed the Stanford Business School Executive Programme.[4] She holds an Honorary Doctorate of Humanities from Babson College.[5]


Early career[edit]

Eitel began her career as a journalist,[6][7] and later progressed to become Deputy Director of Media Affairs at the White House.[7] In 1992 she was appointed to the role of Special Assistant to the President George H.W. Bush.[7]


In 1996, Life Magazine published an article implicating Nike in the use of child labor in Pakistan.[8] Following the findings, Nike hired Eitel as the first Vice President of Corporate Responsibility.[2]

Nike Foundation and The Girl Effect[edit]

In 2004, Eitel became founding President of the Nike Foundation.[9]

After a year exploring the Foundation's potential focus, a girl in Ethiopia inspired her to focus the Foundation exclusively on adolescent girls in developing countries.[3] Eitel is credited with creating the theory "The Girl Effect" - based on the idea that adolescent girls have the unique potential to stop poverty before it starts.[3][10] Eitel leads the Foundation's efforts to put girls on the global agenda with the goal of eradicating global poverty.[1]

Since taking on the role at Nike, Eitel has become a recognized voice on gender equality, featuring in Fast Company's League of Extraordinary Women.[11] President Barack Obama praised her passion "for engaging and mobilizing citizens in social change." [12]

Eitel has worked with numerous partners to support the work of the Nike Foundation, including the Novo Foundation[13] and the Clinton Global Initiative.[14] To support the Girl Effect, actress Anne Hathaway traveled to Africa with Eitel in 2011.[15] Eitel was recently referenced in an article [16] in which Yulín Cruz—the mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico—referenced her role models for female leadership. Mayor Cruz said that she has taken inspiration from this quote from Maria Eitel, "Coming from a position of fear, of not succeeding, losing your job or not being admired handicaps the potential of your career. I’ve never let fear of losing my job keep me from doing something I knew was the right thing to do."

Time's Up[edit]

In October 2017, following the fallout from the Harvey Weinstein scandal and #metoo, Eitel began moderating the first discussions that led to the formation of Time’s Up. Of the meetings, Eitel was quoted in the New York Times as saying, "people were moved so viscerally. They didn’t come together because they wanted to whine, or complain, or tell a story or bemoan. They came together because they intended to act. There was almost a ferociousness to it, especially in the first meetings."[17]

On December 15, 2017, Eitel joined with Kathleen Kennedy, Nina Shaw, and Freada Kapor Klein to create the creation of Commission on Sexual Harassment and Advancing Equality in the Workplace. The commission’s stated goal is to "tackle the broad culture of abuse and power disparity." It is led by Anita Hill.[18]

On January 1, 2018, Time’s Up unveiled an action plan supported by 300 prominent actresses, female agents, writers, directors, producers and entertainment executives. The initiative includes a legal defense fund backed by $16 million in donations,[19] a plan to introduce legislation to penalize companies that tolerate harassment and discourage the use of non-disclosure agreements, and a drive to reach gender parity at studios. It also requested that women wear black to the 75th Golden Globes Awards.[17]

She was a signatory of an open letter that Time’s Up published on January 1, 2018 in the New York Times and Spanish-language paper La Opinión in response to a letter of support from the Alianza Nacional de Campesinas (National Alliance of Female Farmworkers).[20]


  1. ^ a b "About Us". Girl Effect. Retrieved 12 November 2015.
  2. ^ a b "The Two Commanding Officers of Obama's New Volunteering Era". Vita. Retrieved 12 November 2015.
  3. ^ a b c Fitterman, Lisa (2012). "The Maria Effect". McGill News. Retrieved January 4, 2016.
  4. ^ a b "Contributors". World Economic Forum. Retrieved January 4, 2016.[permanent dead link]
  5. ^ Kantor, Ira (May 7, 2012). "Nike's Eitel, LinkedIn's Hoffman to Address Babson Grads". Boston Herald. Retrieved January 4, 2016.
  6. ^ Cochrane, Lauren (August 20, 2015). "The Interview: Maria Eitel". The Edit. Net-a-Porter. Retrieved January 4, 2016.
  7. ^ a b c "Executive Profile". Bloomberg Business. Retrieved January 4, 2016.
  8. ^ Epstein-Reeves, James (June 8, 2010). "The Parents of CSR: Nike and Kathie Lee Gifford". Retrieved January 4, 2016.
  9. ^ Parlapiano, Amy (June 5, 2012). "League of Extraordinary Women: Maria Eitel". Fast Company. Retrieved January 4, 2016.
  10. ^ Kylander, Nathalie (December 2011). "The Girl Effect Brand" (PDF). Harvard University. Retrieved January 4, 2016.
  11. ^ McGirt, Ellen (June 5, 2012). "Meet the League of Extraordinary Women: 60 Influencers who are Changing the World". Fast Company. Retrieved January 4, 2016.
  12. ^ Carpenter, Shanna (April 21, 2009). "TEDster Maria Eitel Nominated by President Obama as National Service CEO". Retrieved January 4, 2016.
  13. ^ Boyle, Matthew (May 26, 2008). "Peter Buffett teams with Nike on $100M Grant". Fortune. Retrieved January 4, 2016.
  14. ^ "Bill Clinton, Ashley Judd and many more back The Girl Effect". Youtube. September 13, 2010. Retrieved January 4, 2016.
  15. ^ McGirt, Ellen (January 26, 2012). "Anne Hathaway on Extraordinary Women and Using Celebrity to Give a Voice to Girls Everywhere". Fast Company. Retrieved January 4, 2016.
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