Vada O. Manager, CEO & President
Having begun his career as a gubernatorial-appointed member of the Arizona Board of Regents that governed the state’s approximately $800 million state university system while still an undergraduate student, Vada O. Manager has long been respected as a premier strategist and businessperson.
Prior to forming the consultancy in 2009, Manager served as Senior Director, Global Issues Management for NIKE, Inc. with direct and indirect leadership responsibilities in the following areas: NIKE’s brand marketing/corporate communications (corporate & subsidiaries), global sourcing procedures, litigation support, athlete/product/corporate issue and crisis management. In assisting the company’s global growth plans, Vada provided consultation to several of the company’s key initiatives for on-line commerce (Nike.com/NikeiD) and new acquisitions such as the Starter, Converse and Umbro brands. During his twelve-year tenure, Nike’s revenues grew from $6 billion to an $18 billion company. Vada was also a member of NIKE’S Corporate Leadership Team – the company’s most highly valued team of global executives.
Prior to Nike, Manager served in a similar capacity for Levi Strauss & Co. which also included direct engagement with then Executive Chairman Peter Haas and former Chairman & CEO Bob Haas. Manager has an extensive background in business strategy and sports/corporate/brand communications. His past professional affiliations and/or institutional clients include: former Secretary of the Interior and Arizona Governor Bruce Babbitt, Governor Rose Mofford, Mayor Sharon Pratt Kelly (Washington, D.C.); Major League Baseball and the PGA Tour. He also served as Vice President of Public Finance for Young Smith & Peacock (now Wedbush Securities following a series of acquisitions) a NYSE registered brokerage and investment banking firm.
Manager is also a Senior Counselor with APCO Worldwide, a premier global business/communications consultancy based in Washington DC. He also serves on their International Advisory Council, comprised of former CEOs, academicians and senior diplomats. Manager also serves on the board of directors for Ashland Inc., a $6 billion Fortune 500 global specialty chemical company headquartered in Kentucky and in 2016 was recognized by Savoy Magazine as one of the Most Outstanding Black Corporate Directors. He is also a director for the venerable Helios Education Foundation which supports innovative collegiate-related programming in both Arizona and Florida. Manager is also active with the American Council on Germany and is a former member of the Arizona State University Alumni Council. He has also appeared as a guest commentator on CNBC, TODAY Show, CNN, ESPN, FOX and his thought-leading columns have appeared in Sports Business Journal and other publications.
Manager’s civic participation includes serving as the chairperson of a special advisory committee for the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and also previously served on the Arizona State University Alumni Council. Governor Janet Napolitano appointed Manager to serve on the Arizona Centennial Commission to plan Arizona’s 100th birthday. Manager was also named Sports Executive of the Year by Rainbow-PUSH and he is a former Fellow for the Center for the Study of the Presidency.
Manager graduated from Arizona State University where he was inducted in the Hall of Fame (CLAS) in 1999 and also named the inaugural “Architect of Change” award by the university’s Center for the Study of Race & Democracy at their gala event. He also conducted graduate level fee research at the London School of Economics in the UK. As part of his community service, in 2006 Manager was invited to become a member of Sigma Pi Phi (Boule), a distinguished group of accomplished men whose community service include youth mentorship and public service. He was inducted in the Gamma Mu chapter in Phoenix and now is part of the Epsilon chapter in Washington DC.
He and his family live, work and play in both the greater Washington DC area with home/offices also in Phoenix, Arizona and Portland, Oregon.