A Haas course about the social and political environment of business as well as the Enron and other corporate scandals in the early 2000s motivated Chuck Gatchell to set a lofty goal for his career.
“I came to Nike to change the world,” says Gatchell, vice president and general manager of Olympics and athletes for the sports footwear and apparel juggernaut. “When you have a strong brand and the power to positively impact the world, there is tremendous opportunity for a higher purpose.”
Nike, considered a pioneer in corporate social responsibility, was named one of the world’s most innovative companies in 2017 by Fast Company. A European distribution center, for example, runs on renewable energy. Gatchell initially explored the Beaverton, Ore.-based company during a graduate school internship, in which he helped Nike develop its first publicly available social and environmental impact report.
He returned to Nike after earning a master’s degree in public policy from UCLA, intent on positively impacting the world via the corporate sector. At Nike, Gatchell leads a team that focuses on the Olympics and Paralympics across various functions, including product, marketing, merchandising, and sales. His current priority: Tokyo 2020.
Being socially responsible isn’t just a Nike thing for Gatchell. The first in his family to graduate from college, Gatchell in 2002 co-founded Advance!, a nonprofit dedicated to increasing college awareness and access for young people in his hometown of La Habra, Calif.
It’s this Beyond Yourself approach, nurtured at Haas, that continues to fuel Gatchell, a former athlete for Cal’s cross-country and track teams. He’s run with it ever since.