Josiah Lake is the Product Line Manager of Footwear for the Jordan Brand at Nike. As expected, his office smells like new shoes. But not just because it’s Nike, but because there are brand new shoes everywhere! I was reminded of my messy room back home. The only differences being, of course is that these weren’t old Nike 20’s, these were Jordans. And instead of the smell of dirty laundry, this room smelled like you just opened the shoebox and took your first whiff. *Inhale*…*Exhale* Ahhhhh!
Once my nostalgia waned, I asked Josiah about his background. I was not surprised to hear that Josiah played college basketball at Oregon State University given his love for the game. He explained that while in school, he took advantage of an internship opportunity at the nearby Nike campus in Beaverton, OR. At the same time he was also part of a minority leadership group. Josiah said that both experiences were very important to developing himself professionally.
When he described his internship experience at Nike, he said that the most important thing he learned was to make connections and seize opportunities while having the internship. He said that there were people who were just “there.”
“Those people would sit at their computer and do their work, go play basketball at 11 at the gym, and then go back to their computer and not establish themselves or say hi to anybody. Those are the people that are probably still looking for jobs.”
Josiah wasn’t one of those people. He was the guy making the connections and doing what was necessary. As a result, he has a job that allows him to see footwear from its design phase to its retail phase. It is the only department to have the privilege of being part of the whole process. One of the coolest aspects of his job is traveling to large cities to see what kids want in a Jordan shoe. He also enjoys hearing their stories of their first pair of Jordans.
His advice to students is to make connections and gain relevant experience, whether it be through internships or involvement with a school organization or club. He says to seize the opportunities that are provided to you.