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Unleashing the Girl Effect: Stuart Hogue ’96 Alumni at Work, Nike Foundation, Portland, OR

“Girls will invest 90 percent of their earnings back into their families. It’s the smartest way to stop intergenerational poverty.”

Stuart Hogue ’96 believes in the power of girls to end global poverty.

He believed it when he joined the Nike Foundation to work on The Girl Effect, a global movement that is mobilizing resources to help girls in poverty.

But he really understood it when he met Emebet, a young girl in Ethiopia. “She wakes up at 3 a.m. to study by the light of her mobile phone so she can start her chores at 5 a.m. before going to school. Her chores include lugging 45 pounds of water 500 yards on her back to make breakfast for the family and doing the cleaning. She also did the farming for the family, because her father had died, and her mom was ill.”

What struck him was that “although these girls are living in different parts of the world, they could so easily have been one of our own families. It made me realize how fortunate we are. The problem may be in a different part of the world, but the issue is one that touches us all as human beings.”

Investing in girls like Emebet pays off, Hogue said. “Girls will invest 90 percent of their earnings back into their families. It’s the smartest way to stop intergenerational poverty.”

Hogue spent seven years as a leader in the Nike Foundation and was general manager of Girl Hub, a collaboration between the Nike Foundation and the United Kingdom government, which works in Rwanda, Ethiopia and Nigeria to create programs for girls in those countries.

Hogue took an indirect route to Nike. Following graduation, he worked for an investment bank in San Francisco and then played semi-professional football in Germany. Upon returning to the United States, he worked for a start-up company and then started his own dot com in 2001. He later worked for the design firm frog in New York City, where he helped companies like MTV and Hewlett-Packard design and launch new products. While there, he received an MBA from NYU. He challenged himself by climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, but came home wondering what his next career move should be.

A football and track stand-out at Washington and Lee, Hogue noticed a job opening at Nike Foundation, which would make use of his expertise in strategy at a company focused on sports. “Sport is in my soul. No company had more to offer than Nike,” Hogue said.

Now Hogue has moved on from Nike Foundation into the role of senior director for strategy for Nike’s global retail leadership team, where he continues to use his expertise in strategy to help the company set and carry out multi-year plans.

A biology major at W&L, Hogue said it was his art professors, especially Kathleen Olson-Janjic, and Larry Stene, who encouraged him to pursue his love for design.

He almost didn’t make it to W&L, though. He was already enrolled somewhere else, but at the last minute, changed his mind and came to Lexington and to play football for Coach Frank Miriello and run track for Coach Norris Aldridge.

Hogue believes all his experiences, including his love for art and design, work in his favor at Nike. “Every day at Nike, I have to communicate visually.”

Now living in Portland with his wife, an attorney who works in professional development for lawyers, and their two children, Hogue sees endless opportunities working for Nike, where he said he has been fortunate to learn all aspects of the business.

– by Linda Evans

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