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Sports Career Spotlight


We've been featuring executives from the sports industry since 2001. Naturally, some of these executives have moved onward and upward in their sports careers. We believe these profiles remain relevant and valuable because they highlight the hard work, dedication, brilliant successes, and lessons learned in a variety of career paths through the sports industry.

Julie Liebowitz

Julie Liebowitz, Senior Writer


Nike

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Julie Liebowitz, a witty New Yorker who always loved all things sport, has found the perfect balance at Nike. Before we explain exactly why that is, or what she does for the Just Do It giant, let’s go back to the beginning.

”Growing up, I wasn’t allowed to watch television or eat junk food,” Liebowitz says. “But my father broke the rules when it came to football, as long as the New York Giants were playing. Rules remained in effect if the Jets were on. Every Sunday during the season I was allowed to watch TV and eat Wise potato chips, unruffled.”

So there’s little Julie watching the tube, primarily “just drawn to the TV and the chips. But soon enough I became a fan, screaming at the refs with the best of them. And as long as it was a sporting event I was allowed to watch it on television.”

Enter passion number two.

“For about as long as I’ve been a sports fan I’ve wanted to be a writer. But it wasn’t until I had a job as an assistant editor at Good Housekeeping magazine that I realized how much more fun it would be if I worked for a publication that I actually wanted to read. So I began to beat a path to sports rags, moving from covering professional teams to outdoor recreational sports. Anything that I wanted to read, I wanted to write for.”

Then an opportunity. A big opportunity. Liebowitz saw that Nike was hiring in Oregon. Never one to shy away from a challenge or adventure, she jumped at the chance. The best thing of all? The job allowed her to keep writing about sports for a thriving company known for top-notch talent and innovative ad campaigns.

“As a writer for Nike, in the equipment division, I cover everything from sports watches to baseball bats, gym bags, etc. I name the products and concept product stories, write the copy on the packages and work with graphic designers on in-store posters and displays.”

And unlike some of the “rags” for which she worked prior, Liebowitz knows Nike is often considered the pinnacle. “It’s the leading sports and fitness company in the world, so it’s great fun to be able to work on cool products endorsed by top athletes,” she says. “And everyone here has a love of sports on some level, which brings us all together. Or in the case of the Oregon/Oregon State football game, tears us apart, but in a good way.”

Although some corporate titans are known for their conservative approaches toward business, Liebowitz says it’s the exact opposite at Nike.

“This job keeps you on your toes creatively. And it keeps you in the loop of sports action. It’s important to know the latest buzz, since the world of retail and sports moves quickly. Nike is always on the cutting edge.”

As far as advice, listen to Liebowitz. She knows exactly how to blaze a path to a rewarding position.

“It’s not always enough to be a fan,” she says. “In fact, in some cases working in sports kills the fan in you a little. For example, I worked in the sports department at a major daily newspaper as a copy editor. I was inundated with sports -- every sport, every day. Watching a game was no longer just for fun, it was work. I think it’s a good idea to keep some sports just for you. At Nike I follow all the big news for work, but the play by play is all mine to follow for fun.

I think it’s really important to find something you would love to do in any field then apply it to the sports field. That way you can love what you do, and it’s just better because it involves sport. If you don’t like what you do sports won’t make up for that. You may just find yourself not liking them. And that would be a shame, especially during football season.”


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