Julie Langford, an alumna of Columbia’s M.S. in Information and Knowledge Strategy program, co-founded Nike’s Global Tech Diversity, Equality, Inclusion (DEI) Accelerator last November, an evolution of the former DEI Taskforce she co-founded in March of 2020, on top of her current role as Nike’s North America Marketing Technology Director, Technical Product Management. This milestone is a testament to Langford’s passion and interest in DEI efforts since she joined Nike six years ago.
Nike’s DEI vision is to create an equitable playing field for the future through four key areas: Representation, Education, Development, and Community. “My role allows me to hear and amplify the voice of employees at the grass root level, and find balance between Nike’s existing global DEI strategy and the needs of our global technology organization,” Langford said. “Together with our Global Tech DEI Council, of which I’m a member, our goal is to continue being a support system for the employees and help them amplify their voices and passions.”
Langford was first introduced to the Knowledge Management field when she landed a role working for the U.S. Army, where a mentor encouraged her to pursue her passion for knowledge management. After exploring professional roles across different fields – majoring in film, working for the U.S. Army and several nonprofits, and serving on roles within the U.S. Olympic Committee and Olympic member federations–she decided to enroll in Columbia’s Information and Knowledge Strategy program, and was inspired by the variety of professors she had the opportunity to work with and the lectures that were given.
“I have so many favorite faculty members and people I look up to so much, especially the classes when they would talk about knowledge, product, and how we infuse them to ultimately serve the needs of the end-user,” Langford said. “I found the lectures at Columbia very powerful. The soft skills and networking that I developed during my study have been really useful for my career.”
Langford offered advice for fellow IKNS students interested in advancing DEI efforts in their own organizations: Find a balance between what you value and need, and what your teammates need, she said. “A personal drive, whether it’s something that has happened to you or something that you’ve seen, will keep you going when difficulties and challenges come up,” Langford said. “Do your research, know how you want to serve others, and allow room for diverse voices when crafting a strategy.”