General Manager, Nike N7
Sam McCracken, General Manager and visionary of Nike’s N7 programs and founder of the N7 Fund, is a member of the Sioux and Assiniboine tribes in northeastern Montana on the Ft. Peck Indian Reservation.
McCracken began his Nike tenure in 1997 at Nike’s Wilsonville distribution center. He was quickly asked to utilize his experience and passion to manage the revitalization of the Native American Employee Network, one of several Nike diversity programs. Shortly thereafter, McCracken proposed a business development strategy targeting Native American communities with the goal of increasing health and wellness through physical activity. He became the Manager of Nike’s Native American Business in 2000 and has led the development of the Nike Air Native N7 shoe, the N7 retail collection, and the N7 Fund, which helps to create access to sport for Native American and Indigenous youth in the United States and Canada. Since its inception in 2009, the N7 fund has awarded $7.6 million in grants to 250 communities and organizations, reaching more than 500,000 youth. McCracken has also driven 25 unique product collections and brand stories for the N7 product line.
McCracken has been recognized through several prestigious award nominations for his passion and work. He was honored in July 2004 with Nike’s Bowerman Award, named after influential Nike co-founder and revered track and field coach Bill Bowerman. The annual award recognizes Nike employees who "Remember the Man" by embodying the Bowerman legacy of tireless motivation, innovation, and inspiration. He was also honored in 2004 for his work by the Freedom Foundation at Valley Forge, who awarded him its prestigious George Washington Honor Medal for his commitment to Native communities on health promotion programs. He was singled out for exemplifying "the essence of the National Awards by promoting an understanding and appreciation for our country’s rich heritage and unique freedoms," according to Freedoms Foundation President and CEO Aaron Siegel.
In 2007, he was coined a "corporate change maker" and recognized as one the 20 most innovative “Intrapreneurs” in the world by sustainability.com.
He was also instrumental in Nike signing a Memorandum of Understanding with Indian Health Services in 2003, and again in 2009, as well as Bureau of Indian Education in 2010 as a commitment to continue to bring inspiration and innovation to Native American communities in the spirit of health and wellness and Access to Sport.
He was appointed by President Barack Obama to the U.S. Department of Education’s National Advisory Council on Indian Education in 2010 and also received the President’s "Leadership Award" from the National Indian Gaming Association in 2010, for Nike’s commitment to Health Promotions Disease Prevention with Native tribes across the U.S.
More recently, McCracken and N7 received the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development’s 2019 Corporate Business of the Year award. In addition to ongoing N7 product and Fund oversight, McCracken is currently driving a recruitment strategy within Nike that provides opportunity and increased representation for indigenous employees.