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Maria Eitel
Maria Eitel is the founding president and CEO of the NIKE Foundation. Under her leadership, the Nike Foundation initiated the Girl Effect movement in 2004. Bloomberg Businessweek, Forbes, the New York Times and others have noted the Girl Effect’s powerful insight that investing in adolescent girls can transform a country’s economic development. World Bank calculations demonstrate a staggering impact. With nearly four million new adolescent mothers annually, India alone loses $383 billion in potential lifetime income. If girls in Kenya completed secondary school, they would add $27 billion to Kenya’s economy over their lifetime. The Nike Foundation and its partners have invested more than $250 million to tackle these and other barriers to create opportunities for millions of impoverished adolescent girls across the globe. As NIKE’s first Vice President of Corporate Responsibility, Eitel navigated the company through challenging labor issues in its global manufacturing base in the late 1990s. Her focus was to create sustainable change at NIKE, Inc. and in the industry to resolve the tension between profits and inclusive prosperity. Eitel’s career has spanned the government, media, corporate and non-profit sectors where she is known for building outstanding teams. Before NIKE, Inc., she led: corporate, public and community initiatives for Microsoft’s European operation from Paris, France, public affairs for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, communications and community relations for MCI, and media affairs for the U.S. White House. She started her career as a television reporter and producer. Eitel has held a wide range of board and advisory positions including the SAFECO Corporation, the Stanford Graduate School of Business and the Eastern Congo Initiative. Along with her Honorary Doctorate of Humanity from Babson College, Eitel received a Master of Science in Foreign Service from Georgetown University and a Bachelor of Science from McGill University. She is also a graduate of the Stanford Graduate School of Business Executive Program.

Entries by Maria Eitel

Bring Back All Our Girls

(1) Comments | Posted May 12, 2014 | 9:13 PM

In the weeks since the kidnapping of over 200 girls in northern Nigeria, people from across the world have condemned the terrible attack. The international community is rightly offering assistance and we all hope the girls can be brought safely back home and their kidnappers brought to justice.


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Always Start With The Girl

(3) Comments | Posted March 27, 2014 | 9:01 AM

This post is part of the Global Moms Relay. Every time you share this post, Johnson & Johnson will donate $1 (per action) to help improve the health and well-being of moms and kids worldwide through MAMA, Shot@Life, and Girl...

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Girls Are the Key to Solving Poverty

(14) Comments | Posted May 1, 2013 | 11:42 AM

We cannot leave girls out of the equation -- not even in a simple title or a motivating campaign like Raise For Women. Why? Because adolescent girls are uniquely disadvantaged, yet they have the most potential to make the greatest change. I don't say this casually. It comes from a...

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International Day of the Girl: Doing Right by Girls Everywhere

(2) Comments | Posted October 11, 2012 | 10:11 AM

Of the many days in 2012 I've been anticipating, this one stands above them all. Today is the first-ever United Nations International Day of the Girl, thanks to Plan International and CIDA. Eight years ago, when the "girl effect" was just an idea, the NoVo Foundation, the UN Foundation, and...

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Family Planning Unleashes the Girl Effect

(5) Comments | Posted July 13, 2012 | 3:39 PM

At the groundbreaking London Summit on Family Planning this week, more than 150 leaders from the public and private sector joined forces to increase access to lifesaving contraceptives in the developing world. More than $2.6 billion was committed to get modern family planning to 120 million girls and women in...

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A Week Full of Firsts for the Girl Effect

(0) Comments | Posted September 24, 2010 | 12:25 PM

The third week of September is always a crazy time in New York, but it's a good crazy. It's full of possibilities. Between the Clinton Global Initiative, or CGI, and the UN General Assembly, there are literally dozens of opportunities to bring the girl effect to the forefront. I promised...

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The Clock is Ticking

(1) Comments | Posted September 15, 2010 | 6:04 AM

Next week I'll be reporting from New York. In what's shaping up to be a banner week for girls, I'll have the chance to share news as-it-happens from the MDG Summit, CGI, the WIE Symposium and a special meeting with heads of state on the MDG5. If it has an...

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It's Time to Consider the Girl Effect on HIV

(1) Comments | Posted August 11, 2010 | 11:41 AM

Last month some 20,000 researchers, policymakers and grassroots advocates got together for the International AIDS Conference in Vienna. If you noticed an uptick in HIV-related mentions in trending topics on Twitter, Yahoo or here on The Huffington Post, this is probably why. Together they presented more than 6,000 papers.


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Davos Ends With Girls at the Forefront

(0) Comments | Posted January 30, 2010 | 8:37 PM

After five amazing days, the World Economic Forum annual meeting is coming to an end, almost as quickly as it began. It's been a tremendous week -- full of fascinating sessions, provocative conversations with brilliant people and, of course, some good fun in between.

As I mentioned in my...

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Davos 2010: Girls' Session is Filled With Energy, Ideas and Action for Change

(2) Comments | Posted January 30, 2010 | 1:02 PM

What a day. I think days at Davos are like dog years, or at least like two weeks of "normal" life. I'm stealing away from the "Women Leaders" dinner to quickly get this blog out.

I...we...all had high expectations for "Setting the Stage for the Girl Effect" workshop and,...

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Davos 2010: Anticipation Builds for "Setting the Stage for the Girl Effect"

(0) Comments | Posted January 29, 2010 | 1:45 PM

Another early morning in Davos, but I woke up refreshed and excited in anticipation of what's to come today: the workshop "Setting the Stage for the Girl Effect."

Actually, I think I really began to get excited last night as I once again made my rounds to the evening...

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Issues of Girls and Women Throughout Davos 2010

(0) Comments | Posted January 28, 2010 | 7:32 PM

I've attended Davos for the last seven years and I start off today's blog with a true confession of a rookie error.

Last night was the first big night of Davos gatherings. I started at the Clinton Global Initiative reception with President Clinton. He was in great form as...

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Day 1 at Davos: Girls, Economies and Green Innovation

(0) Comments | Posted January 28, 2010 | 2:00 PM

One of my favorite sessions every WEF conference so far has been the very first. Yesterday's was an update on the global economy moderated by Michael Elliott of Time International. He kicked off the session with stimulating questions and brought out the best in a panel of great economic thinkers....

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Davos 2010 - Redesigning the World with Girls in Mind

(0) Comments | Posted January 22, 2010 | 1:43 PM

Next week I'll be heading for the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting. It is always exciting to head off to Davos, Switzerland wondering what awaits us. The theme of this year's meeting is "Rethink, Redesign, and Rebuild" the world. That's a tall order, but if you've read my blog before,...

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Onward and Upward - Girls' Issues Make an Impact at TEDIndia and in Ethiopia

(1) Comments | Posted December 2, 2009 | 2:14 PM

I recently returned from some wonderful, eye-opening, and unforgettable experiences in India and Ethiopia. In my previous blog I talked about the incredible energy at the WEF India Economic Summit. I was inspired by the passion and a number of girl champions that emerged from the plenary session--both on the...

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India Economic Summit Champions Investing in Girls

(0) Comments | Posted December 2, 2009 | 11:43 AM

I sit on the flight from Delhi to London unable to sleep from all the excitement of the past few days, really the whole year. I am returning from the World Economic Forum's Summit in India and once again, as at previous economic summits, the importance of girls in the...

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At CGI and Beyond, World Leaders Say Girls Are the Key to Progress

(0) Comments | Posted September 30, 2009 | 5:32 PM

The Annual Meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative, which just wrapped up, was a key moment in the movement to get girls on the global agenda and drive resources to them. Those organizations who have been doing this work for years were thrilled to see that we're finally beginning to...

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In the Face of Extraordinary Risk, Three Girls Demand Justice

(0) Comments | Posted August 7, 2009 | 5:27 PM

Last week The New York Times' Nick Kristof wrote about a Pakistani girl named Assiya Rafiq who, at 16, was held captive and raped and beaten for a year. She finally made it to the "refuge" of a police station, where four officers took turns raping her all over...

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World Population Day Highlights Educating Girls

(3) Comments | Posted July 10, 2009 | 8:50 PM

A quick note from Maria: the Nike Foundation's Managing Director, Lisa MacCallum suggested we take a moment to comment on World Population Day. Following is her take on things.

Today, Saturday, July 11, is the 20th annual World Population Day. Its whole goal is to raise awareness of global population...

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World Economic Forum: Progress Across Africa Depends on Girls

(0) Comments | Posted June 15, 2009 | 7:55 PM

I mentioned last week that girls would be front and center at the World Economic Forum on Africa's session entitled "The Girl Effect in Africa." By all accounts, it was an amazing session. The Nike Foundation's Managing Director, Lisa MacCallum, served as moderator and shared this report:

For those not...

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