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Breaking through the glass ceiling #2 Adidas

Event Start Date:
September 28, 2021
Event End Date:
September 28, 2021
Event Venue:

Date(s) - 28/09/2021
6:00 pm - 7:30 pm


For the second installment of the “Breaking through the Glass Ceiling Series”, WiE welcomed Karen Parkin, former Chief Human Resources Officer and Executive Board Member of Adidas. During this event, Karen shared how she rose to such high positions in Adidas, as well as career advice for young women.
At the beginning of her career, Karen worked as a teacher and quickly transitioned to sales. She worked at Lego and Hasbro before transitioning to Adidas. At Adidas, one of her mentors suggested she try a position in supply chain management. She was hesitant about changing paths, as she was trained in sales and moving to supply chain management did not increase her salary. However, Karen values the importance of acquiring various skill sets, and she made the switch. Later in her career, she was encouraged to apply for Chief Human Resources Officer, despite never having worked in HR. She learned that many of her supply chain management skills were transferable, and this revelation helped her land the role. She left Adidas in 2020 and has since started her own consulting company.

While telling her story, Karen shared many pieces of career advice, including:

  1. Diversify your skill set. You don’t have to stay in one area to be successful.
  2. Stop trying to plan where you will be in 5 to 10 years. This blinds you from the opportunities presented to you NOW.
  3. Every opportunity is a great one, because even if you didn’t like it, you know it’s not for you.
  4. Continue to learn and educate yourself. Learning does not stop when you leave college.
  5. When presented with a challenge, work with those around you, including your superiors, to solve it.
  6. Have confidence. If you love yourself, then your identity as a woman will not get in the way of your success.