Nuwoe Goteh: From Suffolk to global director of Jordan Brand

Nuwoe Goteh started his career as a marketing student at Suffolk University more than a decade ago. Now, he works as the global director of Nike’s Jordan Brand, and spoke about his journey at an event hosted by the Suffolk Marketing Department on Feb. 26.

Originally from Liberia, Goteh immigrated to the United States when he was just five years old.  He has lived throughout the northeast in cities like Providence, RI., Brooklyn, NY, and Lowell, Mass., and earned his MBA from Suffolk in global marketing and international strategies in 2010.

Goteh started his marketing career in a role with a company called Mavi in Istanbul, Turkey. Having to return home to the United States for visa reasons, Goteh ran into a roommate from his undergraduate days at Quinnipiac University, where he was invited to have lunch with the head of the strategy of Universal McCann. It was at that point he was offered a job in global marketing.

“I was literally just in New York getting ready to get my visa ready to go back to Turkey and then this opportunity came,” Goteh said.

After spending three years at Universal McCann, Goteh was offered a job at PUMA with a goal to help rebrand the lifestyle of the company. 

“In 2013, PUMA was doing a lot of PUMA sailing and extreme sports. And the revamp was PUMA getting back to its roots, and being able to tie it back to streetwear culture and selling streetwear products.”

At the end of his job at PUMA, Goteh worked on a project with rapper JAY-Z and his company Roc Nation, along with singer Rihanna. 

“Rihanna is the type of person who likes to work at night,” Goteh said. “We showed up at  Rihanna’s house and I had to pinch myself.”

In his final stop before getting hired by Nike, Goteh served as the director of Global Marketing for Calvin Klein, where he worked on campaigns for Justin Beiber and worked closely with fashion designer Raf Simons.

At Nike, he served as the global hoops director of Converse, as well as helped manage Nike basketball’s social media accounts. Now serving as the global director of Nike’s Jordan Brand, Goteh says it’s everything he could have ever wanted. 

“I always wanted to work in the footwear industry and I always wanted to work for Nike,” he said.

As a huge sneaker and basketball fan, Nike seemed like a perfect place for Goteh to end up at. 

“I’m a lifelong sneakerhead, which is something that my dad and my mom used to get mad at me for,” Goteh said. “Buying a lot of sneakers all of a sudden turned into a career.”

At Nike, one of his main jobs is being involved when the company releases exclusive sneakers, which thousands wait online to buy. Nike has been criticized for letting robots be able to buy the shoes, since they can purchase them quicker than the average human, but Goteh said robots aren’t quite the reason why these special sneakers sell out so fast. 

“We look at the data after each launch and the problem is, we just have a lot of people coming in,” he said.

When asked about some of his skills that got him to where he is today, Goteh said, “What I’ve been able to walk away with is just having that creative mind, to take a step back and to think about it. And when you think about it, it’s just putting yourself in the shoe of the consumer.”

His advice to young students is simple: follow your passion. 

“A lot of people now are into, ‘oh we like sneakers, we like this, let us turn to Nike,’ and that’s the overall issue that we’re facing,” Goteh said. “We get people who aren’t driven from passion.”

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