Portland MBA graduate jumps from business to executive

Domonique Debnam already had a strong business background and was working in the sports product industry when she started the Oregon Executive MBA program in Portland. But she saw the graduate program was a way to build upon her experience and challenge her to excel at the executive level.

“I’m passionate about education and I learned skills that are transferable to any career and role,” said Debnam, who graduated from the Oregon Executive MBA program in June. She added the accounting, leadership and business strategy courses gave her a more holistic understanding of business.

Looking to her ultimate career goals, Debnam said she wants to apply what she learned in the program to a future role as a general manager of a major multinational brand, helping shape how the consumer experiences that brand. 

Domonique Debnam Born and raised in Portland, Debnam worked at adidas and New Balance before moving to Nike in 2015. In her current role at Nike, Debnam works with Air Max styles of shoes similar to the ones she used to buy as a young person.

“Now I’m here making decisions about them for somebody else’s kid, and it feels full circle,” Debnam said. 

Thanks to a recent promotion, Debnam is now the senior product line manager for Air Jordan, where she works as a liaison between what the consumer wants and what Nike creates.

Diversity and equity within the sneaker industry and throughout corporate America are passions for Debnam. She became part of the UO Black Alumni Board and took the lead in putting on the Oregon Executive MBA’s first-ever Diverse Professionals Networking Reception in June.

Oregon Executive MBA Director Rachel Todd calls Debnam an inspiration.

“Domonique’s influence extends far beyond the classroom,” Todd said. “In fact, her classmates elected her to represent them as class speaker during this year’s commencement.”

Debnam is one of more than 1,100 business leaders who have graduated from the University of Oregon’s Portland-based executive MBA program since it began in 1985. The program provides a comprehensive business education to the region’s mid- and senior-level professionals and is one of two Lundquist College of Business graduate programs located in Portland.

“Our focus is on developing ethical leaders, promoting diversity, thinking strategically and developing strong networks in the Pacific Northwest and beyond,” Todd said.

“Domonique has been an active participant and powerful voice in the Oregon Executive MBA’s efforts towards diversity, equity and inclusion,” Todd said. “We look forward to future collaborations with Domonique and are honored to claim her as an alumna.”

By Emily Hoard, University Communications