Under Maria's leadership as President & CEO, the NIKE Foundation – in partnership with the NoVo Foundation, United Nations Foundation and other partners, created the Girl Effect – a movement to tackle world poverty at its greatest point of leverage, the adolescent girl.
Maria joined NIKE in 1998 as its first Vice President of Corporate Responsibility. She brought to NIKE a rich professional background first as a television reporter and producer, then with the White House as special assistant to the President for media affairs, followed by MCI, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and Microsoft, where she led corporate affairs for their European operations.
She is recognised as a global leader in the development community and has been featured on the cover of Fast Company for their "League of Extraordinary Women" edition.
Maria earned her MSc in Foreign Service from Georgetown University and BA from Quebec's McGill University. She also graduated from the Stanford Graduate School of Business Executive Program and has been awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Humanity degree from Babson College.