“Protect this house” has become a legendary slogan for Under Armour, an international sports apparel conglomerate whose annual revenue has exceeded $4 billion each of the past three years. Under Armour sponsors a host of sports icons, including the twenty-three-time Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps, the six-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady, and the three-time major champion Jordan Spieth—all of whom have, because of their athletic excellence and steely resolve, always embodied their sponsor’s slogan, consistently “protecting” their dominance and their teams in their respective domains of swimming, football, and golf.
Mehri Shadman, in her role as a vice president and managing counsel at Under Armour, also personifies her company’s rallying cry, consistently protecting the company’s vulnerabilities and ensuring its prosperous future.
Shadman studied government and political science at the University of Maryland as an undergraduate before attending New York University for law school. She began her career at Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson, an international general practice law firm headquartered in New York. There, Shadman worked as an associate with a focus on asset management, capital markets, corporate governance, private acquisitions, and private equity. In her seven years there, Shadman accumulated valuable experience and industry knowledge that has allowed her to thrive at Under Armour.
Shadman spent six years as a managing counsel at Under Armour before the executive team took note of her outstanding work—and, in recognition of her stellar track record as managing counsel, promoted her to an all-encompassing vice president role in March 2019.
At Under Armour, Shadman is committed to arriving at the “right answers,” both from economic and ethical standpoints. To achieve this objective, Shadman strives to foment a culture of “not staying in your lane,” which, according to Shadman, is a key tenet of her leadership style.
Coming on board at a time when Under Armour’s international operations generated only 6 percent of total net revenues, Shadman has, through her M&A and international subsidiary work, helped the company revitalize and restructure its revenue flow. Additionally, Shadman spearheaded a redesigning of Under Armour’s enterprise risk management team, which has had a remarkable impact on the company’s compliance culture.
As managing counsel, Shadman has played a significant role in Under Armour’s growth throughout the past several years. The company’s prospects for continued growth are auspicious, given its plans for international expansion. Shadman is dedicated to growing the company’s brand by serving its interests to the best of her ability.
In addition to excelling in her day-to-day responsibilities at Under Armour, Shadman focuses a lot of her attention on inspiring others. Shadman has spoken on various panels about her experience as a woman in the sports industry, including at the Women in Sports and Events conference in Washington DC in the summer of 2019. There, Shadman spoke about growing a global sports brand and specifically about her role in contributing to Under Armour’s growth.
Under Armour was founded in 1996 by Kevin Plank, a former special teams captain for the University of Maryland football team, who started the company in his grandmother’s basement. The company now operates in ten different countries and sponsors hundreds of world-renowned athletes and university sports teams whose products include shoes, shirts, jackets, pants, and various protective accessories. Additionally, Under Armour manufactures uniforms and gear for football, basketball, and soccer franchises, among other sports. Although the company’s biggest market is in the United States, its most lucrative team contract is with the Tottenham Hotspurs, an English soccer team in the Premier League. Recently, Under Armour has invested significantly in technology, acquiring and launching several different fitness applications.
Under Armour was the originator of “performance apparel,” gear that is “engineered to keep athletes cool, dry, and light throughout the course of a game, practice, or workout.” The company values a culture of innovation, and Shadman contributes to this culture in the diverse areas of the company touched by her work. Under Armour holds that all of its products make consumers better at their sports, and Shadman aspires for her legal work to have the same impact on the company at large, always striving to make the company a better, more profitable, and more welcoming place to work.