Vanessa Abrahams-John

SVP, North America HR & Global Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, Adidas

Speaker Bio

Vanessa Abrahams-John is the Senior Vice President for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion since May 2022. Since May 2023, Vanessa’s role and responsibilities were enhanced to include adidas’ North American HR Team. In her role, she is responsible for leading people and culture priorities in adidas North American market; and for developing and implementing a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion strategy.

During her first year, Vanessa created a diversity dimensions baseline with adidas’s first dimension data survey of which insights went on to inform the newly launched DEI Strategy ‘Creating an Equal Playing Field for All’. She also recently hosted adidas’s 3rd Global Week of Inclusion. To enable a culture of inclusion and accountability from the top, Vanessa launched “Leading with Inclusion”, a global one-year training program designed to enable DEI standards and behaviors. In her role overseeing people and culture in North America, Vanessa is responsible for ensuring adidas talents are engaged, motivated and high performing in order to enable and drive business success in North America.

Vanessa joins adidas from Linde where she was the Chief Diversity Officer and Director of Global Organizational Development, overseeing the global DEI strategy, learning and development, performance management and succession planning for a global workforce of 80,0000 in 50 countries. Prior to Linde, Vanessa held Senior Legal Counsel roles at Linde and in global Law Firms in New York City, where for 15 years she led multinational deals in Mergers & Acquisitions and Restructuring. In addition to her legal background, Vanessa has worked within academia with her professorship at Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University.

Vanessa is the recipient of multiple awards for DEI leadership, including Top 25 Influential Black Women in Business by the US Network Journal and Top Executives in Corporate Diversity by Black Enterprise Magazine.

Vanessa holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Western Ontario in Canada and a Doctorate of Law from Howard University School of Law.