From Under Armour to Evergreen
Q&A with Adam Peake, Executive in Residence of Marketing for the Sellinger School
Executives in Residence in Loyola’s Sellinger School of Business and Management are business practitioners who bring significant industry knowledge to the classroom and beyond, expanding career opportunities, business acumen, and networks for Loyola undergraduate and graduate students alike.
Before becoming Executive in Residence of marketing, Adam Peake served as executive vice president of sport category management at Under Armour. He has previously held leadership roles in global marketing and sales for Under Armour and has played a key role in the brand’s global growth and business development during his 15 years with the sports and lifestyle brand.
Peake, who graduated with a B.S. in Marketing from the University of Maryland and later earned an MBA from Wake Forest University, joined Loyola’s faculty as an affiliate professor in 2016. He teaches Marketing Strategy courses for both undergraduate and graduate (Emerging Leaders MBA) students at Loyola, and he recently spoke to Loyola magazine about his role.
What does it mean to be Executive in Residence, and what do you feel you bring to that role?
I am really enjoying the role and being here at Loyola. I bring my experiences and a passion to drive discussion and conversation. I don’t like to think of the courses I teach as “my classes;” I am here to teach and inspire curiosity, but the students make the class “go.” I place a great deal of emphasis on class participation and engagement.
I have had the opportunity to work for some great brands over the years—from an internship with Smartfood popcorn, to various sales and marketing roles with Coca-Cola, Starter Sportswear (yes, those Starter jackets that everybody had to have in the ’90s) and Reebok, to working for a high-energy and inspiring brand like Under Armour. I had just completed my MBA from Wake Forest University prior to joining Under Armour. Everything I had read about and studied in business school was coming to life at Under Armour, and it proved to be an incredible experience and opportunity.
How did you choose your professional path, and who or what inspired you along the way?
Other than always being drawn to business, I’m not sure I consciously chose my path. What I can say is that I was always lucky to have family, coaches, and teachers push me. They pushed me to be uncomfortable, and put me in situations where I had to stretch myself to succeed.
In my experience, many of the people who had the most impact on my life (other than my family)... well, I’m not sure I knew it at the time that they would turn out to be my best mentors. They ended up teaching me so much, both in life and in my career. The common theme that all of my mentors and people I continue to learn from share is that being around, working, and learning from them doesn’t feel like work.
This is something I try to live up to as I work with and manage people today: how I interact with people, the attitude I bring—every detail matters.
How does your professional experience inform your teaching?
I try to always think about doing versus watching—act as if you are on the field and not simply watching from the stands. I care about bringing the textbook to life, putting the concepts into action with real-world, real-life experiences. I focus on applying concepts from class as much as possible, using the brands and products that students interact with every day as examples to get them curious about what is happening.
What do you hope students take away from your classroom?
Well, first and foremost, I hope my students come to my class to be curious, or to at least be open to looking at things from different perspectives.
In business, and definitely in marketing, there is rarely one “right answer.” I hope my students walk away from my class with the tools and confidence to make decisions, both individually and as a team, based on the best information, research, and data available in addition to careful consideration of the options available at the time.
And while I know my students get tired of me saying this in class, always remember that it doesn’t matter what you think as a marketer. What matters most is what your customers think (about your brand or product). Always put your customers at the center of everything you do.
What career advice do you give to your students?
I think of jobs and the positions that you have along the way as “swim lanes,” not as rigid structures with walls. Your swim lane is your job, but the edges of your lane can be fluid. You may drift over into someone else’s lane because they need your help or want your support. And remember that they may drift into your lane from time to time to help you.
Surround yourself with good people and be accountable to each other.
How are Loyola’s Jesuit values reflected in your teaching and/or scholarship?
I use many examples in class of CEOs and other business executives who embody leadership, passion, transformation, and an “always work to get better” attitude. These are all qualities that shape a strong business leader—and they are also the foundational core values for strong character.
What is something your students don’t know about you?
My wife, Wendy, and I have three kids: Ben (14), Sam (12), and Charlotte (11). When not on campus or in Baltimore, we spend a lot of time as a family at the beach.
I have had some amazing experiences in my career: I toured Asia with Stephen Curry. I jumped out of a plane with Navy SEALs. And I once drove a FormulaOne Race Car with Derek Bell (5-time Le Mans Champion) going 200 mph.