Nancy Green, the newly-appointed president and Chief Creative Officer of Old Navy, started out as a merchandise manager at its parent company Gap Inc. in 1986. Prior to her shift to her Old Navy role, which was announced this week, she was president and CEO of Athleta, the Gap-owned athleticwear brand that offers women “buttery” soft leggings, as well as a source of inspiration. “The Power of She” campaign, which Athleta launched a few years back, aims to redefine what it means to be a healthy and powerful woman.
Here, Green shares her tips and tools for getting the most out of every day.
What’s your on switch?
I almost always start my morning with exercise. Physical activity sets my body and mind up for the day. I have been practicing yoga for 12 years now and try to get a practice in whenever I can. Outside of yoga, in the summer, I love getting outside for a sunrise hike to clear my mind. In the winter, my go-to is a HIIT workout on the elliptical. I love the efficiency of interval training!
What’s your off switch?
Ever since my kids were young, we’ve come together at the end of the day for family dinners. I love coming home, catching up with my husband, and hearing about each others’ days. Even now that my kids are grown, this is still an important part of my day to reconnect, and we love having our children and grandchild when their schedules allow!
What are five books on your night stand?
- Winning from Within: A Breakthrough Method for Leading, Living, and Lasting Change, by Erica Ariel Fox. I read this one to prepare for a recent leadership training and loved its practical takeaways for continuing to evolve as a leader.
- Shoe Dog, by Phil Knight. I was drawn to Phil Knight’s incredible honesty and intense passion for truly getting to know his customer. There are lessons in this book for everyone—and bonus points: it’s quite funny.
- Imagine It Forward: Courage, Creativity and the Power of Change, by Beth Comstock. At Athleta, every single day, we are constantly innovating and looking for the “next”–especially when it comes to sustainability. I appreciated how Beth Comstock makes change feel approachable and especially loved learning about her experiences as a strong female business leader.
- The Mind of the Leader: How to Lead Yourself, Your People, and Your Organization for Extraordinary Results, by Rasmus Hougaard and Jacqueline Carter. I gave this one away to quite a few people on my team. Our people are one of our most valuable assets, and this book was full of actionable lessons for creating a compassionate work space.
- Becoming, by Michelle Obama. I am so inspired by Michelle Obama’s grace and eloquence, while still making her experiences so relatable and honest.
Where do you go to recharge and clear your head?
We love Sun Valley, Idaho, so much, we built a family home there. I love the outdoors, and Sun Valley has incredible access to wilderness to get away, recharge, and explore with my family. My absolute favorite winter activity is skate skiing on either the Harriman Trail or Sun Valley Nordic Center. Skate skiing is the perfect mix of aerobic exercise (it is a serious workout), while also being very meditative because you can get so far away from everything. When it warms up, I love day hikes on the Norton Lakes Trail in the Sawtooth Wilderness. Some of my best ideas come when I am out on the trail, truly in the wilderness. The Norton Lakes Trail has the perfect mix of steep inclines and resting places looking out on two alpine lakes. We created our home as a retreat where we can gather and relax together at the end of an invigorating day.
What are some products you’re currently in love with?
- I have to share one of my Athleta favorites—our Salutation Stash Pocket Tight in Powervita. We like to describe our Powervita fabric as buttery, and it couldn’t be more true—they are so soft and have just a hint of hold. These are my go-to for weekend yoga, but I throw them on for other workouts, too.
- I am a natural-deodorant convert, and my two go-to’s are Rocky Mountain Soap Liquid Crystal Deodorant and Native Deodorant. I’ve tried many, and these are the ones I recommend!
What tool can you not live without?
It’s simple, but I cannot live without the camera on my iPhone. When I’m out exploring new places or spending time with my family, it is so important for me to capture the moments I want to remember. I spent years carrying around cameras and getting images developed (which is also wonderful to do sometimes), so I really treasure how easy it is, how it allows you to capture moments you might not expect to be special but turn out to be, and I love that I can use my phone to easily go back and relive those memories or share them.
What’s a product you recently splurged on?
My splurge purchases are almost always for my home. It is so important for my home to be a place where I can relax, recharge, and be inspired. I really love vintage textiles and recently bought some one-of-a-kind, handwoven throw pillows from the Cushion Shop near where I live in Marin County. Not only do they help make my home feel warm and comfortable, they support artisans.
What do you do with the time when you have . . .
A free five minutes?
Take in the beautiful bay views from our office. We are fortunate enough to have our offices located looking over the San Francisco Bay, so I try to take a moment to take in the view and absorb the meditative effects of the ocean whenever I am able.
A free hour?
A midday yoga or meditation class in Athleta’s on-site studio. I love that we have space in the building to grab a healthy movement break during the day.
A whole free day?
A hike with my family on Mt. Tam followed by a home-cooked brunch. I love to cook, and frittatas are my go-to for family brunches.
What classic product do you still use because you believe no one has ever improved on it?
Twenty years ago, I was introduced to Dr. Hauschka’s natural skincare line, and it is still the best I have found. I use their whole line. I love that it is not just organic, but many of their ingredients are sourced from the biodynamic garden on-site at the company’s headquarters.
What’s your favorite thing to eat when . . .
You’re in the middle of work and need a quick burst of energy?
When you need a quick takeout lunch?
Salad with avocado.
When you have plenty of time to go out and eat?
That actually doesn’t happen very often, but I love an Impossible Burger.
What are three things you love to do when you should be working?
I easily get sucked into: (1) reading customer feedback on Athleta’s social media profiles—technically that’s working, but once I start, I can’t stop! (2) Catching up with our team, (3) Browsing Zillow or Redfin.
What’s your necessary vice?
Green & Black‘s Organic 85% Cacao Dark Chocolate.
Which app do you look at . . .
Once a day?
The New York Times.
Once an hour?
Emails and texts.
Far too often? Pinterest–between wedding planning for my daughter and my love of home remodeling, I have so many boards!