Only at St. Mary’s Academy does a young woman hold every student leadership position.  Only at St. Mary’s is a woman the captain of every sports team, the lead role in every theatrical production and every musical performance.  Only at St. Mary’s does a woman hold every role on the robotics, mock trial and Science Olympiad teams.  Only at St. Mary’s Academy, is women’s leadership part of the DNA.  This is the foundation on which our school was built 162 years ago and continues to anchor our mission today.

Join us as we launch into a year-long series that will look at the St. Mary’s Academy legacy of cultivating women leaders.


St. Mary’s Academy Women in Leadership:  Patricia Murphy Bradach ‘80

A senior director for Demand and Supply Chain Product Management at Nike, Patricia (Pat) Bradach leads and implements Nike’s strategic enterprise capabilities for the global organization.  A 26-year veteran at the Portland-based company, Pat isn’t new to taking on leadership roles.  In fact, she points back to her time as a St. Mary’s student as her earliest introduction to some of the leadership skills she still utilizes today.

 “As a senior, I was elected Student Body President and learned how to organize a meeting, recruit volunteers and plan events,” which, at the time, included the time-honored traditions of Winter Formal and Prom.  She goes on to explain, “I learned early-on how to relate to other people in leadership positions.”

Pat shares that St. Mary’s is also where she learned that she could be herself both socially and academically.   “At St. Mary’s, I could be interested in school and doing well academically and also pursue other interests like golf.”  In fact, Pat confirms her life-long passion for golf started at SMA under the tutelage of coach Sister Jeanne Rose Codd, known locally as “Portland’s golfing nun” and famous for playing in the Safeway LPGA
Pro-Am at the time.

After graduating from St. Mary’s, Pat went to the University of Oregon – Charles H. Lundquist College of Business & Clark Honors College where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Finance and French.  She was very interested in going to law school, so she took a job as a legal assistant to gain experience.  However, it quickly became clear that, in fact, law was not the right fit for her, so she refocused on finance and instead pursued her MBA at Portland State University.  Before landing at Nike, Pat worked in finance for both Mentor Graphics Corporation as well as the Archdiocese of Portland. 

Her long tenure at Nike has allowed her to experience some incredible milestones with the company.  When she first started, she joined the US Golf Division and was part of the team that signed Tiger Woods and subsequently grew the golf business from $100M to $800M.  She credits Nike for being a company that allows employees to move around and try new things.  With this flexibility she has since been able to move beyond finance and into global operations.  “I’ve worked on everything from supply chain and warehousing to customization services and inventory planning and management.”

When asked about the role and impact of other leaders at Nike, Pat credits the female leadership team collectively for being instrumental in changing the culture to be more accepting and providing more diverse opportunities for everyone. “We really share the value that everyone is part of the team and that we are all leaders.”  As a leader, Pat tries to bring others along with her, embodying the quote “A rising tide lifts all boats.”  She shares her advice to future leaders, “Be open to new experiences and trying different things as you may find something you like that is unexpected.  And, as a leader, listen to others.  Understand what they need to be successful.”

When she is not at work, Pat serves as the Vice Chair for the St. Mary’s Academy Board of Directors.  When asked what drives her commitment to SMA, she shares, “I really believe in the value of Catholic education, especially all-girls Catholic education.  The education of the whole person really addresses all things that women need to be successful in the world.  This is a role that touches my heart.”