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Lebron-Loved Footwear Brand Gives Interns a Seat at the Top

ISlide has long enabled its interns to do more than the menial tasks most often associated with the low-level position.

A design intern may create a brand-new collection for a partnered sports team. Marketing interns can run all of the social-media channels. A sales intern might assist a full-time employee on calls or visits. Even at the company’s founding in 2013, it was an intern who helped CEO Justin Kittredge create what has become a flourishing slides brand now partnered with the NBA and whose customizable footwear was seen just last week on world champion gymnast Simone Biles at the Olympic Trials. It has attracted a cadre of high-profile fans, from Lebron James and Steph Curry to Macklemore, Justin Bieber, French Montana and DJ Khaled.

“I’ve always very much valued the contribution that interns can make at a very high level and I’ve always thought that interns were meant to have it be a two-way street, to get a lot out of interns and have them get a lot out of the experience,” Kittredge said.

This spring, however, ISlide upped the ante by opening up the role of “CEO/intern.”

Kittredge originally designed the position specifically for its first occupant, Maggie McCarthy. A Division 1 athlete in basketball and lacrosse at Harvard University, she was simply “the type of woman that you find a home for,” he said. With no other internship openings at the time, he decided to let her follow him around and learn “what being a CEO is all about.”

So for six weeks, McCarthy accompanied Kittredge as he went through his day, sitting in on budget meetings, strategy sessions and even one-on-ones with employees. For her final project, she pitched the NBA on a nonprofit collaboration.

“She was able to get this opportunity that I’d say 99 percent of people wouldn’t be able to have,” Kittredge said.

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The CEO said he has no plans to end the program any time soon. Though McCarthy’s stint ended earlier this month, two men have since taken her place. In the second run of the CEO/intern role, Kittredge said he’s giving its occupants even more projects.

“They’re doing a project on leadership, they’re doing projects on competitive analysis… so they can understand what I’m thinking and they can do research projects really based on making the company better because that’s what I’m constantly trying to think of,” Kittredge added.

Though ISlide has only offered the position twice so far, the CEO said he could see it offering the role year-round. In fact, so long as he can find people who want to learn, he said he sees no reason why the company wouldn’t “keep it going forever.”

“I get as much out of it as I give, so that’s why it’s a very fulfilling program for me­,” Kittredge said. “I really enjoy seeing people get excited and enjoy this program.”