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The Superpowers of Ceiling Smashers

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The Superpowers of Ceiling Smashers

Talks at Google,

5 min read
4 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Former CEO and author Shaz Kahng details six superpower practices for working women.

Editorial Rating



  • Well Structured
  • Concrete Examples
  • Engaging


Author and former CEO Shaz Kahng shares six of her working woman superpowers in a Talks at Google video with moderator Nadia Gil. Kahng, who turned around a division at Nike before her stint as CEO of an activewear company, relays the stories behind the important lessons that went into developing her “ceiling-smashing” abilities, which include being resourceful, developing resilience, finding alignment at a company where you fit in, learning to advocate for yourself, and maintaining your confidence and uniqueness.


Lessons from problematic work situations can become your “superpowers.” Start with resourcefulness.

Author and business leader Shaz Kahng shares six of the superpowers she learned in her varied and successful career.

Kahng’s first job – at Kraft Foods – was as a scientist.She developed 15 new product ideas for a company-wide contest, but her boss’s boss stole the credit for them. He believed that theft was his right. When Kahng appealed to his colleague, he propositioned her for sex.

Undeterred, Kahng found a VP of Marketing and asked him to discuss her goal of getting an MBA in marketing. She found that her resourcefulness paid off when he decided to mentor her, as did another company leader. These mentors supported Kahng in gaining access to several opportunities. The company gave her its “director’s award,” and she won a full scholarship for her MBA.

Muster your second superpower, resilience, and find alignment, your third superpower, ...

About the Speaker

Nadia Gil, a moderator of Talks at Google, introduces Shaz Kahng, a member of the board of Gymboree and former CEO of Lucy Activewear (now acquired by VF Corp. and merged into The North Face). Kahng also wrote the “Ceiling Smasher” novels, including The Closer.

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