February 13 2018
Colleen Kelly Alexander discusses the accident that changed her life and how she has rebounded in spite of the trauma to her mind and body.
Before becoming the first female president of an athletic apparel company, Vivien advised CEOs on how to make their companies run smoothly and profitably—and she was so good at it, she became known around the office as “The Closer” (or “T.C.” for short). She’s stubborn, persistent and ambitious; she’s also creative, thoughtful and innovative. The first thing outsiders notice about Vivien is that she’s an Asian-American woman in a role often held by white men. Those that know her understand that she thrives within that role because she gets results.
The experiences Vivien encounters as a woman working in a position of power within a male-dominated industry are heavily informed by Shaz’s own experiences. Vivien is tasked not just with fixing the blunders of her predecessor to make the business profitable; she’s also racing a clock to meet the extraordinary expectations of her bosses. (In her own career, Shaz faced similar challenges and responded by tweaking lucy’s business model to make it profitable for the first time in its history and more than 18 months before her deadline.) These details alone present Vivien with a tough mountain to climb—along with daily struggles. The male coworkers rooting for Vivien’s failure make snide comments, undercut her in front of rivals at industry functions and set traps into which she naively falls in her early days at the sports apparel company that readers come to know as Smart Sports. Smart Sports’ two CEOs want Vivien to succeed, as do a handful of her friendlier colleagues, her fiancé and a close-knit group of professionally driven women called the Ceiling Smashers. With their support and the tactical advice of the Ceiling Smashers, Vivien navigates day-to-day life at Smart Sports and begins her climb to the top of that mountain.