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Shaz Kahng Delivers A New Kind Of Female Hero In “The Closer”

One Of The Sports Industry’s First Female Execs

Author Shaz Kahng

Shaz identifies resilience as one of the key qualities for success—both for herself and for Vivien. In a recent interview with Women’s Running, Shaz recalled an experience from her early consulting days in the 1990s that she includes in The Closer, when a “Gentlemen Only” sign banned her from a bar where her clients and colleagues were meeting. Shaz was the only woman there.

“I just couldn’t believe it,” Shaz said. “So I did the same thing that Vivien does in the book: I went outside, and the CEO actually did come out and sit with me. I was really upset. I thought, This can’t be happening at this time in history. But it did. But when [the CEO] came outside, I was like, ‘Hey, I have a chance to talk to him about his business–this is a great opportunity.’ So I think for women who are in difficult situations, if you’re able to turn it to your advantage…even if you’re feeling shaken up about something, put that aside and say, ‘Wait a minute—how can I make this an opportunity to learn something or get something positive out of it?’ Having that resilience to recognize when you need to change your attitude is really important.”

Vivien’s resilience is strong and steady as her rivals storm around Smart Sports. The pranks that some of her colleagues pull—most memorably those by the resident charlatan Duncan Doric and his bro-in-arms Johnny O—are almost as appalling as the blunt politics behind their power plays and clear preferences for maintaining personal relationships over achieving demonstrable results. Never has The Godfather quote “It’s not personal, it’s strictly business” sounded more ridiculous.

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