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Former PepsiCo COO Grace Puma And Former Nike President Of Consumer Direct Christiana Smith Shi

By Anthony Taylor - March 19, 2024


What factors are really holding women back from moving forward in their careers? More importantly, what can you do about it if you find yourself in that position? We talk about all these things and more with our high-caliber guests who promise to deliver nothing but goodness. PepsiCo COO Grace Puma and former Nike President of Consumer Direct Christiana Smith Shi are the authors of the book, Career Forward: Strategies from Women Who’ve Made It. They reveal the secret to enduring success is adopting a “Career Forward” mindset—prioritizing your career over your current job—as the rewards will far outweigh the invested effort. Tune in and learn how to move your career with their time-tested guiding principles!

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Former PepsiCo COO Grace Puma And Former Nike President Of Consumer Direct Christiana Smith Shi

Career Forward: Strategies From Women Who’ve Made It

Welcome to the show. If you are watching this, you will see that I am joined by two amazing guests versus one. I have to say their pedigree and experience are just who they are as people. I'm so excited to share. I'm going to read a somewhat longer introduction than normal, and that's because they need a longer introduction.

Grace Puma is the Former Executive, Vice President, and COO at PepsiCo. Before that, she held senior positions with United Airlines, Kraft Foods, Motorola, and Gillette. She has been ranked on one of the most powerful Latina lists by Forbes Magazine and recognized as an Executive of the Year.

Christiana Smith Shi is the Former President of Nike's Consumer Direct Division, where she led the company's global retail and eCommerce businesses. Before that, she was a Senior Partner at McKinsey and Co, and now the Head of Lovejoy Advisors. I don't know if that is still relevant, given that timeline, but we'll check on that. Christiana and Grace, thank you for gracing me with your presence. I'm so excited to hear about your new book, Career Forward, and about each of you. Thank you for joining me on the show.

Thank you. I look forward to it.

It’s a pleasure to be here.


Strategy and Leadership Podcast | Christiana Smith Shi | Grace Puma | Career Strategies


One of the first questions I got to ask these ladies was, “How did you get together?” They said, “We were both on a board together. We joined at the same time.” It's so cool to make those partnerships. Before I ask about their career trajectory, maybe, Christiana, I'll start with you. Is there anything that you want to add in terms of your career experience or another question? You could say who you are and what you like outside of work.

I would love to add to that. We're all more than our resumes on paper. I usually describe myself as the retail queen when I'm meeting new people in business. My career, whether it was at McKinsey as an advisor or at Nike as a leader, has been in retail whether it's stores or digital. I love that space. I love product. I love design, merchandising, and operations. That's what gets me going. Anything and everything in that arena, I find fascinating.

Grace, how about you?

For me, it's a little different. I worked in a lot of different industries. I intentionally thought that was beneficial, airlines, which was a very unconventional move, big consumer product companies and technology. What I liked and what drew me to those companies were around transformation and the ability to contribute and learn in different companies, cultures, and practices. That's my bigger picture when you look back on my career. What I like to do is I like to work out. I love to hike. My husband and I enjoy spending time with friends, and our dogs and travel, but very active lifestyle.

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Career Guiding Principles 

I appreciate that. We have different lenses here. Both of you have had these tremendous careers with these wonderful brands and admitted different career paths, but we'll talk a little about thinking of careers. As you thought about your own leadership and growth, what were some of the guiding principles for you as you went through? What were some of the things that you tried to focus on as you moved, whether that was in various industries or in your case, Christiana, the retail segment? Grace, what was the thought process as you went through your career looking in all these various industries? How did you use that to propel you forward?

When I look back at that, I would say having confidence and confidence in what you know and what you don't know. Once you moved into different companies or into different roles, whether you changed companies or not, knowing that you were going to figure out and apply or learn agility, you were going to rely on and collaborate with others. You were going to figure it out and be able to make a difference and differentiate yourself. The confidence with humility to say, “I know or I don't know everything,” or “I'm in a large role I hadn't done before.” Being thoughtful about how to cultivate those skills, that's what comes to mind.

Christiana, what guided you as you were growing in your career here?

What guided me is like Grace, something that we want to encourage others to have, which is basically an overall sense of direction for where I was trying to go in my career. We call it cardinal direction. You could call it your North Star. Call it whatever. For me, that was a combination of solving tough problems because I have always been that person who wanted to put the puzzle together that wanted to break things apart, and figure out how they worked. I wanted to figure out a better way to do it.

We're solving tough problems in a business context, working with great people, and being able to make decisions in rooms that matter. If you look back at my career, you'd say, “What is management consulting and running stores and digital commerce have to do with each other?” You will find those golden threads through both. A very fast-moving industry, a lot of variety and change. I never did the same thing twice. The amazing, talented, high-caliber people that I got to work with eventually left. That was the cardinal direction that I was trying to pursue as I went. It's what motivated me. It got me out of bed every day.

What I found interesting in both, you talked about great people and having confidence. As I wonder, having confidence is great and when you're in a room with great people, you're in these brands and in these positions. Everybody is so successful. There's excellence around you. How do you tell yourself, “I belong here. I fit here. There's a reason I'm in this room. There's a reason I'm in this seat?” It happens to everybody. What are some of those things that you told yourself to ground yourself in being able to make a difference in these groups of excellent people? Christiana, why don’t we start with you?

You answered some of your own questions, which a lot of it is what's the narrative that you run through your own head when you're in new situations and you're stretching and testing yourself. We talk a lot about that in the writing that we've done because we want to differentiate, particularly for women, but for anyone who feels like the only one in the room or the new kid in the room.

We feel like you've got two metaphors that you'll hear people use. Either imposter syndrome or fake it till you make it. A lot of times people use those phrases interchangeably to describe how they feel when they're moving up into a new responsibility or they're taking on a new project or moving to a new company. We think they're two very different things.

We are big fans of fake it till you make it. I'll talk about that in a sec. We think that for all kinds of reasons, imposter syndrome is not a confidence-building mentality. You should avoid it at all costs. Why did we say that? Fake it till you make it is basically about telling yourself, “I can do this.” It's a script you just ran through.

“I am here for a reason. The people that put me here did not make a mistake. However, if I feel like there are things I don't know or there are gaps in my skillset that I'm going to need for this new set of responsibilities, for this room that I'm in now. I'm going to make a plan and I'm going to own filling in those gaps. I'm still in charge and I have the confidence that I will in fact learn what I need to learn to be successful in this current role.” That's fake it till you make it and we're okay with that.

Put your hands on your heads, look in the mirror, and do the power pose. Whatever it takes, but back that up with the action steps of getting the experience or the knowledge or the connections or the support that you need to be successful. It's not enough to fake it. You've got to work actively on the things you need to do to make it.

Grace, thoughts on that?

We've talked about that in the book. I would add another element to it. When you find yourself walking into a room or getting into a new team and you're surrounded by smart or accomplished people. Remember they are people. None of us are hatched into those positions. They started somewhere and grew. Whether they're humble or not is irrelevant. It could be something that you can look at as intellectual food.


When you're surrounded by really smart or accomplished people, remember that none of them are hatched into those positions. They started somewhere and they grew.


It's exciting. I had the opportunity at a couple of different companies that work with some of the best in the industry. It only raised my game. If you approach it that way, you're embracing it from a pretty healthy place. Usually, you find that people, at the end of the day, have the same foundation, why they're there, and what they want to achieve.

Christiana, do you want to add that?

I'll give you a couple. I was going to give some pragmatic tips. Things that Grace and I have talked about that we did. Number one, if you're in a meeting, speak up. You're in that room for a reason. People invited you to that meeting. Hold yourself accountable for participating. I remember having to learn to do that when I was in grad school because more than half my grade in that particular program was “class participation.”


If you're in a meeting, speak up. You’re in that room for a reason.


I was not the most vocal person at that time. It's hard to believe now. I set myself a goal that I was going to speak at least once a week in every class. Never a week would go by that the professor and my classmate did not hear my voice. My voice was shaking the first couple of weeks when I would make myself do that. After a while, I didn't have to keep track. I had made it a habit.

It's those things that we encourage people to do, which is again, in that spirit of, “I know I have to fill in some gaps.” Make yourself a commitment. Hold yourself accountable so that you will do things like commit to speaking up in the rooms that you're in because you're there for a reason. Don't let a meeting go by where you just took notes.

I'm curious. I hear all of this experience and have gone through that. What was your hardest job? It might be 5 or 5 or heck, maybe it was only weeks ago that you had your hardest job. What was the position that you were in that was the most challenging? Whether that was you took a big growth step and you stressed yourself or that was your first one out of school that you were challenged in your career or work. Either of you can go first, whichever one wants to share their hardest career moment.

It wasn't the largest role. It wasn't the role in the most complex company and that's important. It was when I joined an airline. Everyone thought I was crazy because I left a food company and joined an airline but I did so to become the chief procurement officer and intentionally knew that the CEO who was appointed at that time wanted to transform it. Run it like a business and ultimately led to a merger. Why it was the hardest job is because after about a number of months there, finishing transforming the function. We hit the financial crisis.

If you know what happened in the financial crisis, it was pretty critical to the airline. I was fearful that we were going to go out of business. As a matter of fact, in the book I talked about how I turned to my boss who was the chief operating officer at the time. I said to him, “Our stock's getting down at the price of a latte.” It was something that was jarring because it was hard because we had such a great leadership team.

We had a great CEO and a great leader. We were all highly committed to transitioning the company and transforming the company. It took a lot of hours and a lot of work. It was one of the best experiences I had but when I look back, it was also one of the hardest ones. It was probably one of the riskiest positions I had put myself into. There was tremendous growth from it.

It sounds like you took away a lot of resilience, even confidence in yourself being there. Also, even an importance of being like, “I need to feel like the folks that I'm in the proverbial trenches with, I can get through that.” I would only imagine those were some of the takeaways. Christiana, how about you, toughest job and toughest work scenario?

I would say the toughest work scenario for me was when I came back from maternity leave. I was at McKinsey and Company. I'd been promoted while I was pregnant to being an associate principal, which is basically the step before you make a partner and you own equity. That's a very big step. It's like making tenure as a professor. I came back into that role. I was doing it before I went on leave and I had a baby.

The expectations in terms of client development, team leadership, and time at the office were significantly higher. Yet, I now had a very real commitment that was extremely important to me that I had to also make time for at home, which I hadn't expected or understood until it happened. That is probably a pretty universal experience because Grace and I've looked at the data. One of the biggest choke points in the progression of women during their careers to senior management is around the time of moving up to that first managerial position and when they're forming a family. The poster child for what happened, I felt like I was letting my family down and my company down.


One of the biggest choke points in the progression of women during their careers is around the time of moving up to that first managerial position and when they're forming a family.


Two points or when those points intersect, so I can get clear?

When those points intersect, they tend to be around the same time. You've been working for 6 to 10 years. You're in your late 20s, early 30s, and even mid-30s. You decide it's time to have a kid. This is particularly for women. It's notable if you look at the pipeline and we studied our pipeline at McKinsey because we weren't getting enough women to partner. I know it from there. We studied the pipeline at Nike. It's the same everywhere.

The trick is how do you keep women and help get them through? McKinsey has labeled the glass rung or the broken rung on the ladder because many women fall off the career ladder at that moment. That was me and what tapped me at McKinsey was having partners and colleagues. I went in to quit. It was so hard that even though I had spent five years at that firm already and was in the window for partnership, I was going to walk away and they wouldn't let me.

They told me that I had to figure out what it would take to stay and come back and see if we could work that out. That made all the difference. I ended up staying at McKinsey for another thirteen years after that. I had a full 24 years there. That's why I tell that story so that women and men reading can say, “You may get to that fork in the road but don't just blindly assume that you don't have options. Don't wait to explore what those options would have to be for you to be able to stay and be successful.” You may not get it, in which case, you already decided to go, you go. If you can stay, it's great for your employer and it's great for you.

On Career Goals And Life Goals 

It sounds like a testament to the leadership within McKinsey and your own figure-outness to be able to work through that because it isn't always obvious. It sounds like in these career and life intersections and the path isn't always clear. What do you use to guide your own decision-making? Again, because of the transitions that you've made, I would say calculated but it's more intentional. It sounds like both of you have been intentional with your career, while also managing the family aspect. How have you thought of your own career, life, and personal goals? How do you incorporate that? What's most important to you? Cristiana, I want to keep going with you and then go back to Grace.

I want to come back to something you said then I'll expand on your question. You said, “You must have had a strong support at McKinsey and a willingness on your side to try and figure it out.” Yes, and the third thing that I had that Grace and I talked about a lot as fundamental to a successful career is I had a performance track record. At McKinsey, I'd been there for years. I had done well and they had promoted me.

One of the things that we sometimes skip over in career discussions that we want to emphasize is the ticket to career success. The foundation on which all of your plans, hopes, and aspirations have to be built is performance. Commit to that. Commit that you are going to do well at the job you're in because that turns out to pave the way for people to invest in you, for you to build what we call professional equity, establish a track record of performance, and build your name inside or outside your company.


Strategy and Leadership Podcast | Christiana Smith Shi | Grace Puma | Career Strategies


That's where you can then apply the intentionality. First, you've got to say and this shouldn't be controversial, but I can tell you sometimes, people have conversations about whether you should do just enough to get by every day at work or whether you want to push yourself to perform. We're on the push yourself to perform. The reason is because we think you build currency, frankly. You can then trade in to do things like get flexibility at work.

Why? It’s because they're willing to accommodate you so that like me and Mackenzie, you stay. That's where a lot of my intentionality came from. It started with that commitment to myself that I would build that equity and learning along the way that I could use to then adapt the working conditions to the things that I needed for my life.

Grace, I want to come to you but before I do, I wonder for both of you, how do you keep track of that currency? The gentlemen can be more boastful and it's not to say that anybody should or shouldn't be anything. I don't know if all folks approach their career being performance-minded distinct from, “I have a CV and I have a body of work.” Distinct from, “I have outcomes that I've driven. I have performance measurement. I have stuff that I've moved.”

That is probably one of the ingredients that builds that stock within you to be able to leverage that into future things, again, intentionally. Not necessarily calculating. I'm a strategic planning facilitator. I love strategically thinking about how to get from point A to point B. I'm all for it but I might ask you about that later. Grace, for you, what have you used to guide your decisions and help you find your North or whatever direction you want to go?

The two conversations tie together. It does start with what it is that you aspire to do. Life is a journey in these careers. You have a lot of different experiences. You start to learn, what am I passionate about? What are the things that are important to me? What life stage am I on? Those shapes are a background to the decisions you make. When I made career decisions, I made them thinking through and this is a very important point in our book. It was never to chase the salary or the title. It was always to look at three steps ahead, what can I learn from this job, is there a runway for me to progress, can I contribute and establish differentiation and contribution?

It was a much more strategic perspective. As I made each decision, it was never just ad hoc or a short-term perspective. With that comes what you talked about. It's also around thinking through the trade-offs. I can remember, my daughter was in high school. I always used to say, “My daughter was like an oak tree and I'm like a potted plant. I can pick me up and move me anywhere and I just flow with it.” With her, moving her to high school would have been a big issue because she required stability or would have benefited from stability.

At that point, I was being recruited very heavily for Chief Procurement Officer jobs but they were all out of state. There's a real example where I chose not to do that and to stay put for 2 or 3 extra years, but at the same time, I cultivated opportunities in Chicago and was able to land one of the most transformational jobs that I had in my career. Again, it's about being thoughtful and intentional. That's what I've used quite frankly throughout my whole life and I've been very grounded about that.

It comes from the knowing or the foresight to say, “If I'm going to be in a career for 40 years, not everybody has that skill but it serves everybody to be,” dare I say, career forward and look at what those evolutions are so that you can set yourself up for it. Make sure that from what I see, there are folks who stay in jobs too long. Not because you need to hop, but because you've lost your ability to make that next move. It's not that you want to sit in a place change for change thing. If you are trying to make that move, it's important.

My next question is I alluded to the fact of being able to capture your successes and the importance of taking stock of them as you use them to move forward in your career. I also asked what your most challenging work assignment was. What would you say is your most rewarding and most engaging? It doesn't need to be financially-driven. What was the best job, role, or project that you've had? Why are you most proud of it? Grace, I want to start with you.

It was at a particular point when I was going through a massive functional transformation. What made it rewarding was the whole leadership team pulling together and seeing people grow outside their comfort zone. I'd fly out of bed in the morning just excited to get in and put in the twelve-hour day. It's when you're working on something that is not only delivering key results, but establishing credibility for the team and the company. That only allowed more opportunities for people to do meaningful work. It's those elements that give you more energy. I would say that's probably my recall.


When you're working on something that is not only delivering key results but establishing credibility for the company, it just gives you more energy.


For me, it was when I was leading the digital commerce team at Nike, which was only about fourteen months in my overall 30-something-year career. We had similar considerations to what Grace just talked about, which is we were trying to do something extraordinary. We were trying to put together a strategy to reposition the business and commit to exponential growth numbers that the commerce business had not seen before.

We were chugging along at a nice rate but nowhere near what the potential was. Not close to where the best practice was in terms of where dot-coms were going. This was 2011, 2012, and 2013. Things were exploding and we did it. We re-platformed the site. It crashed and went down. It's funny, you'd look back and say, “What was so fun about that?” We had 2:00 AM and 3:00 AM, six-hour long calls that we were doing to try to troubleshoot. We had unhappy customers and unhappy leaders who were my bosses, like the CEO.

We kept moving forward. I remember telling the team, “From now on, every step we take is forward. We're not taking a step back.” Getting people energized and believing that they could do it. Getting the investment that we needed going all the way to the board, making the case for growth, and delivering that growth. What it ended up doing besides propelling a lot of value creation for shareholders. Was it created the basis to change the career trajectory of a lot of people?

Grace mentioned this, too. There were a number of people who reported to me that have gone on to become presidents of other businesses themselves the tenure since then, and what was the shot in the arm for them in terms of their confidence, awareness, reputation, and impact was that fourteen month period.

There was a young lady that I interviewed on the show about her role. What she liked about her job was just being able to move projects continuously. Put herself in an area where she was uncomfortable but there were a lot of growth opportunities. Either she’s seen your book or probably not, but she will.

Maybe she has what we call the career-forward mindset. That's exactly how we like people to think about it.

Breaking Out Of Stagnation 

I would think she does. What would you tell someone who is not jazzed about their career and they are in their work? They are showing up, doing the minimum, and getting by, whether they are mid or late career, what would you tell them? Would you encourage them to find a different career? What would you say would be my question? I won't try to answer it myself. Christiana, what would you tell somebody who wasn't getting out of bed jazzed and wasn't doing extraordinary work?

Grace is the first person who coined a phrase called benevolent stagnation, which describes a lot of folks in that career moment. If you're lucky, you're stagnating in a place where you've got an okay income. Maybe even a good income. You have an okay job. Maybe even a good job, but you don't see things changing. Our question to the individual then is to say, “It's time to do some self-reflection and do some introspection.” Is this what you want because it starts with, do you want something different?

We firmly believe that at any stage of your career, you can ask yourself that question, go through the process of figuring out what it is you do want, and put together an action plan that you can follow to start to change the trajectory of your career.

We have lots of examples of midlife women. Many of my friends are age 50. It’s not too late. It's been proven now. There are women who we talk to even on these shows, who started a show business or started publishing or began teaching, or who quit and went into nonprofit. It's more whether you're willing to do the hard work to connect the dots to get there. Let's say, that you've been drifting for a while. We both have had employees that have come to us with this situation.

Someone comes to you and says, “I realized I get 3% every year. My responsibilities haven't changed that much. I always deliver what I'm asked to deliver, but is this all there is?” What we would say is, “Where do you want to go? What do you want to do? Who do you want to be? Are you working with the people you want? Are you solving the problems you want? Do you appreciate and get excited by the impact you're having on the world?” Those are the questions we think you have to ask yourself to decide whether your cardinal direction frankly needs to be reset. If it does, then you still have to own it. Working out what your action plan is so you can get from here to there.

That was a great answer. I would add a couple more variables to it. Christiana laid out how we've been talking to people about this and self-reflection. That movement to action is important. One of the things we talk about in the book is that you're in the driver's seat of your career. It doesn't happen to you. It's not your boss or the company you're working for or the economy. It's you. Therefore, with that comes some perspective.


Strategy and Leadership Podcast | Christiana Smith Shi | Grace Puma | Career Strategies


First of all, I would say if you philosophically, everyone has certain talents. If you believe that you have certain talents, how do you use those fully during your lifetime to do work that's meaningful and productive? If you're in a situation where you've assessed that you're not making contributions, then you should take a step back and think about those talents. Think about how you can use the totality of who you are to continue to progress in a career and ultimately, all the good things that come with that.

I was going to make it real again because you were asking us to share stories so people know that this isn't just theory. Grace and I put these nuggets together based on our own learning. For me, I wouldn't say I got to a place of benevolent stagnation per se, but I got into a place where things were getting almost too easy after I'd been at McKinsey for many years. I'd been a senior partner for many years and you don't stagnate as a senior partner because you're constantly bringing in new clients, solving new problems and business conditions are always changing.

Many years of being a senior partner still means many years of doing a lot of the same things. That is when I ended up retiring from McKinsey and going to Nike. I was 50 or 51. I remember my McKinsey colleagues that, “When you retire from McKinsey, you're supposed to go buy a vineyard.” For whatever reason, that was the thing. Everybody brews their own beer, makes their own wine, or grows their own olives.

Don't just jump into some senior operating role, but Nike has been my client for many years. When I let them know that I was thinking of retiring, but I wanted to retire into an operating role because they knew me and because we'd had a chance to see each other over a long period of time. They were willing to take a chance on me and I was willing to take a chance on them. Back to Grace's point about risk, at 50 or 51, how many people feel like they can take a risk? Honestly, I didn't feel it was that risky. If I had not made that change at that time, I probably would have stagnated.

I also think that people have to realize that stagnation is risky and what you're perceiving as not risky. We've seen people in our careers who are usually the ones that are blindsided when a layoff comes and they lose their job because they've been busy. They've been getting good performance reviews and making good money. What people have to realize is that if you're not progressing and not growing as an individual professionally and your capabilities are not growing. You're likely to be at a greater risk in any organization because other people are growing and it's a very competitive environment. What can feel like security, safety, and familiarity can double down on being much more risky for you.


Stagnation is risky. It's a very competitive environment, and what can feel like security and safety and familiarity can actually be much riskier for you.


My wife just came off mat leave not long ago and so the balance. The perception of growth during mat leave is a hard job. If anybody thinks that's less work, you've got another thing coming. That's a hard job raising a kid but that recognition of, “Are you growing or not growing? How do you describe that? How do you show that off?” I would love to go down that path, but I only have time for one more question.

My last question is, let's say there are folks reading this might be early career, or mid-late career, and they would like to do more work on boards, with organization, and have more governance. That's where they would like their career trajectory to go. What is your best piece of advice or best thing that you did that has supported you in getting into those board-type roles?

First of all, I made a point to be able to go on nonprofit boards. I started to learn the early skills of working on a board. Governance versus operating role type of thing, how decisions were made with different groups of people that don't run the company. I was able to progress heavily through networking. I was given opportunities as well as through career equity. Getting into those larger roles opens up doors for you to be looked at, and building your career equity and your reputation allows you to be looked at for those positions. I was able to progress through a number of different corporate boards.

I’ll just add, practically speaking, one of the most important things you could do is let your network know that you're interested in a board role. Whether it's starting in a nonprofit or maybe a private company board, or you've done some of that and you're ready for a public company board. That would be one thing. I call it activating the nodes. If you think about your network as an electronic field, you want to light those up and tell people not just that you're interested but why you think you're ready and what your qualifications would be. More than half the time, a first board seat comes through someone you know.

For me, it was a former McKinsey colleague of mine who knew that I had retired from the firm and was working in industry now and could serve on a board as a consultant. You can't because you have conflicts everywhere. I was working in a company now, so I could serve on a board and she heard from someone she was on a board with that on another board. They were looking for women in retail. It lit up because she knew that I was in a place where I'd be interested and ready. I've heard stories from women, so many that have found it. First of all, you let the people you work with know. You let your managers or bosses know. You let recruiters who call you know.

The second thing is to take advantage of opportunities you have to watch boards working in your current situation because it matters. If you have a chance to present to the board, do it. If the board will let you be a fly on the wall at your company and sit in on a meeting or watch a committee or understand their discussions, do it because it's different when you're responsible for governing a company. It's different from when you're there working and helping to run the company. That's one of the things you need to learn, and why not learn it at home, so to speak?

I love that. Unfortunately, that's all the time we have, although there are hours of stuff I'm sure you could share, but it'll be great for our readers if they want to learn more about you to pick up your book. As the last word, Grace, and Christiana, you'll get a chance. What do you want to tell our audience and how can people connect with you if they'd like to do so?

We have a website on CareerForwardBook.com. It'll lead you to where we're speaking and also where you can buy the book, which is pretty much at any retailer, Target or Amazon.

Christiana, where can people get a hold of you?

They can find me on LinkedIn under Christiana Smith Shi and at the website CareerForwardBook.com as Grace said. We are publishing articles and looking at particularly at women's leadership conferences all over the US. We post that schedule on CareerForwardBook.com. We'd love to have a chance to meet people in person and hear what they think about our advice.

I appreciate it. Thank you both so much for being on the show. It was a pleasure chatting with you and a lot to reflect on for myself. Thank you so much for being here.

Thank you.

Thank you. I enjoyed it.


Folks, my guests, Grace Puma and Christiana Smith Shi. One of the things about looking at your career, your job, your work, and at that forward trajectory, is being clear on where you want to go and recognizing that every step of the way is designed there for you. It might go great or go terrible at the time, but there's always something to learn from.


Strategy and Leadership Podcast | Christiana Smith Shi | Grace Puma | Career Strategies


Also, recognizing like investing in yourself. That means investing in yourself to be able to support your future places, but invest in yourself and the people around you supporting you getting there. Have a lot of equity in you, build up your equity both in terms of your network or your nodes, but also be recognizant of all of the great work that you've done. Not being sheepish about sharing that because who knows where it'll take you? It could take you to your next career, even at 50-something. Folks, thank you for being here. Again, Christiana, thank you. Grace, thank you. It's been such a pleasure. Good luck with the book and with everything. Folks, thank you for reading. I appreciate you.


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About Christiana Smith Shi

Strategy and Leadership Podcast | Christiana Smith Shi | Grace Puma | Career StrategiesChristiana Smith Shi is the former president of Nike’s consumer-direct division where she led the company’s global retail and ecommerce business. Before that she was a senior partner at McKinsey & Co. Christiana has been named one of the Most Influential Corporate Directors by Women, Inc. She currently leads Lovejoy Advisors, which is focused on digitally transforming consumer and retail businesses. Shi is a graduate of Stanford University and has an MBA from Harvard Business School, where she graduated as a Baker Scholar. She lives in Portland, Oregon. 


About Grace Puma

Strategy and Leadership Podcast | Christiana Smith Shi | Grace Puma | Career StrategiesGrace Puma is the former executive vice president and COO of PepsiCo, and before that held senior positions with United Airlines, Kraft Foods, Motorola, and Gillette. A board member of both Organon & Co and Target, she has been ranked on the “Most Powerful Latina” list by Fortune magazine and recognized as the “Executive of the Year” by Latina Style magazine. Puma holds a BA in business administration and economics from Illinois Benedictine University. She lives in Tampa, Florida.




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