Episode 55

Laura Huang ·  Finding Your Edge

Laura Huang is a professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School. Laura’s research examines interpersonal relationships and implicit bias in entrepreneurship and in the workplace. She is the creator and co-founder of Project EMplify, an initiative dedicated to addressing inequality and disadvantage through personal empowerment.

Her award-winning research has been featured in the Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Forbes, and Nature, and she was named one of the 40 Best Business School Professors Under the Age of 40 by Poets & Quants, and to the Thinkers 50 Radar list as one of the leading management thinkers in the world.

Previously, she held positions in investment banking, consulting, and management, for organizations such as Standard Chartered Bank, IBM Global Services, and Johnson & Johnson.

Laura holds an MS and BSE in electrical engineering, both from Duke University, an MBA from INSEAD, and a PhD from the University of California, Irvine. Her first book is entitled EDGE: Turning Adversity into Advantage.

About Project EMplify:


Project EMplify teaches soft skills to unprivileged communities, bridging the gap between what is taught in schools and what is needed in the workplace. Project EMplify provides provide books, mentoring, and education to high school and college students as well as teachers working in these underserved communities. Globally, we are partnered with organizations including CW Foundation, Dress for Success, KIST, Teach for Taiwan and The Parent Venture.


Project EMplify was co-founded by Olivia Chen and Harvard Business School Professor, Laura Huang.


About EDGE:


When Hard Work Is Just Not Enough, How to Find Your EDGE


So You Can Give It Your All


Many of us sit back quietly, hoping that our hard work and effort will speak for itself—only to be left frustrated and discouraged. Or we try to force ourselves into the mold of someone we think is “successful,” stifling the creativity and charm that makes us unique and memorable.


I’ve experienced both. I’ve had to constantly find ways to turn adversity into advantage. I’m determined to bring my research and experience to the table to advocate for an inclusive workplace, inoculate against unconscious bias, and empower each of you to take control of how others perceive you—so that you can find your EDGE. 


Laura Huang, Harvard Business Professor


Harvard Business School Professor Laura Huang, author of EDGE: Turning Adversity into Advantage, shares practical implications of her revolutionary research on advantages and disadvantages, and how we can improve our chance of being successful in life.


The world isn’t a level playing field. Some people begin with inherent advantages; others have to create them for themselves. Stereotyping, bias, and superficial perceptions play a big role in how we’re seen by others and how far we can go. We are all subject to others’ biases—about race, gender, age, religion, ability, sexual orientation, and more—that can work for us or against us. The good news, Huang argues, is that we can flip biases and reframe them to work in our favor. Huang shows us how to turn weakness into strengths and create our own unique edge in any situation EDGE illuminates how success in all arenas of life—whether it’s landing a job, getting a raise, closing a deal, or acing a presentation—hinges not only on working hard and amplifying our strengths, but on shaping how others see our perceived flaws.We can turn adversity into advantage by harnessing the very stereotypes and qualities that seem like shortcomings and reframing them as assets that work in our favor. By doing so, we can each find and create our own unique “edge.”


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