Erin Wolf Speaks at Inaugural Women’s TEDx Event in Nashville

 Erin Wolf
Erin Wolf, Founding Director of the Women's Leadership Center

KENNESAW, Ga. (Nov 30, 2018) — Erin Wolf, Founding Director of the Michael J. Coles College of Business Women’s Leadership Center, spoke this week at the inaugural TEDxNashvilleWomen event, where she used the language of baseball to inspire women to pursue their professional goals.

Held Nov. 29 at City Winery in Nashville, Tenn., TEDxNashvilleWomen: The Conversation Begins featured 11 prominent female visionaries speaking with other women and sharing their insights on topics ranging from leadership and business success to personal empowerment. This is the first women’s-only TEDx event organized in Middle Tennessee.

Wolf, whose career includes time as a Wall Street investment banker, a c-suite executive at a global consulting firm, an entrepreneur, and a nationally ranked athlete, led a presentation at the event titled Lessons from the Trenches: Understanding the Unwritten Rules of Business.  

“I was thrilled, honored, and excited to be asked to do this,” she said. “It means so much to me to be a part of the inaugural TEDxWomen event in Nashville.”

During her presentation, Wolf used the metaphor of a baseball game to describe five critical business rules that women need to be aware of if they want to succeed. The rules are:

1) Raise your hand and get picked for the team.

Wolf said people need to know where they want to go in their careers and not be afraid to pursue opportunities.

2) Know who the pitcher is.

Professionals should identify the individuals in their organizations who can help them advance, and learn from them.

3) Act like you belong on the field.

This rule is all about fighting the imposter syndrome many professionals experience.

“When you reach a certain level in your career, you look around and think that everyone else is smarter, more experienced, and more knowledgeable than you,” Wolf said. “So you start to think you are a fraud and that people will find you out.

“You have to realize that you are there because you belong there.”

4) What happens on the field stays on the field.

Differing opinions are valuable when working with others. However, it is important that professional conflicts not extend outside the workplace nor negatively influence future interactions with coworkers.

5) There’s no crying in baseball.

Wolf warned against showing too much emotion at the office, especially traditionally negative emotions like anger and sadness. Doing so can damage that person’s professional reputation.

Wolf pointed out that men and women are both expected to follow these rules, but that women often never learn about them.

“Business is a game,” she said. “It has its own rules and you have to be aware of them. You don’t have to follow them, but you don’t want to lose a game you don’t even know you are playing.”

Among the other speakers presenting at TEDxNashvilleWomen were

  • Megan Barry: former mayor of Nashville

  • Samar Ali: 2010 White House fellow, National Security Advisor, attorney

  • Jennifer Masley: Founder of EiO and The Hive

  • Kelly Ford: Co-host of the nationally syndicated Ty, Kelly & Chuck Morning Show

  • Shelley Zalis: CEO of The Female Quotient

  • Charlane Oliver: Founder of The Equity Alliance

  • Kimberly Papillon: Expert in Neuroscience and Psychology of Decision-Making

  • Phoebe Venable: COO and President of CapWealth Group

TEDx events are developed independently of the TED Conference organization, but maintain that entity’s desire to present new ideas and encourage conversation.

Wolf is not the first Coles College faculty member to participate in a TEDx event. Dr. Adriane Randolph, Executive Director of the Coles College BrainLab, spoke at TEDxCentennialParkWomen in 2013 and 2017.

- Patrick Harbin