Imagine you’re a rookie walking out onto the field to play a game you’ve never played before, against others who’ve been playing their entire lives.

That’s us, women! (According to today’s guest.) So, grab your bat and glove and clipboard for notes, she’s going to share her own play-by-play to help us understand stand the unwritten rules of business.

In this episode of the Think Tank of Three Podcast, Erin Wolf shares the Unwritten Rules of Business.

 

Podcast Transcript

Julie Holton:

Welcome to the show. I’m Julie Holton, here with Reischea Canidate-Kapasouris, and Audrea Fink. We are your Think Tank of Three. Ladies, let’s start with a question. Should women look and sound and act more like men in the workplace?

Reischea Canidate-Kapasouris:

See, in my mind it depends. Yes and no, because you are your own strength, I think.

Audrea Fink:

I’m going to go with yes and no as well, because I don’t think we should have to. Also, we live in the real world where we don’t get to change the rules.

Erin Wolf:

Yeah. I think that you have to get to some position of power in order to change the rules. So, if I come in with purple hair and I’m dressed just crazy, the guys are going to look at me and say, “She’s broken a rule. You don’t dress like that or look like that in the office.” And it may hurt me, it may not-

… But I need to be aware that if I don’t … I’m not saying that women have to wear gray suits and little bow ties or anything. No. Women have more latitude now than ever before in what we can do, but we still need to look professional. So, that’s one thing I’d say. The other is about what you do. So, that’s on how you look. But what you do, yes, you can have nuances, but there are unwritten rules of the game that these guys learned in little league baseball and they brought them into the workplace.

So, if you break a rule, everything might be fine, but everything might not be fine. So, what I say is, know what the rules are, and then you get to decide whether you want to play by them or not, or which rules you want to play by and which ones you say, “No. This is outside of who I am.” Because I agree with Audrea, you’ve got to be authentic. You have to be who you are. You just have to be careful that if you’re the one who wears purple hair and you’re a lawyer, that might be fine in your law firm, but it might not, I don’t know. You have to use your own judgment.

Julie Holton:

Ladies, that is our guest. She says women are not being singled out. The rules apply to everyone, but men have just been playing the business game longer. So, let me tell you a bit about our guest. Erin Wolf spent time as a Wall Street investment banker, a C-suite exec at a global consulting firm, an entrepreneur, and as a nationally ranked athlete. Erin, we are so glad to have you here. Welcome to the Think Tank of Three.

Erin Wolf:

Well, thank you. I am so happy to be here. I love talking to women about this topic.

Julie Holton:

And I love that hit a home run right off the top of the podcast. So, our focus today is the topic of a Ted Talk that you gave several years ago. You call women disruptors in the business world, but I like what you were just saying there, we have to know the rules before we can break them or decide which ones we’re going to readjust for ourselves. So, you created a list of what you call “The Unwritten Rules”. Before we dive in, tell us why this topic?

Erin Wolf:

Because we always talk about other things. There are reasons that people say that women don’t make it to the top. One of them is childcare, and one of them that they don’t want to really be there, that they want to be the support player. I don’t think either of these have to be true. Often, childcare does reside with the female in the house, or the wife, but it doesn’t have to, because in this day and age with, you all know this, guys are really different from when I was growing up, and they want to be dads and they want to be good dads.

And I work with a lot of women who have either the primary job or the only job. Also, there have been studies done about, who wants to get to be CEO? And studies has shown that women want it just as much as men do.

So, we talk about that, we talk about mentoring, we talk about all this stuff that’s holding women back. And what I started thinking about was, wait a minute, women aren’t doing the things that men are doing to get a person ahead. And I really realized a lot of this when I started my business and doing a lot of executive coaching. So, I started thinking about it as “The Unwritten Rules of Business”. And of course, that also goes with my background of doing sports.

Erin Wolf:

So, I started thinking about, well, we’re the new guys, we’re the disruptors. And that’s what women have to realize where Julie, you said before, we are disrupting the workplace, because the workplace has been pretty much the same for a very long time. So, if we come in and we disrupt, in our own way, right away, we often aren’t taken seriously.

 So, I say, it’s the unwritten rules. It is all these other unconscious bias, conscious bias. We talk so much about these things. But it’s also these unwritten rules that women need to learn. And again, I’m not saying they have to follow them, but they have to learn them. Then, when you get to be the head of a team, the head of a project, the head of a department, the head of the company, you get to write the rules because the rules come from the top. It’s really hard to do the rules grassroots, from the bottom.

Audrea Fink:

I love what you’re saying. All of this resonates so much with me. I think about this in terms of being a new person on any team, woman, male, it doesn’t matter. When you walk into something new and you try to shake things up before you learn what’s happening, it always creates friction and tension and conflict that doesn’t necessarily have to be in there.

I think when you start a new job, when you start a new team and when you meet a new group of people, it’s important to walk in and get the lay of the land, and then say, “Okay, here are the places where change really needs to happen, and here’s where maybe something needs to tweak,” or maybe, “This isn’t a big deal,” once I have the whole picture. I love this. I can’t wait to dive in on this topic.

Erin Wolf:

And here’s what I could get away with and here’s what I can’t get away with here.

Audrea Fink:

Absolutely. Yeah.

Because all companies are different, but there are some pretty universal unwritten rules.

Reischea Canidate-Kapasouris:

It’s about disrupting with purpose, right? It’s about-

… Know the rules so that you can then make a decision about them, an informed decision about them. But let’s get into this. Let’s get into your first rule in business, and that is, “raise your hand and get picked for the team”. What are women missing out on here?

Erin Wolf:

Okay. I talked to many audiences of men and women, and often I hear someone say, “Why can’t I just put my head down and do a really good job?” That’s what it should be all about, just doing your job really well. And I say, “You are not wrong. It should be.” But life is not a meritocracy. And you find that those who put themselves forward and ask for the assignment and that sort of thing, they get visible, and they do get picked.

As after COVID, or at the end tail end of COVID, companies are doing either hybrid or bringing people back to work and whatever, and I see a lot of women not wanting to go back to work. And I say, “No. Go back to the office,” because it’s different when you’re on Zoom for meetings or calls. If you are in the office, you are visible.

 Now, none at the high level people are in the office. If nobody above you is the office, maybe it doesn’t matter, but well, you still have the people below you. So, get visible. And that’s a perfect very recent example of “raise is your hand, getting picked to the team.” “Okay, we’re going in three days a week, by gosh, I’m going to be in three days a week and make myself visible.”

Audrea Fink:

So, if your next rule is, know who the pitcher is, what do you mean by this one?

Erin Wolf:

Yeah. “Know who the pitcher and quarterback positions” means you need to know what the important positions are, the important departments, whatever, in your company where people are moving ahead. So, let’s say I’m new in a company and I’m just talking to some people to get a lay of the land, doing internal informational interviews, I want to know, especially if I’m talking to someone senior, I want to know that person’s path, how did that person get there?

So, I’ll give a couple of examples. And this wouldn’t be a position, but it is a department. So, at Coca-Cola, Coca-Cola is all about marketing. Come on, this is sugar water. So, it’s all about how they market their product. So, that area is obviously really important at Coca-Cola, and you could get visible there.

At a tech firm it might be all about the R&D department. So, there are different departments, different positions. You may find that going up through finance, going up through operations, going up through sales, I don’t know. But you need to know.

Reischea Canidate-Kapasouris:

It’s interesting when you bring up knowing the people, knowing the positions, knowing their history, took me, girls, right back to Allison Tivnon, preparing for a meeting with a company who she, at that point, was, “I’m not sure what you’re doing, but it seems like you’ve got …” Then, before she did her sit-down meeting with them, she knew the background of all of these individuals and what was going on and how they got to where they got to, came in there from a place of knowledge, and finding out what this company was doing, because she always liked this particular company.

So, when she goes in there for this meeting, she really controlled the meeting and turned everything around, and we know the story of how she went on and created the position. “So, this is what you actually want, this is what you’re advertising for. That’s not what you want, let me tell you what you want.” But she had to come from a space of knowledge first, and that was getting to know the people. I think that’s so smart.

Audrea Fink:

So, Erin, if we are maybe new in an organization or we’re really trying to apply these rules, how do I get to know the pitcher, how do I… I am admittedly not a sports-person, so, the pitcher is not who I would’ve thought to talk to. I would’ve gone for like, who’s the pitch hitter, right? Pinch hitter?

Erin Wolf:

Yeah, pinch hitter.

Audrea Fink:

I would’ve not gone for a sports analogy. But what are your recommendations for digging into who the people or the departments are that you really need to get to know?

Erin Wolf:

Yeah. The departments you can usually tell by the number of people in the budget. If there’s something with a small budget, you’re, “Not so sure about that.” And again, I am broad-brushing this. So …

With the people, that’s an interesting one. Generally, in a company, it is just known who the superstars are. So, I’m going to get into conversations maybe with my peers and look up at the C-suite and see the COO, for example, and say or ask, “How … Geez, what was his or her path to get there?” And that helps you understand, okay, I need to have exposure here, here, and here.

Now, there are two thoughts on this. This is interesting. We’re talking about going with the department that is the most visible. Now, some people say, go with the department that is smaller because then you can stand out. It depends on whether the company values that department or not. So, that’s why I’m saying these rules are really nuanced, and it’s all about you judging the landscape.

So, when we talk about … I hear a lot, “Well, I don’t want you … I don’t want to be like a guy. I don’t want to this.” Knowing which departments are powerful and how people got where they are and all that, to me, that is not unethical, that’s not against anything I stand for. That’s just finding out information.

So, that’s why we have to be careful about saying, “Well, I’m not gonna do this or that because I don’t, you know, I don’t wanna act like a guy,” which is exactly what we said at the beginning, I do not want anybody to act like a guy, I don’t want anyone to look like a guy. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t understand how guys rise in a company, or women, because there are so many more women at the top now than there used to be.

Julie Holton:

That reminds me, Erin, of one of the best pieces of advice that I was given when I left news, I was just starting in a brand new career in marketing at a law firm. And I was told, and I’ll use our sports analogy, to look at the unsung heroes, meaning, not just attorneys, but look to their secretaries, look to their legal assistants, look to their paralegals, because who knows the most about what’s going on in that law firm than … And in this particular case, all of these secretaries were women who were running the day-to-day for the men and women attorneys.

So, in that case, it’s that behind the scenes they might be riding the bench in the sense of the organizational charts about who’s who in the law firm. But I’m telling you, these women were the ones that know everything. They know all the background, they know the ins and outs. And when you value them and you show them how much you value the work that they do, because oftentimes they are the unsung heroes, they’re going to reciprocate that and help you when you need it as well.

Erin Wolf:

I tell people this all the time, the assistants are the ones who know everything. They know the gossip, they know what’s going on, they know what’s going on through the grapevine, they know what’s political. Yes. And what if you want to go on someone’s calendar? I tell people, “This person’s really busy,” the executive. “So, instead of going to the executive, go to the assistant-

Audrea Fink:

The gatekeeper.

Erin Wolf:

… And get on the calendar.” Yeah. Get on the calendar that way. Or I used to always, when I was at one company, there was one assistant who was just great. So, I would get her really nice Christmas presents. And she really appreciated it. I appreciated her too. That was not an empty gesture. It really was appreciation, and authentic. But don’t be afraid to …

I remember when I was in investment banking, in corporate finance, there was one assistant who just had the worst attitude. So, I started bringing her in. She was on a … She was doing something. So, I started bringing her in popcorn, and it changed my whole relationship with her. So, you never know. But yes, Julie, you are correct, assistants are key to your learning unwritten rules.

Reischea Canidate-Kapasouris:

You develop a friendship with Fran, as I just make up a name, or Bobby. You develop a friendship with them, and depending on the closeness they are with that executive, yeah, they’ll get you in that schedule. They might also … Because sometimes my mother, when she had a situation where she had an executive assistant, was very close to that executive assistant and said the executive assistant could come to her and give her, “Hey, this person? Really good attitude.” Little things that they tuck away when then you go in for whatever little interview.

Erin Wolf:

Agreed.

Julie Holton:

All right. Next up. “Act like you belong on the field.” Erin, we took a lot on this podcast about “imposter syndrome”. It comes up in almost every episode. Tell us about this unwritten rule of instilling confidence.

Erin Wolf:

Okay. In my opinion boys are taught at a really early age, because most of them do organize sports. They are taught you don’t walk on the field with your head down. You don’t walk on the field looking like you think you’re going to lose you. You walk on the field as though … It’s like trash talking. You walk on the field as though you know what you’re doing, and you expect yourself to win.

I see women judging themselves in the workplace. How about you saying, “I’m sorry”? That might be a rule, I can’t remember. But this is, the guys say “I’m sorry” much less frequently than the women do, because, “I got this. I didn’t do anything wrong.” So, it’s important to understand and that the imposter syndrome exists. If you don’t know what it is, it’s getting to a place, and I’m going to use career, it’s getting to a place in your career and looking around and thinking, “Oh, my gosh, I’m a fraud. Everybody’s better than I am, and I’m going to be found out.”

And that’s how I felt when I went to Harvard Business School. I went to Harvard on a bet. I was playing tennis with the CEO of Progressive Insurance. And they had a case study about his company because it was such a success story. Anyway. He goes, “You need to go to Harvard.” I’m like, “Right.” And he said, “No. I’ll write you a letter. You do all the, you know, you take the GMAT and do all that stuff.”

So, I apply, seriously, on a bet, and I got in. And I got there and I was, “I don’t belong here.” But after a few days I realized, “You know what, I belong. It wasn’t like everybody else was that great either.” So, it’s … I know. I have so many good Harvard stories, let me tell you.

Julie Holton:

Also, isn’t that the truth? Not necessarily about Harvard, but just in life, in business in general, is, we’re all just doing this thing, we’re all just learning as we go. No one’s really that great anyway. I love that.

Erin Wolf:

Yeah. You get to the top of a company and you look around, you go, “What? This is what I aspired to? You’ve gotta be kidding me.”

Julie Holton:

And I can’t help but think, some rules at some point might need to be written down, because you mentioned earlier women saying, “I’m sorry,” and that’s actually something with the three of us that we actually wrote down at one point, because the little things, we were apologizing for the little things. “Oh, I’m sorry I didn’t get that script you an hour ago. I’m sorry for this. I’m sorry for that.” And we actually made it a written rule-

Audrea Fink:

I’m sorry you didn’t see my email.

I’m sorry you didn’t see my email. We would apologize to each other for that. Silly. Silly stuff.

Julie Holton:

No more- … No more. We wrote it down and we do not apologize.

Erin Wolf:

What I say to people is, think you’re rounding a corner in your office and you bump into a guy, what are you going to say? You’re going to probably say, “Oh, I’m so sorry.” He’s going to say, “Excuse me.” And yeah, because saying you’re sorry shows weakness.

But it also shows strength. So, I never say to people, “Don’t say I’m sorry.” If there is something that you are sorry for that you should let your team know or the people above you know or your peers know, say I’m sorry. I think it’s really strong. It’s just not strong if you’re saying, “Oh, I just worked all night on this,” and, “Oh, I’m sorry it’s not perfect,” or, “I’m sorry this,” and you’re … It’s the thanking thing.

Audrea Fink:

We talk about this in our podcast with Dr. Dorianne Hunter on confidence. You say sorry when you have something you need to repair for. You don’t say sorry because the word should be “excuse me”, or whatever the imaginary slight is.

Erin Wolf:

I also don’t use the word “sorry”. I use, “I apologize for”, because that one you have to think about a bit more. I’m not going to run into somebody and say, “Oh, I apologize for running …” So, it’s a good way that if you’re about to say “I’m sorry”, to stop yourself and say, “Would I say, ‘I apologize for this’?” If you would, then do it.

Reischea Canidate-Kapasouris:

My aunt would always say, still says, “Don’t say sorry, because you are not sorry. ‘I’m so sorry for this. No, you’re not. You are not sorry. You’re not a sorry person. Stop calling yourself Sorry. ‘I apologize, excuse me, pardon me.’ If there’s something that legitimately you’ve done wrong or you made a legitimate mistake, it’s still not ‘I’m sorry’, it’s, ‘I apologize,’ it is, ‘I made a mistake.’ It is not, ‘I’m sorry.’ You’re not a sorry person.”

Erin Wolf:

I do want to come back to wind up on this imposter syndrome though, because I don’t know if women have it more than men. I think there’s a lot of men that experience the imposter syndrome. I think women show it more. First of all, there’s a lot of articles out on it now, and I know you said you’ve talked about it in podcasts before, so I’m just going to throw in my two cents and then get off of this. But if you’re starting to feel that way, take a step back, look around you, and then think about what got you there, because you didn’t get there by luck. You got there because you were good.

And that’s another thing, by the way, apologizing, never say things like, “Oh, I was so lucky to have been asked to do this,” or, “I’m so blessed that I’m …” No. You may be blessed, that’s spiritually. But in the workplace you got there for a reason, and it’s because of what you did. You earned it, absolutely. So, take a step back and look at what you’ve done, and stop being so hard on yourself.

Reischea Canidate-Kapasouris:

Well said, well said. Let’s move on to your next unwritten rule, “What happens on the field stays on the field”, which of course led me to, “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas”.

Audrea Fink:

Different podcast, Reisch.

Reischea Canidate-Kapasouris:

Yeah, that’s a completely different show.

But what happens on the field stays on the field, why is this so important?

Erin Wolf:

I’ll start with a story about my son. What I noticed when he played Little League was that the kids would get out on the field and they would duke it out, and they wanted to win, just like any little kid. But afterwards they’d all go to some hamburger place and play pinball or foosball together and eat hamburgers and have Coke and whatever. So, even if there is conflict, you have to be able to normalize the situation. You have to leave it where it was. And this is something that guys are very used to doing.

They’re in the office, there may be conflict, but then you see them going out to lunch, and somebody goes, “What? They just really got into it. Why are those two going out to lunch together?” Well, because conflict, it is healthy in the workplace to have differences of opinion. And in fact, it should be encouraged by the leadership of the workplace. But if you’re going to take this personally, then it’s not doing any good.

So, the women, sometimes, uh-oh, there’s conflict, and they each go back to their offices. No, no, no. You have the conflict, you have the discussion, as long as it’s not personal, it’s business, then normalize the conversation afterwards. “You know … By the way, I wanted talk to you about something else. Um, I know we don’t have time right now, so let’s get together later this week,” or something like that, so the next time you see that person, it’s not really awkward because you left on a weird note.

But this is how the men are brought up. They are brought up that this is okay. And I’m not talking about fist fights, but it’s okay to have differences of opinion, whereas women are brought up to be nice and supportive. And some of this, hopefully, is changing. And this is … In my opinion, I am very much nurture versus nature because I think we learn a ton by how we’re brought up. And I believe that women are brought up to be the supporters, the collaborators and whatever, and the guys are brought up to go get it, to go for the brass ring.

Reischea Canidate-Kapasouris:

It’s okay to disagree with an opinion. It’s okay to say, “Well, I disagree with what you’re expressing there. I know where you’re trying to go, but I just, I don’t agree with how you’re getting there,” that’s fine. That’s perfectly fine. And you’re supposed to be able to hash that out. And maybe when you’re having that discussion down the road, you either see that man’s point of view, or, shock, the man might actually either see your point of view after repeating it and saying it himself, because you already said it.

Erin Wolf:

Yeah. So, I think that’s … Well, yeah. Well, that’s a whole different topic. So, think about that, that you may be in a room and the meeting gets heated or whatever, but when you leave the room, don’t carry a grudge and don’t take it personally. So, in my opinion, the men don’t take it personally, the women do. Not all women. Again, this is a broad brush. But don’t take it personally, it’s business. If it’s not business and it gets personal, that’s a different thing, that’s outside this podcast.

Julie Holton:

I think it’s also important, I’m going to connect this back to what you were saying about imposter syndrome as well, because I think sometimes, and I’m making total assumptions here and not based on any scientific fact or reason, just on my own experience, but I’ve seen women who will stay quiet during a heated discussion, or even just during any discussion, because they have a conflicting opinion and they don’t want to cause turmoil, they don’t want to upset anyone.

And that could be a combination of things, including imposter syndrome, feeling their opinion isn’t valid enough or strong enough to be brought up. But I remember at one point having a conversation with a boss who happened to be a man, and he was really upset with me because he felt in all of our editorial meetings I was disagreeing with him.

And I said to him, “You didn’t hire me to all always agree with you. I’m not your yes-man. I am here to share other points of view, just like all of these conversations that we had …” And this was in a newsroom setting, and so our goal was to create the best newscast possible or to tell the best story possible, but this is also applicable in any workplace.

The point is, for all of these opinions to come together, to result in the best possible outcome. Your business is going to be better when you have people who disagree and are able to work through it to get to the best solution. So, women need to speak up. Don’t be afraid of creating conflict or that you’re going to get someone, including your boss, upset with you. Because if you learn how to have these differences of opinion in a constructive way, and you can talk through it and navigate through it, then the entire organization is going to benefit.

Erin Wolf:

Agreed. And you also have to suss out the situation. There are times when I’m going to speak up and give my opinion, there are times when I might not, when I’m going to take my boss, go to her or his office separately, and say, “You know, when you were talking about this, I’m going to throw this out,” just because maybe it’s so 180 degrees from what she or he was thinking, that I don’t want others to think that I am trying to put him or her down. So, think about the situation.

But the fact is that people say that women talk more than men in general. I totally disagree, and especially in the workplace. Because the guys are just, they’re talking all the time, they’re talking about stuff they don’t know anything about. So, I also tell women, “When you get into a position of power, you’ve been promoted, and there’s other people, let’s say it’s a C-suite, and you have CEO meetings every week, don’t just speak on your topic.”

So, I was head of strategy, but that doesn’t mean that I might not have an opinion about something operationally, or whatever. And I’m not throwing myself out as an expert in another area, but I could give my opinion. And that’s Julie, what you just … That’s why the company hired me, hopefully, is not just for my expertise in my own area, but because they think I’m a smart person, and so I can talk through things that aren’t strategy. And a lot of times women don’t do that.

Audrea Fink:

I want to connect this last rule of “what happens on the field stays on the field” with your next rule, “there’s no crying in baseball.” I think those two rules can seem in conflict and also can seem really connected. So, I want to talk about it. This is such a good rule, because you’re not actually saying women shouldn’t be emotional, and you just said it’s not that we aren’t supposed to create conflict or participate in opposing viewpoints. So, what are you saying with this last rule, “there’s no crying in baseball”?

Erin Wolf:

Yeah. This is my favorite rule, actually, because people ask me about this all the time. The connection that you’re making is, when someone takes it personally, the “keep it on the field”, but if I take it personally and I’m taking it off the field, that’s when I’m going to get more emotional. And the workplace does not like a whole lot of emotion. It doesn’t like no emotion, but it also doesn’t like a huge sign wave of emotion.

And there are some things … So, guys are taught young, and again, this is not nature, I promise you, because my son cries more than my daughter does and they’re both in their 30s. But “There’s no crying in baseball. Buck up. Get out there. Don’t show your emotion”, all that, it’s so ingrained in these guys when they’re young, that when you get to the workplace, if you are going to show emotion, it is more acceptable to get angry.

I’m not saying this is right. Yeah. So, let’s talk about emotion just for a second. People say women are more emotional. Again, I say this is not true. How many women have had a fist fight in a bar? All of these things are emotional. You get angry with somebody, you throw something. Not all of you, of course, and not our audience, of course, but … So, the guys will do it that way, especially in the past workforce.

Now, with women coming in, it’s great. Not “coming in”, we’ve been in. It is much less acceptable to have that kind of you yelling and screaming behavior, which is a very good thing. However, the crying still makes most men, and some women, uncomfortable. I was doing a workshop for men leaders at Michigan State. It was an Exec Ed program. And it was just, it was about all of this and interacting with their women direct reports and all that.

We got on “crying” and spent 20 minutes on it. How can you spend 20 minutes on crying? Because it was, “What do you do? Do, do you let them go home? Do you hand them a tissue? Do you …” They didn’t know what do, and it made them very uncomfortable. I know. I couldn’t believe it. So, here’s what I say. First objective would be, if you know you are going to be emotional, go into a bathroom stall and let it out, or … Well, people can usually see you in your office. So, go in the bathroom stall, let it out.

If you can’t … Some people say, “Well, I’m just an emotional person.” Okay. You’re an emotional person. You may cry at the drop of a hat. That may be okay. It also may change your relationship with your manager, because now maybe your manager doesn’t want to give you constructive feedback because he or she is afraid of how you’ll react, or they just might treat you differently.

And I want to be treated like someone that they want to promote rather than, “Ooh, I don’t know. Can she take it?” So, again, this is one that I have to be really careful about because I don’t want women saying, “Well, Erin says you can’t cry in the workplace.” You can do whatever you … cry away.

But I think it’s safer to do it in the bathroom stall and not in front of your boss, if possible, because you just don’t know what the repercussions are. And when I’ve talked about this in workshops, women have told me about when they have cried in front of their boss and that it did change their relationship with him, because it’s always a “him”.

Julie Holton:

All right, Erin, before we go, we collect advice from each of our guests to share with the women in our Think Tank forum. So, we have three rapid-fire questions for you. Number one, is there a lesson that you’ve recently learned that you wished you had learned earlier in your career?

Erin Wolf:

Yes. One of the biggest ones I learned, I played sports as you all know. So, I got a hall pass on a lot of stuff because I knew a lot of the rules. But I had a really tough time working for incompetent people. And I left three, count them, three jobs where I was reporting either to the head of the, in a consulting firm, the senior partner in the office, or in the other two, the CEO, and I left.

And you don’t know what’s going to happen in the future. These guys that I was reporting to, one of the places I left … And I had loved my job. And he had come in because the person I was reporting to had gone to another company. God he was good. The new guy was a doofus, but a nice doofus. Anyway. He lasted in the role less than a year.

So, if I had just stopped and been patient and waited. So, just take stock of who you’re reporting to, what’s driving you crazy about that person, and is there a workaround? Are there possibilities in the future that person might leave? You could go to another department, whatever. But that was a huge thing that I learned and that I had made mistakes on.

Audrea Fink:

What’s one piece of advice that you would offer to any woman.

Erin Wolf:

I’m going to get of two. One is, if you are going to have a partner or a spouse, get married, whatever, and you want a kick-ass career, you need to make sure in advance that other person doesn’t want the bigger kick-ass career, because that happened to me, my first marriage. I married a guy who was flying helicopters around San Francisco Bay. I was going back to Harvard. So, I was, “That’s okay,” because I’ll be the breadwinner and he can do his entrepreneurial stuff.

But that it’s not the way that he saw it, and it hurt my career. Because we had children and someone has to take care of your children. So, that’s one. The other thing I would think about is, in my opinion, men look at their careers and have them plotted out better than women do. I never knew … I didn’t plot out anything. Things just came to me. So, this is another thing that if I had to do it over again I would think, “What do I really like, and how do I get to where I want to go?”

So, I talk to people a lot about, “Okay, where do you want to be in 10 years? Now, bring that back to five years, and now bring that back to two. So, what do you have to do? What are your two objectives for two years that are gonna get you on your path to where you wanna go?” I’m not saying these might not change. This is strategy, so things happen internally, externally. Your plan can change. But have a plan.

Reischea Canidate-Kapasouris:

You’ve given so many wonderful tidbits and tips, and I think that each one-

Erin Wolf:

I’ve been around a long time.

Reischea Canidate-Kapasouris:

Well, no, but each one could also send off into its own next podcast. So, before we go, though, Erin, what is the best way for our guests to connect with you, to learn more about business services, if they want to reach out to you?

Erin Wolf:

Okay. So, my company is Suite Track, S-U-I-T-E, like the C-Suite, Track. And I have a website, www.suitetrack.com, or you can reach out to me via email, ewolf@, with no “e” on the end of the Wolf, like the animal. ewolf@suitetrack.com. I love hearing from women and what their experiences are. And I learn something every time I talk to people like you, even talking to clients, and I change things up, Because I’m, “Oh, I hadn’t thought of that.” So, yeah, I love it when people reach out.

Audrea Fink:

Erin, thank you so much. It has been wonderful talking with you, hearing your knowledge, lots of great information that really can be built upon and make people think in a different way and move themselves forward in this business world. So, thank you again for being here with us today.

Erin Wolf:

Well, thank you, because if we don’t help ourselves, nobody’s going to help. So, women, the biggest thing … And I think women are great at supporting other women, by the way. Look at what you’re doing. So, that’s, right now, my role in life is to help women get where they want to go. So, this has been a real pleasure.

Reischea Canidate-Kapasouris:

Thank you so much. And that will do it for this episode of Think Tank of Three.

Audrea Fink:

If you have topics you’d like us to cover, or guests you’d like to hear from, send us a message at thinktankofthree@gmail.com. Subscribe to the Think Tank of Three wherever you listen to podcasts, and connect with us online. We blog weekly @thinktankofthree.com.

Julie Holton:

Follow us on social media. You can find us individually on LinkedIn and as Think Tank of Three on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Women, click to join our private group on Facebook, where we can all share advice and articles.

Reischea Canidate-Kapasouris:

And if you liked what you heard in the podcast, share it. You can find Think Tank of three on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Play, Amazon Music, and SoundCloud.

 

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Photo of Reischea Canidate-Kapasouris Reischea Canidate-Kapasouris

As with all things that are of true destiny, Reischea Canidate-Kapasouris believes, you don’t find your career, sometimes your career finds you.

Armed with the gift of gab and a natural feel for writing, broadcasting found it’s way into Reischea’s world after she…

As with all things that are of true destiny, Reischea Canidate-Kapasouris believes, you don’t find your career, sometimes your career finds you.

Armed with the gift of gab and a natural feel for writing, broadcasting found it’s way into Reischea’s world after she graduated from the University of Southern California.

Reischea’s television career began in her hometown of Fresno, California, at then KJEO, channel 47. Her experience at the CBS affiliate was
invaluable; as she worked her way up from a sports intern, to sports producer/reporter, to full-time weekend sports anchor/reporter. That
experience propelled her to San Diego as the weekend sports anchor/reporter for KSWB, where she got her first opportunity to cover
professional sports teams on a regular basis in the Chargers and Padres.

In 2002 she was hired as the weekend sports anchor/reporter for FOX 5 WNYW in New York. There, Reischea was nominated for a New York
Local Emmy for her three-part series on “Diminishing African American’s in Baseball” in 2007. She was also given the opportunity to work on the
station’s community affairs show, Good Day Street talk where topics ranged from post 9/11 stress disorders, healthcare, music and more.
In 2008 opportunity knocked again, this time taking her to Bristol, Connecticut to join ESPN. While with the network, Reischea was able to
interview and interact with some of the biggest athletes and stars on the planet, which made for a pretty awesome experience.

After the birth of her awesome son, Agisi, Reischea focused full-time on the hardest job she’s ever had, being a Mom. But the television love never
went away and so she was able to slide in news anchoring with News12 Connecticut for a short time.

Fast forward to the addition of an amazing daughter, Chrisonia, and that center stone in her life, family, proved to be of necessary focus. As a Mom
of 2 and a wife to a phenomenal husband, Alexandros, Reischea has learned the dynamics of life are ever-changing. Now, focusing on her own
self-empowerment, Reischea is taking her experience in broadcast and bridging it over to a new adventure in the podcast world as a co-host on
Think Tank of Three.