History of WOLF


History of WOLF

The initial genesis of WOLF lay in a realization and series of events that occurred in 2004. At that time Julie Gilbert was creating a new business called Magnolia Home Theatre for Best Buy, now a $45 billion annual revenue consumer electronics and entertainment business.  As she built Magnolia, she continued to ask herself whether a front line employee or customer with the same idea could have the possibility of bringing a new game-changing business to life.  She created a new internal program called "Venture Board" enabling exactly this and was struck by their fresh thinking, passion, and game-changing ideas.  However, she quickly realized the challenges and resistance in managing a pipeline of ideas to fruition in a corporate environment without any other changes.

At the same time, she was visiting customers of high-end males and interviewing them and their wives, she had become increasingly aware of the sea change that was taking place around women’s influence and spending power. Simply put, as with every major industry around the globe, an overwhelming majority of purchases in Best Buy stores were being made by women no engagement or interaction process existed to bring their fresh ideas to life.

Following one powerful day of enlightenment in 2004, Julie had a dream taking her back to her childhood when she would stay up late at night listening to wolves howl. She immediately saw the commonality between what was happening at Best Buy and wolves.  The voices of customers and customer-facing employees, like the howls, were unheard and, therefore, not being focused on with any winning combination.  

Similarly Best Buy, like other organizations, was not built with a front-line engagement of customers or customer-facing employees.  Furthermore, Best Buy had not engaged the voices/howls of those that could help them serve the largest customer markets. 

Julie created a metholody and structure of innovation teams (wolf packs) of customers and employees spanning the globe and connected in person and virtually to key executive business leaders who could implement the best of the best ideas cutting across training, marketing, call center, webdesign, store design, hiring and other key elements of the business machine.

And winning outcomes it produced generating the most innovative outcomes producing documented revenue increases, positive brand transitions, traffic, and operating profits in all areas impacted.

"WOLF enables employees to be successful for WHO they are instead of IN SPITE of who they are," Former Best Buy CEO, 2006

The three pillars of Wolf maximized the growth in the business, engagement of employees, and impact to the community.

•    Commitment - to the business, customers and other members of the pack

•    Networking -  amongst at all levels internally and externally to nurture and support one another
•    Giveback - giving back to others in local communities.

Julie persevered and early into launching WOLF negotiated the exclusive rights to all WOLF intellectual property as well as the freedom to take WOLF to companies outside of Best Buy.  Wolf Means Business is now engaged with companies in many industries creating financial and cultural growth.

Four years after the dream which lead to the creation of WOLF, the business outcomes WOLF achieved are unprecedented and WOLF @ Best Buy continues:

 •    $4.4 billion increase in revenue from female customers
(11% increase in total company revenue)

Market Share

 •    Highest ever female market share in company history
•    Females became the majority of the most “valuable “customers

Brand Reputation
 •    Largest increase in brand perception in company history


 •    Passionate, global, viral customer networks growing market share and innovating new business offerings
•    Over 40,000 members in 40 plus countries

Performance Outcomes

 •    5% reduction in female turnover resulting in a minimum of $25 million in savings
•    18% increase in the number of female employees.
•    100% increase in females in the most profitable business unit
•    40% increase in female General Managers & General Managers In Training
•    60%  increase in female Operations Managers
•    30%  increase in female Customer Experience Managers

In March of 2009, Julie knew the time had come for her to depart Best Buy and take WOLF to other organizations and to continue to build a global women’s movement. Over the years, numerous Fortune 100 businesses and non-profits sought out WOLF for assistance in developing new product and service offerings for the female market. Julie formed WOLF Means Business in May 2009, and is now helping these and other organizations authentically innovate and grow their businesses.