Ashley Wilcox Helps Guide Female Entrepreneurs in New Reality TV Show

3.8.2024 Article, Faculty News, Real World Experience
Photo of people in the article

Ashley Wilcox, Director of Sustainability Initiatives at the Wake Forest School of Business, recently appeared as one of the coaches on Roku’s new docu-follow series Side Hustlers. With mentorship from investors Emma Grede and Ashley Graham, the show follows ambitious female entrepreneurs as they build their side hustles in the hopes of quitting their day jobs to pursue their dream careers full time.

Appearing as part of the Ally Innovation Hub segment in the third and fourth episodes of the debut season, Wilcox worked alongside Sharla Collins, Consumer Insights & Innovation Research Manager at Ally, to execute a full two-day Design Thinking workshop for the entrepreneurs, as well as provide market research and survey data to the investor team. At the time of filming, Wilcox was a Human Centered Design Facilitator and Product & Strategy Manager for Ally within their internal innovation studio, TM Studio, where she led internal innovation and strategy consulting and taught Design Thinking.

“It is by far one of the most fun projects I’ve had the opportunity to work on,” said Wilcox. “Being able to share the different methods and mindsets of Design Thinking with these entrepreneurs and then seeing them put those into practice, like going out and talking to customers, getting feedback, and leveraging those insights to improve their products and business models on their own was an unforgettable experience.”

Wilcox is also bringing her expertise to the classroom, where she teaches Design Thinking and High Performing Teams (BEM 384), an experiential learning course that harnesses Design Thinking principles and problem-solving for innovation and team dynamics. Students engage in hands-on projects and real-world challenges, cultivating the skills to navigate complexity with empathy, creativity, and strategic thinking. This course equips aspiring leaders and entrepreneurs with the problem-solving capabilities vital for success in fast-paced, innovative environments. Students develop a toolkit of abilities, mindsets, practices, and processes that prove invaluable in addressing the sustainability, management, strategy, and leadership issues of our time.

“What’s great about Design Thinking is that it’s completely industry and function agnostic, so it’s a really great tool for students to approach problem-solving and navigating ambiguity in realistic and highly impactful ways,” Wilcox said. “Plus it’s just a lot of fun.”

“As far as Side Hustlers goes, meeting all of these women on their unique journeys and helping them understand and amplify their businesses, to help them succeed, it’s been so amazing. And it’s the same thing here, I want to help students develop the capabilities to be curious, growth-minded, confident problem solvers ready to make a positive impact and create value for their organizations, society, and the world at large.”

The #1 on-demand title on The Roku Channel during its opening weekend, Side Hustlers has already been renewed for a second season (where Wilcox will also make an appearance), as well as picked up for broadcasting in the UK by ITV. The series is produced by Hello Sunshine, where Reese Witherspoon and Sara Rea executive produce, in association with Ally. Emma Grede, Co-Founder and CEO of Good American and Founding Partner of Skims, executive produces and will also appear in the series as an investor.