[UPDATE: CANCELLED] PREVIEW: WHO KNEW Women Who Rock at Nashville’s City Winery

WHO KNEW offers a chance for music professionals to network and hear from experts about exciting topics in the industry. [Update: Unfortunately it was announced that this event has been cancelled. You can still learn more about WHO KNEW in the article]

Poster for WHOW KNEW Women Who Rock 2022 at Nashville's City Winery

To get ready for the event, East of 8th did a quick Q & A with Tom Truitt, founder of WHO KNEW.

Nashville is well known for its collaborative music community.  An introduction between friends here, a handshake and a business card there, all leading up to a meeting over a cup of coffee…that’s how the Music City gets business done.  Like everything else in the world, this got turned upside down as we all scrambled to adapt to digital networking.  Fortunately, things are safely reopening, allowing one of our favorite industry events, WHO KNEW, to return to its live format.

For all of you who let out a collective groan about “networking,” we feel you.  The good news (and the reason the event has its loyal following) is that WHO KNEW’s real purpose is to share ideas.  It’s also a curated program of guest speakers sharing stories about how they got into the industry, their career paths, the exciting projects they’re working on, and even some tips to help the rest of us. 

Presented in the style of a TED Talk, WHO KNEW has covered some amazing ground over the years with us hearing from CEOs, music supervisors, festival creators, and famous rock stars (Mike Mills from R.E.M. and Michelle Phillips from the Mamas & the Papas stand out). The topics have been as widespread as copyright, blockchain, rising stars of the industry, music non-profits, video game/music partnerships, and too many more to name.

Tickets for WHO KNEW…Women Who Rock 2022 can be purchased through the City Winery Website at this link.

Q & A With Tom Truitt, Founder of WHO KNEW:

Eof8th: A lot of the Nashville music industry already knows you, but why don’t you tell us a little bit about what you do and how it’s connected to WHO KNEW?

TT: In short, I am a music industry headhunter which means I place senior level executives into music industry jobs globally. My clients run the gamut of every kind of musical enterprise you can think of from Live Nation, to record labels, to publishers, PRO’s, venues, festivals and platforms. If it has music in it, I do it.

Tom Truitt With Mike Mills At WHO KNEW in Nashville
Tom Truitt With Mike Mills At WHO KNEW

Eof8th: As the founder of the event, what does WHO KNEW mean to you?

TT: WHO KNEW is something that I am very proud of. It was started on a dare six years ago and loosely patterned after a very popular event series in New York called the New York Tech meet up. Think Ted talks for the music industry where we have 5-6 highly accomplished music execs delivering a 12 minute talk about their lives, careers, etc. Pre-COVID, we produced a total of 38 of these events and all were very popular and successful.

Eof8th: Putting on programs of this size takes a lot of work. What inspires you to do this?

TT. The reason I do these events is very simple. I like to shine a light on people and their great works. I love putting people on stage and giving them an opportunity to promote themselves, their companies and their causes. And I have learned over the years that when you shine a light on other people, it reflects back on you.

Tom Truitt Interviewing Guest Michael Dorff
Tom Truitt interviewing guest Michael Dorff

Eof8th: This upcoming event is called Women Who Rock.  You do that program every year with different guests.  This is obviously an important event for you.

TT: Our annual Women Who Rock event has always been my favorite. I have a very soft spot in my heart for women, especially in this industry. I was raised by four very strong women and have always had many extraordinary female friendships that are very important to me. In the music industry, women have always been unfortunately treated as second class citizens in a very general sense. My Women Who Rock event is an opportunity to showcase exceptionally talented female executives and promote them as leaders in the business.

Who Knew Women Who Rock 2020
WHO KNEW Women Who Rock 2020 Group Photo L to R: Tom Truitt, Devon O’Day,
Beverley Keel, Susan Stewart, Beville Dunkerley, Katie Pruitt, Portia Sabin, Samantha Saturn, Heather McBee

Eof8th:  Like the rest of the world, WHO KNEW went online during the pandemic with a series called Smartest People in the Room.  How was that different from the live events that you were used to doing?

TT: The Smartest People In The Room is arguably the smartest single thing I’ve ever done. As mentioned earlier, pre-pandemic, WHO KNEW was on a roll. When COVID hit, we realized we could no longer do any live events so I pivoted to an online series and rebranded it as The Smartest People In The Room. These are one on one conversations between two really interesting and talented executives. To date, we’ve done over 140 of these events and I am very proud of the series and who we have featured. We will continue to do these every week regardless of COVID.

You can watch a replay of The Smartest People In the Room on YouTube

Eof8th: Women Who Rock sees the return of WHO KNEW to being a live event.  How excited are you?

TT: As mentioned earlier, WHO KNEW was the OG of all my events, whether live or online. I am hoping that with COVID seemingly relaxing a little bit that we can get back to a normal life and opportunity to meet in person. I am very excited to do this and hope that many others will come out and support these exceptional women.

Time, Ticket and Speaker Information:

WHO KNEW…Women Who Rock will take place LIVE at Nashville’s City Winery on March 30, 2022.  Doors are at 5:30 PM and the program with speakers starts at 6:30.  Tickets can be purchased on the City Winery site at this link.

Women Who Rock 2020 features a diverse group of music industry leaders:

Sherry Deutschmann – Founder & CEO – BrainTrust
Zing Shaw – President – TurnkeyZRG 
Peggy Dold – Founder – Navigation Partners LLC
Raven Hernandez – Founder – Earth Rides
Jane Allen – CEO – The Nashville Entrepreneur Center
Stephanie So – Co-Founder and Chief Development Officer – GEEQ
Heather McBee – (Emcee), Executive Director – Mending Hearts 
Mitzi Dawn – special musical guest

Photos from Past WHO KNEW events:


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