#79: Why Talent Optimization is a Team Sport with Kristie Pappal and Jodie Cunningham

About Kristie Pappal

Kristie Pappal serves as the Vice President of Human Resources with the Philadelphia Eagles where she provides comprehensive human resources leadership including developing and leading HR strategy and policy, cultivating a positive and productive work environment, engagement and inclusion, internal communications, talent acquisition, employee relations, benefits and wellness, compensation, and organizational development.

About Jodie Cunningham

Jodie J. Cunningham is the CEO and talent optimization expert at Optimus Talent Partners. As a Predictive Index Certified Partner, she specializes in workforce analytics, helping organizations get the right people in the right roles and grow their exceptional talent. Jodie is also a Talent Strategist and Search Consultant for Kopplin, Kuebler and Wallace, where she provides Human Resources executive placement services for luxury country clubs, golf clubs and resorts throughout the United States.

Top 3 Takeaways

  1.  Every business is a people business. A sports franchise depends on its people just like every other business. Yours may not be as high-profile as an NFL team, but you need to set your people up for success.
  2. Make the case. Don’t presume that everybody is as excited about your proposal as you are. Tie your recommendation to issues in the business and demonstrate how it will deliver real results.
  3. Slow and steady. When introducing a new program or solution, resist the urge to move too quickly. Allow those you need to absorb the change so they don’t get overwhelmed. They’ll catch up to you in time.

From Our Sponsor

The Predictive Index (PI) is an award-winning talent optimization platform that aligns business strategy with people strategy for optimal business results. More than 60 years of proven science, software, and a curriculum of insightful management workshops make PI the solution for any company looking to design great teams and culture, make objective hiring decisions, foster engagement, and inspire greatness in their people anywhere in the world. More than 10,000 clients and 480+ partners use PI—including Nissan, Citizens Bank, Subway, Blue Cross Blue Shield, and Omni Hotels—across 90+ countries. Learn more at predictiveindex.com.

From the Source(s)


“One thing every day that I remind myself is that there's 32 opportunities across the NFL. There's certain perceptions—people really do only see what's on the field—but I'm really proud when people join the team and see what a robust business that this sports organization is.”

“We talked about having these quick little sessions that were virtual and, and people could sign in from their own computers on their own times to, um, you know, to build that muscle for themselves.”

“You need to make sure that people are really prepared and have the tools to lead other people.”

“Embracing that crawl, walk, run philosophy of people recognized the value and they started to talk about it and then it built that curiosity and from there. It's opened more departments that have been interested and it's more of a pull that our managers are coming forward and asking for this or they're curious about what this looks like.”


“HR and talent, no matter what the industry, we all have a lot of the same challenges. And so being able to share best practices from industry to industry is important.”

“Managers are craving leadership development. Many times, no matter what industry, managers are promoted because they were great at doing the job, but now their job is to lead people, and they don't necessarily have those tools in their toolbox to be able to do that. Nobody really taught them, or they've never been through a class to learn how to lead. And so being able to use and learn PI as a language, as a basis, as a foundation to start really developing a leadership style to get the most out of the team to be able to achieve the business objectives.”

“Half of the building is all about coaching: giving feedback in the moment, positive or constructive, making sure that players understand where they stand in terms of their performance. That happens naturally on that side of the building, but what I often I found as a wow when I joined the NFL is how that doesn't always happen on the business side of the building because those those leaders haven't gained those knowledges and skills and experience to be able to give that feedback in real time, making sure that that we're driving the game for the performance that we're looking for. And so also being able to share that knowledge across the building is an important component of kind of driving that talent optimization.”

Connect with Kristie

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kristie-pappal/

Website: https://www.philadelphiaeagles.com/

Eagles Autism Challenge: https://www.eaglesautismchallenge.org/

Connect with Jodie

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/optimustalentpartners/

Website: https://www.optimustalentpartners.com/