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Leadership & OD SIG: "Lessons on Leadership from Professional Sports"

  • April 25, 2023
  • 5:30 PM - 8:00 PM
  • SAP US Headquarters: 3999 West Chester Pike Newtown Square, PA 19073



In the world of professional sports, performance is everything. And performance doesn’t happen without leadership.

Think about it — how far would professional athletes and their team go without great leadership? Performance is elevated to its highest levels through the support, feedback, coaching, team development, goal setting, and motivation athletes are provided by their leaders. Leadership can elevate an individual and team to a champion.

In this ATD-PHL Leadership & OD SIG panel, we’ll learn from senior leaders of professional sports and how to apply their leadership lessons to our own organizations. 

You’ll hear from:

  • Kristie Pappal – Vice President of Human Resources for the Philadelphia Eagles

  • Tony Greco – Managing Director of Field Services, United States Golf Association (USGA)

  • Andrew Brandt – Executive Director, Moorad Center for the Study of Sports Law, Villanova Law School

  • Torrey Wilkinson, Ph.D. – Professional Equestrian

  • Athalie Paynting – Former Semi-Pro Wrestler

Please join us and panel moderator Lori Zukin, Ph.D. (CEO and Founder, Zukin Leadership) for this event, and explore how the lessons of leadership from the competitive arena (and their back offices) can help you support leadership development in your own organization.

Agenda: 5:30 – 8:00 pm

5:30 – 6:30 pm: Registration / Light Meal / Networking
6:30 – 8:00 pm: Welcome & Program

This event is sponsored by:

The Judge Group

Speaker Bios:

Kristie Pappal | VP, HR for the Philadelphia Eagles


Kristie Pappal joined the Philadelphia Eagles in 2007 and currently serves as the Vice President of Human Resources. In this role she provides comprehensive human resources leadership as well as serves as a confidant and consultant to the senior leadership team.

Kristie came to the Eagles from Town Sports International (TSI), parent company of New York, Philadelphia, Boston, and Washington Sports Clubs where she was the Director of Human Resources.  Prior to working with TSI, Kristie was the Human Resources Representative for Iron Mountain.

She holds a Master of Science in Human Resource Management from Fox School of Business at Temple University and a Bachelor of Science in Labor & Industrial Relations and a minor in Psychology from Penn State University.  Kristie serves on several boards in the Greater Philadelphia area.  She was the 2015 recipient of the Penn State University College of Liberal Arts Outstanding Young Alumni Award and 2018 recipient of the Distinguished Alumni from the School of Labor and Employment Relations.

Tony Greco | Managing Director of Field Services - US Golf Association (USGA)

Profile photo of Tony Greco

Tony Greco is the Managing Director of the United States Golf Association (USGA) for over 5 years. In his role, Tony leads a national team of Regional Affairs Directors who are responsible for creating and implementing a long-term vision for strengthening the USGA’s relationship with the 59 Allied Golf Association (AGA) partners in America, as well as other national and international golf associations and federations. In addition, he manages the relationship with their 400+ Volunteer Committee Members.

As a member of senior leadership, Tony participates with C-Suite leaders on the Strategic Planning & Execution team. He has led the customer experience stakeholder group, responsible for identifying key priorities and KPIs for execution and to create an enterprise-wide prioritization process.

Tony was co-author of the first ever strategic plan in the Green Section’s 100-year history. A major component of the strategy was to take ownership of the sales and marketing teams which has reversed a 10-year decline in revenue and market share.

Andrew Brandt | Executive Director of the Jeffrey S. Moorad Center for the Study of Sports Law and Professor of Practice at Villanova University

Professor Andrew Brandt   

Andrew Brandt is the Executive Director of the Jeffrey S. Moorad Center for the Study of Sports Law and Professor of Practice at Villanova University. He is a nationally-recognized accomplished sports executive, regularly cited in local and national publications on sports legal and business issues. 

On the media side, Brandt served as the Legal and Business Analyst for ESPN from 2011-2017. He is a featured columnist for both Sports Illustrated and The Athletic, hosts a weekly podcast "The Business of Sports with Andrew Brandt", and publishes a newsletter, Sunday Seven.

After attending Stanford University and Georgetown University Law School, Brandt was a sports agent representing top athletes such as Michael Jordan, Patrick Ewing and Boomer Esiason. He then became General Manager of the Barcelona Dragons in the NFL's World League, introducing American football to Spain.  Later Brandt returned to player representation representing NFL players.

Brandt left the agent side for the team side when he was named Vice President of the Green Bay Packers from 1999-2008.  Brandt also consulted and negotiated contracts for the Philadelphia Eagles from 2009-10.

Torrey Wilkinson | Professional Equestrian

Torrey Wilkinson, PhD, PMP

As a career professional, Torrey spent over 15 years in corporate talent strategy and HR leadership roles after completing her PhD in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from North Carolina State University.  She led teams and human capital engagements for 10 years at Booz Allen Hamilton followed by over 5 years as a Senior HR Business Partner at Vanguard where she also helped create Break the Stigma – an employee resource group dedicated to breaking the stigma and shame associated with mental illness.

As an equestrian, Torrey starting taking riding lessons as a child. She continued her passion for riding throughout college, graduate school and her early professional career before creating Alterra Equestrian – a 24-stall boarding and dressage training operation.   

Torrey combines her passion and expertise from years of leadership studies to coach riders to achieve their performance goals.  She also competes her own horses at the top levels of the sport and serves as a dressage judge for local shows while pursuing her license for the higher levels. Torrey has earned several bronze, silver and gold medals, as well as placed multiple times at the USDF National Finals and Dressage at Devon.

Athalie Paynting | Business Development Professional and former Semi-Pro Wrestler

Athalie Paynting is a business development professional who has been working in the architectural and design arena for 15 years. Her sales and market experience has been honed across roles serving small to medium family-owned businesses to multi-national corporations. 

Athalie holds a bachelor’s degree in Interior Design and a Master’s in Education. She was on the board for the Greater Philadelphia chapter in 2020-2021.

Athalie was a semi-pro wrestler known as “The Wrathalie” with B.L.O.W.W. (The Boston League of Women Wrestlers) from 2005 to 2010.  She also facilitates select group workshops and private wrestling coaching as a vehicle for personal and leadership development.

Lori Zukin | CEO and Founder, Zukin Leadership

Lori Zukin 

Lori Zukin, Ph.D., is founder and CEO of Zukin Leadership. As an executive, team coach, and consultant, Lori empowers her clients to do what they love, and love what they do. She supports clients across a broad range of sectors from the NFL to Under Armour and Baker Tilly to Slalom Consulting. 

Prior to founding Zukin Leadership, she was an executive at Booz Allen Hamilton where she led a team of 90 human capital consultants. In addition to her consulting and coaching work, Lori teaches coaches-in-training at, Georgetown University and at Corentus Inc.

A faculty member at Georgetown University’s Institute for Transformational Leadership, Lori draws on her days as an executive at Booz Allen Hamilton—leading a team, building the business, and developing others—to relate to leaders’ needs and support breakthrough moments.

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