Third Act Podcast

Your first act is school, your second act is work, but have you thought about what you’re going to do in your third act? Join host Liz Tinkham, a former Accenture Senior Managing Director, as she talks to guests who are happily “pretired” – enjoying their time, treasure, and talent to pursue their purpose and passion in the third act of their life.

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The Human Library with Beverly Tarulli


Beverly Tarulli: The Human Library

This episode of The Third Act Podcast features Beverly Tarulli, the Human Library. This moniker is derived from her eternal passion for learning, guiding her initial studies at Franklin & Marshall that later progressed to earning her PhD in Industrial and Organizational Psychology.

Beverly’s high academic performance and drive landed her a job at Bell South, which is now AT&T, developing and validating tests to hire frontline workers. Her role at PepsiCo evolved over her fourteen year career, leading efforts in organization and talent development, global human resources, and eventually becoming the Vice President of Human Capital Strategy & Advanced Workforce Analytics. While working at PepsiCo, she was also a part-time faculty member at Columbia University. Prior to PepsiCo, Beverly worked at Accenture where she helped launch their Human Capital Practice. Now, as a newly appointed clinical assistant professor at NYU School of Professional Studies, Beverly specializes in human capital and human capital analytics.

Beverly prioritized her passion for people as truly human capital in every career move she made, coming full circle back to academia at NYU.. Hear more about Beverly’s insights on re-skilling your labor force, the impact of people in your organization, work-life balance, and more in the fourth episode of Third Act:

(00:32) Introduction to Beverly Tarulli
(01:53) Act 1: Franklin & Marshall and her path to psychology
(05:47) Act 2: Re-skilling employees to hire and develop talent in big corporations, started with Bell South
(06:27) Accenture and Human Performance Consulting: the impact of people on a project
(07:29) Challenges of budget allocated to change management to support her work, what kept her going
(10:14) Move to PepsiCo and building work life balance doing human capital strategy and advanced workforce analytics–building HR strategy framework as a student of CEO at the time, Indra Nooyi
(14:40) Act 3: the analytics behind the people
(17:53) Giving HR a seat at the table
(26:20) The true value behind technology: its impact
(27:11) The ethics of data and the implications
(27:57) COVID-19 and its impact to the world of academia
(29:24) Lifting and shifting doesn’t work: stop thinking about academia as second best option
(31:21) The Human Library: never done with learning

Get in touch with Beverly through her LinkedIn or follow her on Twitter.

Liz Tinkham (00:19):

Hi, welcome to Third Act, a podcast about people embracing the third act of their lives with a new sense of purpose and direction. I’m your host, Liz Tinkham, a retired Accenture executive. The third act begins when your script ends, but your show is not finished.

Liz Tinkham (00:32):

Today, I’m talking with Beverly Tarulli, newly appointed clinical assistant professor at NYU School of Professional Studies, specializing in human capital and human capital analytics. She’s the former Vice President of Human Capital Strategy and Advanced Workforce Analytics at PepsiCo, as well as having many other positions there during her 14 year career. She led a human capital practice at Accenture for several years, and has been a part-time faculty member at Columbia University for the past two years. Beverly earned a PhD in industrial and organizational psychology and started her career at Bell South, which is now AT&T, developing and validating tests to hire frontline workers.

Liz Tinkham (01:18):

So Bev, welcome to Third Act. I’m exhausted just reading your extensive bio and that didn’t even count your extracurricular activities.

Beverly Tarulli (01:25):

Well, thanks Liz. I’m thrilled to be here talking about my third act and how I got here.

Liz Tinkham (01:30):

Fantastic. So as you said, I call this podcast Third Act. The first act being school and getting your job. And I think most of my interviewees have been all straight A students. The usual, right? The second act being your person’s big career, even if it’s at multiple jobs. And the third act about finding your passion. So let’s get into that.

Liz Tinkham (01:48):

So previewing things, you were told early on to teach, is that correct?

Beverly Tarulli (01:53):

Yeah, I would frame it as more suggested than told, but back when I was in college, I was fortunate enough to attend a small liberal arts college called Franklin and Marshall, where I had great student teacher ratios, had a lot of contact with faculty, and I had access to a really great career center. And like a lot of students, when I went away to college, I sort of followed my heart and my interests. I ended up majoring in psychology, which interestingly enough at F&M was kind of empirical and experimental, not so much clinical.

Beverly Tarulli (02:25):

I knew I wanted to go to grad school and I chose industrial and organizational psychology to get my PhD, and in spite of the fact that, to be honest, I really had little idea of what it was. I had never taken a class in it, but it sounded interesting. And I wasn’t exactly sure what I should do with that degree once I got out. So I went to the career center and, if you’re familiar and you have done that, you complete interest inventories. And they kind of tell you what you’re similar to, like people in specific fields. And when the career psychologist looked at my results, he said, “You ought to go into academia.”

Beverly Tarulli (02:59):

Even in graduate school, the assumption was that once you earned your PhD, you’d go on and get a great job at a research university. When I went to school, I was one of the very few who wanted to work in industry once I got my PhD.  There were really two reasons for that. One was a little bit crass. I wanted to make more money than I thought I could teaching. The second reason was I saw an academic job at that time as a relatively lonely existence, especially the research side of things. And I really, even then, recognized that I derived my energy from working around other people. And I wanted to be part of a larger organization where I got to do that.

Liz Tinkham (03:39):

So you got your PhD. Talk a little bit about this first job you had developing and validating tests to hire frontline workers. Was that a new thing back then?

Beverly Tarulli (03:49):

No, actually not. Because industrial and organizational psychology is one of those sort of obscure areas that not a lot of people know a lot about, but it’s been around for 100, 125 years or so. And it really got its start, interestingly enough, in the military. So back during World War I, when they were conscripting hundreds, thousands of men, they needed an easy way to try to figure out, should you be in the artillery? Should you be in… And so they developed these tests to identify what abilities people had, so they could sort them. And that’s really the genesis of the field.

Beverly Tarulli (04:32):

So, it’s been around for awhile, but when I got out of school, my first job, as you mentioned, was at Bell South in Atlanta. You know that Bell South is, but for younger people who might not, it was one of what were called the regional operating companies that were created out of the breakup of AT&T back in the day. And now they’re back together again. So that just shows you a little bit of what happens in the M&A world. I joined a team there of a group of psychologists. It was called Human Resources Research and that’s where I created and validated employment tests. So I was the person who was doing all of the job analysis to identify what skills were needed and then created the tests. And sometimes they were aptitude tests, sometimes they were interviews, and then I validated them to make sure that we weren’t having an adverse impact on specific diverse groups. And I did that all for the frontline union represented jobs.

Liz Tinkham (05:33):


Beverly Tarulli (05:34):


Liz Tinkham (05:35):

How long did you do that for?

Beverly Tarulli (05:37):

Oh gosh, I was at Bell South for about seven and a half years. So I probably did that for about half of that time, maybe about three years. I had a chance to do something entirely different. It was an area that didn’t exist before. So it had been newly created in employee development, and we were focused on developing skills in employees outside of the classroom. So basically think of re-skilling, people talking about re-skilling today. Well, we were doing that back in the day.

Beverly Tarulli (06:06):

And so Bell South was a great experience entirely because I got exposed from a human capital perspective on the hiring and developing of talent in big corporations.

Liz Tinkham (06:15):

And then eventually, this is where I met you at Accenture. And I remember you were one of the early leaders in the human capital practice. Did you get hired specifically to do that?

Beverly Tarulli (06:26):

I did actually. I started in Atlanta and it was then Anderson Consulting, now Accenture. I was hired because I had a background in high-tech and telecommunications, which is the vertical I worked in primarily, and doing change management and human performance consulting.

Liz Tinkham (06:46):

What year was that? Do you remember?

Beverly Tarulli (06:49):

Oh, gosh. Mid-nineties.

Liz Tinkham (06:51):

Mid-nineties. So if I remember back then, that was when I was just jamming in giant systems and I can remember… about the mid-nineties, we had our first sort of human capital / change management person on the project who actually started thinking through what might be the impacts to the people on the project. I mean, it’s sort of a duh, thinking about it now. And here my thing is never touch technology unless you’ve figured out all the people’s part first, but what was it like? You must have been trying to push a rope uphill or whatever that phrase is against the Accenture culture at that point, or the Anderson culture?

Beverly Tarulli (07:29):

It absolutely was. As you point out, at the time Accenture/Anderson Consulting was very focused on the technology, big technology implementations, business process improvement. And honestly, every project was a challenge to get both the clients and the Accenture partners to spend the time and the money on the human aspects of the large transformations. And I might be getting the numbers wrong on this one, Liz, but I don’t think so. I remember the methodologies always suggested that the rule of thumb was that 25% of the budget was to be allocated to change management and training and communications, etc.

Beverly Tarulli (08:05):

And every time we were going to sell something to the client, we were lucky to get about 10%. And even then, that was the first place that they wanted to cut when money got tight on the project. And I think it got better over time, but it was always a bit of a struggle. It helped if the client kind of got it. So, clients always determined the direction that the project went. So if they were into that piece of it, then I think it made it a little bit easier.

Liz Tinkham (08:31):

What’s interesting to me is you kept at it because it’s obviously been your career, but you must have seen something in the development of this practice that kept you going during that. So if you think about your industrial and organizational psychology background, and then the development of that into a practice that can be implemented globally, what was starting to spark in the nineties and the early knots in terms of people’s understanding of human capital and why that was important?

Beverly Tarulli (09:02):

One of the things that the whole experience at Accenture made me think about and realize, and it’s really informed my thinking since then, was that when you’re talking about organizational performance, it really has to operate as a system. And we think of it as like, especially at Accenture, we had people who were experts in technology, experts in business process improvement, experts in strategy, experts in change management, people and human performance, but that’s not how the real world works. The whole thing is a system and you can’t just focus on one to the detriment of the other. And I think, when we talk about human capital management, I think of it that way. I don’t think of it as just a lot of HR people think of human capital management as the talent piece of the equation. I see it much broader because I don’t think you can separate out the talent from the ecosystem that it operates in.

Liz Tinkham (10:07):

So you eventually leave and go to PepsiCo. Why did you do that? And what did you go to do?

Beverly Tarulli (10:14):

I got an opportunity to go to PepsiCo, which was interesting because I had never worked in consumer products before. So that was a bit of a jump and learning a new industry in its entirety. I spent a lot of time doing a lot of reading, trying to understand. Of course, every industry has their own acronyms. So I had to learn a whole new language in effect. But my first role was leading a team that was doing organization and management development for the corporate group. So I was working at a headquarters, think of it as supporting the C-suite execs and their groups and their functions on everything from doing employee surveys and then actioning against those surveys, making sure that employees were engaged. At that time, we were talking about work-life balance, which we know is sort of kind of a misnomer, I think. And I also got requests to develop the first finance university for PepsiCo and also was deeply involved in succession planning for the most senior roles. And did that for probably three years or so.

Beverly Tarulli (11:15):

And then switched entirely and became an HR business partner for multiple global functions, including our operations, which are all of our plants all over the world, procurement, R&D, finance and legal. And then most recently at PepsiCo, I led a team doing human capital strategy and advanced workforce analytics.

Liz Tinkham (11:33):

Got it. And during that time, somewhere in there, Indra Nooyi became the CEO. Was that when you got there or shortly afterwards?

Beverly Tarulli (11:42):

Yes, I joined in September of 2006. Indra became CEO in October of 2006. She was CEO for 12 years. So for the majority of my tenure PepsiCo. Working in the corporate headquarters, I had a pretty good amount of exposure to Indra, and I like to always describe it as, I became a student of hers, just watching her over the years, and it was really fascinating to see how she developed into a CEO, if you will.

Liz Tinkham (12:11):

I’m sure. And she asked you to do an HR strategy for her, right?

Beverly Tarulli (12:16):

Yeah. So a few years into my tenure, the CHRO was asked to develop an HR strategy because, believe it or not, I think up until that point, we really had not had a PepsiCo-wide HR strategy. So I was tasked with leading a small team of people to do that, which was really quite fascinating. We ended up with a framework that set out the work that we did over the next five years, all the way from the technology pieces of HR, because at the time it was pretty dispersed. So we had data in different places. And so we were trying to bring all that together all the way through, what kind of cultural aspects we wanted to sort of develop. And back then, when we were doing this, remember the BRICs countries, so everything was happening in Brazil, China, Russia, India. And so, we were looking at how do we shift our talent, if you will, to some of those places and what were some of the things that we had to think about there? So that was probably 2008 or 2009. And then, since it was a five-year plan, we needed to refresh it. So around about 2014, ’15, somewhere in there, we were asked to redo it within this construct around digital transformation. So it was kind of, “Hey, recreate or refresh our talent strategy and do it within this framework of digital transformation.” But the thing is, it seems like a no brainer today, but at the time, no one was really talking about it and understood what that meant or very few people.

Beverly Tarulli (13:51):

So again, one of the things that I learned along the way that informed that strategy was, we didn’t just talk about people. We talked about infrastructure. We talked about organization capabilities that were going to need to be developed, which then leads you to, well, do you go hire a bunch of people that, for example, know e-commerce? Do you develop them internally? Etc. And then of course the employee experience, which was starting to be discussed pretty heavily at that point. So to me, that was just another example of how human capital management has to be thought of as part of this broader system.

Liz Tinkham (14:28):

You’ve also told me that you had started this practice around people analytics or PepsiCo started it, talk about what that meant at PepsiCo.

Beverly Tarulli (14:38):

Yeah, that’s a great question because I think there’s a lot of confusion about what people analytics is, and it means different things to different people. For me, it’s a bit of an imprecise term. So, if you talk to people at some companies, what they mean by analytics is really reporting and dashboards. So, they’re reporting out on some metrics on a regular basis, which is true, and that is part of people analytics.

Beverly Tarulli (15:03):

But when I took over the group in 2014, I determined that reporting really wasn’t a value add for my team. So we had a whole group of people, a large organization doing the HRIS stuff, we were responsible for the data. I was not responsible for the data. So my team was very focused, it was a small team, it was about 12 people at max on more value added analytics.

Beverly Tarulli (15:27):

So, I’ll give you my definition of how I see people analytics. I see it as kind of the application of statistics, technologies and experimental approaches to solving people-related business problems. And there’s a lot to unpack in that sentence, but again, I focus in on business problems that have a people component to them.

Beverly Tarulli (15:47):

I think I did something that, based on my network of people analytics experts, that was a little bit atypical when I dealt my team. I intentionally hired a very diverse team of people, not just demographically, but in terms of their academic backgrounds. So I had PhDs in chemistry and economics and sociology and biology and some stats and comp sci people and somebody with a marketing analytics degree. And the rationale behind that was, I always felt that if you take people that have different backgrounds, they’re going to come at a problem slightly differently, and I always think you come up with a better solution that way.

Liz Tinkham (16:27):

So that’s interesting. So you had a chemistry PhD looking at your people analytics?

Beverly Tarulli (16:33):

I did. He was awesome. He was actually from Yale. He had a PhD from Yale in chemistry and he was one of the guys that did a lot of the work. We did a model at one point, looking at what people related factors actually drive financial performance. So it was a model looking at a six and 12 month lag on financial performance in each of our businesses. And we looked at a variety of different variables to see what popped. So he was really driving that. Having a chemist on the team was terrific because they bring a very different perspective and they’re familiar with different datasets than everybody else.

Beverly Tarulli (17:12):

I actually had a computational genomist on my team which, again, fascinating guy, but he was amazing at building applications. So we actually had him building apps for us and mining social media. And so they all kind of brought a different skill set and different way of looking at things. It was great. I loved working with them.

Liz Tinkham (17:36):

So I like to sort of thread the needle on how my guests get to their third act, which we’re going to talk about here in a minute when you go to NYU. But it’s clear to me that this research on people decisions, the science around it is something you’ve always had a passion for. Do I have that right?

Beverly Tarulli (17:53):

Yeah. I think, for me, having been around HR people and in the HR space for a number of years, I think the one thing that has frustrated me a little bit is I didn’t see HR being as grounded in data and using data to make decisions. And that’s very different from other functions. You look at marketing and how they’ve evolved over time and finance. And I think, businesses are run on numbers so business people are used to looking at numbers. I didn’t understand why HR would be different and I think ultimately, for years I was tired of hearing HR doesn’t get invited to the table or have a seat at the table. And I think part of it was because we didn’t talk in their language.

Liz Tinkham (18:39):

Got it. Yeah. Good point.

Beverly Tarulli (18:41):

Once you start talking in their language and I will tell you, Liz, during my time running the analytics team there, it was always easier to work directly with the business executives than it was with the HR executives, because the business guys just got it right away and they could see the value in it right away.

Liz Tinkham (19:00):

Oh, isn’t that interesting. And you’d said to me that you thought PepsiCo did a really good job with their people analytics program. I assume you saw what some other companies were doing, what sort of set them apart?

Beverly Tarulli (19:13):

I don’t know that I would say other… There are tons of companies out there who are doing great people analytics work for sure. But, the things that I thought were the most impactful at PepsiCo were always things that either saved the company money, made them more efficient…I’ll just give you a few examples, and these are more HR rather than business, but I can give you some business examples too. But one of the things we were able to do for our recruiting folks was, they were going to 125 campuses every a year, just in very simple things that we did and built for them, allowed them to reduce the numbers of campuses they went to every year by almost 50% in some cases, depending upon what they were recruiting for. And also identified some campuses that they should have been going to, universities that they had not been thinking about because it just wasn’t on their radar screen. But these produced very qualified students who would be successful and also were more diverse. And so it was like a win-win.

Liz Tinkham (20:24):

You left Pepsi this year, PepsiCo, and given your resume and expertise, I assume you were very sought out by some other corporations for big HR jobs, but you chose to not do that. Why is that?

Beverly Tarulli (20:39):

Yes. So I left in February and I did, of course, get contacted by quite a few roles, even interestingly enough, even during the COVID crisis. But after 30 years, 30+ years actually in corporate America, the way I would describe it is I was ready to be re-energized. When we were talking about this kind of third act idea, the sense that you’re not done yet, I think is pretty common among people who are in our generation, if you will. For me, I still get excited when I learn something, some cool new thing.

Beverly Tarulli (21:14):

So for me, it was like, I know I’m not done, but I couldn’t get energized about another corporate job. So, I knew that wasn’t the right thing to do at that point.

Liz Tinkham (21:24):

Well, I should probably ask, how did you get teaching at Columbia and then how did you end up at NYU from there?

Beverly Tarulli (21:31):

Yeah. So Columbia is really interesting. The one thing that I think I’ve learned as I got older is to say, yes, more. Really, seriously.

Liz Tinkham (21:42):

I know. I know. I got told to do that when I retire. Say yes for the first year, I’ve become so good at saying no, because I was always overbooked.

Beverly Tarulli (21:50):

Exactly. So about two and a half years ago, Columbia called me, a recruiter called me and she’s like, “Hey, do you want to teach?” So I started teaching. Actually, I think I may have been their first hire in the human capital management Master’s program at Columbia. So I started teaching part-time. I actually developed the introductory course and then taught it. And then I taught some people analytics stuff, but people kept asking me early on, why I was doing it. You don’t do it for the money for sure. But I was thinking, why not? If I hate it, I’ll just stop doing it. But after the first semester, I was kind of hooked, to be honest. At the end of the first class, I had a bunch of students come up and thank me and ask me if I was teaching other classes that they could take.

Beverly Tarulli (22:39):

And I just have a funny story. I’ll tell you and then of course you get your student evaluations several weeks after classes end. One Saturday morning, I was reading them. I got them online. And I laughed out loud when I read one student comments, because she said, “Oh, I was talking to a friend about you.” You know, the instructor. And she said to the friend, “I wonder if she has a son I could marry. So I can just listen to her talk about academic papers she’s read.” And I just laughed out loud. I thought, that’s the best comment I think I’ve ever gotten on feedback.

Liz Tinkham (23:16):

Oh, I love that. I wonder if she has a son. It is, as a teacher myself, there’s nothing better than reading those positive reviews from the young students who are like, “You’re amazing.” Because they write things like that. “You’re so amazing. I’ve learned so much. You’re so inspiring.” Coming out of corporate, maybe you got one piece of feedback a year, you’re doing fine.

Beverly Tarulli (23:36):

Exactly. Exactly.

Liz Tinkham (23:40):

Oh, that’s so funny. All right. How did you end up at NYU?

Beverly Tarulli (23:51):

So this is a great example of the importance of getting out there and networking. For years I belonged to various professional organizations and through one of them I met and became friendly with the woman who happens to be the academic director for the human capital management program at NYU. And every time I spoke to her, she was trying to convince me to come and teach for her. But I just couldn’t fit that in my schedule. And it just so happened that when I decided to leave PepsiCo, she had a full-time position available.

Beverly Tarulli (24:22):

There were quite a few challenges because think about the timing of this. It was around March of this year. So I had to interview and do my presentation to the committee all online and then they put on a hiring freeze. So they had to get an exception with the provost, but it all worked out, and I was super excited about this next chapter.

Liz Tinkham (24:43):

And what is it you’re going to teach?

Beverly Tarulli (24:46):

I’m actually the program lead for the human capital analytics and technology master’s degree program.

Liz Tinkham (24:52):

Wow. Okay.

Beverly Tarulli (24:54):

So I’ll be teaching both analytics and I’ll be teaching general human capital management courses, but also trying to grow the program, establishing relationships with companies that may want to either work with students on projects or hire them afterwards. And the human capital analytics and technology program there, it’s actually pretty cool because it’s, I think the only, as far as I could tell when I did my research, the only STEM-designated program by the US Department of Education. So means it meets certain qualifications for quantitative methods and skills to increase STEM employment in the US. It’s largely online, which is great. And it was designed that way and it kind of focuses on current trends, so it’s constantly refreshed.

Liz Tinkham (25:43):

You’re going to pull through all of your people analytics learnings, and the importance, etc. Is that the thread you’re going to push to your students, sort of the examples that you’ve given us here?

Beverly Tarulli (25:55):

Yeah. I did teach a people analytics class at Columbia last semester. And one of the things that I think is important, at least for me, analytics is a funny thing. You get some people who are… I remember doing a podcast several years ago and they were interviewing me and the guy said to me, “Well, what technologies are you most excited about?” And I said to him, “Well, it’s not that I’m excited.” I said, “Getting excited about technologies is sort of like you’re building a house and you get excited about the hammer.” To me, the technologies are important, but they’re important for a broader purpose. So you can think of analytics and get all excited about whether it’s AI or the next big thing, VR.

Beverly Tarulli (26:38):

And you can get yourself steeped into the… And it’s important, this stuff’s important, into the analytics and the statistics and all those sorts of things. But at the end of the day, for me, the thing that I want to infuse in students is thinking about, lifting their head up and thinking about, “Okay, well, what’s the impact all of this is having, and what are some of the things you need to be thinking about?” Because one of the things I wrestled with very early on when I took on the analytics role was, just because you can do things doesn’t necessarily mean you should do them.

Liz Tinkham (27:12):

I was just going to ask you that about ethics.

Beverly Tarulli (27:14):

Absolutely. The ethics around using data. When I was at PepsiCo I used to joke that I had the legal team on speed dial because we always worked with the lawyers to understand both privacy and employment. To understand, well, what are some of the implications? And they always kept us pretty honest about like, “Well, why do you want to do that? What’s the business case for doing that?” Which I think is helpful to have people sort of challenge your thinking on certain things.

Liz Tinkham (27:44):

So you and I talked a little bit about a reckoning in higher ed post COVID-19, and I think I’ve mentioned, I’m a big fan of your fellow Professor Scott Galloway who does a podcast called Pivot. And he talks about this all the time, but what do you see happening and how might that impact your work at NYU?

Beverly Tarulli (28:01):

Yeah. That’s a really big question in the educational community. And in a lot of ways, I’m excited to be at this place at this time because it, and I think Scott might describe it as a reckoning. I think it is a reckoning. But NYU has publicly announced that they’re going to be bringing students back to campus in the fall and several other universities have done something similar. And I think Scott makes this point too. The details of what that looks like are probably to be determined. And I think that’s okay because the situation is so fluid. So even in New York and the New York, New Jersey area where I live, we had that big horror at the beginning. Things got better. Now you’re starting to see a little bit of an uptick, again, as things open up and people come from other parts of the country. So, it’s a pretty dynamic situation. And I think that the universities are having to be very agile about that.

Beverly Tarulli (29:00):

But I do have a few thoughts. I think bringing students back to campus is probably more important for undergrads than grad students in some cases, other than maybe people who do lab work. But I think the student experience is just particularly important for freshmen and other undergraduates. The program I lead personally is already designed primarily online. So this is less of an issue for us, but the other thing that, and in fact, we were just having a strategic planning session within the program at NYU the other day. I made the point that, I think in academia, we have to stop thinking about online learning as kind of a second best option. Academia is notoriously change adverse. So they don’t like to change. And I think it is unfortunate that because of the coronavirus and everybody had to take their in-person courses and shift them online. So it wasn’t necessarily the greatest online experience. Simply lifting and shifting doesn’t work.

Beverly Tarulli (29:58):

You really have to design intentionally to have a good online experience. And I frankly think if we take a step back and do it well, I don’t think it could be second best at all. I think it can be just as good, maybe even better in some cases.

Liz Tinkham (30:14):

Yeah. I would agree.

Beverly Tarulli (30:15):

But you can’t have the mindset of, “Oh, I just want to take my in-person class and put it online.” It doesn’t work that way.

Liz Tinkham (30:21):

At the University of Washington where I teach, they’re already telling us we’re going to go back, but be prepared to go online at any minute, just depending on what happens with the virus and lots of education coming down through the spring and the summer about best practices of going online. And I agree with you. You’ve got to approach it completely differently and think about the technology and how to make the technology more user effective as well. Using all its features, how do you keep people engaged? I have talked to graduate students who actually love this because they can fit it into their schedules. They feel they don’t waste as much time commuting to campus, etc. But I think you’re right on the undergraduate experience. We’ll have to see what happens there.

Liz Tinkham (31:13):

I thought about naming this podcast, and you mentioned this, I’m Not Done Yet, because that’s how I feel. So what aren’t you done with yet?

Beverly Tarulli (31:21):

Well, I’m definitely not done learning. One of the people who used to work for me at PepsiCo called me a human library one time. So I thought that was great. So I love that. I love learning all kinds of new things, so I’m definitely not done with that. And I get excited about it. I’m definitely not done spreading the gospel of the importance of evidence-based decision-making and HR. We’ve talked about it, but a lot of companies and organizations still aren’t doing it to the best of their ability. So those two things, this evidence-based decision-making as well as the systems approach to human capital management. I think these are two things that human capital management in general and HR as a function could really benefit from going forward. So kind of going to be the evangelist for that.

Liz Tinkham (32:13):

You’ll be creating all kinds of proteges who will be evangelizing for you, right? Through the NYU program.

Beverly Tarulli (32:18):


Liz Tinkham (32:19):

I love that.

Beverly Tarulli (32:20):

Exactly. And that was my third sort of, what am I excited about? What am I not done with? But I’m super excited because you think about it, and you have this experience teaching it at the University of Washington, you have the ability to influence how these people are thinking and how they’re going to be leading in HR, in the future. And that’s pretty cool.

Liz Tinkham (32:42):

It’s super cool. And it’s funny because I teach in the business school and a lot of times I’ll get students who will ask me about their major. And if any of them say they’re even leaning towards HR, I push them so hard. I’m like, “I think that is the most important field going forward of any of the management disciplines.” Because number one, I think it’s much harder than people give it credit for, because people are always the hardest part of any problem. And I just see it as completely a differentiating factor for companies going forward and how they use their data, how they create the right employee experience, how they create a, if you will, maybe college or even before college experience for their employees to create a good brand, etc. Because that’s what employees demand. So I think we’re on the same wavelength there.

Beverly Tarulli (33:32):

Yeah. Great. So thanks for pushing people to HR.

Liz Tinkham (33:35):

And I’ll push them to NYU for graduate school. How’s that?

Beverly Tarulli (33:40):

There you go.

Liz Tinkham (33:40):

They can come and see you. Anyway, well thank you Beverly for being on Third Act and you know what? We’ll have you back to talk about the program you’ve created and the thousands of minds you’ve influenced online and in-person. It would be interesting to see.

Beverly Tarulli (33:53):

That’s great. I look forward to it, Liz, and thanks for the opportunity to talk about my third act. I’m really looking forward to it.

Liz Tinkham (34:02):

Thanks for joining me today to listen to the Third Act podcast. You can find show notes, guest bios, and more at If you enjoyed our show today, please subscribe and write a review on your favorite podcast platform. I’m your host, Liz Tinkham, I’ll be back next week with another guest who’s found new meaning and fulfillment in the third act of their life.

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