Among Hoffman's initiatives was the revamping of PRADCO's engagement survey and developing training modules around such concepts as leadership identity, navigating the transition from individual contributor to management and coaching critical thinking skills.

Management Consultant

PRADCO

Ernest Hoffman was at a crossroads.

Out of high school, he followed a calling into ministry, leading his own congregation by the age of 26. But he also earned a degree in psychology at University of Akron, and that subject had become a passion.

He wanted to integrate the psych field and its data into something revolutionary. So he made a leap of faith and returned to Akron for a master's and a doctorate and has since used his passion for psychology, statistics and spirituality to revolutionize hiring practices at PRADCO Talent Assessment & Management Services.

The results earned Hoffman the 2016 Future Leader HR award.

"We are moving to a place in human resources where things need to be integrated, so we can have a greater appreciation for what one realm can say to the other," Hoffman says. "I think, and am hoping, I am leading the way and getting people of different perspectives talking to each other."

Hoffman was pursuing his doctorate in industrial organizational psychology when he joined PRADCO in 2014 as a management consultant. The 61-year-old company, which specializes in behavioral assessments, quickly launched into the 21st century with Hoffman's engagement-especially in data analytics.

Jorie Stickel, who joined PRADCO in January as a fellow management consultant, says Hoffman did more than teach her the company's tools-he also taught her how people think.

"Our company focuses on behavioral assessments, and he works on writing reports around behavioral assessments," she says. "But he has also developed models with organizations looking to benchmark their talent."

Among Hoffman's initiatives was the revamping of PRADCO's engagement survey and developing training modules around such concepts as leadership identity, navigating the transition from individual contributor to management and coaching critical thinking skills.

"When I got to PRADCO, the analytics part was missing," he says. "Academics can help us equip consultants to be subject-matter experts in industries. Through cutting-edge coaching, we can figure out what best practices are."

Hoffman recognized continued success means looking externally, as well as internally, for inspiration. He researched competitors to determine new best practices around managing client relationships, leading to the development of a quality committee to monitor client cases.

Hoffman further contributes to the organizational psychology academic community by publishing in several journals, including the Academy of Management Review, Leadership Quarterly and the Oxford Handbook of Leadership Organizations. He presented at the annual meeting of the Society of Industrial-Organizational Psychology and the annual conference of the Academy of Management.

Hoffman, who remains active in ministry, says he sees the connection of academia and business to be mutually beneficial.

"This is where the future of HR needs to go," he says. "An important part is knowing what other perspectives are, taking the risk of going very different places and seeing what you can find."

Finalist:Hannah ?Cappuzzello,IGS Energy

When Hannah Cappuzzello was approached about becoming a benefits specialist at IGS Energy, she hesitated. Although she had worked at IGS as an HR business partner, she felt employee benefits were not part of her skill set.

Supervisors disagreed, and Cappuzzello's dedication to her new role earned her a spot as a Future Leader finalist.

As benefits specialist, she evaluated initiatives and identified ways to enhance them. Among her key efforts were doubling the size of the annual wellness fair and incorporating more holistic health vendors.

To better understand employees' interests, Hannah rolled out an employee survey that identified voluntary benefits across the organization, including critical illness and long-term care coverage.

In her new role, Cappuzzello has provided iPads for company comfort rooms so doctors can visit remotely with employees in the IGS office.