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  • Writer's pictureSEAchange

The Power of Community Partnership

Updated: Mar 27

On the second episode of Season 3, co-hosts Kyle Cartwright and Graham Pansing Brooks sit down in the virtual studio with Hudl’s Chief Legal and People Officer, Jasmine Kingsley, and Primrose School of Lincoln’s Owner, Betsy Tonniges. Last spring, Hudl and Primrose announced their plans to establish an on-site childcare center lead by Primrose School inside of Hudl’s headquarters in downtown Lincoln. Through this innovative partnership, Hudl and Primrose hope to provide an example of the power of community partnership. Both parties are excited to see how establishing childcare in downtown will have an impact on the Lincoln community.

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[Kyle] Welcome back. And thanks for joining us again, as we kick off season three, with a very special episode. I'm Kyle Cartwright and I'm here in the virtual studio as always with my partner and purpose and fellow co-host Graham Pansing Brooks. Graham, and I are also leaders of SEAchange, a consulting firm with the vision that business and capitalism can do amazing things to improve our world while rewarding those who do.

Today, we're joined by special guests from Hudl, a pioneer in performance analysis technology serving over 220,000 teams in 40 plus global sports and Primrose School of Lincoln, the leader in providing premier early education and care to children and families in the United States.

So you might be wondering what brings these two very different business concepts together for our show. I'll put it this way in just the last year, the Hudl team added nearly 80 Hudl babies and counting, I'm sure. And these Hudl babies are also known as Hudlies. I love that. Indeed these little humans are a driving force behind creative and intentional approaches that businesses are taking to talent attraction.

And so we are very excited to discuss Hudl's recent announcement of their plans to provide onsite childcare, which will be powered by Primrose schools. The center will have room for somewhere between 50 and a hundred children ranging from infant to school aged children and will open in early 2023.

Joining us to shine light on this exceptional partnership, our Hudl's, chief legal and people, officer Jasmine Kingsley and Primrose School of Lincoln owner, Betsy Tonniges. Welcome Jasmine and Betsy.

[Jasmine] Thank you so much for having us on Kyle and Graham. Look forward to chatting.

[Betsy] Yes. Thank you.

[Graham] Yeah, we're, we're really excited to have you both here and, and, you know, just to dive in right away.

Can you, can you tell us just a little bit more about the background of, of how these plans to open a Primrose childcare center inside the Hudl building came about? What, what motivated this partnership between the two of you?

[Jasmine] Yeah, so I'll kick off there. I think I need probably a little bit more backstory that to help bring you all along. So first the first important point here is, you know, what, Hudl we're on a mission to make Hudl the best place to work. And that includes fostering an environment that supports working parents in balancing the needs of their family and their work obligations.

And so something I, I, you know, I really appreciate about our business is that we serve this amazing market of hundreds, of thousands of teams, you know, tens of millions of athletes, analysts, and coaches, and we all rally around this purpose which is to make, you know, believing that sports can change the plan, change the game and change lives.

And so we work really hard every time to pay the path to the future where every athlete can get the shot that they deserve. And the same is true of our employees, you know, so that's why we strive to be just not, not only a great place to work, but a great place for parents.

And there've been a couple of things over the past couple of years that I think have really precipitated this partnership and graded the climate to make it really possible. So the first is really noting that the demographics of our workforce have changed substantially over the years. As Kyle mentioned in the intro, you know, this past year we welcomed over 80 tiny new Hudlies to the Hudl family.

And as we were looking at the demographics of our workforce in Lincoln, in particular, where we're headquartered we observed that almost three quarters of that population are in that sweet spot, in that range where there's the potential for the need for childcare. And so something that we've really been leaning into is how can we support that?

How can we provide more flexibility to balance the needs of work and life? And as we looked at some of the impacts of the pandemic, you know, seeing women proportionately, leaving the workforce often citing childcare is an issue. And as we looked for ways to differentiate ourselves and to really evolve our offerings and, and evolve our benefits to support that change in our demographics, it just started to become you know, sort of obvious this idea of like, hey, there's something really cool that we can be doing around childcare.

Another point to note, so I served on the mayor's economic recovery task force in the summer of 2020, and I served as the chair of the local business strategy subcommittee. And one of the points that we noted there was that childcare continues to be an impediment to the continued economic growth and resilience of our community. And so we called on businesses to think about how, you know, how they could get involved be that either supporting flexible work arrangements or investing in ways to support childcare specifically.

As I started riffing on this with one of my friends and colleagues, Keri Schmitz, who is involved in Lincoln Littles, which is another organization here in Lincoln, Nebraska that has a mission around improving access to affordable and quality early childhood care. Just the idea sparked that, hey, maybe this is the right moment to really dig into this.

And so we started reaching out to some partners, had some conversations with Primrose and the idea was seeded from there.

[Graham] You know, it's, it's really exciting to get, to see all of this, this coming to fruition. And, and clearly there's been a tremendous amount of background and legwork that's been, that's been done to really help get us to this point.

So, so Betsy, maybe, maybe turn it over to you a little bit here. You know, You know, Primrose has established itself as a leader in early childhood development and care and Lincoln community and beyond. So how does this partnership help propel the work that you're doing at Primrose and, and in the early childhood care space?

[Betsy] Sure. So we literally started from the ground up in 2019 here in Lincoln. It was a brand new concept in Lincoln and what it had to offer in my conversations with Dr. Joel, as a former principal, we had talked about, you know, what could we do to help students be more successful? And I just kept going back to, it starts with birth to five, birth to five.

And as, as you have done research and we've done research we know that the brain. The most during those first five formative years. And so it just became evident to me that Lincoln was ready for a concept like Primrose. And so we decided to open our doors and start planting the seed of the wonderfulness that Primrose offers.

So we opened and then the pandemic hit and like Jasmine had pointed to earlier, we kind of talked about, you know, is this something where we close for a little bit? Do we stay open? And at the end of the day, it was, if we close, we are going to be hurting. Most likely the female workforce. And also what we know about our students is, you know, the world was so uncertain at the time and it created so much uncertainty for adults.

And so if we had a place where students could stay on the same schedule and come home every single day and be greeted with smiles, then that not only filled our buckets as the adults trying to get through the pandemic, but it created that consistency for them. So we've been able to grow through the pandemic.

Over a hundred relationships with families that we've established. And so through this partnership, it just really helps us further the mission of helping grow the next generation here in Lincoln with a positive start integrating social, emotional learning with, you know, getting them ready for kindergarten, but also throughout the Lincoln community we have heard, or I have heard from business owners and people who work in the business sector, the demand for early childhood opportunities for the next workforce. And so Primrose has decades of research in how kids learn best and how to be meet both of those demands. And so it's, it's really been just a wonderful opportunity to, to offer Lincoln. We have fortunately and unfortunately kind of hit our cap in what we can provide at our south location.

And so by partnering with Hudl we are excited that we are able to provide the Primrose experience for more families. So one thing that I do find interesting is that quite frequently we'll have families who go through the tour with us and, and starts and on more than a handful of times, they come back and they'll tell me I knew Primrose was special, but I didn't know how wonderful it was.

And I became a permanent parent. And so we are just very excited that we can provide that experience to Hudl families downtown. And that also brings kind of a little bit of playfulness and an early childhood sprinkles to the downtown market. So we hope to be able to partner with Hudl and there's already been some high level collaboration on what we can do to kind of integrate it, to make it child-friendly but also is to Jasmine's point, too, family friendly.

That really honors that work life balance and just creating those positive relationships with Hudl families.

[Kyle] I love that. And as a, a recent father myself, we've got a little 15 almost 16 month old at home, you know, the pandemic, certainly the, the circumstances have been a challenge, but it, it has really shown I think, a bright light on opportunities to lean into some of these really creative, innovative solutions. And so I do think there's a lot of good outcomes coming as a result of just what we've been pushed into. So it's really exciting for us to, to help shine a light on this, this great partnership. And I know, going back to you, Jasmine, just for a moment here.

So you all did the research, you recognize that your workforce is kind of in this hotspot quite a bit of your workforce at any rate. And there's a lot of options. There's, you know, subsidies there's near-site there's onsite and you, you all chose to dive head first, right? You you're doing on-site care.

And with, you know, the leader, Primrose, in childcare. What, what do you hope that this announcement signals to your team members and then maybe even going a step beyond, what do you hope it signals to the community?

[Jasmine] Yeah. Thanks Kyle. You know, I think something that we've really leaned into, especially coming out of the pandemic is, is just work-life flexibility.

And I think we have to keep hammering that point home. It really has emerged. As critical to attracting and retaining the talent that we know will propel us into the future. And flexibility continues to show up as a driving factor for engagement. And that's really only increased since the pandemic.

And so I think this is an aspect of the Hudlies, which is how we refer to ourselves internally as well. But that's an aspect of the, you know, the Hudl experience that I think is really deeply rooted in our values and something that we continue to lean into really hard. And I think this partnership with Primrose will empower us to deliver this really differentiated benefit to our employees.

I think it's a great example of how we live out those values and supporting employees not only today, but in the future, as they consider expanding their families. And it really hits home for me personally as well, you know? Mother during my tenure at Hudl was actually like year one into my role as general counsel here that I learned I would be growing my family, which was so exciting.

But also it can be nerve wracking, you know, kind of new on a job. And what I found though is I had incredible support based off of Hudl's overall philosophy around supporting, working families. And then I had a great support from my team as well. And so the fact that I've been able to grow both my family and my career, your simultaneously, I think is just testament to how we're living out those values.

And it's something we want to keep investing in. And so you asked kind of what, how did we go all in, you know, we could have done subsidies or any number of different things. I think it comes back to evaluating, you know, the landscape in our community and. Like I mentioned before, you know, early childhood care was, was disproportionately impacted by the, by the pandemic.

And we're, we're situated downtown. You know, the options for care are limited. There are long wait lists. And so it was really causing, is a point of friction for new parents as they were evaluating, you know, the opportunities and what they would need to do to support and balance the interest of their, their work and their family lives.

And we thought this was a place where, you know, we had the space available. We had to shift some of our mindset around our office designed to. The shift and how we work with the pandemic, you know, so moving towards more collaborative spaces we've leaned into a flexible working hours in a hybrid work environment.

So we have awesome offices. They're so uniquely designed and it's a huge testament to our workplace and, and design teams. This kind of gives us the balance of being able to welcome people back into the office, as they see fit, provide that benefit right on site. But also kind of helps to serve that need in the community where we knew that things were a little bit lacking downtown, where we're headquartered.

So we thought we have the space, we, we have the conditions and the climate, and this could serve as a great model for others in the community. And we just wanted to go all in.

[Kyle] I love it. You're, you're playing a significant leadership role, I think. And, and I appreciate also the, the element there I hadn't thought of is it's a, it's an incentive to bring people back to the physical space of work and increase that, that density of, of happenstance collaboration and, and just, you know, connectivity and unit, unit unity amongst your team members.

So I really love that.

[Jasmine] Absolutely. Thank you.

[Graham] So, so as you're looking to, to continue to, to launch this and build this and, and you know, exciting coming down the pipeline in 2023, you know, where, where do you hope that this partnership will lead? What are you, what do you hope that this can be What type of impact you hope that this will have on the business sector as a whole, and what lessons learned, can our community be learning from this innovative partnership?

[Jasmine] Well, I can kick off here. You know, I think to the point that you just made Graham, my hope is that, and I think our hope at Hudl is that this can provide an example about the power of community partnership and that we always strive to support our people how and where they need it. And in areas where we can provide a service directly, you know, we do, but it's really critical to be able to partner with other leading organizations to support these overarching business goals and objectives and to support the experience that we want to create for our employees.

And so, you know, as, as obvious, like, In the business of early childhood development we knew it was important to find the right partner to push the initiative forward. And I think this is just a great example out to the community around the power of working together, focusing on the strengths of each partner and seeing how these benefits can manifest and really pay dividends throughout the community, including in supporting our own employees.

[Kyle] Betsy. I'm wondering if there's anything you know you've, you've opened a facility, you know, standalone facility. I wonder if there's anything in particular you've learned that would be valuable to share with the audience about what you've learned in working directly with a, with a corporate audience now to, to craft a facility inside of us of a corporate.

[Betsy] Sure. Or probably relatively new on our track here. However, we have great relation working relationships with the community at Hudl. So I would just say, you know, there's a clear understanding at Primrose. We believe who children we become is as important as what they know and the schools whether it be a Primrose on-premise such as a Hudl concept or whether it be a franchise, independent location like we have down south. We incorporate those social, emotional life skills into everything that we do. So collectively we see this not only as a benefit to Hudl in their families, but also an investment into the future of Lincoln into the future of our workforce as well. In terms of that partnership you know, it's, it's kind of like a new marriage where you are just, you know, learning.

The strengths of your partner and how you can kind of compliment and, and move things ahead. It has been great because Hudl, like Jasmine has said, was looking for an early childhood partner to kind of lead that aspect of it, knowing with Hudl goals in mind. And so it's been a wonderful relationship so far and navigating new waters of how do we kind of mesh the two.

Organizations and brands together to provide this wonderful experience to not only Hudl a bit to the city of Lincoln as well.

[Graham] Yeah. And Betsy, you know, we, we, we asked Jasmine, I got to hear a little bit about how her team at, at huddle is, is responding or what, you know, the hopes would be from the Hudlies for this new program.

But I'm also curious to know how your team has, has reacted to this announcement of opening up the, the childcare facility and partnering with Hudl. Excitement around it? What, what's the, what's the vibe on your team?.

[Betsy] Yeah. So we have a wonderful and dedicated staff. They you know, they live and breathe Primrose.

They don't sleep there like I do. I like, I feel like I do some days. But they are just so excited, you know, just like parents, new staff who experience Primrose for the first time. It's that same magical, joyful place to work because you know, when you're surrounded by 20 kids who are inquisitive and energetic all day long, it's just so fun to work there.

We have been talking about ways in which we can get creative. And so when we made this announcement, quite honestly, our staff was elated that we were being able to serve more families. And so you know, this is kind of an extension of what we do down south. There were certainly be some opportunities for collaboration.

The stock from both sites, we'll get together for professional learning and to learn from one another. But yeah, our staff is very excited for this opportunity and, you know, I think most importantly, they're excited to see the space and how it would be different from our current, Primrose down south.

So we're all very excited for it.

[Kyle] We've talked a lot about workforce here, and I think it's worth mentioning that early childhood has just the same workforce issues that I think all companies do right now. And Hudl is gaining a great benefit to be able to promote this for their team. I wonder, as you, as you think about the energy around this partnership, Betsy do you feel that that's going to add some great energy for you to be able to go higher and increase your staff and, and just continue this momentum in the early childcare space, where there is such a need for that workforce, just as there is everywhere else.

[Betsy] You know, I think so. I mean, what is a little bit I wouldn't say necessarily unique, but at our school we highly value our staff.

We treat them as professionals. We call them Mr. And Mrs and we honestly invest in our staff through paid professional development and a variety of other things that we offer. So you know, I think just like you had said, every workforce is kind of seeing the crunch right now. And just like every other business for evaluating ways in which we can provide different benefits and listening to our employees and what kind of benefits they would like to have.

So I think that by providing an alternate site I think that it will at least be something different that Primrose or that childcare providers have not had the opportunity to work in such a collaborative environment with local business here in town.

[Graham] Yeah. Again, the, this partnership it's really unique to be able to start seeing how the, these unique partnerships can come together and how, you know, when two parties have mutual interests, there's, there's some really interesting intersections and collisions and collaborations that can that can happen because of this.

So, you know, I want to turn our attention maybe a little bit more towards the future. You know, we're, we're excited and looking forward to 2023. Jasmine for, for, for Hudl, Hudl has such a strong reputation, has a great reputation of having such a strong internal culture. How has your team approach the culture conversation and you know, where, where are you looking at identifying ways to continue to grow a strong brand and, and focusing on attracting talent from across.

[Jasmine] Yeah, thanks, Graham. You know, I'd say when it comes to culture, there's a couple of things, a couple of dimensions here. So we are very proudly founded and headquartered here in Nebraska, but we've also grown substantially. You know, over the years through acquisitions, some of those acquisitions being global.

And so we've really increased our footprint around the globe. And we've had to think about the right ways to not only translate what's, what's the most core and dear to us about our culture here, but also incorporate and integrate. The great lessons and learnings and norms that we were kind of bringing on from both the teams and the new geographies that we were incorporating into our business.

And I'd say what we've continued to lean on is just a really strong set of core values that are really integrated into everything that we do as a business. The decisions that we make, the policies that we enact the interactions with one another and with our communities are all really guided by those values.

And so we see that stay consistent. And I think the way that that shows. In our culture is because of the focus that we have on our people. So work-life flexibility is really key focusing on the human aspects of the work experience understanding that our, our employees are humans first and employees.

Second, the being able to look at the person holistically has been a really important driving. Looking at ways to create opportunities, to support our employees in order to celebrate, to push one another to level up and to adapt to the changing work environment. Especially as we've seen that really rapidly shift over the course of the pandemic.

And then we're also focused on fostering an inclusive environment. We want our employees to be able to show up authentically no matter where they are across the globe. We want them to feel supported. And to have the conditions, the right conditions to thrive and that includes really promoting their continued growth and development.

And so I think, you know, as we think about these focus areas, as we think about ways that we can continue taking care of one another and in our, our communities in order to make a really positive impact. And that's what we see as a, as a continuing thread. And some of that shows up in our spaces, right?

So when we think about, you know, what is the impact going to be of bringing up, this new childcare facility right here at our HQ. I think the mindset is really no different to how we've approached kind of growing and developing and creating our spaces generally, which is creating environments where our employees can thrive, where they can do their best work.

You know, we do something kind of interesting called activity-based working. So we don't have, you know designated desks. For example, we have like a variety of different spaces throughout the building where people can kind of focus on collaboration or do heads down work. It's the same thing here.

You know, when I think about my experience becoming the amount of time I spent in, you know, the nursing lactation room, thinking about having this opportunity on site to help welcome back new parents and to help ease that transition really gives me a big uplift. So I think it's just thinking about what are the common threads in our values, but then how do we adapt them to suit the needs of, of our diverse global workforce?

And I think that's always, you know, work that way. It's an ongoing body of work. But something that we continue to kind of anchor through our values and that's helped us kind of stay connected.

[Kyle] I think that's so fun, you know, that sense of play and act, you know, activities based there's, we're, we're, we're learning from early childhood education concepts here, right.

Discovery in play and, you know, not having too much structure. So I, yeah, it's, it's interesting. Just as you've talked about that, how much parallel there is in, in probably what your world is Betsy, right.

I want to close us out. You know, I, I have to believe that both of your companies, both of you have gotten some calls as a result of, you know, big announcements here locally.

And I'm sure it's, it's spread more far and wide than further and wider than that. I wondering what might be next. You know, we talked a little bit about what you hope this partnership will inspire for the community, but for, for you together, but also separately, what do you, what do you hope is next as a result of this partnership?

[Betsy] Well, these types of conversations with businesses, I don't think are anything relatively new. I mean, I think there's always been a buzz of how can we best support our employees. We were just kind of waiting for, in my conversations, one company to kind of take the job. You know, it is truly an investment for any business and not every business would be able to make the investment just based upon size.

So my hope is that these conversations can continue about how we can continue to support the growing workforce and attracting the talent and retaining talent here in Nebraska, when we have a childcare sector that can support their families but also brainstorming different ways in which companies who may not be able to do an onsite childcare facility ways in which they can still support, whether it be through a subsidized program or whether it be through different partnerships to just kind of be able to offer the incentive to more families to help grow their workforce as well.

[Jasmine] Yeah, I'll add to that. You know, we have definitely received a lot of inquiries, people wanting to kind of take lessons learned. We're still really early in this journey. You know, we're excited to get this off the ground. And, and I think that's the first step is just focusing towards getting to that open.

But I think from there, you know, there's an opportunity to, you know, as Betsy mentioned earlier, evaluate how does, you know now the presence of children downtown? How might that shift the cultural landscape in the Haymarket, for example how can we get, you know, other businesses involved in, in thinking about making the space that we occupied inclusive, safe and I think just kind of a fun space to continue to grow and develop not only our tiniest members of our community, but the community at large. So I'm really excited to see just how the impact of having childcare downtown and in the Haymarket in particular impacts impacts the landscape.

[Kyle] I'm excited to see some little babies, little toddlers walking around in the Haymarket. That's that's going to be a lot of fun and some energy.

[Betsy] To your point earlier I mean, I think part of it is what I attributed to is, you know, Hudl's philosophy and Primrose's philosophy that kind of run parallel, right?

We both have the same, you know, similar vision and mission. And so while, like I said, this partnership is a little bit in its infancy. We're all really excited to see where it goes and how it grows. And as Jasmine said, just, you know, lessons that we've learned and that we can apply to other situations or help other businesses out to help them grow as well.

[Jasmine] Yeah. I mean, I, I really hope that long-term this can serve as a great model and an example to other businesses certainly in our local community, but maybe even more broadly about just, you know, how you can power change, you know, through partnership. And then really drawing particular attention to.

The workforce needs that the diversity and inclusion dimension of being able to help attract and retain more women to the workforce. I hope everyone can get a better lens on the importance of early childhood education and the investment that it is not only in our community, but in our future. At large, you know, hoping to see.

More jobs, hoping to see more attraction and retention for talent in Nebraska, more broadly as we continue to establish a culture that is really welcoming and, and helps to support anyone thriving in the workforce.

[Graham] Well, Jasmine and Betsy, thank you both so much for taking the time to speak with us today.

For our listeners that are wanting more information may want to learn more about Primrose or huddle and the great activities that are going on there. Could you both share. How they could reach out or where they can get in contact with, with either of you.

[Jasmine] Sure. This is Jasmine. I can be reached at

[Betsy] And my name is Betsy Tonniges and I can be reached at 8-402-803-8525 or at

[Kyle] Love it. Thank you so much for your time today. We're really thrilled. And I think we might have to have a loop back around maybe in 2023 and maybe share some of those lessons learned.

Cause I do think that there's an audience out there that could benefit from a continued conversation here. So we appreciate your time today and hope we can do it again.

[Betsy] Well, I mean, we do have a Primrose Halloween parade every year, and at our last Hudl meeting I was joking that we can parade through the offices.

So we just might have to, you know, invite you to that. So you can get the full experience.

[Kyle] We'd be honored to attend. We'll show up with costumes. Graham's good at that.

[Jasmine] I can't wait. Thank you so much for having us on. Thank you for the work that you're doing as well for highlighting this.

[Kyle] Grateful to you.

Thank you.

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