June 2018

Case Study: Global Tel Link

By Michael Paczan

Global Tel Link is a private equity owned telecommunications company and the leading provider of integrated correctional technology solutions in the United States, serving approximately 2,300 facilities and 1.9 million inmates in 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Their products and services are deployed in 30 state Department of Corrections (including 9 of the largest 10) and over 800 counties, including many of the largest City/County Run Jail Facilities. They also provide service to the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

The Leadership Challenge

GTL's growth and market success has come through a strong entrepreneurial mindset and strength in mergers and acquisitions. Over the past several years, GTL has acquired multiple companies in their industry. However, each acquisition has increased their challenge to integrate the acquired companies into the parent and create a unified high performing team and culture of accountability.

The Solution

Brian Oliver, GTL's CEO, recognized this challenge and in late 2016 hired Jessica Artz as GTL's new Vice President of Human Resources to help him drive change. Jessica was familiar with Academy Leadership from her previous HR role at General Dynamics Information Technology. She reached out to Academy Leadership as a partner to help her and the CEO drive the needed change through a combination of initiatives encompassing leadership development, executive coaching, corporate assessments, and strategic planning sessions supporting goal development and alignment, along with team building.

The Journey and Results Progress

GTL's corporate transformation is a large-scale effort that will take time to implement. The GTL senior leadership team has completed the Leadership Excellence Course and programs are continuing, top down, through the senior management ranks. Each senior leader is establishing a new foundation of expectations, and a framework for accountability through their Personal Leadership Philosophy and leadership by example. Executive Coaching is in progress to support further leadership development through coaching discussions of the application of the best leadership principles and practices. The results of GTL's initial Corporate Performance Assessment (QuadStrat) have been reviewed with the CEO and VP of HR. Plans are in place to review the assessment results and develop detailed Action Plans to address the “Red Zone” issues during a planned November Executive offsite.


Brian Oliver and Jessica Artz have undertaken a major transformation effort at GTL with the goal of unifying geographically dispersed and culturally different acquired teams into a single, high performing unit. They are highly committed to developing the leadership capability of their team and are very satisfied with the progress made towards driving their vision of leadership and organizational transformation through their partnership with Academy Leadership.