Failure is leased, not owned.
Diversity is an action.
Define, align – and visualize.
These are just some of the nuggets from host Scott Luton’s discussion with leadership expert and consultant Billy Taylor. If you’re looking for an episode full of quotable wisdom on becoming a more effective leader, you’ve come to the right place. Billy takes us on a journey from his earliest “eureka” moment as a young football player to his many lessons in leadership at The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company. Whether you’re just starting out in your career or a you’re highly tenured team manager, there’s something for everyone in this wide-ranging discussion of the importance of failure, creating diversity of thought and continuous improvement. And hey, if you’re left wanting more, we’ve got some good news on Billy’s future as a podcaster to close out the program.
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Scott Luton (00:32):
Hey, good morning, everybody. Scott Luton with Supply Chain Now. Welcome to today’s episode. You’re in for a treat. Today, we’re going to be talking leadership, leadership, and guess what, a lot more leadership, and we’re going to be talking with one of our favorite business leaders. You may recall our guest today on previous manufacturing-focused episodes, but today it’s all about his story. So, let me introduce our featured guest here today. Our guest is a highly sought after keynote speaker and leadership guru. I told y’all. He spent 30 years with the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company where he served in a variety of roles, including Director of North American Manufacturing and Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer. Our guest also serves on several boards of directors for several organizations to include the Association for Manufacturing Excellence. He’s also the CEO and President of LinkedXL, a business-operating systems architecting firm. We’re going to find out exactly what that is. So, join me in welcoming, Mr. Billy Taylor. Billy, how you doing?
Billy Taylor (01:34):
I’m doing well, Scott. Thank you for having me. That was a really nice introduction. I start asking who was that guy you were introducing, but thank you for introducing me. Thank you for having me.
Scott Luton (01:45):
You bet. Always a pleasure. And, today we really have the honor but also the luxury of spending all of our time learning more about your story. You know, you’ve joined me as a co-host here on, I don’t know, half a dozen episodes, where we’ve interviewed a variety of other folks, but today it’s about the Billy Taylor story. I’m looking forward to it.
Billy Taylor (02:02):
Thank you again. Thanks for having me.
Scott Luton (02:05):
All right. So, let’s get to know you better first. Some folks who may have seen those earlier episodes, they probably know that you’re a great storyteller. They probably have an appreciation for all those leadership roles you’ve had and probably an appreciation of what you do now, helping other organizations excel. But let’s assume they haven’t heard a lot of that and let’s get to know Billy Taylor first. So, Billy, first up, where did you grow up and give us the goods on your upbringing a little bit.
Billy Taylor (02:31):
I grew up in Fort Worth, Texas, as they say Cowtown. My whole life was there. And then, actually all of my schooling and upbringing was in the Texas area. I’m the oldest of four boys. So, I have three younger brothers and I let them know who’s the oldest, too. I don’t miss that opportunity. But, no, I grew up in Texas in a household of strong standards. Really, leadership was at the forefront of our house going up for my mom and the boys and my parents. It was always around what’s the standard.
Scott Luton (03:08):
All right. So, I want to ask about that. That’s probably the most unique, and we’ve asked thousands of people this question about their upbringing, and I don’t recall a single answer like that. So, a house of standards. So, give me one example of a clear-cut standard, a high standard that your parents put in place as you’re growing up.
Billy Taylor (03:28):
Well, it started with education, right? It wasn’t the old cliché and [inaudible ] very transparent on the call, right? And, inner cities where I grew up, people thought it was either athletics or entertainment that was your ticket out. Not in our household. My mother had a standards around education and she would always say wealth as education, wealth as learning. Right? And, she’d always say, when you know better, you can do better. And so, when we were going up, all of us were very good. My siblings and I were very good in sports. But if we made less than a B, we couldn’t play.
Scott Luton (04:00):
Billy Taylor (04:01):
Yeah. You cannot play.
Scott Luton (04:03):
Not the coach’s decision, the parents’ decision, right?
Billy Taylor (04:06):
Yes. By school standards, we could fail two classes, no pass and no plays if you could fail two classes and still be eligible.
Scott Luton (04:13):
Billy Taylor (04:14):
But in our household, if you made less than a B, you couldn’t play. And so, in the 8th grade, as a young man, let’s talk about standards, I was the star of the football team and we were undefeated. And, report cards came out, [inaudible] want to play for the city championship.
Scott Luton (04:31):
Well, and just to level set for our audience, city championships in Texas is like the Super Bowl, probably anywhere else. I mean, Texas football reign supreme, right?
Billy Taylor (04:40):
Absolutely. Absolutely. And so, people, and when I say people, she took me off the team and a week before the game and from the principal to that landing director, everyone came over to my house to convince my mom to let me play. And, my mother would say to them and I hear it even ringing in my ear today. No, the standard is the standard. The standard is the standard. And, I remember the comment coming from me and I think, “Ma, how could you do this to me? You’re not fair.” And I said, “Mom, I’m going to play in the NFL one day.” And, her reply to me was, “Do you know what NFL means in this house if you make less than a B?” I said, “No, ma’am.” She says, “Not for long will you be playing.” And, she was right. And so, fast forwarding, actually not playing in that game was one of the greatest life lessons of my upbringing because my mother was right.
Billy Taylor (05:37):
And, all of my friends observed that. And, when leaders, when I say that, when leaders don’t have standards and hold people to those standards, not only do they fail as a team but they also fail themselves. And so, what my mom, she said, she talked to me about how much he agonized about making that decision as I got older, but she looks at me now and she says I know that was the right call. And, she says as you grow up, you’re going to have to make the same calls with people you lead, but will you hold them to the standards? So, we grew up in the house of standards, and not only just grades, cleaning up, housekeeping, everything around the house.
Scott Luton (06:14):
Well, I’m sure you can write a book bestseller just on your upbringing. And, we won’t do a justice here in a little bit of time we have, but really quick Fort Worth, Texas. What was it like growing up in Fort Worth? I’m not sure – I know it’s the DFW, Dallas Fort Worth area, but I’m not sure if I’ve ever spent any time in Fort Worth exactly. What was it like?
Billy Taylor (06:34):
It was to me, one word, country, and, you know, it’s not the big city. Stockyards. We would go to the rodeo every year. That was a big thing. Fat Stock Rodeo was what it was on the north side of town. Horses. It was nothing to see a horse riding down the road and cowboys. And, we all wanted to be cowboys growing up and I don’t mean Dallas Cowboys.
Scott Luton (07:01):
All right. Well, and I imagine barbecue is big in Fort Worth, well, probably all things beef, I imagine. Before we move on to your professional journey, is there a certain restaurant, hole in the wall place, or barbecue joint, you name it, that was iconic and played a big role in your upbringing?
Billy Taylor (07:21):
Not coming up, but when I got to college, there was a place, Prairie View A&M. Historically black university and colleges where I graduated from, they had a place called Bruno’s, and what they were famous for was a Bruno baked potato. It was a big barbecue baked potato, and you’d line up to get that baked potato when you’re in college. And, it just resonated, right. You save up all week to go get you that one baked potato a week. And so, that’s what resonates with me.
Scott Luton (07:51):
Bruno’s. I love it. And, gosh, lean times as college students. I can remember I bused tables in one of my jobs to college and, you know, made $20 maybe on a good shift after, you know, the tip outs and stuff. And, we had to find a way to make that last a long time. So, a baked potato sounds great to me.
Scott Luton (08:12):
All right. So, let’s shift gears a bit. Your professional journey, you know, again, 30 successful years, and then some at Goodyear where, I don’t remember the exact numbers from what the earnings were when you began and the billions of dollars where it grew to by the time you wrapped up your career there, but tons of growth. Let’s talk about a couple of key positions there or elsewhere that really helped shape your worldview.
Billy Taylor (08:36):
Absolutely. I started out with Goodyear as a management trainee, and I was actually on third shift, actually, and what’s called the Banbury’s and it’s a real dirty area. And, I learned the core elements of being a good leader coming up in that position. I was on third shift working with the union, strong union United Steelworkers Union. And, that’s why I started to make my mark as a young leader, progressing through Goodyear.
Scott Luton (09:03):
So, if I can, really quick question, Billy, I think for some that may not get it and really for my clarification, when you’re a management trainee, you’re on the management side of the table, right?
Billy Taylor (09:13):
Scott Luton (09:14):
And, that means you’re not on the union side of the table. So, I imagine there were some early lessons learned in your career of how that worked, right?
Billy Taylor (09:22):
Yes, absolutely. There’s a bit of bargaining when I say that, give and take. But more importantly when dealing with the unions, right, it’s important to make allies not adversaries. And, you do that by earning their trust. Right. And, when I say that, one of the things that I quickly learned was there’s two rights when you start earning the right to change. It’s a technical right. Okay. And the cultural, right. The technical right is I give you a check. I give you work instructions. I give you a job, just go do your job. Those leaders, they don’t last long. The cultural right is respect, trust, understanding differences, embracing differences. And, when you actually are in both rights, the technical right and the cultural right, most unions will become allies with you. And so, for me, that’s what I did. I was very deliberate around how I communicated. I was very deliberate around not only letting people know what they own in the process and that’s how I built relationships with unions.
Scott Luton (10:29):
I love that. You know, far beyond just manufacturing plants so I think if we all work to create more allies rather than adversaries, the world would be a much better place, right, especially being deliberate about it, which is kind of what you’re painting. All right. So, again, keep positions that shaped your worldview. What else comes to mind? And then, we’re going to get to your key Eureka moments.
Billy Taylor (10:49):
So, as I rose through the rank from my manager trainee, I actually moved to being a specialist or a production specialist that talks about improvement and efficiencies and that was my job. And then, I got tapped on the shoulder to run a small business center or department. And, that was a lesson ’cause I was so young and the people that hired me and trained me were now reporting to me. And, that was difficult and a valuable lesson to learn there, going back to my upbringing standards, I was trying to get people to like me. I wanted to be liked instead of focusing on being respected and trusted. But that started with me, right? There’s two things that I learned in that role. One was around what do people follow? People follow credibility and capability. As a leader, what do children follow? Credibility and capability.
Billy Taylor (11:45):
And so, as a leader, then I realized, you know what I’m not trying to be friends with them. I’m trying to be a leader. I want to be very clear and you’re going to hear the word deliberate a lot, very clear on what people own because what I realized in the absence of ownership comes blame. And, when people don’t know what they’re owning and you’re not deliberate about it as a leader, they start blaming you for their mistakes. And, at that point, when I talked about credibility and capability, and I’m going to go to deliberate ownership, as a young person I realized I’m going to have to be deliberate around what everybody owned in the strategy. And, it was interesting people. My friends tried me. They’ll come to meetings late. They wouldn’t – I’m serious, though. They wouldn’t show up to meetings, and it was just, you know, it was really tough the first six months in that role. It was tough for me. But it wasn’t long that I caught on. And, going back to my mother’s lesson, the standard is the standard.
Scott Luton (12:48):
Right. The standard is the standard. You know, that bit of clarity makes things a little bit easier. Right?
Billy Taylor (12:55):
Scott Luton (12:57):
And hearing you describe those early days at Goodyear and even if they were tough early days, it seems like to me that leadership would be better in other companies, manufacturing otherwise, if folks kind of started on the plant for, you know, doing what they eventually would manage. Was that a big benefit to your career with Goodyear?
Billy Taylor (13:20):
Well, that was a benefit understanding, right, what I was expecting I should do, but the greater benefit is also as everybody needs a coach. And, when you’re starting to go to your ranks, be humble about that. Ask for that help because you know what Bill Belichick has a coach. Although he coaches others, he has a coach. And so, everybody needs a coach to help you see your blind spots, to help you navigate, right. The worst thing I think leaders can, the worst approach is to think you know enough to know you’re right and not being willing to learn to know when you’re wrong. Because now you’re going to keep doing what your old paradigms are. You’re going to keep going down that road and you’re not willing to change, you know, and quickly what I realized when I became that young manager was, you know, I tell people I had 13 degrees, right. I have 13 degrees and they’re like, you’re pretty smart. Absolutely. I was smart enough to earn two and higher 11. Okay. And, I use all 13 of them because, you know, I’m not strong in some of those places.
Scott Luton (14:32):
I love it. Speaking of not strong, I heard a phrase the other day. I don’t think that was on a show. I think it was a private conversation. And, it could have been a bit of negotiation. It could have been just something. We were doing numbers. And, I made the comment, “Hey, I’m not math. I had any calculator.” And then, the person I was with said, “Well, I’m not good public math, so, yes, let’s grab that calculator.” So, it was really a lighthearted moment, but, you know, we all have our weaknesses.
Billy Taylor (14:57):
That’s right. That’s exactly, right.
Scott Luton (14:58):
And, you know, I think one of the things that you’re speaking to is that outside [inaudible], right. You know, you can be Bill Belichick and have all the rings he’s got. You can be Michael Jordan and have all the rings he’s got. You can be Ric Flair and all those wrestling championships. But they’re always, there’s someone that sees you from the outside with a different perspective and always can see something that you cannot see simply because we’re human, right, and we can only be so self-aware, right?
Billy Taylor (15:28):
Absolutely. And, when I look at, you know, and the best of the coaches understand that. They embrace the fact that success is required as you have others around you. And, I read a lot of books and I look at a lot of video. I try to read two books a month.
Scott Luton (15:49):
Two books a month. Man, is that like a standard?
Billy Taylor (15:50):
That is my goal.
Scott Luton (15:51):
Is that the standard?
Billy Taylor (15:50):
That is a standard. When I don’t hit that mark, I feel guilty, right. It’s like on a diet and eating that cake and I feel guilty. Okay. And so, for me, I just want to share something I learned last month in some of my reading. I was reading something around Nick Saban, and they were talking about his process and his standards. And, he says, “You know what? I will tell you, people think I’m so hard nose that I don’t accept failure.” And he says, “You know what? No, as an individual, you are allowed to fail. That’s just part of the process.” Right? But what you’re not allowed to do is intentionally make decisions that caused the team to fail. So, you can’t feel because failure, and I was reading failure is leased. It’s not owned. And you have to pay rent every day on success. That’s that commitment. But the process of being successful has to be owned.
Scott Luton (16:53):
I love it. All right. I love that. So, I know there’s 30 years of Goodyear, all kinds of different roles and leadership positions and results. I know that we could probably dedicate a whole series to that. Let’s talk about you. As I mentioned on the front end, you led North American Manufacturing for the company. You also served in that chief diversity and inclusion officer role. How did those, you know, really senior level roles shape how you view the world?
Billy Taylor (17:21):
I think when you look at it and I want to give it an example as a senior leader. It’s not about you. And so, you have to move or be capable of moving from being the picture to the picture frame. And so, what I mean by that is it’s your job not only to help build strategy and deploy it, but you have to enable it. You have to work for the people rather than the people working for you. And, just because you get to that role, they’ll make you a boss, right. That’s not a – a definition of a boss is not telling people what to do. It’s enabling people so they can do. And that’s the role. And then, governing, you have to govern and hold people accountable that you can’t escape that. But most people, they want to be held account. They want to own it. You know, they don’t want the past.
Scott Luton (18:20):
You know, I heard it put by several people in my career that, you know, 80, 90% of a workforce, they want to win. Right? They want to win. They may not have the know-how. They may not have the tools. They may not have the skillsets, or they might have to, you know, polish and work at so many of the behaviors, but really internally they really want to win. Have you subscribed to that?
Billy Taylor (18:45):
The majority – today, I was with one of my clients. I spent the entire day with them. Great team, but they’re struggling. And, I sit in the room with the leaders and they didn’t do three things. They didn’t define winning, they haven’t aligned themselves to win, and they have no visual type management to let people know if they’re winning. And so, when I say that, it’s not the people that fill in the organization, it’s the leaders. And, when I walked on the shop floor today, I hadn’t been there in a couple of months, all of the hourly people and the frontline workers, they were running up to me, right. They’ve got the ideas. But when they presented the ideas, the company didn’t have a structure or a process to actually grow those ideas or to implement them. And so, it wasn’t the people, it’s the leaders that were at fault. And, at the end of the day, that’s what we got to. Yeah. Often, it’s not the people. The people don’t want to intentionally fail.
Scott Luton (19:47):
Right. So, you’ve already been sharing lots of Eureka moments earlier in your career and then when you’re at the top of Goodyear and now even when you’re doing some consulting. What else, when you think of those, your powerful Eureka moments, what else comes to mind, Billy?
Billy Taylor (20:02):
Well, for me, these are things that are people – people gravitate to being valued. If you make people visible, they’ll make you valuable. And so, what I see, well, my Eureka moment is embracing differences. When you talk about diversity and inclusion, embracing differences, and people will always grab it, most often gravitate. When you think of diversity inclusion, you’re thinking black, white, you’re thinking male, female. You’re thinking those types of things, diversity of thought, right. You know, what’s got – if you’re in a room with a lot of your friends and you’re a Cleveland fan and one’s a Dallas fan and one’s a [inaudible], there’s diversity.
Scott Luton (20:41):
Right. That’s right.
Billy Taylor (20:43):
Right. And so, there are differences and you embrace those differences. And, I learned that earn – in one part of the journey of my career, one of the stories, I went to Tyler, Texas, and I show up and I’m going there to be the assistant plant manager. They didn’t have any minorities on their executive staff. I show up on Monday as the assistant plant manager and I’m scared to death. It’s in Tyler, Texas. They’re having some issues. They’re having tension, racial issues. And, on Wednesday, they take their plant manager out and tell me I’m the acting plant manager until they hire someone. Now, the first thing I did was pray, okay, because I was scared to death.
Scott Luton (21:28):
And that’s a strategy, right?
Billy Taylor (21:30):
That was a strategy. That’s the best strategy I had at that point. But more importantly, the question I asked myself is why would they follow me? I didn’t say that they were bad. I asked myself. It was an inward look. And, what I do is I had meetings every day with 30 people, 30 people to get to understand what was the current reality. But what I finally realized is the fact that they were coming in and talking to me, they immediately started embracing me, right. Because everything they brought in those meetings, for the most part, I was implementing, I was helping. And, what I did, it wasn’t about those little ideas. I made them visible. I made their opinions feel valued. And, that’s what started to happen. And, all of a sudden that plan started to, I mean, they were knocking it without a part and it should have been an interim plant manager. And, six months later, I’m running the plant. Four months after that, I get promoted to the world’s largest tire plant.
Scott Luton (22:34):
Wow. And, as you shared pre-show, that was in Oklahoma, is that right?
Billy Taylor (22:38):
It was in Lawton, Oklahoma, the world’s largest tire plant at the time. They made 65,000 tires a day, 3000 people.
Scott Luton (22:46):
Wow. Round and black and out the back, as you say, right?
Billy Taylor (22:49):
Absolutely. But that’s what it used to be. And then, when the quality standards came in, it wasn’t just about the numbers. The customer wants what the customer wants. And, as a young leader, you know, I was really, and these were some flaws of mine from a leadership standpoint, beyond the numbers. Right? You know, as a young person, I wanted numbers. Round and black and out the back, just keep the tires flowing, right. At this point, know what are the specs. What does the customer want? And, you know, you have to meet the customer need, but also you have to meet the needs of the people that are making the tires.
Scott Luton (23:23):
Yeah. Well said. Not all about quantity. I love that. I do love that phrase. I think those are the type of little phrases, you know, [inaudible] it seems like it’s easier for folks to wrap their head around it and embrace it and then all of a sudden becomes like a daily expression, a part of the culture, you know. So, I’ve gravitated to that myself, so, and you’ve got lots them. Billy, you bring –
Billy Taylor (23:48):
Well, Scott – another part though, that another part that I like to express is when I get up in front of people and I get on podcasts and people read a lot of the articles and they think about Billy’s been successful. And, I always hit what qualifies me to be on this podcast with you. It’s not the successes I had. It’s the failures that I overcame. It’s the adversity, the lessons learned. That’s what got me to say when I stand in front of a crowd or I’m going to coach an organization, it’s how I helped them overcome adversity and the lessons learned on how to deal with adversity or how to scientifically think, do effective problem-solving. That’s because I learned how to overcome failure, not because I was so successful.
Scott Luton (24:39):
That’s an excellent point and distinction. Now, I want to talk about what you’re doing now, but really quick, one final question related to kind of your rear view mirror. So, diversity and inclusion, you know, those two words go together all the time. And, of course we hear about DEI, the acronym as well. I had someone telling me once on a podcast, a powerful story, I’m not remembering his name but he emigrated from Korea and was working for some big US companies. And, he was talking about how the companies were graded at ensuring diversity hiring practices, right. But they really were terrible at an inclusive culture. Can you speak to that? And, do you observe similar dynamics out there in Corporate America?
Billy Taylor (25:26):
Yes. Diversity number is not a number. It’s an action, right. It’s an ownership, right. You see it. You know, you see it. You feel it. And, it’s embracing differences. You know, you do just as much harm by hiring an incapable minority than you do not fill in that job. And so, what I mean by that, diversity is what type of processes you have that put people on an even playing field and saying, you know what, if you’re not in the meeting, you’re not in the deal. So, how do I get someone on that interview panel so that they can present themselves? And, most often when you get that diversity in the room, you see it, you feel it right, because the consumers that are buying your product, they’re diverse, and what I’ve noticed, this was just yesterday.
Scott Luton (26:18):
All right. So, Billy, now that we’ve taken some time kind of looking in your past journey, right, and we’ll talk about it in a minute, because you could write a whole series of books. And, for some reason, Liberty tells me you’ve got one already in the works. We’ll talk about that in a second. I’d love to know better of what you’re doing now with LinkedXL. So, tell us what is a business operating systems architecting firm?
Billy Taylor (26:44):
So, what we do is we work with companies. We work with Note Printing Australia to make the passports and currency for Australia, work with PPG, and currently we’re working with Continental Structural Plastics, which is now Teijin and they make like composite parts for the Corvette body. And, what we do is we go in and build an operating system, a daily management system tailored for their environment. And so, it’s not just, you know, the Toyota production system, and instead of being cookie-cutter, it’s not a cookie-cutter approach. We go in and work with the team and build operating systems to run their day-to-day business 24/7.
Scott Luton (27:25):
Man. Okay. And, I can only imagine how much they can benefit from, you know – we don’t like to claim more than two decades of experience around here at Supply Chain Now, which I know you talked about that before, but your wealth of experience and leadership and getting stuff done and getting results and meeting that standard, which of course has been so important from your upbringing all the way up through your career. So, I bet you’ve got several full plates at work there, huh?
Billy Taylor (27:55):
Absolutely. And, it’s going so well. I think for me personally I know it’s rewarding to see that growth, that internal growth in those organizations and it’s beyond the bottom line, right. It’s beyond the P&L. It’s a culture change and that culture change it’s 24/7. You see the rewards on the people’s face and it moves from celebrating individuals to embracing the processes. So, you build evangelism around how you’re running your company and that’s what’s satisfying.
Scott Luton (28:32):
Love it. Man, I love it. All right. So, one more question and then we’re going to move to your constant studying of leadership. So, when you think of, so any companies out there, any business leaders who might be listening, what’s a couple of traits of, kind of, an ideal company you might work with via LinkedXL?
Billy Taylor (28:52):
Well, we work with companies that are struggling to deploy strategy and tie strategy to tactical execution and we help companies manage the intersections, manage the intersections of the business. And, often cases, we walk into companies, their silos, and so their intersections are collisions, not connections, right. And, you know, it’s like we build kind of a GPS-type mentality that you flow to where the constraint is. And, by doing that and once you eliminate the constraint, you spend your time [inaudible] problem-solving, eliminating constraints, flowing, eliminating the NATS, right? The [inaudible] organizations. And so, that’s what building a strategic deployment process and making sure everybody knows what they own and the strategy.
Scott Luton (29:48):
Right. I love that. Okay. And, the [inaudible], man, the small little things that are really small, but, man, they sure are aggravating and can ruin your afternoon.
Billy Taylor (29:56):
Scott Luton (29:58):
Okay. Especially here in the Southeast where it’s been a little while, but back in those years where all your friends were getting married and it seemed like every weekend you’re at a wedding. I remember a couple of those down in Savannah and the low country of South Carolina in the afternoons and those things called no CMEs. Oh, man, small tiny little book. But, yeah, they ruined your day.
Scott Luton (30:24):
Okay. So, Billy, if I’ve picked up anything through the half dozen or so episodes we’ve been fortunate to do together and get to know you better. You are a constant study in leadership and not only, you know, all that you’ve done, but it’s like you had two books a month, it’s all your observations. It’s what you learn when you sit down with clients or colleagues or other, you know, keynotes, you name it, but your constant study, it appears to me at least, leaderships. We’ll talk about a little more. And, the first question for you is, well, I’ll tell you what, I want to add little question. Why is it so important to constantly learn new things and really constantly study new ways that folks lead?
Billy Taylor (31:08):
You know, the only constant in life is change. That’s the only constant. If you’re not evolving, you’re dying. And, if you’re a parent, if you’re not evolving, you’re dying, right. My son and I were FaceTiming today, which ended with him asking for money, but, you know, the great conversation. But what you’d learned? Think about social media. And, from my generation to my son’s generation, and what I’m doing in business, he’s my mentor. And, that’s the evolution of learning, right. Things are going to change. And, if I ask my son, what’s an 8-track tape? What are you talking about? Right. And so, if I was stuck in 8-track tape days, then I wouldn’t be moving forward. And so, the evolution of learning is progression. It’s not just reading books is what I see and not being afraid or ashamed or too proud to ask why.
Billy Taylor (32:11):
You know, my favorite question as a leader and my people tell me, my people that I’ve led, that have partnered with me, I’d ask them. So, what do you need from me? They hated that question. And, I would say, not what do you want from me? Right. If I had a car, I want a Bentley. I need a ride to work, right. And so, what do you need from me? And, once I provided what was needed, it came down to what they accepted. And then, the second question was, why do you accept that? Why do you accept people quitting early? Why do you accept people not wearing their personal protective equipment? Why do you accept? Because what you accept, you can’t change. What you accept becomes a standard. So, I’m constantly learning and you know what standards are not monuments. Right? You change them, you upgrade. How do you upgrade? You learn.
Scott Luton (33:07):
I love that. You mentioned being a parent earlier. My kids are a little bit younger, I believe. My oldest is in middle school. And I learned today, you know, my lesson learned today is that it’s highly embarrassing to middle-school daughters when I crank up the 1980s rock and roll, right, as she’s getting out in Carlines. She didn’t like that, doesn’t like that.
Billy Taylor (33:29):
Not cool. Not cool, dad.
Scott Luton (33:32):
All right. So, sticking with leadership, let’s talk about some excellent leaders that you’ve had the pleasure of working with or they worked for you, or you may work for them. Give us a couple of names and what made them such exceptional individuals?
Billy Taylor (33:49):
Larry Robbins. Larry Robbins was my production manager. He was the greatest influence in my career.
Scott Luton (33:57):
Billy Taylor (33:58):
I was a young manager. I really didn’t know how to lead. And, he would invest in me. He would come by and take me on a walk every morning. Well, what the walk was, it was around establishing leadership standards, learning how to treat people. And, I remember I was meeting with someone and I was screaming and I was cursing and he just stood around the corner and he came back around. He goes, “You know, how do you feel?” And, I thought, “I feel good.” And, he goes, “Rreally?” And, he goes, “How do you think the people that were watching you feel, that are following you?” And, he talked about the leadership example and he wrote me up. He’s the only person ever in my career to write me up.
Billy Taylor (34:41):
And, he wanted me to have zero losses to the customer, which I thought was impossible. And, he wrote me up and he goes, “You want me to compromise?” And, he goes, “Do you think it’s impossible? Or is difficult?” And, I would say, “Larry, it’s difficult, almost impossible.” He said, “Then it’s achievable.” And, after he wrote me up, two months in a row we had zero losses.
Billy Taylor (35:09):
And so, those lessons that Larry taught me about not only setting expectations, holding people to those expectations, but also giving them what they need and he would hold me to those standards. You know, I wouldn’t even want to pick up the phone. I’d see his name in call ID. When he wrote me up, I didn’t want to pick the phone up. I’m like, I don’t even want to talk you. And, he took me out. We actually went out to dinner and he says, “Just stop, let’s go to dinner.”
Billy Taylor (35:33):
And, he says, “Why do you think I come to work?” And, he said, “I worked for a corporation of one and it’s not Goodyear.” He says, “It’s my family.” He says, “After work, my relationship with you is different. You see these coins in my pocket, Billy.” And, he says, “They all have something in common.” And, I’m like, “What are you talking about?” He goes, “Read it”. And I said, “What?” He says, “They all say in God we trust.” And he says, “Well, that’s why I’m coming to work.” And so, I never forgot that. Larry would say you work for a corporation of one and that’s what your family and the people you love and don’t ever lose sight of that. And, my son would say to me, “Dad, you know what I remember someone asked you once, how do you have time to coach AAU and you replied I don’t have time to golf.” Right? And so, you have choices. And, I always migrate it to my family, right, because that’s the true corporation. So, that’s what Larry taught me, you know, and he’s a great leader.
Scott Luton (36:36):
I love that. You know, you’re talking about you always have choices. I heard it put, well, one time that if you ever want to really figure out what your priorities are in life and, you know, cutting through all the fluff and really know is check your calendar and check your checkbook.
Billy Taylor (36:52):
Scott Luton (36:52):
That’s where your priorities are, truly. So, there’s always a choice.
Billy Taylor (36:56):
That’s right. And, there’s one other guy, [inaudible] mentioned, Greg Guy. Greg Guy is the guy that hired me out of college and he doesn’t tell a story. And, the reason why he doesn’t tell a story because he doesn’t want to paint the young Billy. He didn’t want to paint the young Billy in a bad light. So, what happened was I interviewed for the job. I went with my college fraternity brother, and we both claimed the expense reports, but we drove one car. Afterwards, I get a call on Sunday from Greg, and Greg is, you know, a young man. “You know, you made it to the finals, but we saw two of you get out of the car and we don’t want to offer you two [inaudible] guys a job because of what we observed.” And, I stopped the call and I said, “Excuse me, sir. Let me start by saying thank you for the interview, but please don’t penalize Troy for what I did. That was his [inaudible] car. I did that. And I want to say, thank you for the interview. I’ve learned a valuable lesson here. No excuses. Thank you. And I’ll talk to you later.” And, I hung the phone up and he called me back 30 minutes later. He goes, “This is a Goodyear. Young man, that’s not the answer I expected.”
Scott Luton (38:09):
Billy Taylor (38:09):
“That’s not the answer I expected. I thought you were going to.” He goes, “And by the way, you were the finalist, not the other guy. I want to hire you.” All right. And so, what he told me was nobody, everybody has something, right? Everybody has some things they’re dealing with. He became my mentor and coach for me. And, guess what? He became my mentor, him and Larry, as I went through Goodyear. And then, Greg ended up reporting to me.
Scott Luton (38:34):
Billy Taylor (38:35):
And, we were at an AOP meeting once and he says, “It was funny we had a great relationship.” Although I was there, he was still my mentor. And, he was up next and I was going through him. It was pretty rough. He says, “Now, listen, if you get on me pretty tough in this meeting, I’m going to stand up and say that’s a [inaudible] college, I should have never hired you.” And so, those people, mentors stay in your life. And so, those are the people that taught me character traits beyond management traits.
Scott Luton (39:05):
I love that. And, I know there’s plenty of other characters and personalities in your journey. We’ll have to have you back and talk more about that and I think we’ll have some opportunities coming up, but we’ll save that for a later time.
Scott Luton (39:16):
Let’s talk about, it goes about saying here in late 2019 and 2020, and, you know, through 2021 and certainly probably going into the near future. Challenging times doesn’t do it justice because it’s challenging in a lot of the common challenges that are always there, right, are always there an industry, but then you got all these unique challenges based on kind of where we are with the pandemic, where we are with innovation and some of the issues of the day and then some. So, if you had a room full of organizational leaders that were all scratching their heads and looking for some universal truths or some advice, what were some pieces of advice you’d offer up that room?
Billy Taylor (40:00):
First, I’m going to ask them, how do they show up? As a leader, how do you show up? And then, before we get into strategy, are you going to do it to the team or with the team, right? Because you know what, extreme ownership, and it’s our strategy, not your strategy. And so, as a leader, those are two things. How do you show up? And, the second one is, are you going to do it to the team or with the team? And so, these leaders – and then I want to understand the strategy. And then, I would give them the secret of success, the formula for success. Strategy plus execution equals results. And then, they would look at me like that’s nothing earth-shattering. And, I would say to them, but do you know why most strategies fail? Remember strategy plus execution equals results.
Billy Taylor (40:49):
They fail because people don’t know what they own in the strategy. And so, how deliberate are you at being extremely clear on what the strategy is, who owns what in the strategy and how are you executing? And, I’d asked him one question. If you went to a football game, basketball game, whatever, and you’re late and you get there in the second quarter, you’ve got your popcorn, what is the very first thing you do when you get your seat? You look at the scoreboard. You want to know if you’re winning. And, often the scoreboard is not a display of what the score is. It tells the coaches what they have to do next. If it’s fourth and one, what are you going to do? A third and one, you likely are going to hand the ball off. Right? If it’s a four, third and 10, you’re likely to pass. And so, those scoreboards, what’s your scoreboard in your company? [Inaudible] let people know if you’re winning a losing. What’s the rally call? And, that’s what I would tell a room full of leaders.
Scott Luton (41:52):
I love that. And, when I think of a scoreboard versus a wall of metrics that you find in some plants, you know, it’s easy to, you could spend an hour looking at a wall of a hundred different metrics and not sure if it’s been a good day or bad day or a good week or bad week. When I think of a scoreboard as you paint it, you’ve got several pieces of key information, it’s very limited but it’s very powerful what you need. And, how important is that to direct your attention that those, you know, just a few metrics rather than a whole wall, right?
Billy Taylor (42:23):
Absolutely. And, we own the scoreboard. We, even the fans, right, we own the scoreboard and that’s how powerful it is. And, if you were bowling, if there was a curtain in front of you and all you heard was a loud noise, you don’t know how many pins you knocked down, so what do you do next?
Scott Luton (42:42):
You don’t know.
Billy Taylor (42:42):
You don’t know.
Scott Luton (42:43):
That is a good one. So, let’s talk, as we started to kind of come down homestretch and appreciate the hour or so we’ve spent with you. I know how busy you are, Billy. Let’s talk about, ’cause somehow you’re finding some time, maybe you got some clones, Billy Taylor, because you got beyond a burgeoning business and all the speaking that you do, you’ve got some really cool projects coming out. Let’s talk about the book that is set to release in a few months. Tell us about this.
Billy Taylor (43:11):
So, the book is with – McGraw Hill’s publishing the book. We’ve been working on this book with some credible people with credible practical examples in the book. The title of the book is called The Winning Link. How to define a line and execute winning strategies in business? And so, it’s a step-by-step process on really some of the things we’ve talked about. How to be deliberately clear on what you want to achieve at every level of the organization? How to be deliberate around who owns what and to be deliberate around how you practice your day-to-day standard work? And so, it’s really a practitioner’s guide to being successful in business. And, I don’t care if you’re a mom and pop donut shop is, you know, this big Fortune 500 company. This book is applicable. And, it has some funny stories in it and real life examples of failure and overcoming failure.
Scott Luton (44:12):
Love it. And, we’re still waiting [inaudible] tentatively scheduled to hit bookstands in the early December, I believe. Right?
Billy Taylor (44:18):
Scott Luton (44:19):
Okay. So, folks, stay tuned. We’ll give updates. We’ll probably do some giveaways here at Supply Chain Now. I look forward to celebrating, which I know is going to be a homerun book that’s well received by all. So, that’s not the only project you’ve got coming up. We’re excited here at Supply Chain Now, Billy, as we’ve been growing and we look for been there, done that leaders that have just truckloads of advice and observations that are readily consumed by others and also are wonderful storytellers. And, that’s just the tip of iceberg with you, but we’ve got a little podcast series we’re going to be launching with you here, right?
Billy Taylor (45:00):
Yes, sir. We’re partnering up with Supply Chain Now. I’m looking forward to it. We’re going to launch a really engaging interactive podcast, you know, parlaying on the great foundation you’ve already built and I’ll be joining the team. And so, you’ll be seeing a podcast with myself and with some very engaging guests and practitioners, industry practitioners.
Scott Luton (45:24):
And, I’ve had a little sneak peek at some of the show concepts, and Billy’s got a slew of them. And, you know, it’s going to get really creative and it’s going to showcase leadership in a variety of different ways and stories and overcoming all the speed bumps that we have in life and then some, or enjoying and continuing success. ‘Cause, Billy, my hunch and someone that comes from, you know, your track record, once you have that taste of success, you can’t just do the same thing.
Billy Taylor (45:54):
Scott Luton (45:55):
Because the challenges change a little bit. Right?
Billy Taylor (45:57):
Absolutely. Absolutely. And so, I have a targeted type of guest that’s going to be on the show and it’s going to be fun. It’s going to be from LeBron James, his high school coach, or some just exciting people that are anxious to tell their story. And, it’s beyond the game of basketball. It’s beyond of what they did. And so, that’s what it’s going to be. It’s going to be fun.
Scott Luton (46:25):
Love it. I’m excited. You know, this has been in the works for ways [inaudible] you’ve got a bunch of as we’ve talked about, a bunch of projects, but we’re excited to launch that in the next couple of months here. So, folks, stay tuned for a lot more information.
Scott Luton (46:36):
But, Billy, I’ll tell you that the hour has gone by fast and I feel like we’re leaving so much on the table. So, I’m looking forward to these future conversations already. But how can, you know, based on your board work, your keynote work, your consulting business, of course the upcoming book, the podcast series, all of the stuff you’re doing, how can folks connect with you, you know, if they want to learn more?
Billy Taylor (46:58):
Well, really, to learn about LinkedXL, go to www.linkedxl.com. That’s the website. You can see more about the company and kind of what we do. But for me, LinkedIn is, I answer my own messages. I read my own messages, especially on the weekends. I get back with people. I love interacting with people through LinkedIn. So, my preferred method is LinkedIn. You know, just find Billy Taylor on LinkedIn.
Scott Luton (47:27):
I love it. I love it. Okay. So, I’m looking forward to a lot more conversations like this, a lot more conversations from your guests, a lot more lessons learned and a lot more Billy Taylor. So, big thanks to Billy Taylor, again CEO and President of LinkedXL. I look forward to seeing you again real soon, Billy.
Billy Taylor (47:46):
Thank you and thank you for having me again. To everyone out there, thank you for joining us.
Scott Luton (47:51):
You bet. Okay. Folks, I’ll tell ya, we’re just scratching the surface. I know it from firsthand experience with Billy here. You’re going to enjoy – if this conversation wasn’t enough, good news, there’s going to be a lot more coming. So, there’s something and a new lesson learned with each conversation we spend here with Billy Taylor. Be sure to connect with him on LinkedIn. Be sure to check out LinkedXL. More news on the book and the podcast to come.
Scott Luton (48:16):
In the meantime, if you enjoy this conversation, be sure to find us at supplychainnow.com. Of course, wherever you get your podcasts from, subscribe, so you don’t miss a single thing. Most importantly, most importantly, Billy, what was your mother’s name?
Billy Taylor (48:29):
Scott Luton (48:30):
Vierra Taylor. Okay. So, folks, most importantly, do good, give forward, be the change, set the standards like Vierra Taylor and the world will be a better place. And, on that note, we’ll see you next time right back here at Supply Chain Now. Thanks, everybody.
Thanks for being a part of our Supply Chain Now Community. Check out all of our programming at supplychainnow.com and make sure you subscribe to Supply Chain Now anywhere you listen to podcasts and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. See you next time on Supply Chain Now.
Billy Taylor is an American business executive, dynamic speaker and leadership guru. He is the CEO and President of LinkedXL (Excellence), a Business Operating Systems Architecting Firm. Taylor spent 30 years with The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. (GT), serving as Director of North America Manufacturing and Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer. During his tenure at Goodyear, the company’s earnings rose from -38M to +1B. As the Global Head of Diversity & Inclusion for Goodyear, Taylor led diversity and inclusion strategies for 64,000 employees across the 22 countries where Goodyear operates. Connect with Billy on LinkedIn.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Adrian Purtill serves as Business Development Manager at Vector Global Logistics, where he consults with importers and exporters in various industries to match their specific shipping requirements with the most effective supply chain solutions. Vector Global Logistics is an asset-free, multi-modal logistics company that provides exceptional sea freight, air freight, truck, rail, general logistic services and consulting for our clients. Our highly trained and professional team is committed to providing creative and effective solutions, always exceeding our customer’s expectations and fostering long-term relationships. With more than 20+ years of experience in both strategy consulting and logistics, Vector Global Logistics is your best choice to proactively minimize costs while having an exceptional service level.
Joshua is a student from Institute of Technology and Higher Education of Monterrey Campus Guadalajara in Communication and Digital Media. His experience ranges from Plug and Play México, DearDoc, and Nissan México creating unique social media marketing campaigns and graphics design. Joshua helps to amplify the voice of supply chain here at Supply Chain Now by assisting in graphic design, content creation, asset logistics, and more. In his free time he likes to read and write short stories as well as watch movies and television series.
Data Analytics and Metrics Intern
Patch is a fourth-year Management Information Systems and Marketing major at the University of Georgia. He is working with Supply Chain Now in data analysis, finding insights and best practices to increase company efficiency. Patch previously worked as an intern at AnswerRocket, a data analytics company where he gained invaluable knowledge about analytics, webpage SEO and B2B marketing best practices. In his free time, he enjoys playing tennis, going to concerts, and watching movies.
Vicki has a long history of rising to challenges and keeping things up and running. First, she supported her family’s multi-million dollar business as controller for 12 years, beginning at the age of 17. Then, she worked as an office manager and controller for a wholesale food broker. But her biggest feat? Serving as the chief executive officer of her household, while her entrepreneur husband travelled the world extensively. She fed, nurtured, chaperoned, and chauffeured three daughters all while running a newsletter publishing business and remaining active in her community as a Stephen’s Minister, Sunday school teacher, school volunteer, licensed realtor and POA Board president (a title she holds to this day). A force to be reckoned with in the office, you might think twice before you meet Vicki on the tennis court! When she’s not keeping the books balanced at Supply Chain Now or playing tennis matches, you can find Vicki spending time with her husband Greg, her 4 fur babies, gardening, cleaning (yes, she loves to clean!) and learning new things.
Founder, CEO, & Host
As the founder and CEO of Supply Chain Now, you might say Scott is the voice of supply chain – but he’s too much of a team player to ever claim such a title. One thing’s for sure: he’s a tried and true supply chain expert. With over 15 years of experience in the end-to-end supply chain, Scott’s insights have appeared in major publications including The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and CNN. He has also been named a top industry influencer by Thinkers360, ISCEA and more.
From 2009-2011, Scott was president of APICS Atlanta, and he continues to lead initiatives that support both the local business community and global industry. A United States Air Force Veteran, Scott has also regularly led efforts to give back to his fellow veteran community since his departure from active duty in 2002.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Allison Krache Giddens has been with Win-Tech, a veteran-owned small business and aerospace precision machine shop, for 15 years, recently buying the company from her mentor and Win-Tech’s Founder, Dennis Winslow. She and her business partner, John Hudson now serve as Co-Presidents, leading the 33-year old company through the pandemic.
She holds undergraduate degrees in psychology and criminal justice from the University of Georgia, a Masters in Conflict Management from Kennesaw State University, a Masters in Manufacturing from Georgia Institute of Technology, and a Certificate of Finance from the University of Georgia. She also holds certificates in Google Analytics, event planning, and Cybersecurity Risk Management from Harvard online. Allison founded the Georgia Chapter of Women in Manufacturing and currently serves as Treasurer. She serves on the Chattahoochee Technical College Foundation Board as its Secretary, the liveSAFE Resources Board of Directors as Resource Development Co-Chair, and on the Leadership Cobb Alumni Association Board as Membership Chair and is also a member of Cobb Executive Women. She is on the Board for the Cobb Chamber of Commerce’s Northwest Area Councils. Allison runs The Dave Krache Foundation, a non-profit that helps pay sports fees for local kids in need.
Principal, Supply Chain Now
Host of Supply Chain Now and TECHquila Sunrise
When rapid-growth technology companies, venture capital and private equity firms are looking for advisory, they call Greg – a founder, board director, advisor and catalyst of disruptive B2B technology and supply chain. An insightful visionary, Greg guides founders, investors and leadership teams in creating breakthroughs to gain market exposure and momentum – increasing overall company esteem and valuation.
Greg is a founder himself, creating Blue Ridge Solutions, a Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader in cloud-native supply chain applications, and bringing to market Curo, a field service management solution. He has also held leadership roles with Servigistics (PTC) and E3 Corporation (JDA/Blue Yonder). As a principal and host at Supply Chain Now, Greg helps guide the company’s strategic direction, hosts industry leader discussions, community livestreams, and all in addition to executive producing and hosting his original YouTube channel and podcast, TEChquila Sunrise.
Principal, Supply Chain Now
Host of Supply Chain is Boring
Talk about world-class: Chris is one of the few professionals in the world to hold CPIM-F, CLTD-F and CSCP-F designations from ASCM/APICS. He’s also the APICS coach – and our resident Supply Chain Doctor. When he’s not hosting programs with Supply Chain Now, he’s sharing supply chain knowledge on the APICS Coach Youtube channel or serving as a professional education instructor for the Georgia Tech Supply Chain & Logistic Institute’s Supply Chain Management (SCM) program and University of Tennessee-Chattanooga Center for Professional Education courses.
Chris earned a BS in Industrial Engineering from Bradley University, an MBA with emphasis in Industrial Psychology from the University of West Florida, and is a Doctoral in Supply Chain Management candidate.
Host of TEKTOK
If there’s one Supply Chain ‘Pro to Know,’ it’s Karin. She’s earned the title for three years and counting – culminating in her designation as the “2020 Supply Chain Pro to Know of the Year.” Karin is also an award-winning digital supply chain, business strategy and technology marketing executive. A sought-after speaker at industry conferences, you will find her quoted in a variety of supply chain publications – and active in forums like ASCM/APICS and CSCMP.
With more than 25 years of supply chain experience, Karin spearheaded strategy and marketing for Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader and IDC MarketScape Leader, Logility. Karin has the heart of a teacher and has helped nearly 1,000 customers transform their businesses and tell their success stories. Today, she is a sought-after advisor helping high-growth B2B technology companies with everything from defining their unique value propositions to introducing new products and capturing customer success. No matter their goals, she makes sure her clients have actionable marketing strategies that help grow global revenue, market share and profitability.
Host of Digital Transformers
Kevin L. Jackson is a globally recognized Thought Leader, Industry Influencer and Founder/Author of the award winning “Cloud Musings” blog. He has also been recognized as a “Top 5G Influencer” (Onalytica 2019, Radar 2020), a “Top 50 Global Digital Transformation Thought Leader” (Thinkers 360 2019) and provides strategic consulting and integrated social media services to AT&T, Intel, Broadcom, Ericsson and other leading companies. Mr. Jackson’s commercial experience includes Vice President J.P. Morgan Chase, Worldwide Sales Executive for IBM and SAIC (Engility) Director Cloud Solutions. He has served on teams that have supported digital transformation projects for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the US Intelligence Community. Kevin’s formal education includes a MS Computer Engineering from Naval Postgraduate School; MA National Security & Strategic Studies from Naval War College; and a BS Aerospace Engineering from the United States Naval Academy. Internationally recognizable firms that have sponsored articles authored by him include Cisco, Microsoft, Citrix and IBM. Books include “Click to Transform” (Leaders Press, 2020), “Architecting Cloud Computing Solutions” (Packt, 2018), and “Practical Cloud Security: A Cross Industry View” (Taylor & Francis, 2016). He also delivers online training through Tulane University, O’Reilly Media, LinkedIn Learning, and Pluralsight. Mr. Jackson retired from the U.S. Navy in 1994, earning specialties in Space Systems Engineering, Carrier Onboard Delivery Logistics and carrier-based Airborne Early Warning and Control. While active, he also served with the National Reconnaissance Office, Operational Support Office, providing tactical support to Navy and Marine Corps forces worldwide.
Host of Logistics with Purpose and Supply Chain Now en Español
Enrique serves as Managing Director at Vector Global Logistics and believes we all have a personal responsibility to change the world. He is hard working, relationship minded and pro-active. Enrique trusts that the key to logistics is having a good and responsible team that truly partners with the clients and does whatever is necessary to see them succeed. He is a proud sponsor of Vector’s unique results-based work environment and before venturing into logistics he worked for the Boston Consulting Group (BCG). During his time at BCG, he worked in different industries such as Telecommunications, Energy, Industrial Goods, Building Materials, and Private Banking. His main focus was always on the operations, sales, and supply chain processes, with case focus on, logistics, growth strategy, and cost reduction. Prior to joining BCG, Enrique worked for Grupo Vitro, a Mexican glass manufacturer, for five years holding different positions from sales and logistics manager to supply chain project leader in charge of five warehouses in Colombia.
He has an MBA from The Wharton School of Business and a BS, in Mechanical Engineer from the Technologico de Monterrey in Mexico. Enrique’s passions are soccer and the ocean, and he also enjoys traveling, getting to know new people, and spending time with his wife and two kids, Emma and Enrique.
Host of Dial P for Procurement
Kelly is the Owner and Managing Director of Buyers Meeting Point and MyPurchasingCenter. She has been in procurement since 2003, starting as a practitioner and then as the Associate Director of Consulting at Emptoris. She has covered procurement news, events, publications, solutions, trends, and relevant economics at Buyers Meeting Point since 2009. Kelly is also the General Manager at Art of Procurement and Business Survey Chair for the ISM-New York Report on Business. Kelly has her MBA from Babson College as well as an MS in Library and Information Science from Simmons College and she has co-authored three books: ‘Supply Market Intelligence for Procurement Professionals’, ‘Procurement at a Crossroads’, and ‘Finance Unleashed’.
Host, Veteran Voices
Mary Kate Soliva is transitioning from active duty in the US Army. She is currently in the Doctor of Criminal Justice program at Saint Leo University. She is passionate about combating human trafficking and has spent the last decade conducting training for military personnel and the local community.
Jeff Miller is the host of Supply Chain Now’s Supply Chain is the Business. Jeff is a digital business transformation and supply chain advisor with deep expertise in Industry 4.0, ERP, PLM, SCM, IoT, AR and related technologies. Through more than 25 years of industry and consulting experience, he has worked with many of the world’s leading product and service companies to achieve their strategic business and supply chain goals, creating durable business value for organizations at the forefront of technology and business practices. Jeff is the managing director for North America at Transition Technologies PSC, a global solution integrator, and the founder and managing principal of BTV Advisors, a firm that helps companies secure business transformation value from digital supply chain technologies and their breakthrough capabilities.
Chief Marketing Officer
Amanda is a marketing veteran and entrepreneur with over 15 years of experience across a variety of industries and organizations including Von Maur, Anthropologie, AmericasMart Atlanta, and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. In 2016, Amanda founded and grew the Magnolia Marketing Group into a successful digital media firm, and now she develops modern marketing strategies, social campaigns, innovative operational processes, and implements creative content initiatives for Supply Chain Now. But that’s just the beginning of her supply chain impact. Amanda also served as the VP of Information Systems and Webmaster on the Board of Directors for APICS Savannah for several years, and is the face behind the scenes welcoming you to every Supply Chain Now livestream! She was also recently selected as one of the Top 100 Women in Supply Chain by Supply Chain Digest and IBM. When she’s not leading the Supply Chain Now marketing team, you can find Amanda with her and her husband Scott’s three kids, in the kitchen cooking, or reading.
Business Development Manager
Clay is passionate about two things: supply chain and the marketing that goes into it. Recently graduated with a degree in marketing at the University of Georgia, Clay got his start as a journalism major and inaugural member of the Owl’s football team at Kennesaw State University – but quickly saw tremendous opportunity in the Terry College of Business. He’s already putting his education to great use at Supply Chain Now, assisting with everything from sales and brand strategy to media production. Clay has contributed to initiatives such as our leap into video production, the guest blog series, and boosting social media presence, and after nearly two years in Supply Chain Now’s Marketing Department, Clay now heads up partnership and sales initiatives with the help of the rest of the Supply Chain Now sales team.
Trisha is new to the supply chain industry – but not to podcasting. She’s an experienced podcast manager and virtual assistant who also happens to have 20 years of experience as an elementary school teacher. It’s safe to say, she’s passionate about helping people, and she lives out that passion every day with the Supply Chain Now team, contributing to scheduling and podcast production.
Host of Dial P for Procurement
Billy Taylor is a Proven Business Excellence Practitioner and Leadership Guru with over 25 years leading operations for a Fortune 500 company, Goodyear. He is also the CEO of LinkedXL (Excellence), a Business Operating Systems Architecting Firm dedicated to implementing sustainable operating systems that drive sustainable results. Taylor’s achievements in the industry have made him a Next Generational Lean pacesetter with significant contributions.
An American business executive, Taylor has made a name for himself as an innovative and energetic industry professional with an indispensable passion for his craft of operational excellence. His journey started many years ago and has worked with renowned corporations such as The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. (GT) leading multi-site operations. With over 3 decades of service leading North America operations, he is experienced in a deeply rooted process driven approach in customer service, process integrity for sustainability.
A disciple of continuous improvement, Taylor’s love for people inspires commitment to helping others achieve their full potential. He is a dynamic speaker and hosts "The Winning Link," a popular podcast centered on business and leadership excellence with the #1 rated Supply Chain Now Network. As a leadership guru, Taylor has earned several invitations to universities, international conferences, global publications, and the U.S. Army to demonstrate how to achieve and sustain effective results through cultural acceptance and employee ownership. Leveraging the wisdom of his business acumen, strong influence as a speaker and podcaster Taylor is set to release "The Winning Link" book under McGraw Hill publishing in 2022. The book is a how-to manual to help readers understand the management of business interactions while teaching them how to Deine, Align, and Execute Winning in Business.
A servant leader, Taylor, was named by The National Diversity Council as one of the Top 100 Diversity Officers in the country in 2021. He features among Oklahoma's Most Admired CEOs and maintains key leadership roles with the Executive Advisory Board for The Shingo Institute "The Nobel Prize of Operations" and The Association of Manufacturing Excellence (AME); two world-leading organizations for operational excellence, business development, and cultural learning. He is also an Independent Director for the M-D Building Products Board, a proud American manufacturer of quality products since 1920.
Social Media Manager
My name is Chantel King and I am the Social Media Specialist at Supply Chain Now. My job is to make sure our audience is engaged and educated on the abundant amount of information the supply chain industry has to offer.
Social Media and Communications has been my niche ever since I graduated from college at The Academy of Art University in San Francisco. No, I am not a West Coast girl. I was born and raised in New Jersey, but my travel experience goes way beyond the garden state. My true passion is in creating editorial and graphic content that influences others to be great in whatever industry they are in. I’ve done this by working with lifestyle, financial, and editorial companies by providing resources to enhance their businesses.
Another passion of mine is trying new things. Whether it’s food, an activity, or a sport. I would like to say that I am an adventurous Taurus that never shies away from a new quest or challenge.
Lori is currently completing a degree in marketing with an emphasis in digital marketing at the University of Georgia. When she’s not supporting the marketing efforts at Supply Chain Now, you can find her at music festivals – or working toward her dream goal of a fashion career. Lori is involved in many extracurricular activities and appreciates all the learning experiences UGA has brought her.
Sales and Marketing Coordinator
Katherine is a marketing professional and MBA candidate who strives to unite her love of people with a passion for positive experiences. Having a diverse background, which includes nonprofit work with digital marketing and start-ups, she serves as a leader who helps people live their most creative lives by cultivating community, order, collaboration, and respect. With equal parts creativity and analytics, she brings a unique skill set which fosters refining, problem solving, and connecting organizations with their true vision. In her free time, you can usually find her looking for her cup of coffee, playing with her puppy Charlie, and dreaming of her next road trip.
Ben Harris is the Director of Supply Chain Ecosystem Expansion for the Metro Atlanta Chamber. Ben comes to the Metro Atlanta Chamber after serving as Senior Manager, Market Development for Manhattan Associates. There, Ben was responsible for developing Manhattan’s sales pipeline and overall Americas supply chain marketing strategy. Ben oversaw market positioning, messaging and campaign execution to build awareness and drive new pipeline growth. Prior to joining Manhattan, Ben spent four years with the Georgia Department of Economic Development’s Center of Innovation for Logistics where he played a key role in establishing the Center as a go-to industry resource for information, support, partnership building, and investment development. Additionally, he became a key SME for all logistics and supply chain-focused projects. Ben began his career at Page International, Inc. where he drove continuous improvement in complex global supply chain operations for a wide variety of businesses and Fortune 500 companies. An APICS Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP), Ben holds an Executive Master’s degree in Business Administration (EMBA) and bachelor’s degree in International Business (BBA) from the Terry College at the University of Georgia.
Host, The Freight Insider
Prior to joining TeamOne Logistics, Page Siplon served as the Executive Director of the Georgia Center of Innovation for Logistics, the State’s leading consulting resource for fueling logistics industry growth and global competitiveness. For over a decade, he directly assisted hundreds of companies to overcome challenges and capitalize on opportunities related to the movement of freight. During this time, Siplon was also appointed to concurrently serve the State of Georgia as Director of the larger Centers of Innovation Program, in which he provided executive leadership and vision for all six strategic industry-focused Centers. As a frequently requested keynote speaker, Siplon is called upon to address a range of audiences on unique aspects of technology, workforce, and logistics. This often includes topics of global and domestic logistics trends, supply chain visibility, collaboration, and strategic planning. He has also been quoted as an industry expert in publications such as Forbes, Journal of Commerce, Fortune, NPR, Wall Street Journal, Reuters, American Express, DC Velocity, Area Development Magazine, Site Selection Magazine, Inbound Logistics, Modern Material Handling, and is frequently a live special guest on SiriusXM’s Road Dog Radio Show. Siplon is an active industry participant, recognized by DC Velocity Magazine as a “2012 Logistics Rainmaker” which annually identifies the top-ten logistics professionals in the Nation; and named a “Pro to Know” by Supply & Demand Executive Magazine in 2014. Siplon was also selected by Georgia Trend Magazine as one of the “Top 100 Most Influential Georgians” for 2013, 2014, and 2015. He also serves various industry leadership roles at both the State and Federal level. Governor Nathan Deal nominated Siplon to represent Georgia on a National Supply Chain Competitiveness Advisory Committee, where he was appointed to a two-year term by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce and was then appointed to serve as its vice-chairman. At the State level, he was selected by then-Governor Sonny Perdue to serve as lead consultant on the Commission for New Georgia’s Freight and Logistics Task Force. In this effort, Siplon led a Private Sector Advisory Committee with invited executives from a range of private sector stakeholders including UPS, Coca-Cola, The Home Depot, Delta Airlines, Georgia Pacific, CSX, and Norfolk Southern. Siplon honorably served a combined 12 years in the United States Marine Corps and the United States Air Force. During this time, he led the integration of encryption techniques and deployed cryptographic devices for tactically secure voice and data platforms in critical ground-to-air communication systems. This service included support for all branches of the Department of Defense, multiple federal security agencies, and aiding NASA with multiple Space Shuttle launches. Originally from New York, Siplon received both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in electrical and computer engineering with a focus on digital signal processing from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He earned an associate’s degree in advanced electronic systems from the Air Force College and completed multiple military leadership academies in both the Marines and Air Force. Siplon currently lives in Cumming, Georgia (north of Atlanta), with his wife Jan, and two children Thomas (19) and Lily (15).
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Kristi Porter is VP of Sales and Marketing at Vector Global Logistics, a company that is changing the world through supply chain. In her role, she oversees all marketing efforts and supports the sales team in doing what they do best. In addition to this role, she is the Chief Do-Gooder at Signify, which assists nonprofits and social impact companies through copywriting and marketing strategy consulting. She has almost 20 years of professional experience, and loves every opportunity to help people do more good.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Kevin Brown is the Director of Business Development for Vector Global Logistics. He has a dedicated interest in Major Account Management, Enterprise Sales, and Corporate Leadership. He offers 25 years of exceptional experience and superior performance in the sales of Logistics, Supply Chain, and Transportation Management. Kevin is a dynamic, high-impact, sales executive and corporate leader who has consistently exceeded corporate goals. He effectively coordinates multiple resources to solution sell large complex opportunities while focusing on corporate level contacts across the enterprise. His specialties include targeting and securing key accounts by analyzing customer’s current business processes and developing solutions to meet their corporate goals. Connect with Kevin on LinkedIn.
Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol
Sofia Rivas Herrera is a Mexican Industrial Engineer from Tecnologico de Monterrey class 2019. Upon graduation, she earned a scholarship to study MIT’s Graduate Certificate in Logistics and Supply Chain Management and graduated as one of the Top 3 performers of her class in 2020. She also has a multicultural background due to her international academic experiences at Singapore Management University and Kühne Logistics University in Hamburg. Sofia self-identifies as a Supply Chain enthusiast & ambassador sharing her passion for the field in her daily life.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Jose Manuel Irarrazaval es parte del equipo de Vector Global Logistics Chile. José Manuel es un gerente experimentado con experiencia en finanzas corporativas, fusiones y adquisiciones, financiamiento y reestructuración, inversión directa y financiera, tanto en Chile como en el exterior. José Manuel tiene su MBA de la Universidad de Pennsylvania- The Wharton School. Conéctese con Jose Manuel en LinkedIn.
Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol
Demo Perez started his career in 1997 in the industry by chance when a relative asked him for help for two just weeks putting together an operation for FedEx Express at the Colon Free Zone, an area where he was never been but accepted the challenge. Worked in all roles possible from a truck driver to currier to a sales representative, helped the brand introduction, market share growth and recognition in the Colon Free Zone, at the end of 1999 had the chance to meet and have a chat with Fred Smith ( FedEx CEO), joined another company in 2018 who took over the FedEx operations as Operations and sales manager, in 2004 accepted the challenge from his company to leave the FedEx operations and business to take over the operation and business of DHL Express, his major competitor and rival so couldn’t say no, by changing completely its operation model in the Free Zone. In 2005 started his first entrepreneurial journey by quitting his job and joining two friends to start a Freight Forwarding company. After 8 months was recruited back by his company LSP with the General Manager role with the challenge of growing the company and make it fully capable warehousing 3PL. By 2009 joined CSCMP and WERC and started his journey of learning and growing his international network and high-level learning. In 2012 for the first time joined a local association ( the Panama Maritime Chamber) and worked in the country’s first Logistics Strategy plan, joined and lead other associations ending as president of the Panama Logistics Council in 2017. By finishing his professional mission at LSP with a company that was 8 times the size it was when accepted the role as GM with so many jobs generated and several young professionals coached, having great financial results, took the decision to move forward and start his own business from scratch by the end of 2019. with a friend and colleague co-founded IPL Group a company that started as a boutique 3PL and now is gearing up for the post-Covid era by moving to the big leagues.
Host, Supply Chain Now
The founder of Logistics Executive Group, Kim Winter delivers 40 years of executive leadership experience spanning Executive Search & Recruitment, Leadership Development, Executive Coaching, Corporate Advisory, Motivational Speaking, Trade Facilitation and across the Supply Chain, Logistics, 3PL, E-commerce, Life Science, Cold Chain, FMCG, Retail, Maritime, Defence, Aviation, Resources, and Industrial sectors. Operating from the company’s global offices, he is a regular contributor of thought leadership to industry and media, is a professional Master of Ceremonies, and is frequently invited to chair international events.
He is a Board member of over a dozen companies throughout APAC, India, and the Middle East, a New Zealand citizen, he holds formal resident status in Australia and the UAE, and is the Australia & New Zealand representative for the UAE Government-owned Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZA), the Middle East’s largest Economic Free Zone.
A triathlete and ex-professional rugby player, Kim is a qualified (IECL Sydney) executive coach and the Founder / Chairman of the successful not for profit humanitarian organization, Oasis Africa (www. oasisafrica.org.au), which has provided freedom from poverty through education to over 8000 mainly orphaned children in East Africa’s slums. Kim holds an MBA and BA from Massey & Victoria Universities (NZ).
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Nick Roemer has had a very diverse and extensive career within design and sales over the last 15 years stretching from China, Dubai, Germany, Holland, UK, and the USA. In the last 5 years, Nick has developed a hawk's eye for sustainable tech and the human-centric marketing and sales procedures that come with it. With his far-reaching and strong network within the logistics industry, Nick has been able to open new avenues and routes to market within major industries in the USA and the UAE. Nick lives by the ethos, “Give more than you take." His professional mission is to make the logistics industry leaner, cleaner and greener.
Sales Support Intern
Alex is pursuing a Marketing degree and a Certificate in Legal Studies at the University of Georgia. As a dual citizen of both the US and UK; Alex has studied abroad at University College London and is passionate about travel and international business. Through her coursework at the Terry College of Business, Alex has gained valuable skills in digital marketing, analytics, and professional selling. She joined Supply Chain Now as a Sales Support Intern where she assists the team by prospecting and qualifying new business partners.