Veteran Voices
Episode 81

My number one piece of advice would be to ‘get small’ when you are transitioning. Instead of thinking about your existential purpose in life, think about your purpose today.

-Matthew Brown, Co-founder & CEO of Chimney Trail

Episode Summary

There are some common traits shared by most people fighting anxiety and depression or struggling with thoughts of suicide. And while the awareness and understanding of mental health issues have both improved, many of the solutions that are in place today don’t make the required difference for people who need help right now.

Matthew Brown earned his degree from the US Naval Academy in 2005. He went on to serve as the captain of USS SCOUT (MCM-8) and as part of US Navy SEAL TEAM 17, as a strategic studies Fellow for the Chief of Naval Operations, as aide-de-camp for Strategy & Policy at US Joint Forces Command, and as leader of the Coalition Indirect Fires Group in Baghdad, Iraq.

In this interview, Matthew speaks with host Mary Kate Soliva about:

• The decision he made to leave active duty so he can help people, regardless of their military or Veteran status, deal with mental health challenges

• How Chimney Trail is taking a different approach to addressing 10 common cognitive distortions associated with depression and suicide

• The effort underway to continually improve their solutions and the impact they are able to have for those struggling with their mental health

 

Episode Transcript

Intro/Outro (00:02):

Welcome to Veteran Voices, a podcast that dedicated to giving a voice to those that have served in the United States Armed Forces on this series, jointly presented by Supply Chain now and Vets to Industry. We sit down with a wide variety of veterans and veteran advocates to gain their insights, perspective, and stories from serving. We talk with many individuals about their challenging transition from active duty to the private sector, and we discuss some of the most vital issues facing veterans today. Join us for this episode of Veteran Voices.

Mary Kate Soliva (00:42):

Hello everyone. Thank you for joining us again here on Veteran Voices, and welcome to all you new listeners who are tuning in for the first time. Again, you get Veteran Voices, where we get your podcasts from. Uh, just quick programming note before we get started, cause I have got an incredible veteran here in the wing of that I’m ready to interview. And supply chain now is part of this family of programming with Veteran Voices. And today’s episode in particular is in partnership with the Guam Human Rights Initiative, a nonprofit that’s near and dear to my heart and the military Women’s Collective. You can find more about the Guam Human Rights Initiative at guam h r i.org and more about the military Women’s Collective at military women’s collective.org. And shout out to Marina Ick, my sister from another Mister and Navy veteran. Uh, she’s out there just crushing it every day, helping veterans across the country. So again, without further ado, uh, you are gonna tune in again with two Veteran Voices, but we got a veteran in the Wing, uh, Matthew Brown here with us today from Chimney Trail. So I’m really excited to welcome you in Matthew.

Matthew Brown (01:51):

Mary Kate. Thank you so much for having me. I appreciate the invite.

Mary Kate Soliva (01:54):

Yes, thank you. I know this is like a long time in in the coming in the making and when I saw your episode with Mike Steadman, iron Mike, I just had to have you on Veteran Voices as well. Uh, just really, really appreciative of the work that you’re doing and I’m looking forward to diving deeper into that. But I love to kick off veteran voices with motivational quote, or if you feel like gracing us with your voice, you are welcome to sing it. <laugh>, do you have, do you have a favorite quote of yours that you’d like to share?

Matthew Brown (02:27):

I, I do. Um, so I, this quote resonated with me early in life, but it really resonates with me now as an entrepreneur trying to balance like the demands of that with life and everything. Um, and I, I actually said it one of my very, like one of my very best friend’s wedding, uh, and now it’s like stuck in my head and it’s this quote from Galileo Galilee and he said, the sun, with all those planets revolving around it and dependent upon it, can still ripen a bunch of grapes as if it had nothing else in the universe to do. And for some reason it’s

Mary Kate Soliva (03:08):

So poetic.

Matthew Brown (03:09):

Yeah. It’s like a, it, it really resonates with me because there are all of these things that you’re having to balance and you’re sort of maintaining all these orbits in your life. But how important is it to really focus on the things that matter and make sure it gets the, the best version of you? And I, you know, whenever I think about that quote, I think about my wife Jen and my kids and, and like the life that we’re trying to build, even though we’ve got these other amazing things going on. Uh, anyway.

Mary Kate Soliva (03:36):

No, I absolutely love that. Yeah, and it definitely, I think resonates and just encompasses you as, as a person, cuz again, you’re just super easy to talk to. And our listeners don’t even know that I’ve already been talking to you probably for like 45 minutes before I even pushed record, just cause it’s just like so easy to talk to you. And, and I just absolutely love, um, what you’re doing, uh, for the veteran community and just the com you know, just the American people in general. Um, so I, I would love to take our listeners a little bit back, and I’m not gonna say way, way back because you’re still young. Uh, but we’re, talk about your upbringing and uh, where, where did you grow up?

Matthew Brown (04:15):

Yeah, so I grew up in southern Maryland, uh, Calvert County, which is about about 30 minutes south of Annapolis. Um, so right along the Chesapeake Bay. And my tallah hood was very water centric, which is sort of, uh, hilarious because now I live, uh, in Colorado in the mountains. But yeah, my earliest days were spent, uh, on the water Chesapeake Bay. Uh, I played baseball. I have, uh, a younger sister. She’s two years younger than me. Uh, I grew up in a household with, with a mom and dad and in a really nice neighborhood. So, um, I definitely benefited from a, a bit of a headstart. I’m conscious of the privileges that I grew up with. Um, but yeah, it is a, a wonderful, uh, childhood experience and went to high school at Northern High School and, uh, my, my introduction to all things military and sort of the start of my life’s trajectory, uh, right, was that, was that high school northern, uh, because there was a, a man there named Captain James Mink, uh, who went to Annapolis and he was, uh, in charge of the junior R O T C program and also the cross country team.

Matthew Brown (05:24):

And I did both of those things. And so he was a, a wonderful influence, in fact, probably my life’s most important mentor.

Mary Kate Soliva (05:32):

And oh, I absolutely love that. I, I also did, uh, j r TC in high school and it was definitely, uh, pivotal in the trajectory that I went. Well. Um, but um, with regards to, to high school, was it something that you were, would you say well disciplined for the military at that time or were you still kinda that all over the place? Kid <laugh>?

Matthew Brown (05:53):

No, like I think early on I had this, I see, I mean, I grew up not that far from Annapolis. And right when I was in fourth grade, uh, we took a field trip to the Naval Academy with my teacher Mrs. Taylor. And I remember going there and we saw noon meal formation, which for anybody that doesn’t know about Annapolis’s Valley, who it’s where we all parade out into the middle of Tecumseh Court, which is this big gathering place. Uh, and it’s like a parade just to eat lunch. And so <laugh>, we uh, we did the, we were there for this noon meal formation or this parade to go eat lunch. And I just remember everybody was in their whites and it was just really stately. Uh, and it was, you know, ultra patriotic. And even as like a nine year old, I was, I was quite, uh, taken with the, uh, like the story of America and history and I had some great, uh, history teachers early in life. Uh, and I, I just sort of fell in love with it. So in high school, knowing that Captain Mindlin went to the Naval Academy, I, I wouldn’t say that I was like a particularly, uh, disciplined, I wasn’t disciplined in like a, a a strange way, but I knew that I wanted to go to Annapolis, so certain things I needed to accomplish. And so I just sort of did him as best I could,

Mary Kate Soliva (07:12):

You know, and I think that that’s important to note too, with the academies being a well-rounded individual. So like you said about like doing sports and doing J R T C, uh, but I love the fact that you had a mentor so early on. Cause I, I think that just the idea concept of having a mentor is kind of, is sort of lost until we hit adulthood and then we’re sort of scrambling while we’re adulting. Right. But I I, I love that you, you had him early on in life.

Matthew Brown (07:40):

I, I mean, it was transformational. Like I think about what my life would’ve been without that relationship and it would have been found like fundamentally different. And, and I mean, not to say that I would’ve, it would’ve been like bad or anything, you know, I’m sure that I would’ve figured out how to land on my feet in some way, but I’ve really had, uh, a good ride and I know that it started with him. Oh,

Mary Kate Soliva (08:04):

I love that. Absolutely. And with regards to the Academy though, um, were, were you a direct appointment at the time? Was this like senior year in

Matthew Brown (08:14):

No, I, I, I, frankly, I think that back to this mentorship thing without Captain James Mineral line, there’s no midshipman Matt Brown, that’s for sure. Like I, I’m, uh, almost positive, uh, that his, he

Mary Kate Soliva (08:27):

Made some calls.

Matthew Brown (08:28):

Yeah. I mean, well, and, and he’s like well respected within the, the Naval Academy community. And, uh, and he like was up close and personal with, you know, various challenges that I experienced in life and that sort of thing. So he, like, he saw me as a human, not necessarily, uh, like a, a portfolio in the admissions office. And, and he would like see me operate every day and he’d be like, yeah, that, that’s a person who needs to be a naval officer and, and lead some people. And, and he took a chance on me and I’d like to think after these years they have gone by. I’ve, I’ve made good on his investment. Um, but yeah, I, I was, I went to preparatory school, I went to Naval Academy’s Prep school first, um, and played a little bit of baseball there, uh, studied a lot, um, and then went to the Naval Academy from there.

Mary Kate Soliva (09:17):

Oh, great. And do you have sort of any anecdotes from your Academy days? Oh my gosh, <laugh>. I know there’s a ton that happens during that time in the Army, navy game and everything.

Matthew Brown (09:29):

Yeah, no, I, so there are too many memories to, uh, let me just say it this way. Uh, the Naval Academy experience for me, the, like, the education and the exposure to the different professors that we had, and ultimately like graduating is certainly there’s some value in that. But the thing that has been of tremendous value for me is the people that I went through the experience with. And they are the people that I lean on even as a, as like a grown man with what I think is an ever evolving, but nevertheless sort of like formed worldview and that sort of thing. Uh, the, I, the roommates that I had at the Naval Academy and the, and the friends that I made while I’m there are a huge part of what sustains me, uh, and it makes me like a better dad, a better husband, all that sort of stuff.

Matthew Brown (10:26):

So the friendships is, is for sure, I, I I’ll just say this, um, my company is named Chimney Trail. Uh, the reason it’s named Chimney Trail, uh, on paper is because the chimney is the archetypal cornerstone of the home. And if you’re in a mental health, uh, conundrum, we’re like putting you on a trail to find your way back to the, that which is most important. And the, and the chimney sort of represents that. But the real reason that we’re called Chimney Trail is because, uh, during my time at the Naval Academy, I was in a room and we had seven roommates. There were seven of us in one room. Oh my goodness. And all of us, all seven were like the worst midshipman imaginable, and we were constantly getting in trouble. And whenever at the Naval Academy, if you have to, if if like one of your upperclassmen comes along and says you have to do pushups, that’s called getting smoked. And one of us 100% of the time was getting smoked. So the upperclassmen started calling our room the chimney because there was just always smoke in the chimney. Anyway.

Mary Kate Soliva (11:30):

Oh my gosh. I love the actual behind the scenes story. Yeah. This is like the real details.

Matthew Brown (11:37):

You’re getting the straight Yeah. <laugh>

Mary Kate Soliva (11:39):

Getting the inside scoop. So I, I really, I love that aspect of it. And I know just before the recording we were talking about too, we kind of get that feeling of sort of the, the lab rat feeling of tourists going to the academy cuz anybody can go over and visit, visit the Academy, but you get to see the midshipman in their element, in their little world and get a little bit of glimpse of that. But it’s definitely something that is so pivotal in just shaping your mind at that time. Right. And just really launching you into, into this career. And I, I really wanna know like the, the aspect on mental health, is that something that you discovered early on at the academy or was this like humming out, uh, once you commissioned?

Matthew Brown (12:22):

So the mental health, um, for anybody that doesn’t know Chimney Trail is a mental healthcare company. I started it five years ago. Um, and the, and the Genesis event for the company was that I was finishing up a command tour, uh, of one of our mind countermeasure ships in San Diego. And I had just checked in to my new job with the, the Seal teams doing some innovation work for them. Uh, but then I got a phone call a few months into that tour and our very best young officer, uh, had gone to a Marine Corps exchange and he bought a a nine millimeter and he took his own life. And I went to the hospital to sit with his parents because, uh, his parents had flown all the way from India. Uh, he was first generation American, but his dad, uh, kept bringing up this team building exercise that we did where, uh, we went to Yosemite together to climb Cathedral Peaks.

Matthew Brown (13:16):

This was on the ship. All of the officers and chiefs went to Yosemite to climb Cathedral Peaks together. And his dad kept talking about how his son would brag about that trip and, and was so inspired by it. And then he grabbed me by the shoulders and he’s like, why didn’t I do these things with my son? Why didn’t I do these things with my beautiful son? And I feel like I had other mental health related e exposure earlier in life. Like there were other instances, uh, for example, like I grew up with a mom and aunt who wrestled with mental health challenges all their own. I have, uh, a younger cousin who became addicted to opioids and took his own life. Um, I, I just had like, exposure to this, uh, field. Uh, and, but that event, I, I thought my, my trajectory was gonna be in the Navy for a long time, but that event sort of was like the straw that broke the camel’s back, so to speak. And on my drive home from the hospital, I called my wife Jen, and I just said, Hey, I know we were talking about a Navy career, but I think maybe we need to consider starting a mental healthcare company to address this challenge with our veterans. And then frankly, to address the challenge for everyone because, um, I mean, the Surgeon General has just came out today and said that adolescent mental health is the number one health crisis of our time. So, uh, I just figured it was time to do something about it.

Mary Kate Soliva (14:45):

No, I, I love that you, even though I, I say that I love that you are doing the work that you’re doing, and then it sort of stemmed from that. Um, it’s also unfortunate, right, that we have to go through these experiences or to that we know folks that are near and dear to us that have, have taken their own life or who have gone through such deep thoughts in their mind that they can’t find a way out and they find that permanent solution. And I think that this is something that we may not eradicate anytime soon, but you’ve sort of found, you’ve created that pathway, like you said, the trail, uh, that you’re continuing to help others out there and, and not just for the military, but you know, when I was hearing more about Chimney Trail, that you’re actually doing this for others as well and, and for the youth.

Mary Kate Soliva (15:30):

And this is just like you said, here’s a father who’s lost his son. Um, you know, it wasn’t, it wasn’t just like another shipmate wasn’t just another, a veteran service member. This is somebody, you know, father to son in that relationship and, and him having those regrets that he wished, why didn’t I do this with my beautiful son? But I think just that the story, the origin story of Tuni Trail is really beautiful and I really admire the work that you’re doing now. Um, and I would love to hear a little bit about, uh, as far as where you have been able to touch folks while you’re in service. So this is like when you were still serving, um, chimney Trail came to be like the idea that you wanted to do something, right?

Matthew Brown (16:10):

Definitely. Yeah. I mean we, so I, I wanna make sure I understand your question, right? You’re saying you’re asking like, while I was still in uniform, what were we doing?

Mary Kate Soliva (16:19):

Yeah. While you’re still in uniform, were you able to, was, was this just kind of a idea you want, you’re like, I wanted to do more, I wanna do something, I need to do something.

Matthew Brown (16:28):

No, I mean, I, it was one of those moments where, I mean, I think most veterans along their military career, I, I had a command master chief one time who had a really great way of putting it. He was like, Hey, I always want you to have a plan for staying in and a plan for getting out. He, he, he was just like, just always have both of those plans in place because you never know when you might need to do one or the other. And so I was at one of those points where it was like, okay, I just had a wonderful experience as the captain of this ship and it was a early command tour, so I got to, uh, experience command as an oh four, which is pretty awesome. And so I was thinking, well, I might need to, you know, I, like the Navy certainly has a path for me and it would be an amazing adventure. But after this experience and reflecting on it and having my own previous like family related experiences, it it, I didn’t really stick around the active duty Navy to try to fix it from inside the lifelines because I, I knew that, uh, well, I’ll, I’ll just tell you the, the reason is because I knew that in order to communicate the types of lessons that we were trying to communicate to our troops, I needed to be a commercially viable entity, not another Navy program. And so, well, and

Mary Kate Soliva (17:46):

I love that you said you wanted to do something different, not just, just be another, cuz I, I think we too often get that check in the box and these are kind of our left and right limits. This program was pre-approved, it was prepaid for, and this is what’s gonna get pushed out to everybody right across the board. And that’s why I love like how you’ve created something unique here.

Matthew Brown (18:06):

Yeah. That, that was the idea. It was, there’s just an, I think, a very appropriate cynicism that our military sort of carries around with it when it comes to new programs to address major problems like this. And it’s like, uh, my co-founder, Brad Markey, is a professional baseball player, and his, he always says, we want our service members and veterans to feel like a sponsored athlete rather than like just eating off the menu of a government program. And so we knew that in order to achieve that, I needed to part ways with active duty, like found a proper mental healthcare company and, you know, essentially leverage the tools of commerce to, to make it happen.

Mary Kate Soliva (18:50):

No, and I think that I, I love that you’ve also brought in experts and I think so often when we get like this good idea become the good idea fairy, and we kind of just wanna go for it, but I think that you also recognize that you didn’t know everything there was to know about even tackling this, right? But you, you came up and you created this, uh, a platform to bring in subject matter experts and others that really have the heart and passion to do this. So I I’ve already seen that you’ve created, uh, incredible team, uh, as sort of a powerhouse and, and, uh, to, to help you build this.

Matthew Brown (19:24):

Yeah, I mean, th that was outta necessity because I don’t know anything about this stuff. It’s like, I don’t, I mean, I have experience in like a very raw sort of way, uh, with suicide, mental health challenges, that sort of thing. But I don’t, I didn’t know any of the psychology or any of the medicine behind it. Um, and frankly, as I was departing active duty, I didn’t even know like what the solution was gonna be because it’s such a, um, Dr. Craig Bryan, he works out of Ohio State’s, uh, Wexner Institute, and he, he does a lot of research into, uh, suicide prevention. He always calls it a wicked problem because suicide and, and pathological, uh, anxiety and depression have so many factors that, that trying to predict it is more like trying to forecast the weather than it is something that you could fix with a re reductionist methodology.

Matthew Brown (20:18):

So we didn’t even know what the answer was gonna be. And so we just asked as many experts as we could find, and we said, what is the stuff that you have at your disposal right now that you know for a fact works? And all of them came back to us and said that cognitive behavioral therapy, if more people knew about it and more people knew about the cognitive distortions that lead to anxiety and depression, that, that we would be able to like, make a real dent in the, in the mental health and suicide crisis that we’re in the middle of right now. And so then after we discovered that, it was just figuring out how do we make it so that everybody can gain access to it and learn it without having to schedule an appointment with a doctor, because there will always be more people in need than there are clinicians who can see them.

Mary Kate Soliva (21:06):

And it’s, and like you said, yes, the, the fact with the VA keeps coming out right, is that we’re still like understaffed and they continues those kind of policies and the, the, the funding that’s available continues to change, but the number of veterans who are needing those services is not like, if anything, it’s going up or more feeling comfortable enough to at least come forward and say that they have a problem and they need help. Um, but we’re not keeping up with that demand, uh, for resources. Uh, so I was, I was wondering, I, you know, a little bit earlier showed a little bit of the, the box. I’d love if you could share, uh, the Chimney Trail kit, uh, with us. I know our listeners, uh, who are just tuning and listening won’t be able to see it, but if they tune in through video, they’ll be able to

Matthew Brown (21:51):

Yeah, yeah. This is, this is my favorite part of the job. So, um, people are like, oh, hey, you put cognitive behavioral therapy in a box to teach people about these 10 cognitive distortions that lead to anxiety and depression. And the answer to that is yes. Um, and so what, what comes in a kit? And so this is what a chiney trail waypoint kit looks like, that the boxes sometimes are different shapes depending on what is in it. But I love, we had a couple of challenges we needed to make it so that people would want to open the box. So the first thing that we did was we decided that the type of curriculum that we were gonna put forward, we knew that if we want it to stick in someone’s brain, like Ben Franklin has this great quote, it’s like, if you want me to forget, tell me.

Matthew Brown (22:41):

If you want me to maybe remember, then teach me if you want me to actually remember, involve me. So we decided to take cognitive behavioral therapy and involve the person in the, like, in training them o on these distortions. And so as you open up the kit, there is a little book. And with this particular kit, we’re gonna build a time capsule together. And so inside is everything you need to build a time capsule. There’s like a entrenching tool that is so cool. Uh, stainless steel, like time capsule. There’s some waterproof paper, it’s like a write in the rain notebook and then a waterproof like space pen. And you might be like, what does building a time capsule have to do with mental health? Uh, but it’s actually very important. So not necessarily building a time capsule, but doing an activity outdoors together. Because doing an outdoor activity together opens up your brain to accept an indelible memory and the memory that we’re gonna talk about in this weigh point, we’re gonna learn about what cognitive distortions are and how to break the cycle of distortions.

Matthew Brown (23:46):

And then with this specific kit, we’re gonna address something called discounting the facts. Sometimes that’s called discounting the positive. Uh, and it’s where you are like filtering out all of the positive things in your life and focusing on the negative. But you can see that with, with other kits, we might address late or should statements or emotional reasoning or magnification or jumping to conclusions or any of the other 10 cognitive distortions. And so as you go through the book, it teaches you about discounting the facts and how to overcome it. It tells you what’s inside the kit, and then it steps you through like how to do the kit in a way that is going to build resilience and mental health and you or your family. Uh, and then at the end of the book, there is a little like reflection exercise so that you can take what you just learned and apply it to various things that you’re going through in your own life. And so there’s a, a, a column here that talks about, okay, some negative thoughts that I’ve had, what distortion might I be suffering from? And then how do I reframe those thoughts? And the science is like, like the research is in, and if you’re able to master these distortions and, and like figure out how to reframe your thinking, then you will not suffer from pathological levels of anxiety and depression and you’ll wake up just excited about the day, like ready to go. And that’s, that’s a waypoint kit.

Mary Kate Soliva (25:08):

Oh, I, this is so cool. So like for our listeners who are only tuning in by audio, you definitely gotta check out video, uh, to see the chimney trail. But then always, I also checked out on the website too, that you also have, uh, some of the sample pictures of the kit as well. But I remember even as a, as a kid, I, I buried a time capsule and I just thought that was the coolest thing and just like little knickknack things. And I remember just seeing later when my dad was like, I need this stuff outta my house. Um, so I remember like looking and I’m like, what’s this penny from, I don’t remember. Or it’s like a random raffle ticket. And I’m like, I don’t remember what that’s from, but it’s like, the stuff you do is just really cool and, and what a, a treasure thing to do, uh, with your loved ones. So I think that’s fantastic and it, and it’s so interactive and again, that connection of being able to bring like the youth, uh, with and the parent to child is relationship’s really cool. Yeah.

Matthew Brown (26:02):

So, so certainly our initial research for this was very pediatric focused because we knew that, I don’t know how much luck you’ve had changing adults, but it’s way easier to change the mind of a kid. So we were initially focused on kids, but then we discovered that the research is every bit as applicable for, uh, adults. And so we’re partnering with the Marines right now, and we’re trying to get, uh, a program set up where we introduce cognitive behavioral therapy to our marines at bootcamp, and we give them this time capsule waypoint kit as they graduate from bootcamp. And then for their first year of service, winter are spring, summer, and fall. We give them a new kit, but each of the waypoint kits is gonna address two cognitive distortions. So total they will cycle through all 10 distortions. And then we wanna reintroduce the curriculum with different activities every time that the Marine does a permanent change of duty station and then do it one last time as they transition out of service.

Matthew Brown (27:00):

And we’re, we want to, we want to like get to doing that as fast as we can because the, uh, secretary of Defense commissioned a suicide prevention and response independent review committee to analyze suicide prevention in the armed forces. And one of their findings was that across, it doesn’t matter, your rank, your service, your, uh, duty station, no matter where you were or who you were, you essentially thought that the suicide prevention training that existed in the military currently was a gigantic waste of time. They, they like 100%, even admirals in generals, they were like sitting in front of a computer and cycling through slides is not going to help me to manage like behavioral health issues or overcome mental health issues. So,

Mary Kate Soliva (27:50):

And yeah, I think our listeners like who, whether you served or didn’t, you know, that power, like they call it death by PowerPoint, but we know that the PowerPoint or clicking through it is not solving the problem. And even though they attempt to just bring us all into a room and like, let’s have a conversation about it, there’s still a huge stigma with around mental health, right? And I still have buddies that are, they, they can’t sleep, they’re g they’ve got nightmares. And even if I was like, do you, you know, this is available to you, you want this resource, they don’t want it, even if it’s like already paid for, they don’t, they don’t want to seek it. They really think it’s gonna impact their professional careers and, uh, their military service. So, you know, just what, what’s been some of the kind of the, the talking points that you have to get folks to, to wanna get on the trail, so to speak, and a path towards, towards healing?

Matthew Brown (28:41):

Well, so firstly, the reason that we made it commercially sophisticated is because we want it, like Bradley always says he wants people to feel like a sponsored athlete, not just like they’re getting socked with some training that they hate, you know? Right. So, so we wanted to make it commercially sophisticated so that people receive it and they’re like, wow, the armed forces cares about me. Like this is an amazing product and these are things that I’ll actually use and enjoy in other parts of my life. This is like a quality thing. So the quality was number one. I think if you get the quality right, people will automatically wanna participate. Um, the second thing is that we’re not exclusive to the military. Like we’re working really hard to establish relationships with professional sports organizations, with investment banks, with like big four accounting firms, major defense contractors.

Matthew Brown (29:31):

So there are other people who are providing us input so that we’re constantly improving the product. And the the third thing is that we’re trying to get the best, uh, in right now we have the best and we’re continuing to build our ranks of, of, uh, clinical talent so that we’re not selling like some snake oil. There are so many disingenuous actors in the mental healthcare space, and we wanna make sure that we’re like a, a pillar of integrity. Uh, and so we’re just making sure that anything that we put out, we’re not like over promising. We’re not doing any of that stuff. We’re just focused on delivering the most quality product that we can and one that we know will move the needle. Um, and, and that, that’s really the sales pitch. We don’t really, there, there’s no more to it than just creating the best product that we can make.

Mary Kate Soliva (30:20):

No, it’s just for period, end of sentence. Yes, mic dropped. Um, but I honestly think that’s fantastic. And like I said, to not just create the, the stakeholder and those, um, malign actors out there that are just trying to slap a price tag on a false product, but something that’s, that is genuine. You do have the experts that are putting their stamp of approval on this. And like I said before, I love that you’ve also created this community that’s across different industries, across that threshold. Um, you know, we talk about a lot on veteran voices about transition and transitioning service members, but we also realize that for athletes, especially professional athletes, they go through transition as well. And it, you know, we find this like, just as naturally as human beings want this sense of purpose and sense of belonging. And then when we lose that piece of our identity, whether it’s we retire, we transition, we get injured, and we can’t do the job anymore, um, that does take a mental health toll. So I do love that you’ve opened it up to everybody.

Matthew Brown (31:17):

Absolutely. And I mean, it’s not even like a choice for me because Brad is a ball player, so he, every spring, like the smell of grass clippings will get his like, Hey, I’m supposed to be throwing a hundred mile an hour fastballs right now. Like, what, what am I doing? You know? So, uh, we benefit from our own product. Like it’s really hilarious actually, we, now that we’re so familiar with these 10 cognitive distortions, we’ll be having company meetings and I’ll, I’ll be like, we, we need to be doing this. We need to be doing that. And people are like, you’re suffering from the should statement cognitive distortion right now.

Mary Kate Soliva (31:51):

<laugh> drop some big words in there. Yeah,

Matthew Brown (31:54):

Yeah.

Mary Kate Soliva (31:55):

At the PhD level. But no, I think that’s fantastic. And you know, just, I’d love to hear your thoughts cuz as, as someone who did go through a transition, um, like what sort of advice would you give to those who are in tr transition now? And I guess we could even open this up beyond transitioning service members, but just anybody that’s going through a transition. Like do you have any advice that you’d like to, to lend?

Matthew Brown (32:19):

Yes. Uh, gosh, these are tough questions because it through the

Mary Kate Soliva (32:23):

Match you

Matthew Brown (32:24):

Lot to look like, you know, what you’re talking about. And I do not know what I’m talking about in this space. Um, I, I’ll just, I’ll just give you my experience. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I think that there is a reason, first we’ll talk to the veteran community. There is a reason that you joined the service to begin with. Now it could have been, I want my school paid for, I want a skill that’s transferable to the outside. It could have been like something economical, but there are a lot of other ways that you could have achieved some sort of economic advantage early in life. But you ultimately decided to serve an organization that on raising your right hand and swearing an oath to defend the constitution, you knew that you were stepping off on something that was way bigger than you. And, and you were okay with that.

Matthew Brown (33:14):

So deep in your d or your psyche, there was this desire to serve. And I think that in transitions from military careers to market-based careers or any other sort of career, there is what you just described Mary Kate, which is this, this risk of losing a sense of purpose. Yes. And so, one, I think my, my number one advice, piece of advice, whatever the right way of saying that is would be to get small when you are transitioning. And instead of thinking about this like existential purpose in life, instead think about your purpose today because it’s impossible. Like in the military you get accustomed to this very hierarchical structure where you’re able to sort of predict what it is that you’re gonna be doing next. But as you transition, the opportunities are going to be so vast and so amazing that it’s easy to become overwhelmed and you get paralyzed.

Matthew Brown (34:14):

So instead of thinking about like this hierarchical journey that you’ve sort of been trained to imagine, instead just focus on your individual day. Like today, my purpose is to do what? And like when I was first going through this, it was to get up in the morning at the same time, go to sleep at the same time exercise, eat a a healthy diet like, you know, hug my wife every day, kiss my children every day to make sure that, uh, like I was appreciating the fact that unlike my previous job in this job, I could like be around my family. Like it getting small will allow you to focus on the right things. And if you string enough good days together, then your opportunities like you get to the world is your oyster. So maybe just like shrink your, your like focus area for just a little while. Does that make sense?

Mary Kate Soliva (35:08):

It does. And I was like, oh my goodness, they’re gonna pull so many golden nuggets from this episode. I’m like, uh, dropping so many great quotes here, but I love about keeping it small because you brought up something as so important. It’s the family component of just like taking that time to hug your family, hug your loved ones, cuz they’re also going through this transition period with you and they were there through all the times a away or while you were out there, uh, achieving and, and going after your dreams. And they, it, it’s so easy to take them for granted, right? So, uh, just taking that time and you keep it small to uh, remember the family piece in there as well. Um, and, and I love that piece. You know, I, and I say this often in the in veteran voices about not being alone and you know, it’s not like not everybody’s gonna understand where you’re at and that point of life, but there is somebody out there who’s likely gone through something very similar to what you have.

Mary Kate Soliva (36:05):

So I think just really important, the storytelling piece to be able to, to share your journey, your story out loud and like what you’re going through, um, so that others can, can jump in and provide perspective. And I love that perspective that you offered. So I feel like, you know, maybe you drop some like additional quotes there in the chimney trail boxes cuz you dropping some wisdom in there. Um, so, um, but I, I was wondering now just to, to segue into what our listeners, what are our audience and Veteran Voices supply chain now and across the board can do to help Chimney Trail? Uh, is there, there’s something out there that some way that we can help or anybody who wants to get involved to support what you’re doing?

Matthew Brown (36:51):

Yeah, so if you wanna get involved, my email address is matthew chimney trail.com. So Matthew with two ts chimney trail.com and i, I will happily stop what I’m doing and answer any email to, to anybody that, um, is interested in helping in some way, whatever that way might be. People are way more creative than me, so they’ll come up with something awesome. Uh, the second thing I’ll say is if you are, um, listening to this podcast and you are going through a tough time and like you would benefit from some mental health resources, um, please like, send me an email or, uh, like reach out to the so many resources that are available right now. In fact, if you Google, I’m having a tough time with my mental health, uh, or if you have like the word suicide, if you Google it, uh, uh, a million resources will pop up on Google and, and please do that because, uh, you’re worth it.

Matthew Brown (37:50):

And e even if you right now you don’t feel like you are, um, you are like, the probability of being born is so remote that it’s like you’re statistically worth it even if you don’t feel like you are right now. Right? So the, so that’s the second thing. Uh, and then the third would be, I’d be a pretty crummy businessman if I didn’t just say, if you are working for a company that has an existing corporate wellness program, we’re putting together curriculums for companies right now, um, it’s basically the same stuff that we’re doing for the Marines, except we can do it for your company. Uh, and, and maybe fine tune it so that it speaks to the challenges that you might experience. Like if you’re a Marine, you might be experiencing okay, what’s close, close combat. Like, well, if you’re in the corporate world, you might be the salesperson that’s getting turned down 7,000 times a day and that wears on your mental health.

Matthew Brown (38:39):

So we can, uh, fine tune it for your company. But if you have, if you work for a place that has a corporate wellness program, uh, don’t just tell ’em about Chimney Trail, like demand that your company implement it because I promise you it will be good for the bottom line of your company and you will have a wonderful corporate culture as a result. Um, it touches on a lot of things. It’s not just suicide prevention, uh, overcoming the cognitive distortions that cause anxiety and depression also helps with things like sexism, racism, ageism, all the stuff that deteriorate a good corporate culture and we can fix it and we’re proud to be of service. So, uh, so that’s my pitch.

Mary Kate Soliva (39:23):

No, I love that. And I mean, I know this goes beyond the pitch, so this is like stuff that it’s tangible. Anybody can take part in it, just even that conversation or like as they, they try to do with our training in the military is just even asking, are you planning to hurt yourself? Are you wanting, are you having those thoughts so that you can intervene? And I know this is a topic that’s very real of for me, who’s still serving in the reserve capacity, but that I, I have a soldier who recently was having those thoughts and to just be able to say, here’s these resources, but to even have her get to the point where she was willing and, and ready to tell us and to say, I need help. So I think just even being able to educate, uh, yourself, you know, for our listeners to educate yourselves on what to do, what resources are available so that if that circumstance ever happens where you end up in a situation and someone ends up opening up to you that you, you know what to do. And Matthew, I just love what you’re doing at Chimney Trail, what your team is doing. Uh, you continue to assemble an, assemble an army <laugh> that I’m biased to mention there, but you’re creating an army across the country that’s helping you. Um, was there any last, uh, you know, parting thoughts that you have for our listeners today? Cuz I i if you could drop again, just, uh, what your website is and, and how they can get ahold of you, that’d be great.

Matthew Brown (40:48):

Sure. Uh, the website is www.chimneytrail.com. Uh, chimney, just like what smoke comes out of and trail, just like what you walk down. Uh, and then my personal email address is matthew@chimneytrail.com. Uh, would love to hear from everybody, but my, my parting thought is, uh, just to say, uh, thank you Mary Kate. I know that you have so many potential guests or opportunities to interview different people that are trying to make an impact in some way or another. Uh, and I’m so grateful that you are leaning in on the preservation of our forces mental health. Um, it’s sort of like the not so secret secret that if we can’t crack this problem, uh, it starts to deter, deter, deteriorate, our all volunteer force. So there’s a very strategic imperative to get it solved and I appreciate your seriousness and the space and for carving out time to talk with me today.

Mary Kate Soliva (41:41):

Absolutely. Well, when I tuned into a live, uh, interview with you and, and Iron Mike Sedman, I knew I just had to get you here on Veteran Voices. But, uh, for our listeners, like you’ll see, you may see, uh, Matthew open the Hill occasionally and a suit and tie out there, uh, you know, knocking on Congress’s door and just really appreciate what you’re doing to, to be that voice and be that mouthpiece, cuz not everyone out there who’s struggling is ready to face those demons head on. And it, you know, it’s just great that you can be that, that beacon of hope and to be able to fight for them on the hill, uh, to get some things changed and get things moving. Uh, so not everybody takes that time. Some folks are, you know, all the talk and they’re not doing the walk. So again, thank you for being on here.

Mary Kate Soliva (42:26):

For our listeners, tune in to Chimney Trail, uh, Matthew Brown, connect with him, you follow his journey on LinkedIn and learn more about what they’re doing and what his team is doing, uh, with Chimney Trail. Just grateful to all our listeners past and present for tuning into Veteran Voices. Thank you. You can tune in and hopefully we’ll see you at future episodes wherever you get your podcast from. And again, thank you to our, our <laugh> sponsors. We got Guam Human Rights Initiative with our partners and Military Women’s Collective and military women’s collective.org. Uh, and thank you to Supply Chain now, uh, which is our part of our family of programming. We are so grateful, so I encourage all of you to continue to do good and be the change that’s needed. Thank you, and we’ll see you next time.

Would you rather watch the show in action?

Featured Guests

Matthew Brown is a leader in mental health care. Prior to this, he served as the captain of USS SCOUT (MCM-8) and led courageous teams aboard numerous cruisers and destroyers, spanning multiple fleets. Also in uniform he served with US Navy SEAL TEAM 17, as a strategic studies Fellow for the Chief of Naval Operations, as aide-de-camp for Strategy & Policy at US Joint Forces Command, and as leader of the Coalition Indirect Fires Group in Baghdad, Iraq. Matt earned his degree from the US Naval Academy in 2005 and is a Veteran Fellow of the Hoover Institute at Stanford University. He now resides in Fort Collins, Colorado with his wife, Jen, and their three adventurous daughters – Ainsley (11), Clarke (9), and Norah (7). Connect with Matthew on LinkedIn.

Hosts

Mary Kate Soliva

Host, Veteran Voices

You May Also Like

Click to view other episodes in this program

Additional Links & Resources

Learn more about Veteran Voices here

Subscribe to Veteran Voices and other Supply Chain Now programs here

Learn more about Guam Human Rights Initiative

Learn more about the Military Women's Collective

Check Out Our Sponsors

Nick Roemer

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.

Connect on :

Katherine Hintz

Creative Director, Producer, Host

Katherine Hintz, MBA is a marketing professional 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.

Connect on :

Kim Reuter

Host

From humble beginnings working the import docks, representing Fortune 500 giants, Ford, Michelin Tire, and Black & Decker; to Amazon technology patent holder and Nordstrom Change Leader, Kimberly Reuter has designed, implemented, and optimized best-in-class, highly scalable global logistics and retail operations all over the world. Kimberly’s ability to set strategic vision supported by bomb-proof processes, built on decades of hands-on experience, has elevated her to legendary status. Sought after by her peers and executives for her intellectual capital and keen insights, Kimberly is a thought leader in the retail logistics industry.

Connect on :

Kristi Porter

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.

Connect on :

Sofia Rivas Herrera

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.

Connect on :

Demo Perez

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.

Connect on :

Kim Winter

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).

Connect on :

Adrian Purtill

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.

Connect on :

Kevin Brown

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.

Connect on :

Jose Miguel Irarrazaval

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.

Connect on :

Vicki White

Controller

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.

Connect on :

Allison Giddens

Host

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.

Connect on :

Billy Taylor

Host

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.

Connect on :

Tandreia Bellamy

Host

Tandreia Bellamy retired as the Vice President of Industrial Engineering for UPS Supply Chain Solutions which included the Global Logistics, Global Freight Forwarding and UPS Freight business units. She was responsible for operations strategy and planning, asset management, forecasting, and technology tool development to optimize sustainable efficiency while driving world class service.

Tandreia held similar positions at the business unit level for Global Logistics and Global Freight forwarding. As the leader of the Global Logistics engineering function, she directed all industrial engineering activies related to distribution, service parts logistics (post-sales support), and mail innovations (low cost, light weight shipping partnership with the USPS). Between these roles Tandreia helped to establish the Advanced Technology Group which was formed to research and develop cutting edge solutions focused on reducing reliance on manual labor.

Tandreia began her career in 1986 as a part-time hourly manual package handling employee. She spent the great majority of her career in the small package business unit which is responsible for the pick-up, sort, transport and delivery of packages domestically. She held various positions in Industrial Engineering, Marketing, Inside and On-road operations in Central Florida before transferring to Atlanta for a position in Corporate Product Development and Corporate Industrial Engineering. Tandreia later held IE leadership roles in Nebraska, Minnesota and Chicago. In her final role in small package she was an IE VP responsible for all aspects of IE, technology support and quality for the 25 states on the western half of the country.
Tandreia is currently a Director for the University of Central Florida (UCF) Foundation Board and also serves on their Dean’s Advisory Board for the College of Engineering and Computer Science. Previously Tandreia served on the Executive Advisory Board for Virginia Tech’s IE Department and the Association for Supply Chain Management. She served on the Board of Trustees for ChildServ (a Chicago child and family services non-profit) and also served on the Texas A&M and Tuskegee Engineering Advisory Boards. In 2006 she was named Business Advisor of the Year by INROADS, in 2009 she was recognized as a Technology All-Star at the Women of Color in STEM conference and in 2019 she honored as a UCF Distinguished Aluma by the Department of Industrial Engineering and Management Systems.

Tandreia holds a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering from Stanford University and a master’s degree in Industrial Engineering and Management Systems from UCF. Her greatest accomplishment, however, is being the proud mother of two college students, Ruby (24) and Anthony (22).

Connect on :

Marty Parker

Host

Marty Parker serves as both the CEO & Founder of Adæpt Advising and an award-winning Senior Lecturer (Teaching Professor) in Supply Chain and Operations Management at the University of Georgia. He has 30 years of experience as a COO, CMO, CSO (Chief Strategy Officer), VP of Operations, VP of Marketing and Process Engineer. He founded and leads UGA’s Supply Chain Advisory Board, serves as the Academic Director of UGA’s Leaders Academy, and serves on multiple company advisory boards including the Trucking Profitability Strategies Conference, Zion Solutions Group and Carlton Creative Company.

Marty enjoys helping people and companies be successful. Through UGA, Marty is passionate about his students, helping them network and find internships and jobs. He does this through several hundred one-on-one zoom meetings each year with his students and former students. Through Adæpt Advising, Marty has organized an excellent team of affiliates that he works with to help companies grow and succeed. He does this by helping c-suite executives improve their skills, develop better leaders, engage their workforce, improve processes, and develop strategic plans with detailed action steps and financial targets. Marty believes that excellence in supply chain management comes from the understanding the intersection of leadership, culture, and technology, working across all parts of the organization to meet customer needs, maximize profit and minimize costs.

Connect on :

Laura Lopez

Marketing Coordinator

Laura Lopez serves as our Supply Chain Now Marketing Coordinator. She graduated from Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Occidente in Mexico with a degree in marketing. Laura loves everything digital because she sees the potential it holds for companies in the marketing industry. Her passion for creativity and thinking outside the box led her to pursue a career in marketing. With experience in fields like accounting, digital marketing, and restaurants, she clearly enjoys taking on challenges. Laura lives the best of both worlds - you'll either catch her hanging out with her friends soaking up the sun in Mexico or flying out to visit her family in California!

Connect on :

Jake Barr

Host

An acknowledged industry leader, Jake Barr now serves as CEO for BlueWorld Supply Chain Consulting, providing support to a cross section of Fortune 500 companies such as Cargill, Caterpillar, Colgate, Dow/Dupont, Firmenich, 3M, Merck, Bayer/Monsanto, Newell Brands, Kimberly Clark, Nestle, PepsiCo, Pfizer, Sanofi, Estee Lauder and Coty among others. He's also devoted time to engagements in public health sector work with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. At P&G, he managed the breakthrough delivery of an E2E (End to End) Planning Transformation effort, creating control towers which now manage the daily business globally. He is recognized as the architect for P&G’s demand driven supply chain strategy – referenced as a “Consumer Driven Supply Chain” transformation. Jake began his career with P&G in Finance in Risk Analysis and then moved into Operations. He has experience in building supply network capability globally through leadership assignments in Asia, Latin America, North America and the Middle East. He currently serves as a Research Associate for MIT; a member of Supply Chain Industry Advisory Council; Member of Gartner’s Supply Chain Think Tank; Consumer Goods “League of Leaders“; and a recipient of the 2015 - 2021 Supply Chain “Pro’s to Know” Award. He has been recognized as a University of Kentucky Fellow.

Connect on :

Marcia Williams

Host

Marcia Williams, Managing Partner of USM Supply Chain, has 18 years of experience in Supply Chain, with expertise in optimizing Supply Chain-Finance Planning (S&OP/ IBP) at Large Fast-Growing CPGs for greater profitability and improved cash flows. Marcia has helped mid-sized and large companies including Lindt Chocolates, Hershey, and Coty. She holds an MBA from Michigan State University and a degree in Accounting from Universidad de la Republica, Uruguay (South America). Marcia is also a Forbes Council Contributor based out of New York, and author of the book series Supply Chains with Maria in storytelling style. A recent speaker’s engagement is Marcia TEDx Talk: TEDxMSU - How Supply Chain Impacts You: A Transformational Journey.

Connect on :

Luisa Garcia

Host, Logistics with Purpose

Luisa Garcia is a passionate Marketer from Lagos de Moreno based in Aguascalientes. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing from Universidad Autonoma de Aguascalientes, Mexico. She specializes in brand development at any stage, believing that a brand is more than just a name or image—it’s an unforgettable experience. Her expertise helps brands achieve their dreams and aspirations, making a lasting impact. Currently working at Vector Global Logistics in the Marketing team and as podcast coordinator of Logistics With Purpose®. Luisa believes that purpose-driven decisions will impact results that make a difference in the world.

Connect on :

Astrid Aubert

Host, Logistics with Purpose

Astrid Aubert was born in Guadalajara, she is 39 years old and has had the opportunity to live in many places. She studied communication and her professional career has been in Trade Marketing for global companies such as Pepsico and Mars. She currently works as Marketing Director Mexico for Vector Global Logistics. She is responsible for internal communications and marketing strategy development for the logistics industry. She is a mother of two girls, married and lives in Monterrey. She defines herself as a creative and innovative person, and enjoys traveling and cooking a lot.

Connect on :

Constantine Limberakis

Host

Constantine Limberakis is a thought leader in the area of procurement and supply management. He has over 20 years of international experience, playing strategic roles in a wide spectrum of organizations related to analyst advisory, consulting, product marketing, product development, and market research.Throughout his career, he's been passionate about engaging global business leaders and the broader analyst and technology community with strategic content, speaking engagements, podcasts, research, webinars, and industry articles.Constantine holds a BA in History from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and an MBA in Finance & Marketing / Masters in Public & International Affairs from the University of Pittsburgh.

Connect on :

Scott W. Luton

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.

Connect on :

Greg White

Principal & Host

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.

Connect on :

Chris Barnes

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.

Connect on :

Tyler Ward

Director of Sales

Tyler Ward serves as Supply Chain Now's Director of Sales. Born and raised in Mid-Atlantic, Tyler is a proud graduate of Shippensburg University where he earned his degree in Communications. After college, he made his way to the beautiful state of Oregon, where he now lives with his wife and daughter.

With over a decade of experience in sales, Tyler has a proven track record of exceeding targets and leading high-performing teams. He credits his success to his ability to communicate effectively with customers and team members alike, as well as his strategic thinking and problem-solving skills.

When he's not closing deals, you can find Tyler on the links or cheering on his favorite football and basketball teams. He also enjoys spending time with his family, playing pick-up basketball, and traveling back to Ocean City, Maryland, his favorite place!

Connect on :

Kevin L. Jackson

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 CiscoMicrosoft, 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 UniversityO’Reilly MediaLinkedIn Learning, and Pluralsight.  Mr. Jackson retired from the U.S. Navy in 1994, earning specialties in Space Systems EngineeringCarrier 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.

Connect on :

Enrique Alvarez

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.

Connect on :

Kelly Barner

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’.

Connect on :

Mary Kate Soliva

Host, Veteran Voices

Mary Kate Soliva is a veteran of the US Army and cofounder of the Guam Human Rights Initiative. 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.

Connect on :

Amanda Luton

Vice President, Production

Amanda is a production and marketing veteran and entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience across a variety of industries and organizations including Von Maur, Anthropologie, AmericasMart Atlanta, and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Amanda currently manages, produces, and develops modern digital content for Supply Chain Now and their clients. Amanda has previously served as the VP of Information Systems and Webmaster on the Board of Directors for APICS Savannah, and founded and managed her own successful digital marketing firm, Magnolia Marketing Group. When she’s not leading the Supply Chain Now production team, you can find Amanda in the kitchen, reading, listening to podcasts, or enjoying time with family.

Connect on :

Clay Phillips

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.

Connect on :

Trisha Cordes

Administrative Assistant

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.

Connect on :

Chantel King

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.

Connect on :

Lori Sofian

Marketing Coordinator

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.

Connect on :

Katherine Hintz

Director, Customer Experience

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.

Connect on :

Mary Kate Love

Chief of Staff & Host

Mary Kate Love is currently the VP of marketing at Supply Chain Now focused on brand strategy and audience + revenue growth. Mary Kate’s career is a testament to her versatility and innovative spirit: she has experience in start-ups, venture capital, and building innovation initiatives from the ground up: she previously helped lead the build-out of the Supply Chain Innovation Center at Georgia-Pacific and before that, MxD (Manufacturing times Digital): the Department of Defense’s digital manufacturing innovation center. Mary Kate has a passion for taking complicated ideas and turning them into reality: she was one of the first team members at MxD and the first team member at the Supply Chain Innovation Center at Georgia-Pacific.

Mary Kate dedicates her extra time to education and mentorship: she was one of the founding Board Members for Women Influence Chicago and led an initiative for a city-wide job shadow day for young women across Chicago tech companies and was previously on the Board of Directors at St. Laurence High School in Chicago, Young Irish Fellowship Board and the UN Committee for Women. Mary Kate is the founder of National Supply Chain Day and enjoys co-hosting podcasts at Supply Chain Now. Mary Kate is from the south side of Chicago, a mom of two baby boys, and an avid 16-inch softball player. She holds a BS in Political Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Connect on :

Joshua Miranda

Marketing Specialist

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.

Donna Krache

Director of Communications and Executive Producer

Donna Krache is a former CNN executive producer who has won several awards in journalism and communication, including three Peabodys.  She has 30 years’ experience in broadcast and digital journalism. She led the first production team at CNN to convert its show to a digital platform. She has authored many articles for CNN and other media outlets. She taught digital journalism at Georgia State University and Arizona State University. Krache holds a bachelor’s degree in government from the College of William and Mary and a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from the University of New Orleans. She is a serious sports fan who loves the Braves. She is president of the Dave Krache Foundation. Named in honor of her late husband, this non-profit pays fees for kids who want to play sports but whose parents are facing economic challenges.

Connect on :