This Week in Business History
Episode 23

Episode Summary

“But in 1908, tragedy would strike. A heart condition led to the sudden death of Charles Knox. In a single moment, Rose would lose her lifelong companion, business partner, and dear friend. It was a staggering loss. Many of Rose Knox’s friends would advise her to sell off the enterprise. Her friends in those very different days would discourage a women from leading a business. But Rose Knox would challenge the status quo. And would defy her doubters. She would do the unthinkable at the time. That’s right. Rose Knox chose to take the reigns & lead Knox Gelatin Company into a new era.”

-Scott Luton, Host, This Week in Business History

 

In this episode, Scott W. Luton dives into the story of Rose Knox, who overcame terrific challenges to lead Knox Gelatin Company to new heights. She also refused to maintain the status quo, especially as it related to how leaders managed their workforces in the early 20th Century. Learn the story of a true pioneer – – that many may not know.

Episode Transcript

Scott Luton (00:11):

[inaudible]

Scott Luton (00:12):

Good morning, Scott Luton here with you on this edition of this week in business history. Welcome to today’s show on this program, which is part of the supply chain. Now family of programming. We’ll take a look back at the upcoming week, and then we share some of the most relevant events and milestones from years past, of course, mostly business focused with a little dab of global supply chain. And occasionally we might just throw in a good story outside of our primary realm. So I invite you to join me on this. Look back in history to identify some of the most significant leaders, companies, innovations, and perhaps lessons learned in our collective business journey. Now let’s dive in to this week in business history.

Scott Luton (01:14):

Hello, and thanks for joining us. I’m your host Scott Luton. And today on this edition of this week in business history, we’re focused on the week of November 16th. Thanks so much for listening to the show. Hey, before we get started, I want to share a really neat note that I picked up from a dear friend, Gary Smith here in, uh, in the last week or so Gary recently published an article entitled after the dust settles in a magazine called supply chain management review in it. He explores what may well be an entirely new landscape in global supply chains in the post pandemic environment. One quote really stood out that resonated. At least with me, Gary Smith included a point expressed in a recent New York times column written by Tom Friedman in the column and stay with me here, Freedman and quotes, Dov Seidman, who said, quote, in my view, trust is the only legal performance enhancing drug.

Scott Luton (02:10):

Whenever there is more trust in a company country or community, good things happen in quote, amen. And I wholeheartedly agree when teams trust each other, they can move mountains and when they don’t trust each other teams fall apart like clockwork. Great article, Gary, thanks so much for sharing. Hey, back to today’s episode of this week in business history today, we’re diving into the story of an innovative forward thinking business leader and historical leader. One that certainly moved mountains. A story that I bet you haven’t heard, but one that you should know, it’ll inspire you to be bold. Get out of your comfort zone, do big things and be the change in this world. Stay tuned and thanks again for joining us here on this week in business history, powered by our team at supply chain. Now we’ll November 18th, 1857 Rose Mark Ward was born in Mansfield, Ohio in the late 1870s.

Scott Luton (03:09):

The Mark Ward family would relocate to Gloversville New York, a little known fact about Gloversville New York. The city was first settled by new England Puritans in the 1790s due to the purity and abundance of water in hemlock bark, leather tanning, especially the manufacturing of gloves became a burgeoning industry in the area. Thus in 1828, when the first post office was established in the city, it was officially named Gloversville New York. Now back to RoseMark word, she would end up meeting Charles Briggs Knox and Gloversville in 1881. They would marry just two years later and establish a very interesting relationship and incredible strong bond. Charles Knox was a successful sales person for a knit goods company, but he didn’t involve Rose in a wide variety of business discussions and he greatly valued her perspective and expertise. In fact, Charles would give Rose knocks a fixed allowance for her to run the household with if she had any of the monthly allotment left over at the end of the month, it was hers to keep in savings.

Scott Luton (04:14):

Occasionally Charles Knox would have to borrow from Rose knocks. His savings, a tight ledger was kept though. And Charles would have to repay in a timely manner over time. Rose proved to be an excellent manager and very frugal with her finances. In fact, she accumulated $5,000 in savings. Now for perspective, $5,000 in the late 19th century is worth about $140,000 today in 1890 Charles and Rose Knox wanted to gain control of their own destiny. So they decided to take those savings and purchase a gelatin business. In Johnstown New York, the business had hit hard times and the NOx team was determined to turn things around. Here’s a little background on gelatin that I certainly didn’t know back in the 1890s. If you wanted gelatin to cook with you didn’t have any really easy options. Most would source cow. Shinbones cook them for hours and use that liquid combined with egg whites to form gelatin.

Scott Luton (05:17):

I don’t know about you, but if it were me, I’d probably had avoided any recipes that called for gelatin back in the day. But with Rose Knox’s culinary expertise and Charles knocks his enterprising approach, the duo figured out a way to produce a granulated gelatin, no more cow, shin bones and hours and hours of slaving in the kitchen to produce gelatin. You could now pick up a simple packet of gelatin and the grocery store and be good to go. Charles Knox would marry that revolutionary product with his very unorthodox marketing approach, which proved to be very effective. In fact, he would earn the nickname, the Napoleon of advertising, a big part of those successful advertising campaigns were because of Rose Knox’s recipes, which will be featured in newspapers, magazines, and grocery store handouts Knox gelatin company took off and life was good for 18 years. The company continued to grow and Charles and Rose Knox would add other products and companies to their enterprise, such as a small hardware store in a line of soaps, ointment and tonics, but in 1908 tragedy would strike a heart condition led to the sudden death of Charles Knox in a single moment, Rose would lose her lifelong companion business partner and dear friend.

Scott Luton (06:39):

It was a staggering loss. Any of Rose Knox’s friends would advise her to sell off the enterprise, her friends, and those very different days would discourage a woman from leading a business, but Rose Knox would challenge the status quo and would defy her doubters. She would do the unthinkable at the time. That’s right. Rose Knox chose to take the reins and lead Knox gelatin company into a new era. Two of the very first changes to the business that Rose Knox would make first, the back door would be closed at the time. Certain employees were only allowed to enter the company through the back door. Rose Knox would not stand for it. She would say, quote, we are all ladies and gentlemen working together here, and we’ll all come in through the front door in quote, secondly, own her very first day. Rose Knox would force the resignation of one of her late husband’s top executives.

Scott Luton (07:38):

The executive had told Rose that he would not work for a woman and he was out after closely studying the overall business. Rose Knox identified a strong need for focus at the company. Thus, she sold off many of the peripheral businesses to truly focus on one thing, selling gelatin and especially selling gelatin to the American housewife. Rose Knox rationalize the decision by stating gelatin was bought and used by women and women across the country were highly interested in recipes for their families that were easy to prepare nutritious and economical. So she invested into a test kitchen and began to churn out hundreds of recipes that Knox gelatin company could share far and wide. The culinary content would engage educators and inform consumers and, and households would respond across the nation by purchasing a ton of gelatin, a ton of Knox gelatin by 1915 Knox gelatin company had tripled in size Rose Knox would operate the company for 40 years and take Knox gelatin company to incredible new Heights while also challenging and changing the business landscape of her day under her direction, the company would become and remains to this day.

Scott Luton (09:02):

The leading manufacturer and distributor of gelatin bros Knox would be amongst the first businesses across the country to Institute a five day workweek in 1913, that was some 13 years before Henry Ford implemented a five day workweek and some 25 to 30 years before it became commonplace across the United States, but she didn’t stop there. Rose Knox also implemented two weeks of annual paid vacation and paid sick leave. This took place decades before they became remotely commonplace across industry. These brave moves were perhaps some of the key reasons that Knox gelatin company made it through the great depression without having to lay off a single employee. Rose Knox was a revolutionary business leader and was embraced by her colleagues. She would become the first female member of the American grocery manufacturers association in 1929. Rose Knox would become the organization’s first female director, a true game changer to find all of those doubters that told her to sell it all back in 1908, they told her to give up a woman couldn’t possibly lead the company they said, but Hey, we’re all better off. Thanks to the exceptional courage, strength and vision of one Rose Knox. She would go on to retire as president of Knox gelatin company in 1947 at the age of 90 Rose Knox passed away just three years later in 1950, while still serving as the chairman of the board of directors for the company. Wow. What a story one, we can all draw inspiration from Knox gelatin company was acquired by Thomas J Lipton inc in 1972. And it’s now part of the Treehouse foods portfolio of companies.

Speaker 3 (10:54):

Before we tackle a few other items to note here on this week in business history, I wanted to invite you to check out a few of our other podcasts. These that make up the supply chain. Now family of programming, Greg white, who had just mentioned is offering up exceptional insights on supply chain tech and the entrepreneurial journey at tequila sunrise and that’s T E C H Q U I L a tequila sunrise. Chris Barnes is challenging his guests to challenge his assertion. That supply chain is boring on the aptly titled podcast series. Supply chain is boring. Kerryn bursa is diving into the world of the digital supply chain and digital transformation in our tech talk, digital supply chain podcasts that’s T E K T O K digital supply chain podcast. And finally, as part of our give-back programming here at supply chain. Now I interviewed veterans and veterans advocate several times a month to gain their stories, insights via veteran voices. You can find these and others tequila. Sunrise supply chain is boring. Tech talk better and voices all wherever you get your podcasts. Now back to the show,

Scott Luton (12:09):

A few other items to note on this week in business history for the week of November 16th on November 17th, 1858, the city of Denver, Colorado is founded. Interestingly enough, the city was named after Kansas territorial, governor James Denver in an effort by land speculators to Curry political favor, but much to their surprise. Governor James Denver had already resigned from office. So while the attempt failed, the name stuck and Denver has grown into the Capitol and most popular city in the state of Colorado to friends of the show that were just in Denver a few weeks ago, clay and Delaney tell me that they ate at a restaurant in the city that claimed to have invented the cheeseburger. Now that’s quite a contribution to the world culinary scene. If you asked me on November 18th, 1865, the short story, the celebrated jumping frog of Calaveras County, Bob Mark Twain was published in the New York Saturday press.

Scott Luton (13:08):

It would be Twain’s first big time successful publication and make him famous across the country. As we all know, Mark Twain has a thousand popular quotes and sayings. Perhaps my favorite is this one, quote, a man who carries a cat by the tail, learns a lesson he can learn in no other way in quote on November 17th, 1911, the Omega PSI Phi fraternity is founded on the campus of Howard university in Washington, DC, amongst its members through the years, poet, Langston Hughes, entertainer and entrepreneur, Steve Harvey, current NASA administrator, Charles F Bolden jr and scientist, Charles drew it. The ladder name is new to you. Charles drew was an extraordinary American surgeon and researcher whose work in the blood transfusion field has saved perhaps millions of lives since the 1930s on November 20th, 1985, Microsoft releases windows 1.0 and on November 22nd, 1995. The movie smash toy story is released, which is the first feature-length film that was created entirely using computer generated imagery.

Scott Luton (14:25):

Now with four installments and the potential for a fifth, the toy story franchise is the 20th highest grossing franchise worldwide having grossed more than $3 billion globally. Hey, that wraps up this edition of this week in business history. Those were some of the stories that stood out to us, but Hey, what do you think? Find us on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram, and share your comments there. We’re here to listen. Thanks so much for listening to our podcast. Hope you’ve enjoyed this latest edition of this week in business history. How about Rose Knox? What an incredible story. Hey, be sure to check out a wide variety of industry thought leadership@supplychainnow.com friendly reminder. You can now find this week in business history, wherever you get your podcasts from and be sure to tell us what you think we’d love to earn your review on behalf of the entire team here at this week in business history and supply chain. Now this is Scott Luton wishing all of our listeners, nothing but the best. Thank you so much. We’re grateful for your support. Do good. Give forward, be the change that’s needed on that note. We’ll see. Next time here on this week in business history. Thanks.

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Scott W. Luton

Founder, CEO, & Host

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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.

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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.

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Administrative Assistant

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Allie Krasinski

Marketing Coordinator

Allie is currently completing a degree in marketing with a certificate in entrepreneurship at the University of Georgia. She got her social media start through an internship with Shred, a personal training app, and she’s been hooked ever since. She works to optimize our following base while assisting the team with content creation, influencer outreach and other marketing endeavors. Allie can’t wait to keep growing alongside Supply Chain Now.

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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.

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Natalie Dutton

Marketing Coordinator

Natalie is currently pursuing a degree in marketing with an emphasis in digital marketing and a certificate in new media at the University of Georgia. If there’s one thing she’s learned at the Terry College of Business, it’s that the supply chain is a dynamic, unifying force that’s essential to any business. Natalie helps to amplify the voices of the supply chain here at Supply Chain Now by assisting with media management, content creation and communications.

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Ben Harris

Host

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.

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Page Siplon

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).

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Page Siplon

Host, Logistics with Purpose

Kristi Porteris 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.

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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.

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We’re always looking for new talent to work with us. Apply below if you are interested in joining the Supply Chain Now team.

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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.

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Scott W. Luton

Founder & CEO, Supply Chain Now
Host of Supply Chain Now, Veteran Voices, This Week in Business History

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.

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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.

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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.

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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).

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Alex Bramley

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.

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