Supply Chain Now
Episode 1073

We have to remember that business resiliency is tied to sustainability and risk avoidance. As a fast-growing, publicly traded company, we have to give ourselves credit for those short-term wins and keep our eye on the prize around long-term transformation.

- Deanna Bratter, Vice President, Global Head of Sustainability & ESG at Crocs

Episode Summary

Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) programs are transforming how companies and industries operate, helping them balance short-term business targets with the desire to contribute to bigger picture good. For consumer-facing companies, the challenge is even greater because they need to be bold and hold themselves accountable without diminishing the overall consumer experience.

As Vice President of Global Head of Sustainability & ESG at Crocs, Deanna Bratter is responsible for helping the company meet its aggressive social and environmental commitments. She and her team are proving that it is possible to deliver a unique product with a high-quality customer experience in a world-conscious way… while also running a profitable business.

In this interview, Deanna speaks with co-hosts Scott Luton and Karin Bursa about how Crocs’ ESG initiatives are intertwined with their growth strategies:

• The surprising similarities that exist between the natural food industry and the fashion industry – especially where sustainability is concerned

• How the team at Crocs defines their ESG vision and how they are working to operationalize that consistently across their operation

• Why suppliers and supply chains are critical to turning sustainability goals into measurable impact

Episode Transcript

Intro/Outro (00:03):

Welcome to Supply Chain. Now the voice of global supply chain supply chain now focuses on the best in the business for our worldwide audience, the people, the technologies, the best practices, and today’s critical issues, the challenges and opportunities. Stay tuned to hear from those Making Global Business happen right here on supply chain now.

Scott Luton (00:32):

Hey, good morning, good afternoon, good evening, Scott Luton and Karin Berser with you here on Supply Chain. Now welcome to today’s episode, Corin. How you doing?

Karin Bursa (00:40):

I’m doing great, Scott. Been looking forward to this conversation

Scott Luton (00:43):

We have too. And you know, we’ve been very fortunate, uh, to, uh, interview other leaders from this or this, this, uh, very hot organization. Uh, we’ve also talked about how our family members are big fans of the brand that we’re gonna be talking about here today. But in particular, Corin with this business leader here today that’s doing big things out in the industry. We’re gonna be focused really on E S G and especially sustainability should be a great conversation, right?

Karin Bursa (01:06):

It should be. I’m, I’m looking forward to learning more about what they’re doing because they’ve been, um, you know, very, um, upfront and, um, aggressive about some of their plans, and I can’t wait to hear what she has to tell us.

Scott Luton (01:21):

That makes two of us. So, with that, let’s welcome in our featured guest today when welcome in Deanna Brater, vice President and Global Head of Sustainability with Crocs. Deanna, how are you doing?

Deanna Bratter (01:34):

I’m doing great. Thanks so much for having me today.

Scott Luton (01:37):

You bet. Well, hey, thanks for carving out some time, uh, Corrine. I bet, I bet she’s got three or four full plates, don’t you think?

Karin Bursa (01:43):

I’m sure. And I bet she can switch her shoes in between, you know, in between courses too,

Scott Luton (01:48):

<laugh>. Right, right, right. Well, um, and as we mentioned on the front end, uh, I look forward to, you know, one of my favorite things to do, uh, cri you and I have chat about the state, is really learn the operations and the business side behind some of our favorite brands. And Deanna, thanks for giving us that opportunity here today.

Deanna Bratter (02:04):

Absolutely. I’m happy to be here and talk about our awesome brands and how we bring sustainability to life.

Scott Luton (02:11):

So, uh, you me, you mentioned the magic word. Before we get into that, let’s learn more about Deanna Brater. So I wanna start credit, and I wanna start with, hey, where did you grow up at Deanna?

Deanna Bratter (02:22):

Uh, well, I was very fortunate to grow up in sunny south Florida, just outside of Fort Lauderdale, but I have called Colorado and the Rockies home for almost 20 years now.

Scott Luton (02:32):

Oh, so you get a native badge in Colorado after 20 years, right?

Deanna Bratter (02:36):

Uh, they hold those native badges pretty close, actually. <laugh>, but yes, been here a long time and, and love to call it home.

Scott Luton (02:42):

So, Corin, you can relate here cuz you also grew up, I believe in South Florida. Is that right, Corrine?

Karin Bursa (02:47):

I did, I did. I grew up in Palm Beach County and I was blessed to live for about a year and a half in Denver. So I got a little taste of the Rockies too, and it’s pretty special as well.

Scott Luton (03:00):

Mm, I agree. So Deanna, uh, and maybe Corrin too, who knows? We’ll see. We’re gonna find out. Uh, Deanna, what was one of your favorite parts? Like I immediately, of course, you go to sunshine and theme parks and friendly people, but the food in South Florida is where my brain went to. So what was one of your favorite, uh, food dishes grown up there in south Florida?

Deanna Bratter (03:20):

That is a hard question. <laugh>. Uh, well, I’m a lifelong vegetarian, so I don’t know how far my recommendations go. Um, I always like to say if Colorado had the beach and the ocean, it would be the perfect place to live. Okay. Um, but growing up in south Florida, especially as a vegetarian, there are some phenomenal South Indian restaurants down there, uh, that are definitely my favorite.

Scott Luton (03:42):

Completely agree. And, you know, speaking of Indian cuisine, I was, uh, in Denver here recently and, uh, uh, I think a small local, um, maybe a chain, maybe just a one off restaurant called Little India. Um, I can’t remember the section of Denver I was in, but holy cow. It was delicious, Deanna and Karen. So little shout out to those great folks over there. Um, let’s talk about, um, prior to your current role. So we’re gonna focus in on what you’re doing at Crocs here momentarily. But before you joined the CROs team, what’s a, a role or two that really impacted your worldview and, and your leadership approach, perhaps?

Deanna Bratter (04:18):

Uh, great place to start. Uh, we’re definitely built by the experiences that come before. So I spent, um, the last nearly 20 years in the natural products and natural foods industry, uh, moving into the food industry and really focused my career and my journey and my learning journey on sustainable food systems. So it’s been quite an incredible step to get into the world of fashion and retail. Um, but ultimately in, in my career and my journey with different brands working on macro sustainability challenges, so carbon emissions, natural resource use, supply chain complexity and transformation, sustainable innovation, the list goes on. There’s lots of topics in there, uh, but the idea is really to find interventions and solutions that can help address these challenges, uh, and as they emerge because this is a really fast changing, um, area of focus. And as the business changes, so does sustainability.

Scott Luton (05:16):

That’s right. And, and Corin, um, on the front end of our answer now, I’m always, uh, very appreciative that as many differences as there are between the different sectors of, of global business, there are some really key common themes and best practices that we can lean on. Your thoughts, Karine?

Karin Bursa (05:32):

Oh, absolutely. I think, um, o obviously Deanna’s been in some businesses that are leading edge and looking to do something different in the marketplace while providing really high quality experience for the consumer. Um, so to do that and to do it in a world conscious way, shall we say, while looking to run a profitable business, it’s challenging. So I can’t wait to hear more.

Scott Luton (05:59):

No kidding. Um, okay. One quick follow up question, Deanna, uh, to the sustainable, uh, food systems you mentioned. Um, if you can, is there one thing that maybe listeners would not connect the dots on to, uh, sustainability and food with, with what they purchase at the stores or, or dishes? Is there anything that really sticks out in terms of a, a key lesson that you learned during that phase of your career that would be interesting to share?

Deanna Bratter (06:26):

For sure. I, I think there’s a lot of interesting things to share. I think when you look at the food system and the farming systems that support the food system, and then the role that fossil fuels play in the food systems, farming systems, and now as I step into the fashion system, you find a lot of similarities and a lot of highlights. I think the best thing you can do as a food consumer is look at the ingredients and for as much transparency as possible. And I think transparency is a theme that you’ll see in my approach to sustainability. I absolutely think as a food consumer, really looking, um, at those ingredients where they’re coming from is one of the best things you can do to stay informed.

Scott Luton (07:05):

Oh, great points. Um, you know, and one last thought around the food supply chain. Corrine, you may remember this episode, uh, roughly six months or so ago, I interviewed a pollination expert and we talked about that component really incredibly, uh, important component to food supply chain and, and how a lot of the environments that our pollinators lean on are unfortunately, uh, going through some, some big time change. So thank you for sharing, uh, Deanna, uh, around you some, your background.

Deanna Bratter (07:32):

I’ve had the opportunity to work in the pollinator conservation and protection spaces as well as regenerative agriculture and really figuring out the connection to the land and the decisions we make in bringing our ingredients and our products to life, and how that, um, flows through the entirety of the system. So, uh, it’s really powerful. I’m glad you guys, uh, leaned in and learned more about that.

Scott Luton (07:53):

I love. Okay, so clearly Crocs signed a, a heavy hitter, uh, to their team, their leadership team here with your hire. So let’s shift gears there. Um, let’s talk more about Crocs again for the, you know, two people out there that, uh, is unfamiliar with the organization. Tell us about Crocs and then tell us also about your role that you’re leading there at Crox.

Deanna Bratter (08:13):

All right. Uh, so Crox is a world leader in casual footwear for adults and children. Um, through our CROs brand. We’re the leader in molded footwear, and we also welcomed another brand, uh, last year, the Hey Dude brand, which is one of the fastest growing additions to the casual and comfortable footwear market. Uh, so we’re really excited to have these two incredible fast growing brands united under the Crocs Company mission for everyone to be comfortable in their own shoes. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, um, with that mission, we’re driving home this purpose, which is what helps drive our action, and that is to create a more comfortable world for all. So I’ve been really fortunate to join the Croc team with this incredible mission to help define what is creating a more comfortable world for all look like, and setting the strategy that inherently is driving that. And I can talk more about that if you’d like to j dive in.

Scott Luton (09:06):

We’re about to dive in, Deanna, cause I love so much of that answer. And, and just going back to, um, and Karen to get your response, everyone being comfortable in their own shoes, there’s so many valuable, positive meanings to that phrase. Corrina gets you to respond before. I’ve got one more question for Deanna.

Karin Bursa (09:23):

Yeah. I mean, comfortable in your own shoes is really important, but feeling good about the products that you’re buying, I think is important as well. And as you know, Scott, we’ve covered this a number of times. Um, they’re generations now that that is their focus. They want to work with brands that are socially and environmentally conscious about the products they’re bringing to market. So I think it’s a really exciting time and Crox is doing some interesting things.

Scott Luton (09:51):

They are, and we’re gonna get to that. So I wanna, before I turn over to Corrine, um, let’s, you know, consumers, investors, I think we’ve kinda alluded to here, really increasing their focus and their priority on brands with those well-structured environmental, social and governance ESG initiatives. We all, we love our acronyms across the supply chain for sure, but you know, for as much as many common ways that maybe we look at ESG initiatives and what we think about what they comprise, what are some, uh, there’s also plenty of unique nuance and, and unique aspects to those, uh, strategies from company to company. So, uh, Deanna, to start with, how does Crocs define E S G?

Deanna Bratter (10:34):

Yeah, so there’s definitely alphabet soup when it comes to acronyms, uh, in many areas, especially sustainability. Um, so ESG and sustainability are often used interchangeably, and they are definitely deeply connected. Um, I like to think about ESG in terms of the stakeholders responsible for the company, for the identity of the company, for the culture of the company, for the decision making. Um, and those stakeholders include the board, the ceo, executive leadership, employees, shareholders. Um, so there’s a lot of stakeholders that help us figure out sort of who we are as a company. And then I’d like to think about sustainability in terms of the relationship we have with the world around us. So our business and the communities we impact our business and the environment that’s giving us our materials or that we’re impacting with our production. And so simply, the, the idea here is ESG is how the world impacts a company or an investment or a sustainability, how the company impacts the world. A little, a little simplistic for sure. Uh, but a way to help sort of navigate how sometimes we use them interchangeably, because you never really have one without the other.

Scott Luton (11:44):

Yeah, well said there. Cri, I wanna toss over to you, you know, respond to that definition and then I know we’re gonna find out a lot more about, uh, croc’s e s g journey.

Karin Bursa (11:53):

Yeah, absolutely. Um, th that is so interesting and thank you for that, that perspective, that point of view. I think that that’s, that’s one I’m gonna carry with me for sure. When you look at the, the journey that Crocs has been on as a company, where do you find yourself today? Do you consider yourself in the early stages, uh, Deanna, or, uh, is Crocs leading an industry segment?

Deanna Bratter (12:17):

Uh, so I would say both. It depends on how you slice it. Um, for sure, we are early in our sustainability journey, having just set our carbon goal a little more than a, a year, year and a half ago. Uh, really defining our strategy going forward and, and building a lot of the fundamentals. But I think when it comes to fashion and footwear, uh, consumers are hungry for companies to lead. And I think Crox is really uniquely established with the Crox brand, having a product that inherently is a much lower carbon footprint than competitors, while staying affordable and accessible to global consumers. So I think, um, our innovation and our product and the way we’ve really looked at the development and the future of our product, I would say is, is leading through that innovation lens. And I would say regarding some of the more traditional ESG establishing targets, establishing baselines and sort of building the fundamentals of good corporate citizenship ES g program, we’re definitely earlier in our journey, but we’re making incredible strides.

Karin Bursa (13:18):

I like that. Incredible strides just kind of naturally flows there when you’re talking about, uh, innovative footwear. When you think of innovation, you think of product innovation, um, and fashion, right? Which is your business. And fashion means short life cycles, it means new colors, new uh, features for products. How do you design that into the products? So you’re starting, you know, at the get-go before the product ever comes to market while thinking about this strategy and this initiative, um, and the desires of your consumers.

Deanna Bratter (13:54):

Great question. With our shoes, we are very fortunate because inherently our product is designed to last a very long time and have a lot of use cases in your day-to-day where Crocs are showing up. Uh, maybe 20 years ago when we first started taking off as a brand, you would hear a lot of folks saying in the garden, uh, you know, while I’m doing housework, and now they’re in the workplace, they’re on the go, they’re even on the red carpet. And so the uses of the sh of our shoe, of our iconic classic clog, um, are really everywhere and incredible. And they last an amazingly long time. We’ve also designed innovation around customization. So we have our charms or our gts where you can really personalize them for use case and different occasions. So I think you’re starting to see, um, how fashion can not necessarily be fast.

Deanna Bratter (14:46):

Now certainly there’s an inherent tension in fashion consumption, wanting to have all the colors and all the styles. And I think the way that we look at that is you can feel good from a starting place that per pair, our classic clog is about 2.56 kilograms of emissions per pair. That’s about a quarter of a gallon of gas. So as far as you drive six miles, is the emissions on the full life cycle of one pair of Crocs. So that’s a pretty incredibly low starting place. Doesn’t mean we can’t do better, uh, and we’ve got lots of, uh, things in the works to do that, but it means, compared to other shoes you might be buying with more components, uh, that might not last as long we’re from, from a carbon perspective, we’re starting off in a really great place.

Scott Luton (15:32):

It, Corrine, if I could, uh, interject for just a quick minute and respond to what Deanna said there. You know, the data, you know, we’ve already touched on this a couple times, but consumer data, uh, time and time again shows that, um, uh, consumers more and more are looking for that app, what I’ll call apparel with purpose or apparel with practicality in some cases more than than fashion itself. It’s really amazing what we’re seeing the evolution. So that, that Dean, that’s really cool to hear. Corrine, sorry, I wanted to interject really quick and, and, uh, uh, share a couple tidbits.

Karin Bursa (16:03):

No, absolutely. I, I think, um, consumers are looking for brands with purpose and, um, and our fashion, um, both from a functionality perspective, but also from an individuality perspective, I think is, is a great way to do that. So when you mention mentioned things,

Scott Luton (16:20):

You mentioned, uh, you mentioned earlier as you were opposing that question to Deanna, that consumers are also really appreciating our craving market leadership. And I can’t agree, I I I I almost said amen. Shout out louder for folks in the back when you shared that. I think, I think really we’re seeing that a lot more and more, uh, companies that we have a lot of respect for those first movers that are serving as an example of how we, how we drive change.

Karin Bursa (16:48):

Yeah, absolutely. Well, one thing I can tell you is that Crox is growing. Um, they’re growing like gangbusters. So they’ve, um, really experienced some tremendous growth over the last couple of years. And I think that that is elevating their platform even more. So, Deanna, when you think about that, you think about the growth, the growth in the product portfolio. I know that, um, that Crox did an important acquisition as well, which expanded, uh, beyond the crox brand to include the hey dude brand, um, again, known for comfort and casual style. So it’s a great fit with their portfolio, but that gives you that much more opportunity as you look at your initiatives. Tell us a little bit about that. Tell us what it’s like at scale as a part of a growing double digit growth company that’s in this hot space of, of, uh, casual footwear.

Deanna Bratter (17:47):

Great. So it’s fun, <laugh>, uh, it’s, it’s really fun to be part of a fast growing company. It creates a lot of opportunity for the easy conversations. How do we, um, resource and invest in sustainability as we’re growing and hard conversations? What are the trade-offs we need to make to move fast to grow the brand, to keep our cost and our, our affordability high? So we’re really taking a quite a broad approach when we think about sustainability. We have three pillars that we focus on our core sustainability, which is really around our environmental impacts. And we call this, um, comfort without Carbon or comfort for the planet, and really linking the importance of our product, uh, and purchase drivers to our sustainability journey. Then we have our, uh, inclusivity pillar. So we’re working hard to be an inclusive employer to reflect our consumers and the communities who are passionate about our products.

Deanna Bratter (18:41):

Um, so where we live and work and really bringing that inclusivity not just into our business, but also out through our products. And then the last one is comfort for our community. So we are committed to being good corporate stewards and to engaging in the communities globally where we work. We’re really proud to be a global brand, um, with, with global growth. And so this comes to life in nonprofits that we partner with in our giving strategy of giving, um, not only funds, but giving time and giving shoes, and really making sure that we’re connecting on timely human needs. So what is the impact we wanna have for society and what role do we play, um, as a good corporate player in the sustainability space? So when you look holistically at our strategy, uh, you know, pretty straightforward, uh, sustainability, community and inclusivity, this is really where we’re building the foundation for both the Crox brand and the Haddo brand so that we can show up and that we can make change. And, um, to the point earlier, we know that this is what the consumers of today and the consumers of the future are looking for. And we feel really not only well positioned, but proud of the stand that we’ve taken, um, to be an inclusive brand to, to engage with our communities and to be really driving sustainability through our platform and our products.

Karin Bursa (19:57):

Dana, when, when Croc started this, when did Croc start this focus in a specific area of sustainability and, um, uh, e s g initiative? When, when did it start and how far or how long did it take before you felt like you were making a measurable impact?

Deanna Bratter (20:17):

It’s a great question. So this is only a 20 year old brand. We just celebrated our 20 year anniversary, and we’ve got a lot of players, uh, companies that I’ve worked for in the past, other major players in sustainability who have been around a hundred plus years working at this, at, at various levels. So I would say since Crox was created, there was an eye on simplicity, and simplicity often lends itself to sustainability. I would say in the last couple of years, we’ve really started to accelerate. So our commitment to net zero, uh, that we established just a couple of years ago, and then recently, a really incredible innovation that we’ve been accelerating over the last two years, um, is incorporating bio-based material into our classic clog and into all of our products, which use a resin that we refer to as crosslight. So if you know a croc, you know, this material, uh, it’s, it builds the foundation of comfort.

Deanna Bratter (21:13):

Um, and this molded footwear, uh, that is, um, I, you know, our iconic styles and it’s in all of our products on the CROs brand. So, um, bio-based material is coming through a partnership with Dow, and this innovation has, uh, it’s called equilibrium, and it’s the idea of we can take bio waste or byproducts from other industries and use it as a replacement for a fossil fuel that might have created the product and the resin for the product in the past. So, um, this, uh, bio-based material is a huge part of our transformation strategy, and we’re really looking at it portfolio wide. So all of our products that have crosslight are in a transition to include more biomaterial, and the material itself is coming from, uh, byproducts that you might find in used cooking oil, uh, or tall oil, which is, uh, waste product out of paper mill recycling.

Deanna Bratter (22:03):

So really cool innovation here, using things that might otherwise not have a purpose and putting ’em right back into our shoes as a drop in replacement for other resins, uh, or materials that we’re using. So the idea here is, while other companies might have a sustainable shoe, uh, I should put air cuts, a sustainable shoe <laugh>, uh, where if you’re looking for a sustainable shoe or you’re willing to pay more for sustainable shoe, you can go get one. But for Crocs, you can feel good that we’re incorporating bio-based into our entire line of footwear rolling out as as we can scale up percentage by percentage, um, and that every pair of Crocs you buy are going to include bio-based material and get our carbon footprint even lower, already low, even lower.

Karin Bursa (22:48):

That’s, that’s exciting. And, and, um, that’s putting it into your design and your materials. Tell us a little bit, Deanna, about supply chain being kind of in the front line of your initiatives as well, right? The, the cost to not just to produce those products, but to move them to market. What kind of things are you doing in that area?

Deanna Bratter (23:11):

So supply chain is inherent in all sustainability. Our partnerships with our suppliers, uh, manufacturing material inputs along the way. So one of the biggest things when you have a carbon goal is to set your baseline. So we’ve been on a journey for the last 10 months, uh, to really understand not only where our emissions are coming from, but make sure that we have a crox brand footprint. And now that we’ve welcomed, hey, dude, relining to understand where we are as a company in terms of carbon emissions, from there, we start to understand where our major impacts are. Uh, so materials being one, um, manufacturing being another, and transportation and distribution. You can find those at the top of most, uh, fashion products, especially footwear in terms of emissions. So now that we know where to lean in, we start to really look at the pieces of the supply chain that are most instrumental in us understanding where the emissions are coming from, what the opportunities for reduction are, um, and forming really strong partnerships with our supply chain partners so that we can drive change over time.

Deanna Bratter (24:17):

And a really important thing here is sustainability takes time. If there’s anything I learned from coming outta food systems, you can think to farmers cultivating every year you have a new crop, materials are very much the same. You need to create the materials. There’s a, a really integrated manufacturing process, then there’s transportation. Um, the system itself takes time. And the integrated nature of the system is where we can find the biggest opportunities to influence sustainability. So there’s obvious ones like transportation and distribution use more efficient transportation, use less fuels, use less air, and more, um, marine sh uh, maritime shipping. So there’s a lot of opportunities we can find in there, but I think the reality is looking for biggest impacts and then building reduction strategies tied to those, uh, over time is really the way that we’re approaching this on our journey to net zero.

Karin Bursa (25:12):

And, and has it, has it changed your criteria for the partners that you work with? Do you approach new partners or your existing partner network with, um, you know, some specific, um, criteria as far as production and distribution? Um, packaging, uh, go.

Deanna Bratter (25:31):

Yeah. Supplier relationships are critically important at every level of a successful business, right? And your suppliers fit into your business strategy, and if you’re doing it right, your sustainability strategy fits into your business strategy and is deeply connected. So for Crocs, we have a high set of standards that we expect of our suppliers. We have, uh, statements of compliance, we have code of conduct, we have restricted substances, we have, um, obviously quality, uh, checks and performance, and we have, uh, social compliance, um, audits. So right now we have a very comprehensive process where we’re working through, um, connectivity and visibility in all of those fronts with all of our tier one suppliers moving into our tier two even more fully. And then really looking at transparency, uh, which is one of the big challenges in the fashion industry is really understanding not just your tier one and tier two, but your 3, 4, 5, 6, and even seven, depending on how complex your supply chain is. So the better visibility we have, the stronger we can make partnerships. So we set those expectations, um, and then we work together to make sure that it’s a, a strong partnership for the business and from a sustainability lens.

Scott Luton (26:39):

Hey, Greg, if I can really quick, um, I, I’m loving what we’re hearing here on so many different levels. Uh, going back to, uh, some of her earlier responses, you know, making no assumptions, right? Really doing the homework and making no assumptions about where the sustainability gains will come from, um, doing it with their suppliers, not to their suppliers, but with it really in a very forward-looking way, right? Because as we’ve talked about time and time again here at Supply chain now, um, that old phrase, dig your well before you’re thirsty, you can’t all of a sudden microwave relationships, you know, that you, they’ve gotta be part of the cultural approach to supplier development and supplier relationships. And also knowing what I think, I think the billion, one of the billion dollar ideas that D shared with us is that she, she and the team know that the real gains are in the systemic aspect of what they’re trying to do, not the quick wins and quick hits.

Scott Luton (27:31):

Those are important, right? For momentum and, and, um, uh, and the asprit de corps and the sheer outcomes and results. But that big gains is when it becomes part of the overall holistic system. And that is, um, that’s a really important thing for our listeners to remember there. One last thing, Corrine. Cause um, Deanna mentioned, Hey, dude, a couple of times, a new exciting, uh, line. Is it just me, but when I think of, Hey, dude, and I’m gonna change my association after this interview, I think of there was a Nickelodeon show in the late eighties and early nineties nineties called, Hey dude, do y’all remember this? Or is it just me, <laugh>, I’m gonna change my association?

Deanna Bratter (28:09):

Sadly, I do. Yeah, time to time to up update that association. Yes,

Scott Luton (28:13):

It is,

Deanna Bratter (28:14):

Um, definitely encourage you to check them out. There’s this phenomenon where once you put on one pair of, Hey, dude, and you’re like, wow. And then you end up with a handful more. So <laugh>, well, clearly you’re really comfortable, super, um, creative in terms of the styles and, and the types, the fabrics that you can get. It’s a really fun line. And I think if you haven’t seen ’em now that you’re aware of the brand, it’s one of those that you’ll just start seeing ’em everywhere.

Scott Luton (28:38):

I’m going out and to get a pair, and clearly we already have a super fan and the Bura household, right? Are sharing something free show

Karin Bursa (28:45):

<laugh>. Yes, we do. My husband is quite a, has been quite a fan of the CROs products for years, especially the loafers. Um, uh, fortunately because he has a really big foot and seeing, seeing that size foot in the, uh, the classic, um, crock is, is a little scary, especially in a bright color. But, but the, uh, the loafer styles work really well for him, <laugh>, so

Scott Luton (29:10):

I’m gonna get some thank you

Karin Bursa (29:12):

Right now. Thank, thank you for that. And, and the hey dude is, um, is a really nice looking shoe. Um, that’s, that’s really comfortable as well. So, um, lots to choose from. Lot more than you think from just the classic, uh, the classic clog style that’s been out there. Uh, you know, Deanna, I have a question, a burning question. When I talk to companies about their sustainability and their E S G initiatives, um, a lot of times it’s countered by finding the green and green initiatives, right? Finding the profitability for the business in, in green initiatives. But, uh, we are seeing Crocs go through a tremendous growth trajectory right now. Clearly the sustainability initiative, the E S G initiative goes well beyond, this is not new, it’s not new to the business as you just told us. The, the brand is roughly 20 years old in the marketplace and was kind of built with an i in mind, um, to be a high value product that, um, that is sustainable. When you look at all of these initiatives, because it is investments, it’s, it’s, it’s looking at the best way to work with partners. What would your advice be to other brands that are looking to, um, to be profitable, to grow their business, but also to be responsible in the way that they do that? Any words of encouragement there?

Deanna Bratter (30:46):

Yes, it is, uh, certainly the challenge of sustainability, the idea that it needs to be a trade-off needs to, needs to be in the past, uh, because the fact is good ESG practice and strong sustainability is about what I like to say, finding the and profitability and sustainability good for people and good for planet, good for business and bottom line and good for your carbon targets or sustainability. So if you take this mentality of finding the, and you’re pushing into innovation, you’re pushing into creativity, and you’re really looking to partner this idea of investments, um, where you might have to make them, because that is a, a fact with beneficial reduction opportunities. So if we know that we’re going down a path where we’re gonna need to make some investment, let’s parallel a path of a project that’s gonna give us, so it doesn’t always have to be the same project, um, but we definitely wanna look holistically to find the balance.

Deanna Bratter (31:45):

So if the, if the project isn’t a slam dunk and it’s not able to generate those cost savings, uh, which a good place to look for those is often energy use is often waste, uh, waste reduction recycling, there’s oftentimes financial savings and sustainability savings. But when you go beyond those, um, the idea that you’re gonna have long-term opportunity and you’re gonna need long-term investment. And so how do we balance short-term investment, short-term results with long-term investment and long-term results? The other thing is we have to start challenging ourselves to remember that business resiliency, um, is tied to sustainability and risk avoidance. So we know that the impacts of climate change, the impacts of the crazy weather that we’re having in many places can have impacts on raw materials like cotton on transparent, uh, or efficient transportation. And so we want to, to think long-term resiliency, the better that we can do as a company to address sustainability and do our part, the more we can build in resiliency, awareness of sustainability strategies and, and really strong programs to help us, um, be proactive in addressing those needs. So big piece there for anyone starting out is we’ve gotta really think short-term and long-term hand in hand. And as a publicly traded company and a fast growing company, um, we gotta give ourselves credit for those short-term wins and keep the eye on the prize around long-term transformation.

Karin Bursa (33:11):

Yeah, I think that’s so important. And, and you, um, you know, you talked about things so naturally when we think about key performance indicators in this area, right? We, we think about fuel consumption, we think about waste. What are the top three key performance indicators you keep your eye on for the business as you head the initiative really, um, for Crocs?

Deanna Bratter (33:35):

Yeah, so we’re looking at metrics across our initiatives of community inclusivity and sustainability. So one of our big ones is carbon. Um, carbon is often a lagging indicator, right? You’re looking at a year past of your carbon emissions. And so really connecting your emissions with your actions and being able to embed, uh, uh, carbon and understanding of carbon in upfront decision making. So we won’t always say, all right, this shoe is heavier than our iconic clock. That means it probably has more emissions. Are we gonna launch it? Are we not gonna launch it? That’s not usually gonna be a sustainability decision, that’s gonna be a business decision, a consumer decision, but the fact that we’re stopping and having the conversation to say, we’re making a decision that’s gonna increase our footprint, and we know that we have a net zero goal, how do we then need to adjust the plan to account for this is what business transformation is about.

Deanna Bratter (34:28):

So really, even though sustainability folks have to focus a lot on lagging indicators, looking for the opportunity to influence decision making upfront and look for leading indicators, uh, where you can kind of adjust the levers up front and then have that impact on the backend is really important. Um, I think we’re definitely looking across d EI initiatives and making sure that we’ve got really strong KPIs in place there so that we can feel great that not only are we building a culture of inclusivity that we’re showing progress over time, um, and our community piece and having some sort of indicator that says, not just are we giving a lot of funds, but giving a lot of shoes. We’re so proud to do that, and it’s so important for us to be able to give back, but what’s the impact we’re having on people? Um, so we’re really proud of some recent initiatives. We’ve done this gray campaign called Free Pair for Healthcare over the last few years, and we’ve given hundreds of thousands of pairs. Uh, we did, uh, an effort recently this year to raise funds, and we donated more than 200,000 pairs of classic clogs to Ukraine refugee relief efforts. So there’s a big role that we have to play, and I think really focusing on not just what, what you’re giving, but how many people you’re impacting through that work and where the need is, is another really powerful, uh, measurement tool that you can use.

Karin Bursa (35:45):

Yeah, I agree. Companies,

Scott Luton (35:46):

I agree. Go ahead.

Karin Bursa (35:47):

Oh, I, I agree. Um, Scott, you and I have talked about that before and, and, and we’re well aware of the crox initiative during C O V D and, and just helping to take care of our healthcare workers and, and that, that kindness. Yes. But it is a functional product that just made the hours and hours they’ve been on their feet that much easier to, to absorb.

Scott Luton (36:14):

Uh, yes, absolutely. And companies that lead, companies that lead, you know, this is, I think the third Crox executive, Karen, you and I have had a chance to, uh, sit down and interview with, and they’re so, um, the sense of purpose, and it’s really a common theme here. And, and the actions and the outcomes and the deeds, not words. I love that aspect of the Colts, uh, the Crocs, uh, organization. All right. So, um, again, really appreciate you carving some time out, as busy as y’all are at Crocs and, and all the change, you’re all driving a lot of what you touched on here and, and cor as we’ve mentioned on on some of the earlier episodes we picked up, uh, my mother is retired registered nurse. So the love y’all have put, uh, um, and, and, and how y’all have embraced the healthcare community that’s gone through, you know, something we’ve never seen in our lifetimes. I mean, I really admire what Crocs did there. Um, so let’s do this. You were just, you kind of just, uh, offered up a masterclass <laugh>. So many tips on, for folks that are out there leading and fighting their own ESG journey and looking to drive real outcomes and real change, um, beyond all of those best practices and some of your expertise there, is there anything else you’d like to share or recommend to people that are out there, you know, fighting in the trenches?

Deanna Bratter (37:28):

Sure. Well, first of all, thanks to your mom and all of the hardworking healthcare workers out there. Um, it, it’s just an incredible feat, so always in awe and supportive, even though I know I’m doing some hard work over here, I am not on the front lines, uh, with all those important healthcare workers. So, um, I would say, uh, you know, I talked a little bit about focusing on impact and what the outcomes are. We talked a little bit about sort of short term, long term, and that is around sort of incremental versus these big transformational ideas. I think the biggest thing that sometimes we jump over is backing up and setting that vision. What is it you’re trying to do? In the grand scheme of things, most of our companies are going to be a small percentage, even a rounding error in global emissions, right?

Deanna Bratter (38:13):

We know that it’s going to take the action of many to make change. So for all these individual businesses, it’s so important to have a mission and to have a vision that’s aligned with your product and aligned with your core business strategy that is going to help you set the intention for sustainability and purpose. Once you’ve got that, all the other pieces start to come in in place. But sustainability is 50% about action and 50% about influence. It is not going to take me and a team of folks with the title of sustainability to make the change. It’s going to take all of the individuals cross-functional across teams and throughout the supply chain to actually make that impact and change the decisions into more sustainable, more environmentally, uh, beneficial, more inclusive decision making in the day-to-day. And that all comes from having a clear purpose, uh, with a really strong intention from day one. So if you’re at a business and you’re not quite sure how sustainability fits, it’s going back to the mission, figuring out that purpose connection, and using that to help influence those leaders and that decision making, uh, and business strategy going forward. All the rest starts to come into place after that.

Scott Luton (39:22):

Wow. Corrine, I love to GetResponse.

Karin Bursa (39:25):

I could, I could just keep listening. I know. I’m just like, oh, yeah. I love the way she said that. That’s so good. All right. Um, and, and I love the passion with which you’re, you, you share, um, what, what you’re doing at Crocs, and obviously, um, I, I know that our listeners are gonna be just really inspired by this, but I like the intentionality, the fact that it’s designed in to the products, that it is also designed in to supply chain decisions, that they look at individual products, but also the whole product portfolio as well. And they’re doing it for a brand that is, is building a follower base and, um, you know, a community of customers that just feel good about the product that they’re buying and wearing every day.

Scott Luton (40:13):

Yeah. Com very loyal of community at that, so Well said there. Corin. Um, okay, I bet as Corin alluded, I bet there’s gonna be lots of Deanna Brater fans and our global ecosystem after hearing in the last, uh, 40 minutes with you. Um, how can folks connect with you and Crocs, Deanna?

Deanna Bratter (40:32):

Well, you can find out more information about Crocs and our E s g and sustainability journey through our 2021 ESG report, which we issued last year. Uh, it’s on crox.com, our investor page. And then keep your eyes out for our 2022 report coming the first half of the year. So we’re doing our job, all those disclosures, but we’re also trying to tell the stories of the initiatives that we have, um, and what we’re doing. Um, you can also stay connected with Crocs on social media. We have an account on just about any channel platform out there. And then for me personally, you can find me on LinkedIn.

Scott Luton (41:05):

It’s just that easy. And folks, you’ll be able to find a lot of the, those links in the show notes, uh, on the episode page. So, Deanna Brater, vice President, global Head of Sustainability with the Crocs, thank you so much for your time today.

Deanna Bratter (41:18):

Yeah, thank you so much for having me. It was great talking with you both.

Scott Luton (41:21):

You bet. Okay, Corrine, man. Um, there’s so many of my favorite parts in the last, uh, hour or so, and the, you, you hit on it, the passion, I mean, the expertise. Been there, done that, of course, uh, Deanna’s got that by the truckload, but the passion, uh, is there any doubt that she and her team are gonna be out there driving real change, both within the walls, so to speak, and outside of it, right?

Karin Bursa (41:46):

I think absolutely. But, but what came across to me with that passion, Scott, is that it’s not just her team. It is the business. So across the board, as a part of the strategy for Crocs, for their product portfolio, for their supply chain team, this is embedded, right? This is part of the DNA of what they’re doing from product design as we heard, right through to product delivery. So that to me is really exciting. And I like the way she expressed, and people and planet, not people or planets, not a trade off. And we do hear those trade offs quite often, but that it is in fact, inclusive and that they look at those equally for their business that made an impress impression, right?

Scott Luton (42:36):

I’m with you and to our listeners, Hey, find the, and there’s so much importance there, and that’s, that’s like, uh, whether, uh, uh, relates to your esg, uh, leadership supply chain, just your view of humanity. I think you find the, and I think that’s such a great piece of advice amongst everything else that Deanna shared. So big thanks to Deanna Brader and the Crocs team for spending some time here. Hey, big thanks to Corrine Bursa. Uh, Corrine, how can folks connect with you?

Karin Bursa (43:01):

Yeah, hey, find me on LinkedIn as well, and, uh, and be sure to check out, uh, supply chain now and Tech Talk.

Scott Luton (43:08):

Awesome. Well, a pleasure to connect this conversation. What a great conversation here. Thank you so much, Corrine. Hey, to all of our listeners out there, hopefully you’ve enjoyed this episode as much as we have. As Corin mentioned. Be sure to find supply chain now, wherever you get your podcast from. Hey, find us on YouTube. It’s one of the easiest ways to connect with our content and participate, even more importantly, participate in, in our shows and programming. So, on behalf of the whole team here at Supply Chain Kren versus, uh, Scott Luton, signing off for now, but challenging you. Hey, be like Deanna Brader, do good, give forward, be the changes needed, and we’ll see you next time. Right back here at Supply Chain now. Thanks everybody.

Intro/Outro (43:45):

Thanks for being a part of our supply chain now, community. Check out all of our programming@supplychainnow.com and make sure you subscribe to Supply Chain now, anywhere you listen to podcasts. And follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. See you next time on Supply Chain. Now.

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Featured Guests

Deanna Bratter joined Crocs, Inc. in 2021 as Vice President, Global Head of Sustainability & ESG. Deanna is responsible for driving the company toward its aggressive goal of achieving net zero by 2030, and enhancing commitments and impacts across environmental sustainability, social responsibility and corporate governance (ESG). Deanna came to Crocs, Inc. from Danone North America where she was Vice President of Sustainable Development/One Planet.One Health. In that role, she led the organization’s strategy and progress to addressing climate change, advancing responsible sourcing, restoring natural ecosystems, improving sustainable packaging, and supporting people and communities. Deanna holds dual bachelor degrees from the University of South Florida and has obtained certifications from the University of Denver in Sustainability Leadership and Implementation and Harvard Business School in Sustainability and Corporate Performance, in addition to completing Six Sigma Management and GRI training. Connect with Deanna on LinkedIn.

Hosts

Scott W. Luton

Founder, CEO, & Host

Karin Bursa

Host, TEKTOK

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Allison Giddens

Host, Logistics with Purpose

Allison Krache Giddens has been with Win-Tech, a veteran-owned small business and aerospace precision machine shop, for 15 years, recently buying the company from her mentor and Win-Tech’s Founder, Dennis Winslow. She and her business partner, John Hudson now serve as Co-Presidents, leading the 33-year old company through the pandemic.

She holds undergraduate degrees in psychology and criminal justice from the University of Georgia, a Masters in Conflict Management from Kennesaw State University, a Masters in Manufacturing from Georgia Institute of Technology, and a Certificate of Finance from the University of Georgia. She also holds certificates in Google Analytics, event planning, and Cybersecurity Risk Management from Harvard online. Allison founded the Georgia Chapter of Women in Manufacturing and currently serves as Treasurer. She serves on the Chattahoochee Technical College Foundation Board as its Secretary, the liveSAFE Resources Board of Directors as Resource Development Co-Chair, and on the Leadership Cobb Alumni Association Board as Membership Chair and is also a member of Cobb Executive Women. She is on the Board for the Cobb Chamber of Commerce’s Northwest Area Councils. Allison runs The Dave Krache Foundation, a non-profit that helps pay sports fees for local kids in need.

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Greg White

Principal, Supply Chain Now
Host of Supply Chain Now and TECHquila Sunrise

When rapid-growth technology companies, venture capital and private equity firms are looking for advisory, they call Greg – a founder, board director, advisor and catalyst of disruptive B2B technology and supply chain. An insightful visionary, Greg guides founders, investors and leadership teams in creating breakthroughs to gain market exposure and momentum – increasing overall company esteem and valuation.

Greg is a founder himself, creating Blue Ridge Solutions, a Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader in cloud-native supply chain applications, and bringing to market Curo, a field service management solution. He has also held leadership roles with Servigistics (PTC) and E3 Corporation (JDA/Blue Yonder). As a principal and host at Supply Chain Now, Greg helps guide the company’s strategic direction, hosts industry leader discussions, community livestreams, and all in addition to executive producing and hosting his original YouTube channel and podcast, TEChquila Sunrise.

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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.

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Karin Bursa

Host of TEKTOK

If there’s one Supply Chain ‘Pro to Know,’ it’s Karin. She’s earned the title for three years and counting – culminating in her designation as the “2020 Supply Chain Pro to Know of the Year.” Karin is also an award-winning digital supply chain, business strategy and technology marketing executive. A sought-after speaker at industry conferences, you will find her quoted in a variety of supply chain publications – and active in forums like ASCM/APICS and CSCMP.

With more than 25 years of supply chain experience, Karin spearheaded strategy and marketing for Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader and IDC MarketScape Leader, Logility. Karin has the heart of a teacher and has helped nearly 1,000 customers transform their businesses and tell their success stories. Today, she is a sought-after advisor helping high-growth B2B technology companies with everything from defining their unique value propositions to introducing new products and capturing customer success. No matter their goals, she makes sure her clients have actionable marketing strategies that help grow global revenue, market share and profitability.

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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.

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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.

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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’.

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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.

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Jeff Miller

Host

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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Amanda Luton

Chief Marketing Officer

Amanda is a marketing veteran and entrepreneur with over 15 years of experience across a variety of industries and organizations including Von Maur, Anthropologie, AmericasMart Atlanta, and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. In 2016, Amanda founded and grew the Magnolia Marketing Group into a successful digital media firm, and now she develops modern marketing strategies, social campaigns, innovative operational processes, and implements creative content initiatives for Supply Chain Now. But that’s just the beginning of her supply chain impact. Amanda also served as the VP of Information Systems and Webmaster on the Board of Directors for APICS Savannah for several years, and is the face behind the scenes welcoming you to every Supply Chain Now livestream! She was also recently selected as one of the Top 100 Women in Supply Chain by Supply Chain Digest and IBM.  When she’s not leading the Supply Chain Now marketing team, you can find Amanda with her and her husband Scott’s three kids, in the kitchen cooking, or reading.

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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.

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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.

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Billy Taylor

Host of Dial P for Procurement

Billy Taylor is a Proven Business Excellence Practitioner and Leadership Guru with over 25 years leading operations for a Fortune 500 company, Goodyear. He is also the CEO of LinkedXL (Excellence), a Business Operating Systems Architecting Firm dedicated to implementing sustainable operating systems that drive sustainable results. Taylor’s achievements in the industry have made him a Next Generational Lean pacesetter with significant contributions.

An American business executive, Taylor has made a name for himself as an innovative and energetic industry professional with an indispensable passion for his craft of operational excellence. His journey started many years ago and has worked with renowned corporations such as The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. (GT) leading multi-site operations. With over 3 decades of service leading North America operations, he is experienced in a deeply rooted process driven approach in customer service, process integrity for sustainability.

A disciple of continuous improvement, Taylor’s love for people inspires commitment to helping others achieve their full potential. He is a dynamic speaker and hosts "The Winning Link," a popular podcast centered on business and leadership excellence with the #1 rated Supply Chain Now Network. As a leadership guru, Taylor has earned several invitations to universities, international conferences, global publications, and the U.S. Army to demonstrate how to achieve and sustain effective results through cultural acceptance and employee ownership. Leveraging the wisdom of his business acumen, strong influence as a speaker and podcaster Taylor is set to release "The Winning Link" book under McGraw Hill publishing in 2022. The book is a how-to manual to help readers understand the management of business interactions while teaching them how to Deine, Align, and Execute Winning in Business.

A servant leader, Taylor, was named by The National Diversity Council as one of the Top 100 Diversity Officers in the country in 2021. He features among Oklahoma's Most Admired CEOs and maintains key leadership roles with the Executive Advisory Board for The Shingo Institute "The Nobel Prize of Operations" and The Association of Manufacturing Excellence (AME); two world-leading organizations for operational excellence, business development, and cultural learning.  He is also an Independent Director for the M-D Building Products Board, a proud American manufacturer of quality products since 1920.

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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.

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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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Katherine Hintz

Sales and Marketing Coordinator

Katherine is a marketing professional and MBA candidate who strives to unite her love of people with a passion for positive experiences. Having a diverse background, which includes nonprofit work with digital marketing and start-ups, she serves as a leader who helps people live their most creative lives by cultivating community, order, collaboration, and respect. With equal parts creativity and analytics, she brings a unique skill set which fosters refining, problem solving, and connecting organizations with their true vision. In her free time, you can usually find her looking for her cup of coffee, playing with her puppy Charlie, and dreaming of her next road trip.

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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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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.

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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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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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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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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.

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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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