Veteran Voices
Episode 87

One of the things that I've carried with me from leaders that I've worked for is you don't have to be afraid. Respect is there, and due, and earned, but you don't have to be afraid of people who are in a position above you.

-Robyn Grable

Episode Summary

In this episode of Veteran Voices, host Mary Kate Soliva welcomes Navy veteran and founder of Talents ASCEND, Robyn Grable, to the show.

Their conversation covers Robyn’s military journey, challenges faced by veterans transitioning to civilian life, and the importance of networking.

Listen in as Robyn shares her inspiration behind Talents Ascend, a platform connecting veterans, military spouses, and the disabled community with employment opportunities, and emphasizes the need to challenge job market misconceptions.

Join us for an intimate discussion about leveraging unique veteran skills, networks, and self-discovery in finding fulfilling careers beyond the military, and a special invitation to utilize Talents Ascend’s resources for post-military career success.

Episode Transcript

Intro/Outro (00:00):

Welcome to Veteran Voices, a podcast dedicated to giving a voice to those that have served in the United States Armed Forces. Now on this series jointly presented by Supply Chain now Guam Human Rights Initiative and the Military Women’s Collective, we sit down with a wide variety of veterans and veteran advocates to gain their insights, perspective, and stories from serving. We talk with many individuals about their challenging transition from active duty to the private sector as well as the big things they’re up to now kicking a dent in the universe. And of course, we discussed some of the most critical issues facing veterans and their families today. Join us for this episode of Veteran Voices and now here’s your host, US Army veteran, Mary Kate Saliva.

Mary Kate Soliva (00:49):

Hello everyone. Welcome back and welcome. If this is your first time to Veteran Voices, appreciate you all tuning in as I’m gearing up for an exciting guest today. Just a quick programming note before we get started. Veteran Voices is part of the supply chain now family of podcasts, and you can get those podcasts wherever you get your podcast from. And also we are in proud partnership with the Guam Human Rights Initiative, a nonprofit that’s near and dear to my heart where they’re focused on human rights issues impacting Guam and the region. So like I said, I’m Mary Kate Saliva, your host today, and I’m super excited to welcome a Navy veteran and a fellow sister at Arms, and she’s also the founder of Talents Ascend. And we’re going to talk a little bit more about that later on in the episode, but I’m super excited to welcome to the show, Robin Grable. Robin, thank you so much for joining us.

Robyn Grable (01:46):

Thank you, Mary Kate. Pleasure to be here, honored to have this opportunity to talk with you.

Mary Kate Soliva (01:50):

Yes, and I was like, I always look when I’m looking for guests for the show, I was like, I got to mix it up instead of hitting it hard with the Army as an Army veteran myself. And I was like, I got to mix it up. So we got Navy in the house today. Navy veteran.

Robyn Grable (02:05):

Yes. Go Navy.

Mary Kate Soliva (02:06):

Yeah. So let’s going to put a Go Army there. Well, I’m super excited to have you on and I wanted to kick off the show as I always do with a motivational quote. And as I mentioned offline, you’re welcome to sing it, wrap it, dance to it however you want. But I would really love for you to pump us up with a motivational quote today.

Robyn Grable (02:27):

Well, I won’t sing for your audience’s sake, and they probably don’t want to hear that, but I do have a Dr. Seuss quote, so that should be,

Mary Kate Soliva (02:35):

Oh, I’m excited about that up

Robyn Grable (02:36):

And just motivational in of itself. So my favorite Dr. Seuss quote is, don’t cry that it’s over. Be happy that it happened or something like that. Smile, don’t cry because it’s over smile because it happened. And I try to live my life that way and just be grateful for the things that have happened. As we get into our discussion today, you’ll see I’ve had a lot of experiences in my lifetime. I wouldn’t change a thing because I love who I am today. And that quote really tells me I am grateful for what my life has become, and I’m happy that those things happened. I’m not sad about it being over. So yeah, that’s my point. My other one is Jim Collins. It’s not motivational necessarily or really uppity like Dr. Seuss, but as my work in talents to send right person on the right seat in the bus with the right skills. So that’s really what our mission is all about, is that putting the right person with the right skills in the role. So those are two of my favorites.

Mary Kate Soliva (03:41):

No, I love that. And especially your first one, shout out to Dr. Seuss and Green Eggs and Ham. But what I love about that one in particular, I remember my dad saying that to me about even our teachers. He’s like, yes, you’re good teachers, but you’ll never forget the bad ones. And so it’s even the bad leaders that we’ve had, the bad mentors, the bad teachers, there’s so much to learn and instead of regretting being in their presence or knowing them, right, there’s so much value that we can take from just having known them. So no, I love that. And I think you’re the first to quote Dr. Seuss if I’m not mistaken. So

Robyn Grable (04:23):

There we,

Mary Kate Soliva (04:24):

Our Veteran Voices listeners, and so I’d love to take us back to your childhood and where you grew up. I think it’s such a big important piece of what makes us who we are. And I’m very much on family history and ancestry and just not forgetting our roots. So I’d love to hear more.

Robyn Grable (04:44):

Yeah, no, I agree. And as I said, all of my experiences that have led up to today have made me who I am and I love who I am today and what I get to do and the life that I have. So it wasn’t always easy. I grew up, my mother was 17 when she had me. She turned 18 a month later. My father joined the Air Force shortly after that because he didn’t want to be a father. So my young mother was left on her own with me, which you can imagine that life back in the day.

Mary Kate Soliva (05:16):

We’ll leave it at that back in the day,

Robyn Grable (05:19):

Back in the day. And then both of my parents got remarried and I went through a childhood that I don’t remember a lot of because it was a lot of tragic abuse, negligence, just a lot of things that happened to me. But it made me strong and it made me resilient. And then I joined the Navy as that’s the

Mary Kate Soliva (05:39):

Part that I wanted to know. Yes, you joined the Navy, but for our listeners, especially those who are not tuning in through video, but is it just listening to you and who don’t have the privilege of knowing you? I do just talk about that time of joining as a woman. There wasn’t a lot of women that were joining. I would dare to say that you might’ve been the only woman in the room a lot of times, but I’d love to hear more about first why the Navy? Was it a billboard sign? Was it a recruiter walk by who was on his lunch And then again what that was like for you coming in first as a woman?

Robyn Grable (06:16):

Yeah, absolutely. So to kind of back it up a little bit, I excelled in school, but I couldn’t go to college because my stepfather wouldn’t divulge his finances. So I couldn’t apply to colleges even to get a scholarship, which later found out that I had, I would’ve received one. So the recruiter, the Navy recruiter came to our high school one day and it was just the timing of it all. They said, Hey, join the Navy, see the world. And I had never really been out of Indiana. I had never been on an airplane before I went to boot camp. So that’s kind of tells you where my life was at the time, and I didn’t see a lot of choices in where my life was going. So timing, everything happens for a reason. And they came to the high school that day and told us about the Navy.


And of course the whole hype of see the world, and I’m in Indiana in a landlocked state, so not a lot of water around me, and I’d never been to the ocean before. So I mean, this was a new experience. So that’s really what it was. And it just intrigued me. I wasn’t afraid of it. The military wasn’t something that I was like, oh my gosh, I’m a female. I can’t go into the military. It wasn’t that at all. It was just the adventure of it and getting out of Indiana and my opportunity to do something with my life. But when I went to go to sign up, they didn’t have anything because there weren’t a lot of roles females could be part of. We had a lot of restrictions back in 1979 when I went in. And so I didn’t have an occupation. I could choose right away. So I went in undesignated, which basically meant I went in without a career choice, but I was so ready to get out of Indiana and ready to join the Navy that I took the first opportunity. So I ended up in bootcamp in Orlando in July of July through September, which is the hottest time in Florida. Don’t recommend it. I could think

Mary Kate Soliva (08:16):

Of worst places for you to go with your first time out of Indiana. So guess Florida’s not so bad.

Robyn Grable (08:22):

Absolutely. The plane ride was horrible. As I mentioned, I’d never been on a plane before, but when I got to Orlando, I loved bootcamp. I loved the structure. I loved being able to achieve things. I did very well. To the point there weren’t enough female company commanders is what they called them, the drill instructors for the Navy at the time. So while I was in training, they chose five recruits to become assistant company commanders. And I’ll forget, I went to that interview and him on my Dree pants had come down and I was so afraid they were going to notice that my uniform was not top notch and I wasn’t going to get picked. I did ultimately get chosen to be an assistant company commander. So I did that right out bootcamp. So I went from being a recruit and being trained on how to live the military life to training a new company of recruits, which was a very interesting experience.


But I remember one time a recruit was struggling, and I just said to her, just do what they tell you to do. Just don’t think about it. Don’t think at all, just when they say jump, you jump and that’s it, and you’ll make it through. So that was an experience. But my first duty station after that was Keli Iceland, and I went there again, still not having chosen a career, but that’s where they needed an undesignated person. And ultimately I was cleaning the captain’s office, captain Robert Berg. I’ll never forget him. He was the captain of the base, the name of Air Station there. And I remember being in his office at like 6:00 AM and he was not supposed to be there until eight. He came in early, scared me to death, 18 years old, 19 years old, and here’s the captain of the base coming into his office that I’m supposed to have cleaned.


And so that was interesting. But I’ll never forget what he said to me. He sat me down and said, officers put their uniform on one leg at a time, just like enlisted. Respect is earned and due, but you don’t have to be afraid. And I’ll never forget that. And it’s one of the things that I’ve carried with me from leaders that I’ve worked for or businesses that I’ve worked for, is you don’t have to be afraid. Respect is there and do and earned, but you don’t have to be afraid of people who are in a position above you. But the Navy also taught me that I had to fight for my skills because I would choose, I had to choose a career. And every time I would go to choose one, they would say, Nope, you can’t do that one because you’re a female. Not because I wasn’t smart enough, not because I wasn’t strong enough, not because I couldn’t pass the test or had the skills simply because I was a female.


And it was a time in the Navy when the older generation of sailors wanted to take you under their wing. They wanted to protect you. They didn’t want you to do anything. They were trying, so you didn’t get hurt. And then you had the other side of the equation where the younger sailors thought that females in the Navy were only there for one reason. So it was a very interesting time, but I had grown up as a redheaded stepchild. So I was tough, I was resilient and got through it, and I loved being in uniform. I loved, well, you already got to

Mary Kate Soliva (11:52):

Go cool places. Again, that’s where you made the smart show with the Navy, at least you get to end up by the sea. And these exotic, I think often different places, like you said, Iceland going out of Florida and ending up in Iceland. Some people never leave Fort Liberty in North Carolina. So for the Army, I think I already the try. I know, right? Be sorry for us, but no, it’s great. We love being landlocked. But no, the thing with what you’re mentioning about taking them under the wing of the older generation, I think that’s the thing with the military, regardless of whether you’re early on in your career or later on, that it always blew my mind why people wouldn’t want to take the younger, newer recruits under their wing. I’m like, it’s such a missed opportunity to pass on your knowledge, even if you’re only a few years ahead or one rank ahead of that person. There’s still so much knowledge that you have to share to pass on. And so I’d love to hear about some of the mentors that you had and what it was like as a woman. Did you find that your mentors were both sexes, and did your peers also step into that role and support you in those positions?

Robyn Grable (13:00):

While I was in the Navy, I found that, well, a good majority of the people in the Navy were men, so most of the mentors were male. But I did find a few that really, as a civilian as well, the people that really believed in my creativity and my ability to get things done so they could trust that I could get things done. So those were my favorite mentors along the way. And by the way, after I went to Iceland, I went to Brunswick, Maine, Jacksonville, Florida, and then Pearl Harbor. So I did have some really great,

Mary Kate Soliva (13:32):

Oh my goodness,

Robyn Grable (13:34):

In my nine years, but mentors, it’s almost the opposite. I spent more time mentoring others and creating opportunities for people to find a safe space, particularly female service members. Every duty station I went to, I was creating some sort of club or some sort of, when I got to Pearl Harbor, we called it the first Petty Officer First class. Oh, first class club. So just things like that to really create a safe environment for people to have a place to go to and talk about things that were happening to them. And in that, I found people that supported that. A lot of people, I mean, I remember, and now that I’m kind of back in the military fold with what I do today, I remember a lot more about the people that I was stationed with and friends and whatnot. So it was great. I loved it. I really did. The experiences that I had aside, I did love being in the Navy.

Mary Kate Soliva (14:31):

I love that. And I’d be remiss to not ask you, as I mentioned before, we got on this episode about the time that you did serve as a woman. And I was mentioning that for me with post nine 11 Veteran, anyone who served back in, as you mentioned, the seventies, eighties, even the nineties, just such huge respect and hats off because you women really paved such a huge path for us that came behind you. And I would just love, and thank you for that, I call you like the pioneer women, but I just thinking how tough you all are. And I was wondering if you could share a bit about some of those big differences that you see now. I know you’re still heavily in the veteran space and those who are transitioning from active duty, but just would love to hear some of your thoughts of some of those big changes that you’ve seen for better or for worse.

Robyn Grable (15:26):

Yeah, so I mean, I think the opportunities, obviously to be able to be a pilot, to be on a combat ship, just those opportunities have opened up. Really, there’s no limitations today. There were, and it took a while to get there. Things opened up a little gradually at a time. But there are very few limitations today that women, I mean a woman can be a Navy Seal if they can pass the test and do the job. What I love is that my granddaughter, who is 14, wants to be a Navy pilot. So what I love is that, and I thank you for calling me a pioneer, love that. But what I see is the path of what you’ve done and other ladies like you who are in that middle ground between what I went through, what you’ve built, and what my granddaughter will experience when she joins, if that’s ultimately what she ends up doing. So the opportunities, and I feel good that I’ve been part of that, and it is a blessing to know that you’ve carved a piece of history, but even women still today serving today are still carving that path. There are

Mary Kate Soliva (16:39):

Still, I

Robyn Grable (16:39):

Agree, leadership roles that more women should be into more command positions that women should get the opportunity to lead. So there’s still work to be done on the bad side, there’s still work to be done around harassment and things like that. That’s still happening. And that needs to change. That has to change. Just it should not happen regardless. And so I think I love where we’ve come because the opportunity, I mean, I couldn’t be a Navy pilot even if I had wanted to, and my granddaughter will get the opportunity to do that if that’s what she wants to do. But there’s still work to be done.

Mary Kate Soliva (17:23):

Yes. No, and the phrase that came to mind as you were saying that was hold the line. We want to hold the line sense of we don’t want to go backwards. We have paved this path and come such a long way. We don’t want to fall back. I even think about fertility and women’s health. Even when we opened up women in combat arms, that was even during my time combat arms being opened up to women, we were on the battlefield talk about even in the Civil War, women were there on the field, but we were not recognized as that with the same benefits as our male peers. And so even that sacrifice of motherhood and knowing so many that I’ve served and my sisters who have either had fertility issues or have been away for that half that time of their child’s life, and it’s just those other challenges that are unique for a woman who has served.


And I think it’s important that we talk about those. And I know you touched on harassment, military, sexual trauma, just some of those things that still need to keep getting re-looked at as far as the policies go and making sure that we’re establishing an access to those resources. Even like the lactation rooms, things. That wasn’t something that we thought of before. But I have talked to women of the different eras, and it’s just again, where each year it seems a little bit more progress that we’ve chipped away a little bit more, a little bit more. And we’ve crossed that threshold a little bit further. But holding the line where we’re at so we don’t regress is so important again for opportunities like your granddaughter and her generation to be able to continue aiming high. And of course, we saw in the news like Miss America was first active duty, right?

Robyn Grable (19:07):


Mary Kate Soliva (19:09):

Pilot in training. And for her to be the first active duty woman, miss America title to earn that. That’s incredible. And so again, just talking about your time in the Navy, how many years was that and when did you realize that point of it’s time to hang up the uniform that you love so much? I

Robyn Grable (19:31):

Did. So I served for nine years, and I guess my turning point, I wanted to be an officer. I went in enlisted and at some point I said, I want to change the Navy. I want to do something about some of these things and I’ll become an officer and I can change the Navy. That was quite the lofty goal I had. The Navy had what they called a limited duty officer program where you could go from enlisted to officer without having your degree, without having gone to the academy, that kind of thing. So I went through all of that for two years, worked on my degree, worked on my social community, volunteer work, and just had the highest recommendations. And the year that I applied, they did not rate any data processing or supply chain officers in the limited duty officer space. So they didn’t even open my package that I had worked so hard to put together.


And it was so good. It was just so good. And so I got really, really discard and thought, that’s a sign. Somebody’s telling me something. Well, a couple of days later, as I was in programming school in Quantico, Virginia, on my way to the Monterey Weather Station in California, my came to me and said, someone forgot to have you sign your re-enlistment papers in Pearl Harbor when you left, so you need to either sign those or you need to leave. And I thought there’s sign number two that I need to get out that I have an opportunity to, okay, this is, I’m done. I had also just passed the test to become an E seven and in the Navy at the time, there was an initiation process that I had just witnessed my now ex-husband go through. And it was horrible for him, and I knew I’d never survive it. I just knew that I couldn’t survive it and I didn’t want to do it. So that was sign number three that it was time for me to go. So all the clouds aligned and everything came together to say, it’s time for you to go. And so at nine years I made that decision because I would’ve had to sign up for another four, which would’ve put me over 13. And at

Mary Kate Soliva (21:46):

That, that’s where they get you, right? Right.

Robyn Grable (21:48):

You got to do 20 at that point

Mary Kate Soliva (21:50):

Down the hill.

Robyn Grable (21:52):


Mary Kate Soliva (21:52):

So that’s interesting. You mentioned your ex-husband. Did you have a family at that point?

Robyn Grable (21:59):

I did. I had a daughter. My daughter was two at the time, which was another thing when I left Pearl Harbor, you were talking about the restrictions on combat and families. I wanted to volunteer to go on a ship. I wanted that experience, but at the time, females could not have any dependents and serve on any sort of ships. So the Navy said, yeah, we’ll put you on a ship, but you have to give up custody of your daughter. And I was like, my husband wouldn’t have to do that. Why should I have to do that? So that was a no-go for me, but it was just a time that I said, okay, I’ve done what I needed to do and it’s time for me to leave and go do something else. For

Mary Kate Soliva (22:44):

You to even say that, now we’re in 2024 now, but you’re just like, right. That was even a thing. And I know for the service academies, that’s something where you can’t have dependent. And they also talk about that with the custody of giving custody. And I know that they have since changed some of the rules on that as well. But it just, wow, right. It’s not that long ago. And look how far we have come that you would’ve had to give up custody of your daughter just to be able to serve on a ship. So gosh, and again, that’s why I say hats off to you, the pioneers who were willing to put up with that with a straight face somehow keeps showing up each day in uniform. So I would love to know, obviously we also talk about being for myself, a post island veteran and having so many things available to us as far as resources goes, and a lot of that is thanks to the veterans who came before us and would love to know what wasn’t available at that time for you in the transition. Did anyone have that conversation with you and sort of what that looked like for you and your family at that time?

Robyn Grable (23:52):

Yeah, so I was a single mom at the time, so I separated from my husband as we left Pearl Harbor and on to my next duty station when I decided to get out. So I had my two and a half year old with me. And no, there was no transition class, there was nothing. March 31st I was in uniform getting my final papers and my final paycheck. The next morning I was out of uniform and on my way home there was nothing. And at the time I honestly didn’t think anything about it. I just served for nine years. I’ve done lots of different things. I was afraid of anything. And so I just said, okay, well, I’m going home for a couple of weeks and then I’m going to figure out where I’m going from there. And so there was no transition assistance programs like we have today, even though that also still needs some work. It’s definitely better than nothing. There was no education support on base, there was no employment support on base, so there was no resources to go to had I even wanted to or thought of, Hey, I need some help, just wasn’t in my mind. I was like, okay, I’m going to get out and get a job. That’s what,

Mary Kate Soliva (25:02):

Same with disability, we talk about now, file for disability, get your rating, yes. And that conversation doesn’t happen. Take money from the government for the rest of your life. What do you mean? So I would love to, again, that piece is so important I think to highlight again, because of how far we have come, but to just know how easy it is for this stuff to get as taken away as quickly as we got it. So it’s so important that we use these resources that are available to us to be able to ask for help, ask those questions. We don’t know what we don’t know, and to reach out to these others who have gone before because we have come such a long way. Yeah. The transition piece for you coming out, what did that look like? Coming for a job before going into the Navy, you were limited. You only have X, Y, Z, these, this is it. This is all you get. So now you’re coming in the civilian sector where you basically have a whole lot of things to do. So how did you navigate what to do and what did that look like for you?

Robyn Grable (26:08):

That was another step backwards, unfortunately, because when I got out, I went to a resume writer, I’d never had a resume before and somebody said, go pay this person. They’ll write a resume for you. And when I went to them, they couldn’t figure out what to put down about what I’d done in the Navy. They didn’t know how to translate my skills or take any transferable skills to a new occupation, a new career, and I had to start over. They basically said, you’re a female, go to a staffing agency. You can get a job as an administrative assistant with your eyes closed. That’s the best thing you do. Which was the worst thing that could have happened to me because I had nine years of training and skills and abilities that I had to set aside to put food on the table for my daughter because I had a daughter to support.


So I did go to an agency and I did get an administrative assistant job and for 12 years, so from the time I got out of the Navy to the time I got a job at a Fortune 500 company doing the same job I was doing when I got out of the Navy 12 year span, I worked for 10 different companies in four different states. That’s what it took me to get back to utilizing the skills that I have being paid what I deserve to be paid for, the skills that I have. So that was tough, but again, at the time I didn’t think anything about it. I was like, okay, I’m used to just doing what I’m told. So I took my pink papered resume and went to a staffing agency, the pink

Mary Kate Soliva (27:50):

Tapered ones. Oh goodness.

Robyn Grable (27:52):

Pink paper

Mary Kate Soliva (27:54):

And the transition right now. I’m wondering too about you were going through multiple transitions for each of that because as you mentioned, being in a landlocked state going and into Florida, I mean each time there’s a period of transition. And that’s something I want to definitely highlight to our listeners about when you post active duty about, we’re all still figuring out there’s really no locked in, but that’s why we end up asking these questions and really trying to take that moment of self-discovery, what you enjoyed, where can you really maximize the skills that you have, leverage what you have and if you want to pivot careers that there’s opportunities out there for you to do that. And so I’d love if you could share about if you were to speak to a room of transitioning service members, what’s your advice to them today?

Robyn Grable (28:40):

Never settle. Don’t take the first thing somebody tells you is the only thing you can do or is the only thing that you can get, don’t settle. You’ve got transferable skills. I knew that then, but I didn’t fight for it. I know it now much better because that’s what our program is all about, taking those transferable skills. But that’s what I would say to someone is go out there and network. Find other veterans in your local community that you want to be at or you’re thinking about being in. Find people on LinkedIn. There’s just so many more resources and connection points now than there was. I mean, the internet, I mean, back in the eighties, we didn’t have the internet back in the nineties, we didn’t have the internet. So there’s so much more opportunities that don’t settle and don’t think you have to go it alone. There’s thousands if not millions of people who’ve gone before you that have been through a transition, been through getting out of the military and taking your transferable skills to a new career. You are not alone. Yes, you may feel like your situation is unique because of certain factors, but there’s somebody out there who can help you step the way and get through it. But yeah, transferable skills, don’t settle and reach out and talk to people because you’re not alone.

Mary Kate Soliva (30:03):

No, I love that. And remiss if I didn’t mention about Talents Ascend and your organization and what you founded, and so it goes right along with the transition piece, but I’d love to hear the origin story of talents and just sort of how it started for you. And like you said, you did 12 years and then going through all these different states, these moves, these different jobs, and finally enough was enough, you answered the calling and what’s the origin there?

Robyn Grable (30:34):

Started my own company. So really the pivotal point was while I was finishing my master’s, I met an Army veteran’s wife. We were in a chat room and she commented that her husband had been out for six months, and this was 25 years after I got out of the Navy. And she commented that her husband had been out for six months, could not get an interview, and he was spiraling downward. And it truly broke my heart. I was like, how it’s 25 years after my experience, why is this still happening? He was a nine 11 veteran. All of these resources, all of these things that are available even to the nine 11 post nine 11 veterans, it’s why was this happening? And I’m blessed with creativity. So I had many years of helping people with their skills. I did a lot of different projects at the companies that I worked for, fortunately with some great bosses who let me be my creative self and create skills-based programs at those companies.


So the idea just hit me. We’ve got to get back to basics and say, here’s the skills a veteran has from their military service. Match those skills to an employer who needs those skills. Leave out the titles, leave out the job titles, leave out job descriptions, just whittle it down to pure simplicity skills. We translate the military occupations into skills and then match those two employers job skills that they need. So it really started there in 2014. I had the idea, it took me a few years to really figure out, I still worked for the Fortune 500 company, started volunteering for a nonprofit here in the upstate of South Carolina and really got back into the military community and just really started loving it with the traditional route of, I’ll do it manually. I’ve got the skills of this better and I’m going to manually match them to an employer, which is very time consuming.


And you can really only do it one job person at a time. But I knew in the back of my mind, even in 2014 that if we could create a computer program to do that matching, to do that translation, that we could do it so much faster and so much better. And finally, in 2018, again, the stars all aligned. Things happen for a reason, little things here and there, and we finally got the money and the opportunity to build the computer program to translate those occupations and match those skills. So it was a bit of a journey. It’s now been nearly, almost 10 years since I first had the idea and were almost six years old as a company. But that’s really the premise. It’s about being able to look at the human being, which if somebody had done that, when I got out of the Navy and said, this human being has these skills, doesn’t matter where I got, doesn’t matter how long I’ve had them, it doesn’t matter what gender I am, just that I have these skills and your company needs these skills, have a conversation, match them up together. So that’s really what talents Ascend is about. We started out in 2018 as Veterans Ascend really just for veterans. We quickly added military spouses who also endure a lot of barriers, getting to great careers gaps in their work history because they’re serving our country not in uniform, but certainly serving our country alongside their service member. And so then we added the disability community and in 2022, we became Talents Ascend and brought it all together and opened it up for everyone while still having priority for our communities that we serve.

Mary Kate Soliva (34:20):

That’s fantastic. What a journey that has been and how much you’ve accomplished and how many that you’ve helped. I know it even for my transition, that’s how I came to know you and getting to know the Thompsons and just shout out to Bruce and Nila. But that’s something that a power couple there in the veteran space, especially in Florida. But I was going through so many of the things that you mentioned as far as the barriers, and I did settle when I was in my transition, I went with the first skill bridge that was interested in me. I went with the first, I was just so grateful to even have a interview, any interview, I was like, whoever will take me. It wasn’t a matter of looking at skills, it’s just like, what do you want me to do?

Robyn Grable (35:08):

I’ll do it

Mary Kate Soliva (35:08):

And I’ll do it. And it’s like doing the Dance the Pony show here, just like whatever you want me to do. And so that’s where it’s so important what you have created and what you’ve developed because even for the, I imagine it was the cheaper end of what the military paid for to align our skills for my job in the Army, it was saying, marketing is your alignment. Well, everybody would ask me, well, can we see your portfolio? And I’m like, what portfolio? So it was not an exact alignment. And then it came to be that just because that’s what you did in service doesn’t mean that that’s what you have to do for the rest of your life. And that’s where we are learning more about entrepreneurs, entrepreneurship, getting out there and really finding what drives your passion. I think that that’s a big part of why we serve and put up with what we do in service is because we have that servant heart to do something greater than ourselves and it stays with us beyond the uniform. So thank you for that. And I’d love to hear about how people can find more information and how they can get involved. And is there any way that our listeners, viewers could support you?

Robyn Grable (36:17):

Yeah, absolutely. So we also have a nonprofit side called the Ascend Collective, and that’s where we really help candidates get career ready and connect them to resources of any type. So it doesn’t have to, if you need something that’s not related to employment, we’ve got connections, we’ve got resources. So please reach out. Again, don’t go through things alone. So talents is the corporate side where you can create a profile for free. We’ll translate your occupations into skills and then match that. And one of the things about what you were just saying, Mary Kate, is that we don’t look at the titles to present you as a title person to an employer. We present those skills from that occupation. So we use infantry as an example all the time because people assume infantry can only do security work. That is not all an infantry person can do if you look at the actual skills they earned from their time.


So there’s a lot more that goes into us detail. And if we only pigeonhole people into what relates to their titles, their previous titles, you’re going to miss out on so much talent. So talents, free to create a profile takes less than 10 minutes, no resume, no application. We’re going to match you directly to an employer. You’re going to get directly to an interview with a hiring manager, a business owner. And then on the Ascend Collective side, it’s the ascend So that’s our nonprofit. You’ll see the communities that we really advocate for, but we’ve got a lot of connections, a lot of partners, a lot of resources. So again, please reach out. We are here to help.

Mary Kate Soliva (37:58):

And the rank piece too, you mentioned about even as a young sailor getting to be the assistant to the commander. So I think we sort of put that mental blockage as well. And I’ve actually had potential employers ask me what rank I was or what rank I am, and there’s sort of a thing where I tell them, but then I’m like, well, why? And I know some people match it with your management level, but everybody’s story is so different. And then you do have those rock stars that shine above their peers that get opportunities like you did to be able to do something well above their pay grade and their rank. And so definitely don’t let that piece hold you back from these opportunities. I have peers who, because they don’t have a college degree, they also immediately say, I don’t have a shot. I don’t stand a chance, and I’m not even going to try to apply for that. So I love the work that you’re doing there and sharing how they can get involved with that.

Robyn Grable (38:54):

And that’s a good point, Mary Kate, is that we look at the unemployment number for veterans, and it’s low, 2.9% I think was the latest one. That’s not the real story. Veterans are underemployed or they take themselves out of the workforce or out of the job hunt because of situations like that. They look at a job description on an application and they’re like, well, I didn’t do that exactly. But if they were asked what skills they have that match the skills that business needs, it would be an instant value or what they

Mary Kate Soliva (39:28):

Bring to the table, right? I’m like, your network, you just mentioned all these different countries that you’ve been into, and sometimes even the network is worth its weight in gold for a company, especially if you’re in business development and sales or in events, you’re able to network like crazy because you’ve had to do it your whole life. People from all walks of life that you wouldn’t have given the time of day. In the civilian side, you are matched, you roommates with other people that are so different from you and come from different walks of life, but now they’ve become your brothers and sisters, and you have that massive network that spans the globe. So there’s so much that we bring to the table beyond even our hard skills, those soft skills as well. And so thank you so much. I know with me, I have to cut myself off because I will end up asking you questions and we’ll go all the way down and take all day long. But could you please share with our listeners how they can reach you and personally and help what best way to get ahold of you?

Robyn Grable (40:28):

Yeah. So on LinkedIn, I’m Robin Jay Grable, R-O-B-Y-N, Grable. So you can reach me there. And then again, our website is talent You can email us at find and one of the team members will reach back out to you. So we’re here. Reach out anytime. Don’t worry about what question you have, we’ll find an answer for

Mary Kate Soliva (40:53):

You. Thank you. Well, thank you so much, Robin, for joining us. And again, as anything changes, we welcome you back to Veteran Voices anytime. I know we barely touched the surface on what you do for spouses, for military veteran spouses, but it’s so important. So our listeners out there, as you get involved, don’t forget that your spouses are going through this transition with you. Again, another unique resource. Not all the organizations out there support the military spouse and veteran spouse. So please, Robin’s organizations one of them. So thank you so much, Robin. Thank you. Thank you all for joining us. This is your first or second or a hundredth time that you’ve been with Veteran Voices. Thank you. We hope you come back. Enjoy this episode. Reach out to Robin, and again, you can get the Veteran Voices podcast wherever you get your podcast from. And again, reminder to do good and be the change that’s needed. Thank you. And this is Mary Kate Saliva. I’ll see you all next time.


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Featured Guests

Robyn Grable is the Founder and CEO of Talents ASCEND, which she created to help employers invest in a skills-based talent acquisition strategy that is an intentional model of inclusivity for military talent, people with disabilities and justice-involved candidates. An award-winning advocate, speaker, author, entrepreneur, CEO, and proud Navy veteran Robyn Grable does many things. Yet woven throughout her diverse pursuits is a mission of service—and a passion to give a voice for underserved talent to be included and for all to truly ascend. Connect with Robyn on LinkedIn.


Mary Kate Soliva

Host, Veteran Voices

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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., 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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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


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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Katherine Hintz

Creative Director, Producer, Host

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

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Kim Reuter

Host, The Freight Insider

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

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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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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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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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Mary Kate Love

VP, Marketing

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

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

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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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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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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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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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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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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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Tandreia Bellamy

Host, Supply Chain Now

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

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

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

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

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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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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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Greg White

Principal & CMO, 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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Tyler Ward

Director of Sales

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

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

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

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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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Constantine Limberakis


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

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Amanda Luton

Vice President, Production

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

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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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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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