Supply Chain Now
Episode 399

Episode Summary

“There was one aspect we got completely, right. And that was our school culture was one where we really convinced people that it was worth it to invest in their future. I think that is 90% of what you’re trying to accomplish.”

– Jonathan Starr, CEO and Founder at Abaarso Network


The business world loves nothing more than a story about a successful entrepreneur, unless, of course it is a successful social entrepreneur. For every success story, however, there are countless failures that never see the light of day. The greatest myth about the ones who ‘make it’ is that they have some sort of grand plan, when they may actually just be naively optimistic and dedicated enough to persevere.

Founded in 2009, the Abaarso School of Science and Technology was the brainchild of a group of naively optimistic entrepreneurs. It is an American accredited boarding school based in Somaliland and it educates both boys and girls, with the expectation that all of the students are on the university track.

In this interview, Supply Chain Now Co-Hosts Scott Luton and Greg White are joined by Jonathan Starr, the CEO and Founder of the Abaarso Network, and Trudy Hall, Headmaster of the Abaarso School, to discuss the following:

– Why non-profit organizations still have to think of themselves as business, especially when it comes to operational and resource efficiency

– The significant (but rewarding) responsibility that comes from being a school, and a family, and a global community all at the same time

– The logistics challenges associated with moving all of the students from school to school, especially in the age of the pandemic

Episode Transcript

Intro – Amanda Luton (00:00:05):

It’s time for supply chain. Now broadcasting live from the supply chain capital of the country. Atlanta, Georgia heard around the world, supply chain. Now spotlights the best in all things, supply chain, the people, the technologies, the best practices and the critical issues of the day. And now here are your hosts.

Scott Luton (00:00:29):

Hey, good afternoon, Scott Luton and Greg white here with you here on supply chain. Now, welcome to today’s show Greg. We’ve got another great installment of our logistics with purpose series, right? I love it. When we do this, it’s so fun to see what people, what kind of good people are doing around the world. Um, and of course, thanks to Enrique and the team at vector for bringing it to us. All of these examples of giving forward. Absolutely. Yes. One of our favorite series, as Greg mentioned, logistics with purpose, which is powered by our friends over vector global logistics. You can see we’ve got a whole game. We’ll introduce her body momentarily on this series is simple. We spotlight leaders and organizations that are on a noble mission to change the world and in some way, shape or form. So stay tuned as we look to increase your supply chain, act you on a quick programming note.

Scott Luton (00:01:17):

If you enjoyed today’s episode, be sure to check out our podcast wherever you get your podcasts from and subscribe. So you don’t miss a single thing. All right. So welcome in first, our esteemed and fearless co-hosts here today, Greg we’ve already mentioned the Greg white, the one and only serial supply chain tech entrepreneur and trust advisor, joining Greg and I is Enrique Alvarez, managing director at Beck vector, global logistics, Enrique. How are you doing? I’m doing great. Thanks Scott for having me and thanks Greg as well. Monica, Jonathan, and Trudy pleasure being here with you guys. Yeah, absolutely. Great to see everybody and join and Enrique is his colleague Monica rush, a business development associate also at vector. Monica, are you doing, I’m doing great. Thanks for inviting me today. Definitely. Great to have you back. We really enjoyed, uh, this, uh, the lab, the first eight episodes of the, the, just the logistics with purpose series.

Scott Luton (00:02:11):

And today is going to, I believe continue a strong trend here. So with no further ado, let’s welcome in, uh, the other two individuals that if you’re watching the video version, uh, in a studio here with us, uh, Trudy hall, headmaster at the, uh, Barstow school of science and technology, truly how you doing? Good morning, actually for me, it’s still good morning. I’m going to be here. Yeah, that’s right. It is. It is morning. And joining Trudy is her colleague, Jonathan star, founder of the Barstow school and CEO of the Barstow network. Jonathan, how are you doing? Thanks. We’re looking forward to it. We are too, you know, we really enjoy diving into these stories where especially nonprofits, which have all, you know, figure out, find ways to serve those in need, you know, outside of the pandemic environment. And then they continue to, to, to figure, yeah. Find ways to serve during these challenging times. We’ve had some fascinating stories and looking forward to learning more about both of you. Um, before we dive into the Barstow school, uh, and the Barstow network, let’s learn more about both, uh, Trudy and Jonathan. So we got to ask our, our gang likes to ask for starters and Trudy, we’ll start with you. Tell us where you’re from and give us an anecdote or two about your upbringing.

Trudy Hall (00:03:30):

I am from upstate New York, uh, what we call the North country. Uh, this means far more North than Westchester. Everybody sees the differ from Newark. That’s where you are from, but no we’re way up in the Adirondacks. Very small town. In fact, um, I went to a one room school house. That’s where my, um, my education began. Um, and as we like to say in my family, um, it was just a great upbringing, a great way to be raised. We moved up by the time I was in sixth grade, we had moved eight. Wow. So I got used to moving around and love the fact that what came with me every time I moved was a very large family. So I’m from a large family and a small town and just the way to raise children.

Scott Luton (00:04:14):

I love that. Now, do you get a chance to get back? Do you still have a lot of family in the North country?

Trudy Hall (00:04:21):

Uh, we have a lot of family right now in the Hudson Valley region. Um, and so a lot of them have moved down. We do have some in the North country most are now in the Hudson Valley region.

Scott Luton (00:04:29):

Okay. Good stuff. Well, hopefully as we get through these challenging times, you’ll have a chance to get back and see your family in that area in person. Um, Johnathan, same question for you to, you know, tell us about where you’re from and, and just like truly, I love that man, eight moves, uh, and a large moving large family that in and of itself is the logistics feet. Imagine a covered wagon, one room, school house in a covered wagon. Right. Maybe it was, maybe it was a covered stationwagon also. Yeah. Um, Jonathan, tell us, where are you from and give us the same anecdote or two about your upbringing?

Jonathan Starr (00:05:05):

Sure. I grew up in Worcester, Massachusetts. Um, I’m, uh, not, not a massive family. And the first time that I moved in my life was to go to Emory university right in your neighborhood there, uh, which was a shocking spirit, which maybe wouldn’t have been so shocking. Had I moved six times in my first 11 years or so my, uh, because we’re going to eventually get into education. I’ll give you an idea of that. I was surprised, pretty odd child in some ways, just as interested in this, whatever things I’ve interested in, but the great students through elementary school and captain of my elementary schools, academic Olympic team, which won the championship. And then, uh, one, the Worcester then went to junior high and got completely destroyed in one, two years by school. When people have asked me like, what was inspiring for Varsa, the main thing has always been to do the opposite of what my junior high limits for people. So I, um, and eventually I recovered, but it took 16 years to make up for that. Yeah. Yep.

Scott Luton (00:06:17):

Yeah. Clearly for you Jonathan education and, and knowledge and learning was really, it seems like it was really important to you early on and, and, and I would guess it given your venture since it remains a big priority for you, right?

Jonathan Starr (00:06:33):

Sure. I mean, it’s the thing is when I was younger, I didn’t even think of it as education. I mean, I just was doing what seemed shocked cause it was, I went to a really good elementary school and it just felt like learning. I watch my eyes two little girls and I watched them and they just, they don’t look at school as this bad thing. They go to wonderful schools or they look at it as an opportunity and something positive in their lives, not something to just try to get through every day. It’s one that turns up that Mmm. School went from something we look forward to, to something that was work, really work that you really just didn’t want to be part of. I think we’ve, I mean, I shouldn’t say we all, but a lot of people have worked jobs that are both one that feels great. And one that feels like I’m just trying to get through this and I just am doing the ladder is not a good way to live. And with kids, you have no choice. So that’s the full you go to you’re out of luck.

Scott Luton (00:07:33):

Well put, yeah, we’ll put, look, look forward to kind of learn more about that perspective you shared there based, and, and, you know, uh, comparing contrast with what you’re doing now to hopefully solve that for a lot of folks. So Monica and I know you’re curious about the professional journey that Trudy and Jonathan have, right?

Trudy Hall (00:07:51):

Yeah. Thank you, Scott. I wanted to ask you, can you tell us about your professional journey for your, to your current role? How do you say, well, I’m going to give you the short version, cause I probably, um, I think I outdate a whole bunch of people on this phone call. And so I’ve, I’ve moved many times in my professional career as I have in my personal career. That’s just my first question changed jobs that many times. Yeah. I have changed jobs just about that. Many times, love, love, love a steep learning curve. Um, and so I find myself attracted to problems that need to be solved challenges that I don’t understand. Um, early on, um, I had a terrific mentor who was a school counselor in school counselor, and I decided that’s what I was going to be a school counselor that dream lasted for about six months.

Trudy Hall (00:08:51):

Um, and then after that I happily happily fell into the boarding school world. I did not attend a boarding school, did not even attend a private school. Uh, but I fell into the boarding school world in Indiana and life began there for me. I had those jobs that we look back at and we say favorite time in my life, favorite time of my life. Um, and early on discovered that it was about administration for me. Um, I know some people call it administration the dark side for me. Um, what I love about administration was the problem solving that you saw that students needed the very kind of environment that Jonathan had. This was elementary school and you’ve been a situation you could make that happen. Like you could make sure that it was student centered. Uh, you could make sure that teachers have the resources, the equipment, the systems they needed.

Trudy Hall (00:09:41):

They actually do their good work. Uh, so I actually worked at a number of schools from Indiana to Massachusetts, uh, New York to Savannah, Georgia, to Memphis, Tennessee in each role as a senior administrator, I’ve run two boarding schools for a total of 20 years. And Jonathan found me as I was finishing up my married to a military guy, as I was finishing up a tour of duty at Emma Willard school, which is one of the oldest girls schools in the United States. And in Troy New York, we had just spent 17 years. I finally settled down and spent 17 years in one place when Jonathan tracked me down.

Scott Luton (00:10:19):

Wow, Trudy, I get the sense that you love smashing obstacles that, you know, help others get past and to continue learning and continue serving you live going there and smashing obstacles of getting away that stuff.

Trudy Hall (00:10:33):

Yeah. Yeah. I think that means that sometimes people love to smash me, but I just, I, I, for me, it’s about kids. It’s about kids. It’s about the quality of their experience. It’s about making sure that they feel as though they are in a place where they can do their very best learning. Um, and if there are things that are preventing that it just hurts my heart.

Scott Luton (00:10:52):

Yeah. I appreciate you sharing. And Monica, I think we want the same curious about Jonathan’s journey as well, right?

Trudy Hall (00:10:59):

Yes. Please send a 10.

Jonathan Starr (00:11:01):

Sure. Well, growing up in Worcester, Massachusetts, I’d never heard of finance, but at least I was like the guy who is using a mortgage. Um, when I got to college at Emory, I started to get interested in that. And that is the route I ended up taking, uh, being in Atlanta. I was able to do some internships, even as Southern investment banks, get a little bit of experience there and that’s what I wanted to then do. And that it’s not that he didn’t have other ideas in my head, but it was, uh, an area to be challenged and use your intellect and really, um, really competitive. I like competition. So it seems to be a good fit. I didn’t find actually in it that I liked the day to day as much. I think that happens to a lot of people, a lot of people going that because they like the concept and then that’s not necessarily what they’re doing.

Jonathan Starr (00:11:52):

They’re actually, uh, nonetheless, aye. I had a good, pretty good career for that time when I was 27, I got funded to launch my own farm, which I, in hindsight it was probably not ready for, in any respect, but certainly not psychologically, emotionally. I was a high, pretty high pressure five or so years, uh, that ended with me needing to completely get out. And I, I closed it down when I was 32 and that’s when I move to Somaliland to start a Marceau and to do something that people thought was crazy. But that’s, that’s the journey that took me there. And I wanted to use some of the, uh, aye built up some capital base. So at least I didn’t, I could donate some money and I also didn’t need, I could take number of years without making money, which was really the, I think the, the probably the most important donation I could make is that I, I could know that I had, I had a lot of time to give to this where I wasn’t going to have to actually, uh, earn anything myself. And I tried to build an organization around that concept. Cause I’m not earning money. Then you can come as a teacher and you can basically not have any money, but you can’t. I can’t ask you to do that if I’m I’m making so, Mmm. I don’t regret my time in finance. I still have friends from it. I still like it. I still watch things. I still find it intellectually interesting. Um, but I, I’ve definitely some point, so it’s time to take it a different route.

Scott Luton (00:13:24):

Uh, an a Greg’s in a way in, and we’re gonna learn a lot more about their bar. So school here momentarily real quick. One last question, before we do transition over the, over to that, uh, segment, Jonathan, what pulled you to Somaliland? What, what was it apart? What, what was it about that part of the globe that at 32, you said, you know what, that’s where we’re going, we’re on a mission and here we go.

Jonathan Starr (00:13:46):

That’s the really short answer is I got duped. That’s the really short answer, but

Scott Luton (00:13:50):

Hey, whatever it takes

Jonathan Starr (00:13:52):

Slightly more expensive is that, uh, I have a Somali uncle and who grew up in what was the British Somaliland and went to a British school, uh, that was set up. It was one very good school. Back in the fifties, early sixties, I ended up, uh, Somalia then got its independence from England. America started giving scholarships to Somalis who were top students. Like my uncle. He came to Boston university, married my aunts. I had my cousins and I grew up close with my uncle. So he knew what I was looking to do something different than life said. Let’s take a trip to my home country. So we went and, um, it’s very easy in a short trip there to just think very highly of Somaliland as being separate from Somalia. And it’s, it’s, there’s no question about it. You don’t see what you saw on TV and with, it’s not, uh, you feel extremely safe.

Jonathan Starr (00:14:55):

It just, and you’re excited about it now. I think at that time, it wasn’t really ready to take off, but you can get easily fooled. Now it is ready to take off. It really has been last couple of years. It’s a lot going on now. Um, but at that time I just didn’t understand that. And I didn’t understand the biggest, the biggest thing miscalculation I made in the whole thing is I thought, well, I know that. I mean, well, and I’m coming here and I’m donating money and I’m opening something and I’ve recruited people and I know this is an improvement. So I assume you’ll all be happy to have me here. And I did not understand at all, it does not work that way. So it was, uh, it was, it was quite an experience, but, but anyway, so when I say I got duped, I was naive.

Jonathan Starr (00:15:41):

I wanted to be duped all the cases because I, Mmm. I was excited about doing something that was gonna just change my world and hopefully in the process positively impact some other people. But I think I probably wanted to see no worries, connected thought. It’s actually only a Christian very recently that when people think about entrepreneurs or their social entrepreneurs are more common business entrepreneurs that I think a vision they have, I do wonder how many of them are actually kind of naively optimistic. And then we see the ones who made it nonetheless, and we say, Oh, wow, that’s such interest. That’s such a success. One kind of, they could have also fallen on their face. And Mmm. And I, I was certainly nineties. I don’t know if I’ve made really optimistic, but it’s certainly nice.

Greg White (00:16:37):

So that’s a really interesting take because, um, you know, I’ve started a company or two and I was half bragging to my mother saying, Oh, I’m a visionary. You know, I go see the way things ought to be. And, uh, she said, I’ve known you your whole life. And I think you really ought to question whether you’re a visionary or whether you’re just discontent. And, and I think the point is, as you said, Jonathan, it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter if you’re naive really optimistic or you’re visionary discontent or whatever that you went out and took that chance and that you, that you felt like giving is empowering. Right. And, um, you know, look at all of us on this show have worked with, with charitable and philanthropic and, and association organizations that are nonprofits. And, um, you know, there’s, there is a certain naivete that’s required, I think.

Greg White (00:17:38):

And frankly, there’s a certain level of selfishness that’s required. You said something that made me think you did this kind of for yourself, which is also okay, because as who has ever participated in philanthropy has ever said to me, you get out of it far more than you give. And yet, so many people like you all give so much. So, yeah. So I’d like to kind of shift gears a little bit and, and tell us a little bit about the bar. So school, so technically right. The bar. So school of science and technology, but tell us a little bit about what, you know, the school and then the network and the organization, how that operates. And you’re going to start on this when you, you, I guess we just found out who’s in charge, Jonathan, you get the privilege of starting.

Jonathan Starr (00:18:30):

Um, okay. So I, I guess I, I guess I’m kicking it off. Um, so, uh, Varsha sclerosis was founded in 2009. I spent a year setting it off and then moved to the country with a handful of just, yeah. Uh, other naive, often people, uh, mostly Americans and we, we started, and again, we didn’t really know much of what we were going to get into, but we took a class and, um, we just figured it out. It’s hard to describe the different than that. I don’t come from education. Other than having been educated. I tried to Saudi is the best I could. I talked to experts. I tried to get a sense of things. Um, a lot of our faculty, some of them had tophi for some hadn’t taught before they were educated people themselves. And we figured it out. Now. I think the, somebody by Trudy, uh, she booked say all wrong.

Jonathan Starr (00:19:29):

And I think she generally be crest in many ways. However, there was one aspect we got completely, right. And that was our school culture was one where we really convinced people that it was worth it to invest in their future. I think 90% of what you’re trying to accomplish, if you can get that done, then even if you’re not perfectly using the right tactics, they get to where they need to get. So, as I mentioned, we had a lot of societal challenges, but come 2013, we had our first graduates and they got the first scholarships to American universities and what spots three decades. And that was a game changer in the Nimmo, got into Oberlin. The you’ve got into Georgetown. Then this is nomadic boy. Well, it was literally a goat. Herder got accepted to MIT and it was just in the country. It was just mind boggling and people who had been didn’t just had heard all these negative things, because there were a lot of intentional rumors spreading against us, um, can change.

Jonathan Starr (00:20:37):

They, they now saw something good for their children and the way the Somali clans work, everyone has a nephew or niece at the school. I mean, it’s just, that’s, that’s how works everyone’s related to pretty much everyone. So everyone can say, Oh yeah, my niece is at yeah. Or wherever. Uh, and from there it just grew. So the, um, [inaudible] support in the country. You’re not to say we don’t still have a group who don’t like us for their own benefit, but the support in the country continue to just grow from there. And we expanded on what we could do. Eventually we got American accreditation where the 11 school in all of Subsaharan Africa to be accredited by the new of association of schools and colleges. And eventually we’ve had to convince real people like Trudy to come in and, and develop the rest of what we hadn’t done right over all those years.

Trudy Hall (00:21:31):

So picking up from there, what Jonathan, my predecessors handed over was this remarkable place that had grown to 272 students. It’s a boarding school. Um, and that’s unusual in Somaliland as well. Um, in addition to that, what Jonathan has managed to do with his team was to create a situation where families felt comfortable sending them girls to a boarding school, which was big. And so the challenge over the years has been to ensure, or these aim for a 50 50 ratio between the boys and girls. So it’s a pretty distinctive school in that respect, many elements of it, they hand out in the culture of Somaliland most specifically is the idea that if you come to a Vareso you’re on a university track and you know that you’re going to be leaving somewhere and going to school beyond a bar. So early on, uh, the schools smartly realized that cranking engines and filling gaps for three years, wasn’t going to get these kids where they needed to ultimately go.

Trudy Hall (00:22:34):

So Jonathan and his team added a seventh and an eighth grade. So now we have a bit of a runway that we can work with. Um, for us, it’s been remarkable to see where these students go with their lives. The vision has always been that they are raised as educators and they are to come back and give back to their country that Somaliland needs this educated generation. And everybody I’ve talked to said, yeah, but I bet that isn’t happening. I bet they’re not coming back. I bet they get to all these universities and they don’t come back. It’s like, no, not only does the school have a remarkable track record for success and supporting these students once they get to their universities. So their graduation is a very high percentage, but they’re coming back. So at a bar. So now we have several of the alums who work with us.

Trudy Hall (00:23:25):

There are several alumns who work in the Barstow network operations that Jonathan I’m sure will explain over in Somaliland. And in addition, the government is our partner. I, every time we turn around, there’s some way in which they are supporting our efforts. I think Jonathan will know more the details on this one than I do, but we just had a very virtual graduation for about 20 of our students who graduated from college this year, places as diverse as Yale, Columbia, and Brown and Berea, uh, and Grinnell and all over the place. And to that, as speakers came, the president, the minister of education, uh, a variety of different kinds of notables in Somali culture who chose to show up on that, the chicken or virtual graduation, just cheer on this young group who has done the impossible in Somaliland. They have completed a four year college education and are on their way, do some amazing things. So Jonathan alluded to it, some other aspects of the school, I have to say, it’s just my opinion. It sounds like you picked a really, really good leader for the school. Can you share a little bit about, uh, you know, some of the other aspects of the, of the school?

Jonathan Starr (00:24:47):

So well, so we, uh, so we can take a little business turn for attacking, Cho from, cause I, I still do think this is nonprofit. I’ve never accepted a dollar from the school tonight, donated not the other way, but I still thank you. I have to think of your organization as a business that provides the service to me. Yeah. It’s to successfully do that in a and a competitive price. Uh, and I think he don’t, you see a lot of problems happen and, and this, especially in the education world, international education world, I think COVID, well, we’re going to see some, some places are going to suffer from this. So we, from the beginning tried to keep the costs down. We tried to, um, make sure that, I mean, I do believe we’re the greatest bang for the buck in history. I mean, our, our MIT nomad, I was telling him about before he spent three years with us one year at a private school, his junior year at a private school in America, fully funded by that private school, the three years with us for $5,400.

Jonathan Starr (00:25:50):

So for $5,400, a kid who had been a nomad ended up join knowledge, only private school for you ever to MIT for four years, where he graduated with a computer science, electrical engineering degree, and is now working for the big Dubai port operation, doing electrical services in the port I’m Barbara, which is the big smile and port, but that’s a good, that’s a good investment. Um, so continue with the business lines. People would reach out and say, Oh, so the obvious next step is now you’re going to fill the school in, uh, Sudan. Now you’re going to build one in the Central African Republic or name your place. I see that doesn’t actually make sense. What, well, Walmart has its first successful store in Arkansas. They didn’t say, well, let’s go to London. Yeah. That made you go to the next village over where you still have a branch where you still have, where you knowhow, where you have logistics that work well, we have great expertise in the country.

Jonathan Starr (00:26:48):

We also have nearly 46 students applying for every spot we have at our bar, which that’s true. So this is seventh grade boredom. How many people want to send their 12 year old to go to boarding school anywhere in the world? Yes. Uh, instead of us doing, deciding that, Oh, we need to keep stamping up the exact same thing, which didn’t make sense. And also in itself is not scalable because we need these foreign scholarships for the students. They can’t go to the local universities and I don’t care if we’re perfect, you cannot get 200 kids who needs full scholarships from one country. Those scholarships that does not exist, not, not annually. I mean you, can’t 40 50. That is a lot to try to get. But above that is going to be virtually impossible. So instead what we did from 2017, we have the pieces that we could make this work.

Jonathan Starr (00:27:42):

We launched a women’s university, which was a teacher’s college to start. That’s what it still is. Uh, we have our former assistant of ours to it’s women. Eva Romberg was fantastic, who came, launch it on the ground. Um, and we had a lot of siblings of the varsity students, but we basically took the females who wanted to get to a bar. So, but we’re older cause they come from the other schools, not from a Varsa. And we took them on that track and we call this one bar Wako we buy Rocco is excellent, fertile, plentiful, um, success. So Baraka was producing a whole, whole court of highly educated teachers. And with that, we can do a vast expansion throughout the country. So the plan is because we’ll have that now they’re not immediately gonna be able to teach at our Barsha where we get these really highly educated people who arrived really of education that we can’t fix them for years of our Wacom.

Jonathan Starr (00:28:42):

But we started the first of these K through 12 schools. If they school is now Montessori, Montessori inspired, we’re not married to Montessori, but it’s a good method. In general, we started the first and our plan is that two a year starting next year. And we rolling these schools out all over the country when the schools come through and Trudy seem the first one, which is just the kindergarten at this point, when those kids come to them, is that they’re going to give a Barsa students a serious run for their money because they’re, I mean, we just have all these years head start on them. You would, you would send your own kids to that school without any question. I mean, they’re really, really high quality. So the ideas, we now have the human capital. So horse Somalis to do this massive expansion throughout the country, we couldn’t expand without, so we can fly. We can benefit from the Barstow brand. I know how everything just taking it and actually using it in a place. Can we use that? The flu went to the Central African Republic is not beautiful. We off starting everything from scratch. We will not have the president on a call with our graduates to congratulate them

Trudy Hall (00:29:55):

In a really small world proof positive of what Jonathan’s talking about. The individual who helped with all of the engineering design. What have you at both Morocco and as Kabe, it was a gentleman that Johnson hired to actually come be an English teacher at Barstow. Uh, he stayed bell in love with it and turns out to be trained as an architect and actually has done remarkable work in terms of creating two structures that are, you know, design for the very people who will use them. And they are remarkable. And I think even just the facilities that we’ve got in Barranco and Kabe demonstrate the quality of what John’s is talking about, bringing to the country.

Scott Luton (00:30:32):

Hey, if I can ask a quick question. Um, truly I heard when you came on and there was about 272 students and clearly the programs expand expanded, there’s a lot of interest in each of those slots. Can you give us a sense of just how large the program, even including the women’s program that was stood up in two, 2017? How large has it grown to now?

Trudy Hall (00:30:55):

Well, we are still growing out the women’s college, so we are still at 272 in our school. We are full up, we can only take 272 of that. So we take about 50 per class. Uh, we are lucky in that a number of our, uh, juniors will go on or sophomores will go on and we’ll go to private schools in the U S as a way of getting further enrichment and advancements so they can be ready for university setting. But then there are now about a hundred, a hundred kids at Jeff Morocco, and we’ve got our first class at Kabe, the very first Montessori school in Somaliland. Uh, 25 I think are in that

Jonathan Starr (00:31:30):

I got up to, I think about 40 before, before the plan was to keep integrating kids and get the classroom right. And keep integrating kids into the classrooms to make sure it’s right. Make sure the culture’s right, which was right. It was beautiful. It was fantastic. Aye. Over the course of the year, hoping that each about 50 to 60, the, but then coven hit and they stopped taking in new students at that point.

Trudy Hall (00:31:58):

There’s something pretty important about the, um, program, um, the Johnson star and the kids had really picked it up. Um, and I, I bet you’d say this about Kabe and Obama too. They consider a Barcelona family and they use that word. Um, and I think that comes from those decisions that Jonathan made early on. So for example, when you graduate from a bar, so you might not be ready for college just yet, you might need perhaps a little more English or maybe you’re going to a school somewhere in Africa and it doesn’t open up until, uh, January slot. Um, so the school has done a terrific job. I think of creating PG programs, creating slots for these folks to do some good work for, and get professional

Enrique Alvarez (00:32:40):

Experience. They’ve done a wonderful job in the U S making sure that they, um, have the care they need when they come to the U S yeah. Family in the best sense of the word. And I think that’s an element of it. I think Jonathan, you would take pride in, I know the kids take pride in as well at the school.

Jonathan Starr (00:32:58):

Sure. I mean, ultimately the only way that they can, this isn’t a bunch of individuals. These are a bunch of people who have a connection. In fact, why you could see them working together to solve problems that you would think. So when you say spend time say that that’s a really hard to solve problem in the country, how are you going to have enough will to do that? Political will, will have the people to do that. Uh, it’s going to help us. A bunch of people are working together and even some of the, their movements going on in the country as we speak. And we’ll see, going to be a test of our alumni to see how they, how they respond. There’s some actually women’s empowerment issues going on right now, uh, in my time in the country, since 2008, I’ve never seen this before. And a number of our alumni are stepping up and saying, we’re not going to be silent about this and let’s see what happens. That’s number one for them. But if they were a bunch of separate individuals, it wouldn’t be possible. They need to, they need to have that

Enrique Alvarez (00:34:01):

Cohesive network. Yeah, just out of my experience, like some of the kids that I have, I mean, where I had the pleasure of meeting, uh, Koolaid, uh, I probably didn’t pronounce his name. Right. But he made like a really good video. He’s uh, apparently he kind of liked, uh, putting videos together and it was part of the media club, I believe. And so some of the programs that you guys are talking about Trudy and Jonathan, I think there’s a really good opportunity here for companies like ours to kind of engage with the students and ask them to do things for us, which at vector we have. But I think just for everyone else that it’s listening to this podcast, they have really good students. So if you have any kind of like technical job that you need to do, or like some kind of projects and my particular case on in vector’s case, it was just, um, it was, uh, formatting and, and just going, editing some of videos and they did an amazing job. And so, uh, probably good opportunities out there for them. Uh, and, and I think now that this pandemic had ever won, I think technologies like that, that allow us to work remotely with other people, people, uh, make it even more viable and easier to do. So I wouldn’t be surprised if some of these schools, schools, and in particular yours, and some of these students start getting summer jobs for virtual summer jobs in the U S cause they’re really, really good students.

Jonathan Starr (00:35:30):

We button, they would like, and we would like,

Enrique Alvarez (00:35:33):

Yeah, effectively an internship. I mean, is there formal program

Greg White (00:35:38):

For something like that, Jonathan? Or can folks just reach out to you all? And

Jonathan Starr (00:35:43):

If they can, and then we can connect. We have some people who lead that and we can connect them to their yeah. So we that’s, it’s been a focus areas to try to see if they, if we can help connect students to the opportunities. Um, they then need to perform math on that. But we, we trying to do that. We’re trying to connect them best we can.

Greg White (00:36:05):

Yeah. Well, that’s, that’s fantastic. I can tell you that. I think a lot of companies, except for the big corporate ones, they’re intimidated by internships, but having had a few small companies, let me assure you, it’s as simple as finding a young person you want to work with and having them coordinate with their school to make it happen so that they get credit. If it’s a credit type thing, literally for the, for the employer, you have to do nothing but employ and train right. And share knowledge with, with the students. So I would encourage companies out there to get engaged. It is just, it’s so easy. It’s so rewarding. I mean, we have two interns now and we learn as much from them, like Enrique talked about as they do from us. Totally different things, but it’s a great perspective. So, all right. So I know John, I know Jonathan, I would love to understand what you first and then Trudy you, I understand, I think we understand your titles, headmaster and then CEO, but also, um, a little bit Jonathan, of what you do on a day to day basis. Cause it sounds like it’s a lot and I know Trudy’s job is probably in transition cause I sense the Trudy’s life is transition and she really thrives on that. So I can’t wait to hear about that too.

Jonathan Starr (00:37:35):

Yeah. My, my job has changed over the years. I used to be on the ground, running things, sitting with also the person who needed to drive around all of America, trying to see if we could get to go to take our students. Uh, that was, uh, on a full scholarship cause otherwise it’s useless. Um, that’s what my, and I used to try to also be the fundraiser. Um, so that’s what I was it’s transitions. I think people who are used to me doing that much work now actually also wonder what exactly does he do anymore? Um, sometimes I wonder also, but there are, so I lead the foundation. The US-based foundations is there is at this point there’s fundraising to be done. Um, we’re we run very, very efficiently and we have a great brand in the Somali world. You would teach some students, they will, how can the students possibly pay tuition?

Jonathan Starr (00:38:31):

And they can because of our reputation with Somali world and the clan system, nursing getting money from relatives abroad, and we have no visibility into how it happens, but it does happen pretty remarkable. You couldn’t go to their houses and say, you clearly can’t pay or you can’t do it because that’s just not how it’s often being paid coming from, from just relative. Um, so, Mmm, but nonetheless in the, we’re trying to build tennis clothes a year. That’s a new Montessori inspired school. That’s not, we do it extremely efficiently, but it’s not free. That’s right. That’s going to be about $450,000 a school to put them in place. And we have a beautiful school, but the K through five components in place, I should say, now that depending on how it sounds is either remarkable, how can you possibly do a school for $450,000? [inaudible] right. Daughter’s case preschool is being replaced right now for 40 million after the state.

Greg White (00:39:32):

I was thinking a four 50 seems like a bargain.

Jonathan Starr (00:39:35):

Yeah. Nonetheless, if you don’t have the four-fifty, you can’t do it. Right. So, so we need to get that a little, their challenge is this. Isn’t asking for somebody to give to the private sector well, where their kid goes to that they see and know everything you’re saying, but the other side of the world, there are people who say, well, what, that’s just not my interest. I want to give them aesthetically. It’s more challenging than you may think, but that’s, that’s a big job. We try to do that. Mmm. There’s also just moving pieces. As we’re trying to keep the larger network, all moving forward positions to sell. We have, um, the shift, there’s a lot, a lot going on with strategically, how it’s going to position as well. So, um, I ended up doing a lot of those and then there’s some have somehow still seem to be a lot of the alumni if there problem with issue that I think would be, who’s reached out to, um, quite often. So there’s, there’s a lot of that and that’s fine. I liked him a lot. There’s many of my favorite people, so not us, I’m not complaining, but it does somehow take up all my time.

Greg White (00:40:44):

I’m going to sound like one of your uncles for just a second here. Jonathan, do you have a quote unquote day job? Or is this all that you do?

Jonathan Starr (00:40:52):

No, this is what I do. And that’s been what I’ve done since 2008. I mean, the only exception is I wrote a book about this. Um, but I took about four months to do that. So it wasn’t, yes. My publisher would be annoyed if I don’t, it probably takes the score for those people. Um, and the handful of people have read a thing it’s really good. Um, truly liked it and it helped get her to Somaliland.

Greg White (00:41:17):

That’s high marks in my book.

Jonathan Starr (00:41:20):

Other than that, um, no, I have not done any other job, any other worlds. This is what I do. Uh, and this is what I’ve done since whatever. It’s been 2008.

Trudy Hall (00:41:32):

Wow. Tell us, tell us a little bit about your day to day. I can’t even imagine, but yeah. So I do what nobody else will do and all of it and all the time and you plan your day and then you trash it and start all over again. What is so fabulous about this place is you don’t know how you’re going to spend your day

Trudy Hall (00:41:53):

And Jill meets you. Um, and so you, you have to be, and you get you, it takes her a while to get used to that. But what you have is a game plan of what you might like to accomplish during the day. And then as our assistant head master says, and then this happened. Um, and so for example, um, more recently, uh, we might be sitting over, um, uh, in the science lab, uh, talking about the solar panels for some reason. And somebody says the baboons had gotten over the fence again, you know, the electrical fence is no longer working. We have to deal with it. And that sidetracks you just for a small moment, because at the very same time, you know, some young woman, um, potentially need you because she’s had an emotional breakdown and something has gone on and she can’t find her parents, et cetera, et cetera.

Trudy Hall (00:42:37):

Um, so it’s one thing after another. And what the difference for me was I came from a school that was a seasoned well functioning, a well-resourced school. And I was busy there. I was absolutely busy, but I didn’t touch things. And the difference is that in this particular at school, there’s no way you can run it without touching. Now, some of the things you wish you wouldn’t have to touch, but on the other hand, you’re touching things. So you’re no, you really have your hands on some pretty interesting cultural challenges. Some were for example, were really working a lot with the students on teaching them design thinking and how to solve problems and design thinking. And so that process of how you take on the school’s issues and change mindsets is something that we do with the juniors and seniors. So we’ve created a whole curriculum that runs seven through 12 and in each of those levels, they’re having to do practical.

Trudy Hall (00:43:37):

Um, it’s sort of a energy projects are really, if you will, about how you implement what they have learned about. So the school does a lot of, uh, project design. Uh, the school does a lot of teaching toward competencies. Um, so yes, it’s excellence, but it’s also what can you do? Um, and so for us, it’s huge piece of that is we’re training the faculty to do it. So at most schools you hire people who already know how to do it right at a bar. So we train you how to do it and that’s our gift to you. So, yeah. Yup. Um, and then, uh, so then what Jonathan ensured in the very beginning of it is a school that’s oriented toward community service. So our students are teachers as well because they are either teaching younger students or they are teaching the village children, or they are teaching the orphanage children. So everybody

Enrique Alvarez (00:44:32):

Is a teacher and everybody’s a learner and you can intersect with that energy any way you want all day long. Um, and fascinating though. And I haven’t really had a chance to explain this to folks in a way that, um, since I’ve come back from the taking them sure. Break from Kobe on the covered buyers, is that for me, what’s fascinating is the pace is actually slower Hmm. Than it is in the U S because the issues are real. You can focus on them, you can address them, you can parse them. And I think what goes on here as I talked to so many of my head of school colleagues in the U S the issues are so big and so complicated, and you’re so far away from them that you don’t have the feeling that you have the immediate impact. Nice. I’ve got that.

Enrique Alvarez (00:45:20):

I know my faculty, they have all right, daily basis over at this pretty amazing children who call you by your first name. So there’s no formality. No, which is great. It should be very leveling. It’s very humbling, uh, to be at the school. Wow. That’s fantastic. Enrique, look, we love asking you this question. I don’t know your answer, but I know if you asked me Mo if you asked me to answer this question, I could give you mine, but let’s, let’s not hear mine. I want to understand you. You connected us with Jonathan, Jonathan, and with Trudy. I always love to understand what you and Monica admire so much LaVar. So share that with us. Tell us a little bit about how you work together and, and how you came to you. Don’t work with this group. Yeah. Our connection is through logistics. We shipped some of their containers a while back when we would Sandy [inaudible], which I believe you both met.

Enrique Alvarez (00:46:19):

Uh, and Jonathan worked very closely with, um, she was great. She built a really good relationship and she always talked about like how great their costs was. Right. I mean, I don’t think the school wasn’t important to students was just the costs. She was really, really excited and motivated by the, by the cost. And, uh, and so we started kind of like working together and we’ve gotten the chance to, okay, wow. Together on some of their shipping. And then the relationship just grew from there. And, uh, for me personally, I think, uh, one of the biggest challenges and easy to solve challenges is world house. It’s just education. If we were to put [inaudible] a lot more money, effort, commitment, care towards education, we wouldn’t see all this other problems that we’re facing. And, and right now it’s a good year to kinda like highlight that, uh, cause education would resolve all this. And so what they’re doing is uplifting and then just great. So every time that I, I had the opportunity to talk to Monica, who’s the one in charge of working closer together, uh, with Trudy and Jonathan, Which is

Trudy Hall (00:47:29):

Great. I’ll let Monica talk a little bit more about this. Cause I think she, she knows a lot more, but she’s a lot closer to the, to the organization answering your question. I just love the fact that they care and there’s not as many people that care anymore. It feels like

Scott Luton (00:47:49):

I know

Trudy Hall (00:47:50):

That’s not true, but it just feels

Scott Luton (00:47:53):


Trudy Hall (00:47:56):

There was there. So how would you answer that question? What do you admire the most about the school? And if you want to talk a little bit more about, that’d be great. Thanks Enrique. Well, um, when Sandy introduced him to Janet and she tells me about what you do, and then we started working closely. It was great because we had the opportunity to have donations from the U S uh, to arrive to the school in Somaliland. And that was awesome for me. And then I met Trudy when she was like in the transition to, to become their headmaster of the school. And I remember that the first time that I talked with you over the phone, it was like, wow, this woman is, she’s great. She she’s been doing a lot of good things around the world, and now she’s gone to Somaliland to help these kids.

Trudy Hall (00:48:51):

I just really enjoyed working with you guys. And then when we got the opportunity to sponsor a girl, so she could go to do a varsity school and her name is Tess, but we just, we just didn’t want to only send money for her education. We want to be able to meet her and to be close to her. So he helped me to arrange, and she was 12 years old, maybe by now she’s 13. She was great. She was learning English. She was a little shy, but her smile was like, wow. And she was like, Hey, Mani, thanks, thanks to better for the scholarship. I love mathematics class. And that moment just really touched our team because it was great to see the impact that we can do when we really cared when you meet the right people, when you, when you want to change something, like they do it. So congratulations guys, and I’m really glad to still work with you and to have you here today,

Scott Luton (00:50:04):

Outstanding, uh, we’re in the whole series dedicated to the ABAR. So school, it sounds like it’s too much to get into that. We’re not gonna be able to do it justice here today. Um, but I like how, you know, [inaudible] Jonathan was talking about how, from a logistics standpoint, they’re more about, and the, the logistics of moving people and, and, uh, educating people and furthering opportunities for people. And I love that because people are still so incredibly important, not just to the global business world, but certainly the global supply chain, despite all the gains of technology into all of those spaces, still, it takes people. And I love what we’re hearing here of great people, investing into people that may not have had those opportunities earlier. So why am I not surprised that Enrique and Moni and the folks over at vector global are not somewhere involved in this store? So Enrique, but that said, I know you’re curious as we kind of broaden the conversation up a little bit, right?

Enrique Alvarez (00:51:03):

Yes. Well, um, again, it’s, it’s been a challenging year for many, many different reasons. And of course, I just wanted to hear, uh, your take Jonathan and Trudy on, on how you’re handling all this, right? Cause you have the pandemic and you have all this, uh, different, uh, racial conflicts and you have like the supply chain, uh, problems that you have. And, and before diving a little more into how you’re handling this on a day to day basis, maybe a quick update on how Somalia and Somaliland are doing with the pandemic. Yeah. And if there’s something we could do to help out, is there a, what is the need and what is the situation right now? So that people that are listening to us or Watching this live good, um, it could potentially help out in this particular Mmm, crazy times.

Trudy Hall (00:51:52):

Right. See, Jonathan, I was going to say that we actually feel safer in some Island than we do in the U S right now. I probably shouldn’t say that too loudly. Um, quite well, uh, Somali men shut things down fast and they shut them down across the country. So they closed borders. Uh, in fact, just since late March, uh, no North Americans or Europeans have been able to fly into the country. Land, borders are closed. The schools were shut down all across the country, March 19th. So all of us went into a mode of trying to create and keep the schools going, which we have, uh, all, all three schools have been going since March 19th. Um, and then, um, our faculty actually was able to stay there and continue to work a long time on a variety of different professional development projects and projects to actually make sure the school, when we come back, comes back even stronger, but some online itself, okay. Cases, um, are being discovered through testing. There’s not significant widespread tape testing. However, the level of deaths are quite low. Uh, we, I think are still well within, we’re under 50 deaths still in the country. We have contacts and Jonathan knows more about these contacts, um, in a variety of different locations in smile. And we keep pulse points on those contacts, but we’re not seeing it ravaged the country. Yeah.

Jonathan Starr (00:53:18):

Know, the there’s a mystery that I don’t think anyone has the answer to across Africa, which is why COVID guzzling seems to be doing the damage. People thought it was not yet. Um, and, uh, I, I I’ve heard a bunch of explanations, but I haven’t heard an answer. I don’t think anyone really knows, um, the fear and you can understand it. The quality of the healthcare system across Africa is generally not good. And Somaliland would be the first to admit the quality of their healthcare system is not good, even as compares to conventional a lot of other African countries. So has this become this huge healthcare crisis? The system is immediately on her. Wow. Overwhelmed from the beginning. So, uh, but that doesn’t seem to happen when people aren’t sure why. And we keep actually earlier today, Trudy and I were on a call with an organization, done it schools throughout Africa, and they were saying the thing, same thing we keep hearing again and again, which is for the most part, it’s not just the cases are being reported. It’s that people just don’t seem to be getting sick. So let’s hope it stays this way, uh, because the fears were correct that if the gets bad, if the sick, if fitness gets out there really, it’s going to be hard to deal with this. But, um, but luckily that hasn’t happened yet.

Trudy Hall (00:54:54):

Jonathan, how are the students kind of coping with the whole thing and how are they feeling? Just being, I mean, I can speak for my kids. So I have two kids, 12 and 10, and they’re just, they’re just desperate to go out and meet with their friends. They might the youngest daughter, I mean, the other day was crying because she wanted to go back to school and I’m like, well, I’m going to record this words. That was not the case a couple of months ago, but so how are, how are the, how are the students kind of coping with all this kind of being locked down and

Trudy Hall (00:55:28):

Tuesday that I think our students are not really as locked down, we talk with them and we talk with them a lot. We’re finding that yes, masks can be worn, but they’re not wearing them. We’re forever finding them in other people’s homes like this this morning, I did an interview with one of our students for an internship, and he was at a friend’s house using your friend’s phone. Um, so I think they’re, they’re very casual with, uh, how they are managing the situation because it just doesn’t seem prevalent over the years. Now, now what we have been able to do is we can track their progress, uh, through Google classroom and whether or not they’re opening our YouTube channel. So we tracked, we track all of their email addresses and all of their computers. And so we can tell when they, I don’t think they trust us and believe this, but they’re going to be sorry if they don’t, we know exactly who’s, who’s checked in and who’s done the homework and how frequently they check in. So we’ve been keeping that data. I think our students would the same thing your kids are saying. They want to go back to school. They really, really want to go back to school and it’s their friends famous studying. They just want to go back to school.

Jonathan Starr (00:56:33):

Yeah. I’m a little more in touch with the alumni. And I say, if you take the alumni in America, it’s tough. Not only are they locked down somewhere, the rock down often and other people’s houses. And that is just, yes, as I said, it’s a relative dissolver. But nonetheless, that doesn’t mean that you feel great about spending five months in somebody’s house. You don’t know that well, so it’s, uh, it’s challenging. It’s also for those who love their learning. This is not a school who on two weeks notice, that’s the switch completely to being an online environment. Generally speaking is not going to do it as well as they would have had. I think it’s been disappointing for some students. It doesn’t feel like what they wanted. I mean, that’s not specific to our state, but that’s just true across the board. People. This is not college. As people think of college. Now,

Trudy Hall (00:57:34):

As I say, Jonathan, the one thing that I think we see coming at us that I think will finally enable our kids to realize how global this is. Our students have not been able. We have a bumper crop of students who were accepted to, um, schools in colleges, in the U S and they haven’t been able to get their visas because the embassies are shut down in Djibouti, which is where we go. And I think, I think everybody now is holding their breath. Hope we, that these young men and women will be able to get to pursue the opportunity. That’s so hard to achieve. Yeah.

Jonathan Starr (00:58:02):

Which realistically speaking,

Trudy Hall (00:58:05):


Jonathan Starr (00:58:05):

Probably is not happening during the first term. Not that the visas, I just think the colleges themselves are gonna just have a basically say if you’re international, stay international for the first term and we don’t know exactly, but that’s certainly the, it’s a lot of the sense we’re getting. So when you, when you talk about logistics and knowledge, people, we have multiple problems. We need to move our students who are accepted the programs globally, not just in America, meaning to get there. And then at the same time, you also need to get a whole crop of teachers, faculty who come from around the globe to us. And the only thing would say positively about that. And then this was one positive for Apple positives and some out of the series. It’s that almost every other program shut down. So we have, we have quite the group of faculty coming in next year. We just need to be able to get them there. It’s just Fulbright flip peace Corps, closed, everything closed, and we have a job. So right now his job is very attractive to people.

Trudy Hall (00:59:13):

Yeah. Well, I think, I think it will be, it’s an interesting new normal, what else can you call it that we’re entering where

Greg White (00:59:23):

I’ve, I’ve, uh, a daughter going to college as a freshmen this fall, and we’re making the decision, whether she ought to even live in a dorm or rather that she’ll even be obligated, as many of them are. And I wonder even without a visa, if they might not be able to, yeah, I dunno. That’s not practical really, but there, you know, there’s, there’s remote learning from so many universities now. So I wonder how that could happen.

Jonathan Starr (00:59:50):

I think that’s going to be what it is. I think they’re going to give you the option. Cause some people just won’t be able to come. So we’re also going to face an issue. It’s comes down to funding again in life. We will face an issue next year. I do believe we’re, it’s going to be much harder for students to get scholarships because yeah, a lot of universities and boarding schools, we send students to our financially hurting. Now we tend to send to the very rich elite, which is not because we’re elitist, but because that’s who has money. And the reality is, yeah, whether it’s Yale or Columbia or Williams or whoever this, yes, it’s financially hurts, but they can still drops in the bucket. Really. They claim otherwise that it’s just not true. Um, they can survive this easily. I’m not as changed the thing, but will they, or will they say, Oh, well the endowment will take a hit and we don’t want to have that happen. So we’re going to cut financial aid and we don’t know the answer, but I think it’s going to be the hardest year. Yes. So it’s placed students and scholarship opportunities.

Greg White (01:01:01):

There are some other economics at play too. And some, some educational experts have speculated that a lot of the lower tier schools are just going to go away. They’re over their head, which is going to make it more competitive for schools at the first and second tier. So, and for students trying to get scholarships at those, so that could have a longterm effect as well. So, um, um, mazing story, what you’re doing, I really appreciate, and we applaud what you all are doing and how you’re, how you and vector are working together. I didn’t even know. And Rica is so humble. I didn’t even know that, that they were actually sponsoring a student. So that’s really cool. Um, so let’s, let’s make sure that our listeners can get in touch with you. So you are at a bar, so, and that’s a B double a R S O, right. How else can they get ahold of you, Jonathan and tree?

Jonathan Starr (01:02:01):

That’s probably the best way. Um, but it’s, um, cause there’s a contact us through that. You can also, uh, Barstow also works. If you want to do that for the varsity school, we see it. Mmm. And, uh, beyond that, you can take our first letter or last name out of Arsal and just email us directly. So it’s T hall or J star versus school downwards and get to us that way. Uh, we love people want to help out or even just say something nice. That’s good too. Um, but, uh, yeah, anybody’s interested even a few. There’s so many ways to be involved in to help, uh, students need host families. As Rick, you’re saying job opportunities, internship opportunities are great way to help. We love more people who want to say, I want to, I want to contribute towards the student’s education. And, um, that’s another great way to help someone wants them pay for a whole new K through five that’s even better

Greg White (01:03:03):

450 grand laying around

Jonathan Starr (01:03:06):

Just the Grambling. You know what, even if you have a hundred we’ll make, um, but, uh, yes, anybody who, if somebody wants to be involved in the other areas, people can think about it. They may have a relative who is an education is really looking for something different and wants a great experience. And I do think we can provide that. We are a great experience, especially for someone who just fully committed.

Greg White (01:03:38):

If they get to work for Trudy, I have a feeling you’re going to get a lot of contacts. So if somebody does want to work with you or, you know, however, they might, you know, work, work with your schools, how can they best get in touch with you? I will give you a best kept secret, but promise not to tell anybody. No, not at all. There’s an email account. I N F O it stands for info a Barstow school worries. Mmm. Guess who reads those informations? I get them all. I’m getting the Bab baboons back over the fence. I am your director of social media. So that will come directly to me. Outstanding. Yep. Alright. Well, um, so in Rica, let’s, let’s close with you and Moni and tell us a little bit about what you all are doing. I know you’re working with some folks on PPE, you and I have had a couple of communications on companies that have initiatives or in that area. Right. So tell us a little bit about how you’re participating in the

Enrique Alvarez (01:04:44):

Yes, no. Okay.

Greg White (01:04:45):

I guess, knowing, and also working with these folks.

Enrique Alvarez (01:04:50):

Yes, no. Um, first, uh, just let me thank Trudy. And Jonathan Noah was a pleasure guys, so it is great to put like some, uh, faces to all those emails and phone calls. So thanks for what you’re doing. We really admire what you do and you kind of like make our jobs more meaningful cause, uh, and that’s, that’s huge for me and my team. So thank you very much. Thank you. Uh, in terms of what we’re doing with the pandemic, we’ll launch a task force to try to minimize the cost of sourcing and shipping PPE products. Our goal again is just to help people that actually don’t have those, uh, uh, products handy. Um, and so we partner with lobby on walls, which is an organization here in Atlanta that supports homeless and homeless people. And they’re trying to help them cause the two things that when this whole thing started, they told us as well, stay home and wash your hands.

Enrique Alvarez (01:05:41):

Right. And you’re like, well, homeless don’t have any of those two things. So, uh, so, um, parents has done an amazing job kind of like pushing the, washing your hands front. And what we’re trying to do is just donate a hundred thousand, uh, masks for homeless people. And so we’re kind of like not only helping raise the money to bring them, but then also sourcing them. And we have already delivered. I believe it’s about a thousand. So, uh, that’s one thing that we’re doing the other is just trying to connect, um, PP to schools and, um, nursing homes and just a first responder. So we launched with a soul arc, a webpage that will allow people to go online. And instead of just buying products for you, uh, it will allow you to go and donate products to someone else that you might know. So you’ll go online and it will be like, well, what do you want? Do you want, uh, masks or thermometers or whatever, who do you want to send this to? And you can pay it. And so it will be as slightly different from what you could probably find right now, which is I want to buy products here as well. I want to donate to someone else. And so that thing that webpage is coming up maybe in a week or so, I’ll let you guys know when it’s up and running, but, um, but those are the two main things. Yeah. That would be great

Scott Luton (01:06:58):

Things. Fantastic. Awesome, man. Thank you. Yeah, definitely want to, uh, echo Enrique his comments, uh, really appreciate what Jonathan star and Trudy hall are doing with the Barstow school of science and technology. And of course the greater Barsa network, um, certainly a noble mission. You’re changing a lot of people’s lives. And as Jonathan alluded to, as you both there too, that these folks, once their trajectory has been changed are coming back and they’re changing the trajectory of a lot of other folks. And that’s so important is as a force multiplier effect. So I love this story. We look forward to checking in with you both once again, uh, down the road, hopefully, uh, whereas optimistic as you, as you are, uh, we hope to get into this post pandemic. Mmm yeah. Timeframe as soon as possible. So we can start yeah. Taking some steps back to normalcy. So thanks so much, Jonathan and Trudy, you bet big, thanks. And again, to our audience, a bar, so school dot or we’ll make sure that a link at a minimum is in the show notes. The episode will make it easy for you to connect with, uh, what they’re doing there. Um, big, thanks to Enrique Alvarez and Monica rush love what vector’s doing. And this is just, I think this is a ninth installment of this episode. A lot of stories like what Jonathan Trudy are doing Enrique. We really enjoyed it.

Enrique Alvarez (01:08:22):

Thank you, Scott. And we, we love doing this, uh, podcast. We love the series and we really appreciate everything that you and Greg are doing as well. I mean, it’s very, very important to, to, um, let people have a voice. I think that it’s important right now. I think it’s very, very important that we continue having this open communication channels with everyone, especially in supply chain. So thank you, Scott and Greg for well, you guys are doing it’s great.

Scott Luton (01:08:49):

You bet. Thanks so much, Enrique. Thank you, Monica. Best wishes, uh, to where you are in Mexico and appreciate all of your good work as we continue the series. Thanks again, everyone for being here and working together with us. That’s right. So it’s all about, all right, Greg, we’re going to wrap up this episode here. Love the story. Love, love the, uh, it’s like practical, good news. It’s not just good news. It’s action oriented. Good news. Right? Design thinking in seventh grade. Are you kidding me? I to send my kids there. Yes. And it was really, really impressive. I don’t know if everybody caught that, but right. I don’t even know what design thinking is completely, but if, but imagine learning about design thinking from the time you are 12 years old, so the time you’re 18 years old and what you can do with that, that is powerful stuff.

Scott Luton (01:09:47):

Know these people are coming back so their country, and they’re not just changing their lives, they’re changing others. And they’re changing the trajectory trajectory, huh country as well. Bye. Lifting up education and lifting up others and joining together as both Jonathan and Trudy talked about. Wow. Okay. That’s all I got. Well put, well, put an on that note, we’re going to wrap with two items first off to our listeners, be sure to check out our July 15th free webinar, where we’re driving a very important dialogue. Uh, the state of race industry, we’ve got a great panel. That’s gonna weigh in on their insights and their experiences. We’re going to hear a lot from our global audience like we did last March and we invite you to be a part of this Frank discussion, um, where we look just to be a, you know, serve as a vessel to continue to facilitate some of the, some of the tougher discussions I have to be had July 15th around lunchtime. You can learn more about that at supply chain. Now with all that said, we really challenge your audience. Hey, do good. Give forward. Be the change. And on behalf of Greg white, Scott lewd and the entire team here at supply chain. Now we’ll see you soon. Thanks everybody.

Featured Guests

Jonathan Starr authored It Takes A School, published by Macmillan Henry Holt in February 2017. It tells the story of Jonathan’s founding and heading the Abaarso School of Science and Technology, a non-profit educational organization in Somaliland. Abaarso School has broken a decades long drought in Somali education with unprecedented success, including placing students at Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Brown, and MIT. In total the school has sent 150 students to continue their education globally. Abaarso’s success has been covered by CBS’s 60 Minutes, MSBNC’s Morning Joe, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, CNN, CBC’s The Current, and BBC. In 2017 Jonathan co-founded Barwaaqo University in Somaliland, the first all-female boarding university in the country. In 2019, he co-founded Kaabe Schools, with the mission of spreading high quality Montessori-inspired K-12 education throughout Somaliland and beyond. Jonathan has spoken at The World Bank, The Nantucket Project, and several school campuses. In 2018, he spoke at Marist College as part of Marist selecting It Takes a School as its first-year student required reading. From 2004 – 2008, Jonathan founded and led Flagg Street Capital, a private investment firm that managed $170 million of investor assets. Prior to Flagg Street, Jonathan worked at SAB Capital, Blavin and Company, and Fidelity Investments. In addition to his full-time professional responsibilities, Jonathan sat on the Board of Directors of Pomeroy IT Solutions, a publicly traded US information technology company. Jonathan graduated from Emory University, where he received a B.A. Summa Cum Laude in Economics and was a member of Phi Beta Kappa.

Trudy Hall had spent her professional career as an administrator in the world of independent education. As head of two girls boarding schools , (Emma Willard School and Miss Hall’s School), and a senior administrator at four others, (Culver Academies, Hutchison School, Stoneleigh-Burnham, Forest Ridge), she has focused her professional energy on programs that inspire students to develop their distinctive voice and personal passions. Former Head of School at Emma Willard School for 17 years, Trudy also served 14 years on the board of the National Coalition of Girls Schools, and as President for 4 of those years, during which the Global Forum for Girls Education was conceived and trademarked. She has traveled to schools around the world in her quest to fully appreciate how to create learning environments that inspire and engage adolescents. Firmly committed to design thinking practices for fostering a climate for healthy school change, Trudy served as the President of the Board for Leadership and Design, a non-profit that designs leadership experience for those creating the future of education. Formally educated at St. Lawrence University, Harvard Graduate School of Education and Duke University, Trudy, is a ferociously curious peripatetic who, for the moment, resides in both Seattle, Washington and Somaliland.

Monica Aurora Roesch Davila has a Bachelor’s degree in Management and International Business from Universidad Panamericana in Aguascalientes, Mexico. She has work experience in purchasing, logistics, and sales for automotive companies, and is currently working at Vector handling some non-profit accounts and helping them achieve their goals. She also develops new accounts and plans with them the better routes and strategies for them to have efficient and cost-effective operations.

Monica believes that everything we do matters and that we can make a difference and impact the world in a positive way with our daily actions, so she tries to do her best every day.

Enrique Alvarez 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 a 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 also enjoys traveling, getting to know new people and spending time with his wife and two kids Emma and Enrique. Learn more about Vector Global Logistics here:


Greg White

Principal & Host

Scott W. Luton

Founder, CEO, & Host

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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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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


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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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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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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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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Allison Giddens


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


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


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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Marty Parker


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

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

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Laura Lopez

Marketing Coordinator

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

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Jake Barr


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

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Marcia Williams


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

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Luisa Garcia

Host, Logistics with Purpose

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

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Astrid Aubert

Host, Logistics with Purpose

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

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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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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 & Host

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

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

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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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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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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

Director, Customer Experience

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

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Mary Kate Love

Chief of Staff & Host

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

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

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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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