Everybody’s favorite socks come with quite the impact. Operating from a one purchased, one donated model, Bombas has made 50 million donations to homeless shelters since their start in 2013. They’ve also got 3,500 giving partners across the U.S – and another 4,000 on the waitlist. So who better to give pointers on how to get up and running with charitable giving than Bombas VP of Community and Giving Kelly Cobb? Tune in to learn more about the Bombas mission and how it has evolved – and stay for the invaluable best practices that can help you activate your company’s charitable purpose.
Enrique Alvarez (00:18):
And welcome back to another very interesting episode of supply chain. Now logistics with purpose. We are incredibly happy and excited to have a very good guest today. And of course, as always, I am very happy to have Kristi with me today. Kristi, how are you doing? I’m
Kristi Porter (00:34):
Good. I am, uh, as we sit here and speak, I’m coming live to you from, I was calling into Mexico from one of our other offices. So it’s been fun to meet more of the team and have the opportunity to see more of vector and the amazing team that pulls off the logistics of purpose that we do every
Enrique Alvarez (00:51):
Day. No, I’m completely agree with you on, uh, keep enjoying Mexico, have a couple of backhoes for me and everyone else that are listening to this episode because those are really good. Really good. And then west polyangiitis, if you guys have never been to west Glendale, you should definitely visit a west clan does as well. But for this episode, we’ve been trying to contact this company for awhile and I think it’s just like a dream come true almost right?
Kristi Porter (01:15):
Yeah, absolutely. I am a big fan of them and I know you are too. And so we’re, we’re thrilled for everyone to hear more about Bombas and their work and their mission and, um, the giving that they do and the social impact that they’ve helped create, which is pretty amazing.
Enrique Alvarez (01:29):
I totally, totally agree. And, uh, with that said, why don’t you actually help us ensure introduce our guest of honor today? Yes.
Kristi Porter (01:39):
Today we are excited to have Kelly Cobb, who is the VP of community and giving at Bombas. So welcome Kelly. We are so excited. You’re here.
Kelly Cobb (01:48):
Hi, so great. Thanks Enrique. Hey Christie.
Kristi Porter (01:52):
We’re so excited. You’re here and to talk about Bombas and I, this summer, I have been living in my or slippers, so thank you for making an incredible product and keep my feet warm, but not too warm during a Georgia heat. Wow.
Kelly Cobb (02:05):
Yeah, that’s impressive. I’m so glad to hear it.
Enrique Alvarez (02:10):
It’s an amazing cause it’s a great company and everyone’s super excited to have you here on the show today and we’re all looking forward to talking with you a little bit more, getting to know you a little bit better and, um, yeah. Sharing some of the amazing stories that, uh, that you and Bombus are actually, uh, making day in and day out.
Kristi Porter (02:29):
Yeah. So before we jump into Bombus Kelly though, we want to hear more about you. Um, so tell us a little bit more about your background, where you grew up in your childhood.
Kelly Cobb (02:38):
Sure. And I mean, thinking about Bombus is definitely one of my most favorite things to talk about as I confess that speaking about myself feels a little more challenging, but I’m up to, so yeah, I grew up in east Bridgewater, Massachusetts. That’s a small town on the south shore of Massachusetts, but my parents and sister and some pets over the years, I lived there till the point really that I went to college and all that in Massachusetts. Um, and my childhood was lovely. I think I felt really lucky to, to have a great growing up experience in a small town and getting just enough access to the world around me, I think to begin to shape where I’ve ultimately the place that I’ve ultimately come to.
Enrique Alvarez (03:34):
It’s always fun for me at least to kind of listen to the story of people on how they kind of go from one place to another until they end up doing what they ended up doing. And so with that said, I mean, is there a kind of like cool, interesting story that kind of shaped who you are now and then kind of started to slowly push you into the path that you ended up
Kelly Cobb (03:55):
In hindsight? I think, yes. I think a lot of the things that are so much a part of my day to day now were always sort of in there. I think as a child, I was always very interested in learning new things and creating things. Some of them tangible, some of them entirely made up, I would, my sister and I would live in this pretend world that we created for hours and hours at a time, whether there was this made up school that we were teaching at or, you know, any other kind of pretend world. And there was always this focus that we had, even though it was make-believe on it being very detail oriented and sort of as realistic as possible. And I, I kind of see that pattern that I had starting there sort of in, in the way that I wanted things to be organized or presented, whether it was, you know, in playing make-believe or just in a family setting at home, if we were setting the table or creating decor for something, I just always thought about the experience, how one would experience what it was that we were doing and paid very careful attention, probably, you know, much to the annoyance of my parents there, you know, I was like very particular about how things would be, but with the thinking that I just wanted everyone to enjoy it as best as they could with mine to the little details.
Kelly Cobb (05:28):
So it was always for me about little details. And I think that that really sort of continued to very much be a part of my personal theme and the way that I would go about doing things. And it, it really wasn’t something I think I picked up on at that time, it was probably considered a quirk. Um, but I can see that having a lot to do with where I ultimately went to, but more than that. So I mean that I can see how it, it absolutely supports the things that I do now, but also from the give back side, I think early on there was this core value that was instilled in me that one really ever can, no one can really never know what another person is going through. And from an early age, when we, as a family would go into Boston to do things or be out and about, my dad would always stop to interact with folks that we pass on the street that are asking for help or experiencing homelessness. And he would never hesitate. He was always led very generously. And while I can’t say that that experience instilled in me instantly this idea that I wanted to be on a philanthropic path, it did. It certainly stayed with me, I think, as, as a personal core value and is something that I know I’ve come back to again and again, and is certainly central to the work that I do now.
Kristi Porter (07:02):
Sounds like you had both a good example to follow and we’re always interested in creating good experiences for others. So that certainly shows up in the work you do now. Um, so speaking of, let’s talk about your professional journey after graduating college. What did that early career look like and how did you end up at where you are now at Bombas?
Kelly Cobb (07:23):
Yeah, so it was, um, perhaps not the most linear path, but I, I love making things hard for myself. It seems I love a challenge and love inflicting that challenge upon itself. At the end of college, I’ve found myself one like one course credit short from actually being able to graduate. And I think it was tied to an internship or maybe I reasoned that I could do an internship and get the credits. I loved trying to like work myself out of these types of situations that I would put myself in. So I, there is this pop-up, I mean, in kind of like early days of pop-up that says 2004. So the pop-up fashion company that would come and sell clothing and I college campuses like, you know, whatever hot brands where they get the time. And so she would host these popups on college campuses and I had probably done a little bit of full-time, excuse me.
Kelly Cobb (08:25):
I had done a bit of part-time work helping out at this fashion pop-up and knowing that I needed to get these credits, I had the idea that maybe I could convince her to let me build her a website and an exchange, get internship credits for, you know, to help me graduate. So she’s like, yes. And I set to work creating a website for her, which was something I had only had a little bit of experience in, but had taken a couple of courses for at the end of my, my college career and felt like I could absolutely do that. So I created the subject for her and I really loved the process. And again, this idea of how someone would experience a website and interact with it and that it would really help them Bruce Perry accessibility to a greater audience. And then that sort of sat me on a post-college path.
Kelly Cobb (09:12):
Like once I got back to my parents’ house, that summer, I thought I would start a little web design company called Kelly Cobb design. And I was building websites. And, you know, again, in 2004, most companies, especially local smaller town companies did not have a web presence. So I just kind of went around seeing who would let me build a website for them and started this like really teamy business and with spend 12 or 14 hours a day in my childhood bedroom, just coding and working in Macromedia flash at the time to create these sites. And I loved it, but after a number of months, I adjust cut in, be by myself for that along day in and day out, working on a computer. And so I thought maybe I could both get a job outside of the house and work on the websites, like maybe at night and kind of scale it back.
Kelly Cobb (10:07):
And so I went to a temp agency and said, put me anywhere. I just need to do as people, I need a break from this. And there were a number of jobs that, you know, were like kind of pushing papers around and help it an insurance company, or, you know, they’re trying their very best to match what I believe my skillset to be. And in college I went to UMass Amherst and they had this amazing program or one could essentially create their own major. You could get into this program that where you could develop your own curriculum, which is incredible. And so forward thinking. Yeah. Which is what most
Enrique Alvarez (10:48):
Colleges already do it. Right. But it’s something like super, super creative at the time. Yeah.
Kelly Cobb (10:55):
To be able to create this multi disciplinary focus felt really neat. So I chose, I called it the business of fashion and I focused both on fashion studies and business and a bit of like art or creative expression through things like website, building and design, um, which may sound a little bit disjointed. I’m not sure, but it, it actually, I really, really use my college experience in a big way. So anyway, some visions he was trying to help me really find the thing that matched my skillset. And one day they called them. They said, I think we have the perfect thing for you. It’s for this women fashion catalog company, you would come in like as a temp for, as a coordinator and work with the production team. So it happened to be 10 minutes from my parents’ house. And I had thought, you know, I had sort of felt this pressure to like move into the city or, you know, kind of like get out of there.
Kelly Cobb (11:52):
But I was happy being there and it was a start commute. So I thought, I’ll see how Elsie or this goes. And my boss then who’s still a very, very close by now really saw a lot in me and gave me a lot of responsibility. And so I was helping to coordinate all of the pieces and catalog production, like working with the buyers and the creative team and going on photo shoots and just helping to be that sort of cross functional liaison to tie it all together. And a couple of years, and we were sitting in a large conference room and they made an announcement that the creative team that I was on with the New York city office and she nudged me and she said, you’re going to New York. And I said, no, I don’t want to go there.
Kelly Cobb (12:36):
And she just said, you can’t not go, this is an incredible opportunity. And I reasoned that it didn’t necessarily have to like the idea at the time, but I couldn’t not go. So I went to New York for this job and continued to do that here starting in 2008 and was mostly focused on photo shoot production, which was a really fun and exciting job, especially as a mid 20 year old, new to the city and just kind of bopping around doing photo shoots. It was great crews of people and friends that, you know, that have I’ve kept to this day. And, uh, it was wonderful until I was starting to really observe some of the producers that were quite a bit older than I was. I get super fun to do a 25 26, 27, but spa, that sort of toxicity that really kind of permeates the fashion industry in a way that I sort of felt a little bit like a warning sign to me.
Kelly Cobb (13:39):
And I was thinking, I really do love this, but I can, I can see what people are experiencing, especially after they’ve been in it for a while. And I just, I wonder if this is ultimately the right path for me and I was in a good spot. So I thought maybe I’ll just kind of see what else might be out there. I went on a number of interviews and realized with each other company that I was sort of targeting. It would have essentially just been more of the same, if not, perhaps a bit more intense, kind of on the toxicity scale. And I had this idea, I had kind of the third spiritual idea that maybe after seven years of being with this company, I was like looking around my work space. And I had a mask, so much stuff, piles and piles and catalogs and print outs.
Kelly Cobb (14:24):
And all the things is like cluttering my face. And I thought maybe if I felt less physically tied to this space, the proverbial doors would open. And then I would have a clearer sense of like where my next move might be. So I did this exercise threw away so much stuff. I could hardly move the box and I thought maybe I’ll order myself some flowers to celebrate this exercise in my pretty new space. And I came up against this issue that I had faced a number times, which is that it was hard to find a forest that didn’t cost an arm and a leg and had designs that followups kind of organic and fresh and, you know, not overly design a sort of in between. And you know, that where it would feel like a true treat that order on sell flowers. In that moment.
Kelly Cobb (15:12):
I thought maybe I could be the florist that I’m looking for. And I started drafting a business plan that afternoon. It was in July of that year, I guess, 2011. And I created a business plan to create a, uh, world service. I would work out of my apartment. The idea is to reduce overhead, fill this gap in the marketplace, uh, sources as sustainably as possible. So source on demand, they wouldn’t have a storefront to stock, which often leads to a ton of waste and also makes it harder to stock super high quality flowers. The New York city wholesale market is second largest in the world to Holland. So the access that we had here is unmatched. And I just sort of thought, I think I can do this well, you know, I had done a why, but I had this confidence that I could go for it.
Kelly Cobb (16:07):
And I had showed it to a few friends and they were like, yeah, yeah. That’s like a, like a plan. And I built a website on Shopify and, uh, just kind of went for it. So I had quit my job in fashion by labor day of that year. So just a few months later, um, totally went for it. And it was incredible. It was an education and all of the things from floral design, which I had no formal training in to navigating the farm markets, to owning a business and all of the things that went along with it. And it wasn’t a truly incredible experience. And I ended up doing that for five years. And one of the things that I kept feeling like I was coming up against was this desire to be doing something that just felt more heart aligned. I love that.
Kelly Cobb (16:51):
I, it, to got to create beautiful experiences and really connect with people through experience by creating these designs, whether it was a one off delivery or an event of some sort, but I just was really struggling with, I guess, the exchange of money for the thing I was doing, which is obviously crazy because I entered this business and I needed to make that money that I was doing so much for. Uh, and it was a tough decision, but a number of other things are going on at the time I went through a breakup that I wasn’t expecting. I was really had the opportunity to look at all of the pieces and kind of put myself together and the way that I wanted to continue on. And I thought about it and decided I really didn’t need to let it go in order to focus on something that, that felt a little bit more aligned maybe with, uh, just giving back or doing something to me, felt like it mattered a little bit more.
Kelly Cobb (17:52):
And I was having a catch-up dinner with my friend, Dave, who’s on, uh, our co-founders and our CEO. And he had over the years, talk to me about my on business and you know, all the things that I could do to help improve it. And I have self-sabotaging and I think that was another big clue that my heart just wasn’t in it in the way that it really needed to be an artifact succeed. Since I told them that I was closing the business and after dinner, or just sort of walking in the city and he said, this might be strange timing with everything, you know, that you’ve just been thinking about, but I feel like you might be the right person to help us understand what it means to build community around our mission, or do you consider interviewing for it? And I felt like extremely overwhelmed at the idea that he would even consider that I could be the right person for this.
Kelly Cobb (18:41):
And what if I credited it and that’s such a big ask and it was, it’s a thing, but so I went home and sat down and sort of meditated on it. And I just felt this rush of good bubbling up in me. And it was like, it was what he was suggesting was everything that I was seeking and could probably not have ever put a name to, you know, leading missions or a thought company holiday ever come to that. But I thought, okay, I again started this, like thinking back to my boss saying, you can’t not go, I was thinking you can’t interview, like, at least think about it and put yourself into it. So I went through the rigorous interview process and amazingly was offered the job after a number of weeks. And that was the start of it.
Enrique Alvarez (19:31):
That’s congratulations. That’s an incredible story. And thank you very much for sharing. I’m pretty sure a lot of people that are about to graduate or graduating, or just thinking about moving from one career to the other are paying closer attention due to what you just said. And before I ask you the next question, I just, I just feel like you have such an entrepreneurial spirit, right? You started the web design company, then the floral company, and you always chasing your dreams. Is there any kind of advice that you could give to people that might be a little bit younger or they’re looking for changing their careers? Something that might be helpful to them?
Kelly Cobb (20:03):
Yeah. I think when I look back the common thread and when I have these conversations with other people who are kind of we’re at the same place that I’ve now been at twice, but less than that, the fashion industry, and then the floral businesses that to take the chance to really listen to yourself, it will always feel scary. I think certainly there are a number of things a person can have lined up to ensure that they feel secure enough. And I was lucky to be in a position. I think where I am. I mean, I really didn’t. I cashed out a whole bunch of my 401k, which, you know, whoever at the time strongly suggested I did not do that, but I made a choice that that was a way that I was going to fund something that I really believed in and know, I, of course they wish they didn’t do that at the time, but you know, it also is materially meaningful then.
Kelly Cobb (20:58):
And I would have probably not been where I am today if I hadn’t gone through that whole process. So I think it takes the chance when it really feels right. And I have this conversation with folks who have quite a bit younger, like you said, maybe coming out of college and also quite a bit older that has maybe been in the same industry for quite some time. And it feels really daunting to consider how to make that switch. But I truly, truly, truly believed that if you’re really listening to what it is that you’re asking yourself for and wanting and believe in, and you really make an attempt to close that chapter, the best that you can, you’ll be truly amazed at the opportunity that you then find yourself open to. And I realized that probably does sound cliche because people say that all the time when one door closes another one opens, but I think there has to be some science around it. It’s absolutely true. You’ll look for things in a way that you wouldn’t have otherwise thought to look for them. And there’s so much out there.
Enrique Alvarez (21:59):
Yes, no. And a great advice. Very, very powerful seize opportunities. Yeah. And don’t be, don’t be scared, right. Just go for them, try risk it. If you’re really, really, really listening to yourself, which is what you said, and it seems that you actually have a pretty good self-awareness of who you are and what you want in life. And I think that’s, that’s amazing. And again, thanks for sharing. So now switching gears a little bit, like, so tell us for, for our listeners and our audience, like where does Bombas come from? What does the name mean? Um, how did the company started? What kind of like special connection do they have with homelessness? Why is it so important for them? Like tell us a bit more about the company.
Kelly Cobb (22:39):
Sure. Well, the start off on this as Latin for bumblebee, and it seemed like an appropriate name for the company, because when you think about B as, as creatures, they live and work together as a hive, they’re really, really teeny, but their contributions add up to something big and they work together for the greater good. So all of those things felt like they, that theme really encapsulates what [inaudible] core mission is. You know, it started quite small boxers, small things. We had the small goals at first, you know, to donate 1 million pairs in 10 years and working together as a hive, as we call ourselves internally and really our greater hiver entire community and customer base, we believed that we could achieve things that were much bigger than ourselves. And so this idea really was born out of a quote that Dave had seen on Facebook that said, socks are the most requested clothing item at homeless shelters.
Kelly Cobb (23:44):
Then it was posted by the salvation army. And you just sort of happened to see it also someone with great entrepreneurial spirit just thought, what if you know, what, if we can create the business that sells amazing socks to our consumer. And at the same time we’re able to fulfill this need that we thought most people probably had no idea about. You know, when we think about donating clothing, it’s like, that’s something that is pretty top of mind for a lot of people, but you kind of don’t think about the undergarments and things like socks, that where through items kind and grows to donate things like, you know, old, under an old socks. So there’s just this great need for a very large population of people, unfortunately. And the idea was to be able to help fall for that. Cool.
Enrique Alvarez (24:41):
That is amazing. Yeah. So inspiring, right.
Kristi Porter (24:45):
And a win for Facebook. And sometimes we don’t gonna to get on there because of all the negative things we see, but it turned out to be a really positive experience. So that’s incredible. Um, things I love about your website, which I feel is different from a lot of social impact companies. And, and I just love it about yours is that you have a whole page on homelessness and what it looks like to be unhoused and, um, really taking people into not just, you know, you buy a pair of, we give a pair, but really going beyond that and educating people on that community. So, um, I’m curious what you’ve personally learned, being more involved with the homelessness community or the homeless community. And what do you feel like, um, maybe you’re still some misconceptions that you can help clear up for people.
Kelly Cobb (25:30):
Sure. Yeah. And I think to give a little bit of context. So I have the honor of leading our giving team and it’s a pretty small team or a team of four at the moment. Uh, that’s entirely focused on the distribution of our donation product as well as managing volunteer events that we do internally as a team are usually able to volunteer together, barring pandemic situations. You know, it was a little bit hybrid now, virtual in person, but somewhere in between five and 10 times every month, working with our giving partners in New York city and because of virtual connectivity, able to also work with partners in communities outside of New York, which has totally been a silver lining. Uh, but giving back is so important to us as a brand. And, and that’s really ultimately what, where I sort of started with bond. This was this idea that our mission or the one drawn mission would always exist that is built in Sydney in the DNA of our company.
Kelly Cobb (26:31):
But what we saw was an opportunity for our team members to get more involved, to give back in a hands-on way. And at the time when I joined, it was like our mode of communication was always at all emails and like a text message thread that we were all on. Like all communication. There was this to everyone all the time. And that’s kind of how we thought about things. Like if there is a volunteer event everyone’s going, and there’s this such deep interest in this. And we knew that there is room to expand that both among our customer base and greater community. So all of this was really born out of firsthand experience and getting to connect. And that I think has been integral in helping us to really understand the complexities of homelessness as an issue, the numerous intersectionalities with homelessness and how to be both individuals that give back meaningfully.
Kelly Cobb (27:25):
And of course, a company that can give back meaningfully and that meant doing a ton of learning. And I think there was a well, there continues to be, but certainly at the beginning and earnest and, and attempt to allow the time. And I feel very grateful that we allowed the time to really let the first few years be a true education. And of course we’ll always continue to learn, but now five years in and through all of these experiences and giving back firsthand and really doing the work behind the scenes has felt super important. And that’s not just the giving team, but truly our entire company getting involved, even as we continue to grow, um, ensuring that everyone feels that direct connection to the work that they do every day and through these also volunteer opportunities that exist. So all of that to say, as it relates to things like misconceptions, it’s, it’s a lot that we’ve learned by doing and serving.
Kelly Cobb (28:28):
And, you know, I have a number of close friends that are experiencing homelessness that I’ve come to know through my experience. And it’s just, I mean, I’m so grateful. One of course, for their friendship and to, to be able to learn in different ways about how no two situations really look alike and how to be a better advocate and friend, and how to think about things like the language that they use, the way that we talk about things, how to really think about what support and help means, how to meet someone where they’re at. And those are things that we tried to take on as lessons and put into practice on a regular basis, and then feel the importance of being able to share that with our greater community, because it is an incredibly complex topic. It can feel very overwhelming, not sure where to start.
Kelly Cobb (29:24):
And I think that one of the biggest misconceptions is this sort of sense of other that when you see someone experiencing homelessness and you might even observe, or people listening might constantly observe even the language that’s often used, which is to say the homeless or homeless person, homeless community, and sort of labeling, labeling that person as having that identity fully. And that alone can be quite damaging. It’s hopefully something that someone only would experience for a very limited amount of time. It’s something that it’s the effect of an experience that led to this point, whether it was a comedic law, traumatic experience, lack of support network, a life event that any one of us could be subject to. And so I think this idea that we have in our heads is this picture of homelessness. There is often certainly not everyone, but kind of inherent sense of blame when we see someone in that situation.
Kelly Cobb (30:37):
And some people hold that quietly, others are unfortunately very vocal about outwardly blaming folks or homelessness, get a job. You know, why are you just sitting there, what’s wrong with you? Stop taking drugs, like things that are extremely harmful, not to mention harmfully presumptuous of a person without any kind of compassion or empathy for what, as a human they might have experienced, like have them be in this place. No one wants to be homeless. I think that’s another thing that kind of relates to the blame is that this idea that an individual that is choosing to sleep on the street essentially live on the street versus choosing the option of a shelter, wants to be there. And that’s absolutely untrue. They may prefer to be there versus be in a shelter situation, which for many reasons is actually deemed a rational choice even by service providers, because shelters can be an, especially during this past year and a half, very crowded places, hectic places sometimes are subject to violent experiences or theft.
Kelly Cobb (31:50):
There’s a lot going on. And knowing that a person, well not knowing maybe fully what a person might’ve experienced, but likely very likely some kind of life trauma that has them in the situation to begin with to then deal on top of that with a number of different folks who are all trying to process on their own, that’s not an ideal place to be. Um, and I think there’s a big misunderstanding about that as well. I mean, certainly most service providers are trying very hard to do their very best, but there’s a lot, a lot, a lot, a lot that’s wrong with the system that makes it really challenging for someone to seek the support that they need appropriately. So anyway, maybe starting to ramble a little bit, bringing it up,
Enrique Alvarez (32:33):
It’s a big, it’s a big problem, right? So very, very complex, I guess, problem that we all have to kind of, uh, play a part in the result into solving. So, no, I think this is very helpful and I think it helps the audience and help us and help people that are constantly listening. Do episodes like this one really get a much, much better understanding and appreciation. I think that’s key, right? Because, uh, the first step toward sympathy, it’s probably just understanding. And so everything that you’ve said kind of resonates with me, I’m sure it resonates with some of the listeners and I it’s important to mention it that said, I do you guys use reach 50 million, uh, in donations to homeless shelters? Is that correct?
Enrique Alvarez (33:18):
50 million. It’s like, so I, that’s incredible, incredible. It’s, it’s amazing. Um, and, and I think people can also see in real time, if they go to a website, they can see real time kind of where you guys are, you have reached so, so many different milestones. You’ve kind of come from like a, like a quote that someone read a while back to the start of the company and two things. The first question is like, when you started with this company, how big was Bombus back then? Just want to make a picture of how kind of fast you guys have grown through everyone that’s listening to us. And how big is it now maybe number of employees or,
Kelly Cobb (33:58):
Yeah, when I first started, we were a team of fewer than 20 people. We were sharing an office with actually one of our very first giving partners in our organization that listeners might now call back on my feet, which has national presence. They help folks who are experiencing homelessness, essentially get back on their feet, through the discipline of running and supportive services. So Tom D and sharing an office to now, uh, pretty close to 200 employees, I think it’s still good friends with back on my feet.
Enrique Alvarez (34:33):
No, that’s incredible. And again, going revelations, what a huge milestone, what is the next, what’s the next goal? I mean, you already reached 50 million, which is really unheard of and amazing. Uh, what’s next. And what is it what’s going to take to achieve it?
Kelly Cobb (34:50):
Excellent question. Something I think about constantly we, so yeah, fencing really in big milestone and truly kind of laughable in hindsight that we had set this goal of 1 million pairs donated in 10 years. So it’s exciting the way that things really came together and we have an incredible customer base that makes all of this possible. We truly could not do this without our customers. So they are really the ones that are donating these socks and t-shirts and underwear. And we’re so grateful to be able to facilitate those distributions on their behalf. And so at 50, yeah, we’re was looking forward, some millions that come after that in certainly we’ve, we’ve let our partners know what they can expect, you know, on a yearly basis. So we have to keep being able to answer to their request and the introduction of both t-shirt and underwear has been incredibly exciting, knowing that they’re both in number three and number two most second most requested items, respectively three third, most for t-shirts second, most are underwear.
Kelly Cobb (36:06):
So these core basics, I mean, there’s definitely this theme here and this need for a core basics, both for the material need, of course, and also to continue with the theme of providing dignity through the products that we’re able to distribute the dignity of having clean core clothing items when might not otherwise easily have access to laundry or clean clothing remains central to our vision for donation products. Um, and that’s something that we also continue to constantly check with our network of giving partners. We have over 3,500 across the U S are organizations that help to meet the needs of folks at risk at are currently experiencing homelessness and all different ways. They’re incredible. So we’re always asking them, I mean, we’re so thankful for them to leave, ask so many questions. They just always want to make sure that we’re doing right by them.
Kelly Cobb (37:02):
I mean, I feel like they, and the communities that they support are, you know, they’re my boss for the most part where, you know, I’m answering to them, my team is answering to them. We just want to make sure that were evolving in a way that continues to provide the support that they really do need. I guess, just in thinking about what’s beyond the product is so much more as a thought of like, well, if the material is good, provide this connection that maybe we weren’t really even expecting at the beginning that handing someone a pair of socks that needs a pair of socks. It’s not just about the pair of socks. I mean, yes, it, it satisfies a material need, but so often we were experiencing this, this exchange as a catalyst for connection and conversation and compassion. And that’s what we were also hearing more and more and more from our giving partners, that folks would come to them to satisfy, help satisfy a material need, but in exchange, be able to develop deeper relationships, connect to build the trust needed, to be able to then further connect someone to the support services that might help them on their next phase or to the next step.
Kelly Cobb (38:16):
And I don’t think that that can be understated. That’s been a really, really pleasant outcome of, of this commitment to this one, for one idea that there’s so much more there. And I think that’s a big part of the future too, is just understanding how to use material need for good, an item, a basic item for good, that can need to go much more.
Kristi Porter (38:40):
And even just, you brought up just, um, how it helps, uh, bring back dignity and self-worth, and that goes so much beyond, um, so simple to start with a pair of socks, but go so much deeper than that too. So it’s a, it’s an incredible way to serve people. Um, and you talked about you’re over 3,500 partners. That’s a lot of people to manage. I know that, uh, that’s a lot of your, your job entails that. So there’s clearly more organizations that serve, um, similar missions throughout the country. So how do you choose who you’re going to work with and tell us, I guess, a little bit of the best practices that likely came through some trial and error along the way to get to this stage?
Kelly Cobb (39:23):
Yeah, well, it’s funny to think back to the well trial and error, like not knowing where to even start. I guess we realized we had this mission and we were ready. We had the socks to donate. And then I think there is this moment of like, well, wait a second, do we donate? Do we start even doing the, how to do this? And amazingly a quick search lettuce to Hannah SOC based in Ohio. And they were already doing exactly that they were distributing socks to folks who needed them in the probably tri-state area. And so we connected with them and we said, Hey, we’re a bond us, and this is what we’re doing. And, you know, we would love to donate box to you. And I think there’s a little bit, we recently caught up with them. We do these virtual meet and greets with our partners on a weekly basis.
Kelly Cobb (40:18):
It’s been this really a nice way to remain connected. Um, zoom has become such a thing. It was just like, well, normally we would go in person, but it’s been great to have this outreach across the U S so anyway, we reconnected those Hannah’s socks and we’re just kind of thinking back to the early days. And they said, yeah, we remember. And we were like, what’s the catch? This seems too good to be true. And we do come up against that sometimes, but now I think that more people know who Bombus is. It’s made it a little bit easier to, you know, they get it already. They know that we’re doing what we say we’re doing. And so we, that was the question about how someone becomes a partner.
Kristi Porter (41:00):
Yeah. How you choose them and some of the trial and error along the way, which you just talked about, but obviously is it people apply or how do you choose who you’re going to work with? And you’ve asked 3,500, so sure. There’s some sort of collection process, or there’s probably a lot more that need your help. Then you can even fulfill right now so
Kelly Cobb (41:18):
Many more than we can even reach. We, we have an application that’s on our website that folks can fill out on behalf of the organization that they represent. And it’s a pretty comprehensive application, uh, to the point where we think it acts as, as a really great first check to ensure that those who are applying to receive donation, socks are fully capable of receiving them, distributing them, are doing the work that they say that they’re doing all of this to help us with the vetting process. You know, just wanting to really ensure that the organizations that we’re sending to will in fact hold up their end of the agreements and distribute them to the folks that need them. And there have been very, very, very few instances so far. I think, goodness that have been problematic. We, we work with really great organizations. One of the, one of the guidelines that we’ve been wanting to check more and more is ensuring that they offer support inclusively.
Kelly Cobb (42:24):
You know, we wouldn’t ever want a situation where someone can’t have access to an organization for some reason based on who they are. And we want to ensure that our partners are, are upholding the core values that we hold ourselves up on this. Uh, but to your point about there being so many more organizations and we’re able to meet the needs of an entire organizations are all different sizes. Our smallest partner might receive a minimum of 1000 pairs of socks per year. Our largest partner in 2019 received 1 million pairs of socks with a national presence and a distribution network of their own. And, uh, what we call subpartners when an organization that we distribute to also has partners of their own. So they then also receive the donation products and that, you know, they’re vetting for those. And so that’s kind of also been an incredible thing that we didn’t really realize it would happen at first, but to see the collaboration and community cooperation there sharing needed items has been really neat.
Kelly Cobb (43:29):
So beyond the 3,500, who threw in all kinds of ways, you know, like I said, from small to large and, uh, they could be a town library that folks might not think about as the service center, but very often that’s a great place for someone experiencing homelessness to go and have some quiet time access to the internet. We had bug, you know, just have an indoor place to be for awhile. So a lot of libraries often find themselves bringing in connection to social services and having something like socks on hand for someone to come in and pick up, and then maybe connect in a deeper way is the type of thing that we’ve been learning through experience. So title one schools, of course, what you think of as a standard overnight shelter, all different types of transitional programming that help with various intersections of homelessness to meet different needs, uh, food insecurity, organizations that focus on food insecurity and food service. There are so many different ways that these organizations are connecting and we’re very happy to support any of them knowing that these are, these are the individuals that they’re working with and that we want to ensure we’re getting donation product to. But yeah, we currently have over 4,000 organizations on our wait list.
Kelly Cobb (44:52):
That’s amazing. Yeah, amazing. So long as we can, I think find ways to begin to help them in a bigger way. And I think two of the considerations are one from an inventory perspective. One of the things that we want to make sure we’re continuing to do is provide a consistency for our existing network of giving partners. We learned how much it means to the organization, staff themselves, to be able to count on what they’ve received in the past and know that we’ll be able to answer their needs and their, to their needs each year, so that they can then say alleviate budget that might have previously gone to things like foster underwear and apply it to something else. And they just learned about all kinds of amazing ways that, or been able to reallocate budget, which also isn’t something that we had really even considered that first, but it says kind of happy outcome or something that they can now count on.
Kelly Cobb (45:48):
And also for the relationship building side, having partners remain a part of the network year after year has been a great way for us to deepen that trust and relationship building and be able to learn from them and in more and more impactful ways. Um, and then, yeah, just like managing the relationships between that many organizations is also a wonderful challenge. And so figuring out how to onboard more partners, bring them off the wait list as our inventory increases, and also continue to have great relationships as much as we can beyond it, feeling a little, you know, it’s transactional by nature, but we want it to feel as personal as possible.
Enrique Alvarez (46:33):
No, that makes, that makes sense. And it’s definitely, definitely a good challenge to have, to have so many people actually wanting to be part of such an amazing, um, organization that you guys have built and, and that everyone’s supporting through your partners and the community and everything. So once again, congratulations, congratulations. It’s been very, very, uh, interesting to hear a little bit more about you guys and to listen to what you had to say and, um, for all those, um, I guess companies out there, or some of those, uh, listeners that are out there that are trying, or starting a chargeable and they should div, uh, what would be like your top two, uh, advise as far as you start selecting the costs and once they have the cost, how, how should they carry it out? So that it’s intentional and purpose driven, like, like bombed buses,
Kelly Cobb (47:23):
Great questions. And it’s so nice to see so many large companies now feeling a true responsibility is to be able to take on a cause and really commit to it. And I do talk to folks about that a bit. And I think one of the most important things is to pick something that really feel true too. Your company’s purpose and is an answer to a problem that you’ve observed or no. And how can the infrastructure that your company represents these a solution for us? It’s pretty direct. We, we make consumers, we make songs for our consumers. There’s a great need from a population that doesn’t have access to them. It aligns quite well. I know that that won’t always be exactly the case for every company, but there’s also so much to be said for the skills that one or what a group of people who are part of a company inherently have, and the way that skills can be put these in a really meaningful way.
Kelly Cobb (48:29):
I think sometimes it’s overlooked. Like there’s this idea that it needs to be like a material once on or a monetary donation, but I think skills based offerings are becoming are increasingly needed and something that’s like not fully been tapped into yet. So I think that’s one way to look at it is what are you good at? What you care about? Pick the thing that feels true, you know, it can be really easy to get distracted. And I think we, you know, it’s seen lots of different ways that companies do give back and all different kinds of ways, but trying to remain true to purpose and establishing something that truly is meaningful and that the company can get behind. If it’s a small company, maybe it’s a decision that’s being made together among the employees and leadership and what we care about, what are we good at?
Kelly Cobb (49:17):
Where could we leave our mark? What would we want to do? And then how could the people who are doing it every day? You know, there’s so much that we didn’t know about. And didn’t pretend to know when we, when we started to donate socks and we really counted on these organizations for doing the incredibly challenging work every day and did our very best to fit, keep up as much as we could with our own firsthand experience, but really relying on the experts in the area that you’re trying to assist, don’t assume that you know, anything ever, ever really, you know, like constantly learn and be committed to learning and, and, and deferring to the, the experts in the space while bringing the expertise that you yourselves represent, um, and being willing to continue to evolve with that. And also just one, I guess, a third piece would just be the importance of internal buy-in and adoption of a cause.
Kelly Cobb (50:17):
I think if we didn’t have an internal culture that as supportive and compassionate and people centric, as we do, it would have more challenging to adopt an outward facing mission that’s based on those things. So while it might be harder to retrofit an entire internal culture, especially if it’s a very large established company, I think that that’s a really important step, even if it starts small beginning to ensure that you’re embodying what it is that you’re putting out there, both from like a consumer talking to consumers, there’s obviously big detectors out there. You know, it’ll eat it, won’t, it’ll fall flat and it’s not, and it’s not genuine. And, you know, uh, a truly holistic part of the day to day that’s,
Enrique Alvarez (51:06):
Um, that’s something like it’s very important. Most people probably forget about it, right? It’s just the company that’s actually trying to drive. This initiatives have to, has to truly have the, the, the costs at heart. And they have to really, all the employees have to buy into the culture and it’s, it’s critical. And, and, and that’s, you said it right. It’s easier if you start, when you’re starting a company, when you’re smaller, when you’re 20 people gathered together in one office shared office, as opposed to when you’re already 200, 300, maybe a thousand employees, and all of a sudden you want to do something nice and good. Well, maybe not. Everyone’s going to be in agreeance with that, but no, that’s, that’s great. Thank you so much for sharing that advice. And thank you. Thank you so much for sharing your story as well. Yeah.
Kristi Porter (51:49):
I, the other thing that I love that you mentioned early on is, um, just the importance of listening to the people that you’re trying to help and the experts that are already in that area. I think the other difficult thing is if you do have an established company that wants to do some sort of charitable initiative, short-term long-term whatever, at that point, they’re ready to get started. They’re ready to dive in. They’re ready to throw resources at it. And so to say, okay, if we’re actually going to do this well, which has had obviously been critical to your success, then you stop to listen to the right people. You didn’t just start setting up shop on a street corner and handing out socks. You had to find the experts and really connect with the people that you wanted to help in anything. That’s a really hard thing to do that.
Kristi Porter (52:34):
Obviously you guys took the time to do it well, and to really, um, establish that model. And that’s been a big part of your success and it makes it very genuine in the way people connect with you as well. That, um, they’re not just doing something good, but they are supporting a company that really has an aim to change the world. So thanks for all you’ve been doing. And as we wrap up here, you guys have 4,000 potential partners on a waiting list. So how can we sell some more socks and shirts and underwear? Where do people go and tell us what to do to take the next step to support? Yes,
Kelly Cobb (53:07):
I’m incredible. Well, our website is bombus.com B O M B a s.com. And actually, if someone wanted to take it a step further beyond just seeing a customer, and I don’t mean that lightly, certainly not just being best friends, every sock sold their t-shirt or underwear know absolutely donating one on the other side. So everything counts, but also on our website is a giving back page, which speaks a little bit more to our mission, digs into some common misconceptions, takes it a little bit further beyond some of the topics that we covered today. And there’s also a giving directory, which if a visitor to the site puts in their zip code, it’ll come back with giving partners and their geographical area, which I think it’s pretty cool. So if someone did want to get involved in a hands-on way or just have a better understanding of the organization, that our product is going to, they can do a third that way. And we’re also always sharing lots of content on our social channels, particularly on Instagram, which is the third thing on this on Instagram. And there’s all these neat ways to get involved right now are doing a running festival actually, and supportive back on my feet. So they mentioned, um, so that’s, that’s an exciting way to kind of tire performance running product and do a really nice give back mission. So anyone can get involved in that at the virtual running festival for the whole month of September. That’s a fun thing for folks to join to
Kristi Porter (54:41):
Boost in your day. Then just go watch the website.
Kelly Cobb (54:49):
I don’t disagree. I love watching it too
Enrique Alvarez (54:53):
Well, Kelly, thank you so much, Christie grey. This has been an amazing conversation with you. Thank you for giving us the time and the opportunity to learn a little bit more about Bombus to learn a little bit more about your costs and your history. And of course, the bright future that I’m sure your organization has your community has and your partner staff. And of course, if you enjoy this conversation as much as Christy and I did, please sign, sign in, sign up for logistics, with purpose. Uh, we would love to continue talking to people like Kelly and, uh, like organizations like Bombus that are truly making a possibly impact in this world. Do you Kelly, and to your team and to everyone that kind of works really hard at Bombas. Thank you so much for what you do. Thank you for leading by example. And I really, really hope that everyone runs and tries to help your costs as quickly as possible. And they actually participate in all this different activities that you have planned for them in September and going forward as well. Thank you so much.
Kelly Cobb (55:55):
Thank you so much. That’s a great opportunity to get to talk about all of this with you all. So I really appreciate it.
Kelly Cobb leads the company’s mission to help those in need by donating a specially designed item for every item purchased. She also engages the Bombas team and community members in volunteer opportunities that further their connection with individuals experiencing homelessness. Before joining Bombas, Kelly owned a floral studio for 5 years. Connect with Kelly on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kelly-ann-cobb/
WEBINAR- State of the Supply Chain Report – Priorities for Building Resiliency in Your Supply Network
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.
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.
Data Analytics and Metrics Intern
Patch is a fourth-year Management Information Systems and Marketing major at the University of Georgia. He is working with Supply Chain Now in data analysis, finding insights and best practices to increase company efficiency. Patch previously worked as an intern at AnswerRocket, a data analytics company where he gained invaluable knowledge about analytics, webpage SEO and B2B marketing best practices. In his free time, he enjoys playing tennis, going to concerts, and watching movies.
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.
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.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Allison Krache Giddens has been with Win-Tech, a veteran-owned small business and aerospace precision machine shop, for 15 years, recently buying the company from her mentor and Win-Tech’s Founder, Dennis Winslow. She and her business partner, John Hudson now serve as Co-Presidents, leading the 33-year old company through the pandemic.
She holds undergraduate degrees in psychology and criminal justice from the University of Georgia, a Masters in Conflict Management from Kennesaw State University, a Masters in Manufacturing from Georgia Institute of Technology, and a Certificate of Finance from the University of Georgia. She also holds certificates in Google Analytics, event planning, and Cybersecurity Risk Management from Harvard online. Allison founded the Georgia Chapter of Women in Manufacturing and currently serves as Treasurer. She serves on the Chattahoochee Technical College Foundation Board as its Secretary, the liveSAFE Resources Board of Directors as Resource Development Co-Chair, and on the Leadership Cobb Alumni Association Board as Membership Chair and is also a member of Cobb Executive Women. She is on the Board for the Cobb Chamber of Commerce’s Northwest Area Councils. Allison runs The Dave Krache Foundation, a non-profit that helps pay sports fees for local kids in need.
Principal, Supply Chain Now
Host of Supply Chain Now and TECHquila Sunrise
When rapid-growth technology companies, venture capital and private equity firms are looking for advisory, they call Greg – a founder, board director, advisor and catalyst of disruptive B2B technology and supply chain. An insightful visionary, Greg guides founders, investors and leadership teams in creating breakthroughs to gain market exposure and momentum – increasing overall company esteem and valuation.
Greg is a founder himself, creating Blue Ridge Solutions, a Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader in cloud-native supply chain applications, and bringing to market Curo, a field service management solution. He has also held leadership roles with Servigistics (PTC) and E3 Corporation (JDA/Blue Yonder). As a principal and host at Supply Chain Now, Greg helps guide the company’s strategic direction, hosts industry leader discussions, community livestreams, and all in addition to executive producing and hosting his original YouTube channel and podcast, TEChquila Sunrise.
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.
Host of TEKTOK
If there’s one Supply Chain ‘Pro to Know,’ it’s Karin. She’s earned the title for three years and counting – culminating in her designation as the “2020 Supply Chain Pro to Know of the Year.” Karin is also an award-winning digital supply chain, business strategy and technology marketing executive. A sought-after speaker at industry conferences, you will find her quoted in a variety of supply chain publications – and active in forums like ASCM/APICS and CSCMP.
With more than 25 years of supply chain experience, Karin spearheaded strategy and marketing for Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader and IDC MarketScape Leader, Logility. Karin has the heart of a teacher and has helped nearly 1,000 customers transform their businesses and tell their success stories. Today, she is a sought-after advisor helping high-growth B2B technology companies with everything from defining their unique value propositions to introducing new products and capturing customer success. No matter their goals, she makes sure her clients have actionable marketing strategies that help grow global revenue, market share and profitability.
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 Cisco, Microsoft, 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 University, O’Reilly Media, LinkedIn Learning, and Pluralsight. Mr. Jackson retired from the U.S. Navy in 1994, earning specialties in Space Systems Engineering, Carrier 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.
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.
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’.
Host, Veteran Voices
Mary Kate Soliva is transitioning from active duty in the US Army. 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.
Jeff Miller is the host of Supply Chain Now’s Supply Chain is the Business. Jeff is a digital business transformation and supply chain advisor with deep expertise in Industry 4.0, ERP, PLM, SCM, IoT, AR and related technologies. Through more than 25 years of industry and consulting experience, he has worked with many of the world’s leading product and service companies to achieve their strategic business and supply chain goals, creating durable business value for organizations at the forefront of technology and business practices. Jeff is the managing director for North America at Transition Technologies PSC, a global solution integrator, and the founder and managing principal of BTV Advisors, a firm that helps companies secure business transformation value from digital supply chain technologies and their breakthrough capabilities.
Chief Marketing Officer
Amanda is a marketing veteran and entrepreneur with over 15 years of experience across a variety of industries and organizations including Von Maur, Anthropologie, AmericasMart Atlanta, and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. In 2016, Amanda founded and grew the Magnolia Marketing Group into a successful digital media firm, and now she develops modern marketing strategies, social campaigns, innovative operational processes, and implements creative content initiatives for Supply Chain Now. But that’s just the beginning of her supply chain impact. Amanda also served as the VP of Information Systems and Webmaster on the Board of Directors for APICS Savannah for several years, and is the face behind the scenes welcoming you to every Supply Chain Now livestream! She was also recently selected as one of the Top 100 Women in Supply Chain by Supply Chain Digest and IBM. When she’s not leading the Supply Chain Now marketing team, you can find Amanda with her and her husband Scott’s three kids, in the kitchen cooking, or reading.
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.
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.
Host of Dial P for Procurement
Billy Taylor is a Proven Business Excellence Practitioner and Leadership Guru with over 25 years leading operations for a Fortune 500 company, Goodyear. He is also the CEO of LinkedXL (Excellence), a Business Operating Systems Architecting Firm dedicated to implementing sustainable operating systems that drive sustainable results. Taylor’s achievements in the industry have made him a Next Generational Lean pacesetter with significant contributions.
An American business executive, Taylor has made a name for himself as an innovative and energetic industry professional with an indispensable passion for his craft of operational excellence. His journey started many years ago and has worked with renowned corporations such as The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. (GT) leading multi-site operations. With over 3 decades of service leading North America operations, he is experienced in a deeply rooted process driven approach in customer service, process integrity for sustainability.
A disciple of continuous improvement, Taylor’s love for people inspires commitment to helping others achieve their full potential. He is a dynamic speaker and hosts "The Winning Link," a popular podcast centered on business and leadership excellence with the #1 rated Supply Chain Now Network. As a leadership guru, Taylor has earned several invitations to universities, international conferences, global publications, and the U.S. Army to demonstrate how to achieve and sustain effective results through cultural acceptance and employee ownership. Leveraging the wisdom of his business acumen, strong influence as a speaker and podcaster Taylor is set to release "The Winning Link" book under McGraw Hill publishing in 2022. The book is a how-to manual to help readers understand the management of business interactions while teaching them how to Deine, Align, and Execute Winning in Business.
A servant leader, Taylor, was named by The National Diversity Council as one of the Top 100 Diversity Officers in the country in 2021. He features among Oklahoma's Most Admired CEOs and maintains key leadership roles with the Executive Advisory Board for The Shingo Institute "The Nobel Prize of Operations" and The Association of Manufacturing Excellence (AME); two world-leading organizations for operational excellence, business development, and cultural learning. He is also an Independent Director for the M-D Building Products Board, a proud American manufacturer of quality products since 1920.
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.
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.
Sales and Marketing Coordinator
Katherine is a marketing professional and MBA candidate who strives to unite her love of people with a passion for positive experiences. Having a diverse background, which includes nonprofit work with digital marketing and start-ups, she serves as a leader who helps people live their most creative lives by cultivating community, order, collaboration, and respect. With equal parts creativity and analytics, she brings a unique skill set which fosters refining, problem solving, and connecting organizations with their true vision. In her free time, you can usually find her looking for her cup of coffee, playing with her puppy Charlie, and dreaming of her next road trip.
Ben Harris is the Director of Supply Chain Ecosystem Expansion for the Metro Atlanta Chamber. Ben comes to the Metro Atlanta Chamber after serving as Senior Manager, Market Development for Manhattan Associates. There, Ben was responsible for developing Manhattan’s sales pipeline and overall Americas supply chain marketing strategy. Ben oversaw market positioning, messaging and campaign execution to build awareness and drive new pipeline growth. Prior to joining Manhattan, Ben spent four years with the Georgia Department of Economic Development’s Center of Innovation for Logistics where he played a key role in establishing the Center as a go-to industry resource for information, support, partnership building, and investment development. Additionally, he became a key SME for all logistics and supply chain-focused projects. Ben began his career at Page International, Inc. where he drove continuous improvement in complex global supply chain operations for a wide variety of businesses and Fortune 500 companies. An APICS Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP), Ben holds an Executive Master’s degree in Business Administration (EMBA) and bachelor’s degree in International Business (BBA) from the Terry College at the University of Georgia.
Host, The Freight Insider
Prior to joining TeamOne Logistics, Page Siplon served as the Executive Director of the Georgia Center of Innovation for Logistics, the State’s leading consulting resource for fueling logistics industry growth and global competitiveness. For over a decade, he directly assisted hundreds of companies to overcome challenges and capitalize on opportunities related to the movement of freight. During this time, Siplon was also appointed to concurrently serve the State of Georgia as Director of the larger Centers of Innovation Program, in which he provided executive leadership and vision for all six strategic industry-focused Centers. As a frequently requested keynote speaker, Siplon is called upon to address a range of audiences on unique aspects of technology, workforce, and logistics. This often includes topics of global and domestic logistics trends, supply chain visibility, collaboration, and strategic planning. He has also been quoted as an industry expert in publications such as Forbes, Journal of Commerce, Fortune, NPR, Wall Street Journal, Reuters, American Express, DC Velocity, Area Development Magazine, Site Selection Magazine, Inbound Logistics, Modern Material Handling, and is frequently a live special guest on SiriusXM’s Road Dog Radio Show. Siplon is an active industry participant, recognized by DC Velocity Magazine as a “2012 Logistics Rainmaker” which annually identifies the top-ten logistics professionals in the Nation; and named a “Pro to Know” by Supply & Demand Executive Magazine in 2014. Siplon was also selected by Georgia Trend Magazine as one of the “Top 100 Most Influential Georgians” for 2013, 2014, and 2015. He also serves various industry leadership roles at both the State and Federal level. Governor Nathan Deal nominated Siplon to represent Georgia on a National Supply Chain Competitiveness Advisory Committee, where he was appointed to a two-year term by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce and was then appointed to serve as its vice-chairman. At the State level, he was selected by then-Governor Sonny Perdue to serve as lead consultant on the Commission for New Georgia’s Freight and Logistics Task Force. In this effort, Siplon led a Private Sector Advisory Committee with invited executives from a range of private sector stakeholders including UPS, Coca-Cola, The Home Depot, Delta Airlines, Georgia Pacific, CSX, and Norfolk Southern. Siplon honorably served a combined 12 years in the United States Marine Corps and the United States Air Force. During this time, he led the integration of encryption techniques and deployed cryptographic devices for tactically secure voice and data platforms in critical ground-to-air communication systems. This service included support for all branches of the Department of Defense, multiple federal security agencies, and aiding NASA with multiple Space Shuttle launches. Originally from New York, Siplon received both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in electrical and computer engineering with a focus on digital signal processing from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He earned an associate’s degree in advanced electronic systems from the Air Force College and completed multiple military leadership academies in both the Marines and Air Force. Siplon currently lives in Cumming, Georgia (north of Atlanta), with his wife Jan, and two children Thomas (19) and Lily (15).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Host, Supply Chain Now
The founder of Logistics Executive Group, Kim Winter delivers 40 years of executive leadership experience spanning Executive Search & Recruitment, Leadership Development, Executive Coaching, Corporate Advisory, Motivational Speaking, Trade Facilitation and across the Supply Chain, Logistics, 3PL, E-commerce, Life Science, Cold Chain, FMCG, Retail, Maritime, Defence, Aviation, Resources, and Industrial sectors. Operating from the company’s global offices, he is a regular contributor of thought leadership to industry and media, is a professional Master of Ceremonies, and is frequently invited to chair international events.
He is a Board member of over a dozen companies throughout APAC, India, and the Middle East, a New Zealand citizen, he holds formal resident status in Australia and the UAE, and is the Australia & New Zealand representative for the UAE Government-owned Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZA), the Middle East’s largest Economic Free Zone.
A triathlete and ex-professional rugby player, Kim is a qualified (IECL Sydney) executive coach and the Founder / Chairman of the successful not for profit humanitarian organization, Oasis Africa (www. oasisafrica.org.au), which has provided freedom from poverty through education to over 8000 mainly orphaned children in East Africa’s slums. Kim holds an MBA and BA from Massey & Victoria Universities (NZ).
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.
Sales Support Intern
Alex is pursuing a Marketing degree and a Certificate in Legal Studies at the University of Georgia. As a dual citizen of both the US and UK; Alex has studied abroad at University College London and is passionate about travel and international business. Through her coursework at the Terry College of Business, Alex has gained valuable skills in digital marketing, analytics, and professional selling. She joined Supply Chain Now as a Sales Support Intern where she assists the team by prospecting and qualifying new business partners.