What does it take to turn an idea into an organization that makes a difference? Jeff Shinabarger would be the one to ask. He founded Plywood People, an Atlanta nonprofit leading a community of startups doing good. In this episode, he shares some of the Plywood process with Enrique and Kristi, along with his views on the current landscape of the nonprofit world. Tune in to hear how business quizzes, Robert Redford, and leftover gift cards all played a key role in shaping this prolific author and social entrepreneur.
Welcome to logistics with purpose presented by vector global logistics in partnership with supply chain. Now we spotlight and celebrate organizations who are dedicated to creating a positive impact. Join us for this behind the scenes glimpse of the origin stories, change making progress and future plans of organizations who are actively making a difference. Our goal isn’t just to entertain you, but to inspire you to go out and change the world. And now here’s today’s episode of logistics with purpose
Enrique Alvarez (00:34):
;Good day, and welcome back to another very interesting and exciting episode of logistics with purpose. My name’s Enrique Alvarez and I’m super happy to have not only an amazing guest today, but I have the opportunity to, uh, have a great co-host. Uh, Hey Kristi, how are you doing today?
Kristi Porter (00:50):
Hey Enrique, I’m doing great. I’m excited. I’m a long time fan of today’s guest. So this is gonna be a terrific conversation. And, um, we love spreading the word about more people’s good work. So this is gonna be a great opportunity to do that.
Enrique Alvarez (01:03):
Absolutely. How’s your week going so far? Anything what’s been your highlight? Uh,
Kristi Porter (01:08):
Oh gosh, far, probably the better weather it’s cooler than it was last week. And that’s always a good thing here in Atlanta.
Enrique Alvarez (01:14):
<laugh> and rained a lot yesterday, a lot of thunderstorms, but, um, anyways, uh, I’m super excited, thankful to having the guests that we have. Do you wanna go ahead and introduce our guests?
Kristi Porter (01:24):
Yeah. So today’s guest is Jeff Shinabarger, um, local Atlanta legend, and word spreading quickly. So he is the founder and executive director of plywood. So welcome Jeff.
Jeff Shinabarger (01:36):
It’s great to be here. Thanks for inviting me to hang out with all your friends. This is, uh, this is gonna be good.
Kristi Porter (01:42):
Of course. Well, you’re up to a lot of good things. Um, we like to talk about good things, so, and you have no less than a hundred things going on at any point in time. So we’ll get through this as best as we can, but we’re excited to introduce more people to plywood. Um, and yeah, it’s, it’s gonna be a great conversation and we also have some great calls to action if people want to meet you and us in person. So that will be a lot of fun too. But before we jump into plywood, which I will preview is nothing to do with lumber. <laugh> uh, we will first talk about, um, your background. Just tell us a little bit more about you. Um, I, I know I’ve known you professionally for well over a decade, but I actually probably don’t know that much about you personally, either. So this is a good learning opportunity for me as well. So tell me more about, uh, where you grew up in your childhood.
Jeff Shinabarger (02:30):
Yeah, I, I grew up in Lansing, Michigan, and, uh, so I’m not from the south. I’ve been in the south now for, I guess, 18 years, but apparently I’m not Southern still. It doesn’t matter how long I’m here. <laugh>, uh, my kids are Southern, but I’m not Southern. And, um, yeah, I grew up, I was a, my dad was a pastor. I spent a lot of time at our church, but one of the unique stories I think I remember growing up and I always had ideas. My parents encouraged my ideas as even though they were crazy. And I think it definitely transpired into who I am today because I, uh, I gained the courage to try stuff. And I remember when I was man, I was in elementary school, maybe third or fourth grade. And I met this guy, uh, named I think his name was Kevin Rose.
Jeff Shinabarger (03:18):
I was thinking about that this morning, Kevin Rose. And he, he loved to build things and he, uh, he would build all, all kinds of things like furniture and stuff like that. And I was talking to him one day and I’m like learning about what he is doing. And instantly, I remember getting an idea really early on and I was like, you build things, I have a lemonade stand <laugh> what if you built me like the most epic lemonade stand he’s like, what are you talking about? And he’s like, I went and got a piece of paper and drew this, like literally epic lemonade stand. It had, it’s all made out of, out of wood. The, it had a roof on it that this roof that came down, it had wood shingles on it. Wow. And it had, you know, casters on the bottom so I could roll it in and out of our garage. And I drew it all out and he’s like, let’s do it. And I remember, so I had the most epic lemonade stand in fourth grade and it was just like, I think, I think early on I had these ideas and people that were willing to, um, go after it with me, you know? And, and as part of probably how I became who I am today, honestly, early on.
Kristi Porter (04:30):
Were you able to charge premium prices for that? Lemonade is the question <laugh>
Jeff Shinabarger (04:35):
Well, I lead a nonprofit now. I think I had that mindset back then too. <laugh>
Enrique Alvarez (04:41):
Yeah. Did you get all
Jeff Shinabarger (04:42):
This, a dollar dollar, a cup, I think is what I, what I charged. Yeah.
Enrique Alvarez (04:46):
Did you get, uh, all this probably from someone in your family, maybe you parents, I mean, where, where do you see yourself kind of getting all this? Uh, it seems like, uh, you’re good with people, right? You’re you’re, you you’re connect with people easily and, and you, you can, can build, uh, relationships quite easily as well. So do you, where do you think you, can you get this
Jeff Shinabarger (05:08):
From? Yeah, I mean, the relational side is definitely from, from my dad. He, uh, you know, he would meet people at church on a Sunday morning. My mom used to make a roast beef every Sunday morning. She’d stick it in the, stick it in the oven before church. And, and based on how many people my dad would invite home to have lunch with us, we would cut it either, you know, smaller pieces or bigger pieces. And <laugh>, there was just always people around us and, and had to quickly learn how to, how to make relationships. That’s always been, been part of my life, but I, I will say, um, the mind, the business mind that I have the creative mind. Definitely. I learned a lot of that from my brother. My brother-in-law, his name’s Mike Warren, who is, uh, outside of grand rapids now. And, um, he, uh, he definitely taught me a lot around the marketing and creative side of things, how to look at businesses and how it, how it works and how does it sustain. And he would bring up these ideas with me. I remember just doing life with him. I had three older sisters, they all got married before I was even in high school. So I spent a lot of time with my brother-in-laws and he, he was one that definitely taught me a lot early on, helped me see, um, see how to turn these ideas and make ’em into sustainable concepts. And, um, so I, I owe a lot of people in my life, um, to these ideas.
Kristi Porter (06:27):
Yeah, really fantastic. Um, to have that kind of mentorship growing up from both the lemonade stand and your own family. It’s amazing. And I know you’re also big, um, and you’re very public about reflection and self improvement and introspection. You’re a natural introvert. So let’s look back a little bit. If you could talk to your young self or your 21 year old self, as you’re just getting started in your career, what do you wish that little Jeff had known?
Jeff Shinabarger (06:53):
Yeah. That’s a hard question to answer. I mean, it’s funny. I asked that question to other people and I, I probably don’t wanna be asked that question, but, uh, you know, I think one thing that I’ve learned over time is that I even talked about this this past year and event. I hosted, I, I feel like when you’re leading things, um, you feel the weight of the work mm-hmm <affirmative>, and there’s probably people listening that whether, whether it’s in your job or maybe it’s the weight of your family, or maybe it’s, um, I there’s things that happen in life. And we take on that responsibility for me. I, I tend to, my wife can recognize in me where my shoulders start to rise up, cause I just start getting stressed and worried. And, and I used to call it stress. Now I call it anxiety, which is probably the right term.
Jeff Shinabarger (07:44):
Um, and so I think all the things that I get involved in, I feel the responsibility for it to be great. And, um, sometimes that leads to unsustainable life, you know, um, and sometimes the weight of our work is so heavy. It’s not fair, uh, to carry that alone. And so I think over time, I, I have learned and I’m continually telling myself, um, that the story I tell myself might not be true. The, the, the, the better story is that I can share this with other people and that it’s not all on my shoulders to carry. Um, so I think if I, I wish I would’ve learned that earlier. Um, I think, I think I would’ve invited some people along the journey with me in probably a more sustainable way.
Kristi Porter (08:30):
And what does that look like as you try and live that out?
Jeff Shinabarger (08:32):
Yeah, well, the truth is about two years ago. Um, so organizations called ply with people. We, we, we work with startups doing good. And, uh, in the midst of the journey that we’ve been on, I, I was working on a project to open up as a co-working space that we now call fly place. It’s open. It operates. Um, I was fundraising. I was working with architects to design it, working with our team to get it done, arguing with the city around, you know, the code, arguing with the, you know, the contractor to work faster while still, still trying to raise the money while taking a loan out with the bank, without all the commitments. It was like everything made stand was
Enrique Alvarez (09:16):
Jeff Shinabarger (09:17):
<laugh> yes, everything was happening at once. We were doing our big event that we’d call ply presents. And it was, I had gotten here early to open up the doors for the people were gonna make coffee that morning. And I found myself, uh, my, my assistant Kayla, she found me in the green room of the building we were at. And I, I had a breakdown. I mean, I, um, yeah, I was on the floor of the green room at Monday night brewing garage and just fallen apart. I mean, I was weeping and just did it. It all overtook me, you know? And so when you say, like, how do I deal with that at, at that moment? I wasn’t dealing with it very well. <laugh> I, but it was the first time I had really been taken over by the anxiety of all the responsibility of all the weight on my shoulders and, and some of that weight, other people put on me and it’s unneeded expectation, but a lot of that is expectations.
Jeff Shinabarger (10:16):
I put on myself mm-hmm <affirmative>. And so I’m really thankful that Kayla found me that morning, because I think not only is she an incredible coworker, but she’s a, she’s a friend and she cared and, and was there for me. My wife walked with me in the midst of that. And then I had some really close friends that were like, Hey, what do we need to do for you to get healthy? You know? And, um, so I went through a process and I’m still going through a process to learn more about that. What can I handle, what should I feel responsible for and what should I not feel responsible for? Yeah. Um, and, and it’s a question we keep asking, I think with, with close people,
Enrique Alvarez (10:57):
Mm-hmm, <affirmative>, it’s a very, uh, very important topic in general, and I’m pretty sure that a lot of people can relate to that feeling, that anxiety, that kind of, uh, sometimes despair, that kind of, uh, life has thrown at us. So, no, thank you so much, Jeff, for sharing a little bit, but taking a couple steps back and, uh, jumping to your professional journey right before you, uh, had the most amazing lemonade stand. Uh, what else did you do? What was your career path? And of course, for everyone else out there listening to us, we will get to play with people in a second. I know that everyone’s also a little bit anxious to do that, but tell us a bit more about yourself, uh, in regards to your professional career.
Jeff Shinabarger (11:38):
Yeah, I, my, uh, I mentioned my dad earlier. He was a, when I was one years old, he was an assistant pastor for a guy named John Maxwell. John was, um, at that time, nobody knew who he was. He had taken over this church. My dad was his first hire. Uh, John Maxwell was a leadership legend, I guess. I don’t know he was a leadership guru. He, he knew me when I was in diapers. And, um, but in the midst that my dad was worked with him for one year, and then a few years later, John started writing his books on leadership. And so my dad was kind of knew all of his theories and principles. And some, sometimes my dad would go on the road with him and sell his books and stand in the back. Well, so the true story is my dad would go and go on these events and he’d bring back a box of books and he’d get pass ’em out to me and my sisters.
Jeff Shinabarger (12:27):
And he would say, I’ll give you $10 to read this book. Oh, and you have to highlight it and underline it and give me a one page report. <laugh> wow. And this is how we got an allowance early on in life. It’s funny, cuz it, not everyone believes in allowances. Maybe that’s a privileged thing. I don’t know, but we had to do a little work. So, but what we learned is that my dad never read any of the books. <laugh> he? Would he read the wine page? You were the cliff notes. Yes, it’s true. If he was on he, he would probably fight back. He’s like, well, I read someone, but anyway, he, in general he would get cliff notes. Jeff’s notes, whatever. Yes. Uh, that’s such a great idea of the books and he’d is
Kristi Porter (13:08):
Taking notes for his kids. Yes.
Jeff Shinabarger (13:11):
He’d him into his sermon. And so all that to say, I read all these books at an early age. I mean really early age around leadership. And so sometimes I’d go with my dad on these, in these conferences, I’d read, I read all of John’s books and so in the back. So I would be in the back, back in the day, there used to have these tables full of books. I mean hundreds and hundreds of books and John Maxwell would be speaking. And he would, he found out that I had read all his books and he would start quizzing me on these questions early on. I mean, this is elementary school, fifth grade <laugh> and he would, so he’d stand up for, and he said, Hey, there’s a kid in the back. And he said, um, if you have any leadership question, Jeff could probably answer your question.
Jeff Shinabarger (13:52):
He might not be the perfect leader, but he knows the book that you should read according to your situation. And if you, if you stump him, he’s, you’ll get the book for free. He’ll take a book free. So he’d say that from the front, this is a true story. Wow. He’d say that from the front of the stage, there’d be four or 500 people there. So I’d be standing back there, literally on a chair behind the book table. Cause I wasn’t tall enough to see over the books on the table and people would come back and ask me questions and, and I’d be like, oh yeah, that you want, you need to read developing the leader within you. And chapter seven will teach you about this. You know? Uh, so anyway, early on, I’ve always been a part of kind of this inspirational speaking. Not that I’m the most inspirational, but I’ve heard a lot of inspirational speaking and in read books around leadership and it shaped who, who I am, what I, what I think. So when I was a freshman in college, I became an intern with John Maxwell’s organization. Um, over time led, uh, the next generation leadership conference, which is called catalyst mm-hmm <affirmative>. And, uh, kind of that kind of started, started my journey and in all the work that I do.
Kristi Porter (14:53):
That’s amazing. Um, yeah. And you were before we had online quizzes, you were that little in person quiz as well, so good for him. Um, so finally let’s get to plywood people. Let’s talk cuz that’s an incredible lead up and it lends even so much more to you now than I even knew before. And so that makes perfect sense with, um, with plywood. So nothing to do with lumber though, we have had, I know people join the Facebook group wondering about lumber. So, um, yeah. So let’s talk about what plywood people is. Um, tell us how you came up with the idea and the mission as well. Tell us a little bit more about it.
Jeff Shinabarger (15:30):
Yeah. So, um, while I was leading some of those other events, I, my wife and I launched a little project called gift card giver mm-hmm <affirmative>. And the idea on it was that the, the premise was that people had gift cards that were in their purse or wallet, um, that they’ve been holding onto since last Christmas or last birthday. And there might be like $6 on it or there might be 37 cents, but they didn’t use every penny on the gift card. And so we would start asking people to give us those gift cards and we would give them to people and organizations in need. Well, we launched this thing. It was when Facebook first started. Um, we created a Facebook page. We created a website, Google started sending us gift cards from all over the nation. Um, there’s a couple stories done on it. Quickly became national stories.
Jeff Shinabarger (16:14):
We were on CNN, all this stuff, this all happened in like six months. It was just kinda like this project on a whim. And it just took off. And we were able to give in those first couple years, about $300,000 away in unused gift cards, which is, which is crazy. It was amazing. Well, in the midst of that, people started connecting me to other people with crazy ideas like that. Um, it just happened over and over well, they’d meet with some 20 something person who had a, an idea that was at that time, really helping others in some way. And it was probably done in a creative way and see, I don’t know how to help you, but I know this guy that started this gift card thing, maybe you should go meet with him. So I would meet everyone that would email me. I’d I’d connect with him.
Jeff Shinabarger (16:57):
I’d have a call. I’d go get coffee, have a drink. I don’t know what all the things are we do. But my assistant at one point said, this is getting a little expensive because you’re meeting with all these 20 something. People, they have no money and you’re paying for all the meals that you have and all the drinks. And, and she said, what if it was her idea? Her name’s Giselle at that time? Mm-hmm <affirmative> she said, what if we got all these people together in a room? And I said, great, let’s let’s do it. Um, and so we hosted this event that we called plywood presents plywood. The reason why we named it plywood was in that time, I was going to see all these projects around the world. I, if I would get invited, I would go, we went, yeah, all different places.
Jeff Shinabarger (17:33):
And I saw plywood as a short term solution to a long term problem, um, in communities. And, and then I met all these people who were giving their lives to changing those environments and, and digging in. So anyway, I started calling ply with people launch this event called ply presents, had over 150 people, there a hundred people there. I was gonna say, were you got the first one? Yeah, I was, yep. This little studio and invited a friend who was writing at that time, writing a book called making ideas happen and later became the best seller. He shared some of his stuff. We had some stories and everyone’s leaving and then they’re like, well, what’s next? And I was like, <laugh>, that was the plan. That was, that was what we had. We had, it was, I did it. I did what’s there’s no next like this was it,
Enrique Alvarez (18:20):
Jeff Shinabarger (18:21):
Yeah. And I don’t, you may have been one of those people that said what’s next. I don’t know. And, and so we started kind of thinking about programming and environments that we could help people at, um, less, less happened in there since then. I remember in that same year though, going to Sundance film festival and sitting in a, uh, like a panel discussion around this idea called social entrepreneurship, I had never heard of this phrase and it was a panel with, and this is, sounds so crazy. Robert Redford was in this panel. He created Sundance from postal and a guy named Jeffrey skull. And I went, cuz I thought, well, I want to hear what you know, Robert Redford has to say. And this guy, Jeffrey skull, he is, he had started something called participant productions, which is at that time had created, uh, some massive films.
Jeff Shinabarger (19:12):
One was, uh, supersize me that was like the documentary about McDonald’s. It was when hotel Rwanda came out, it was like a lot of these kind of social, um, social interest, movies and participant was producing. And they started talking about this concept of social entrepreneurship, where you mix, um, you know, big societal issues with new and creative solutions to addressing the problems. And I remember I was sitting in the back row, this small classroom, it was packed, but I was in the back and it was like that moment. And I, I hope everyone has a moment like this in life where it’s like, wow, they’re say they’re giving words to something that is who I am. Mm-hmm <affirmative> like, this is why I exist in this world. They just gave definition to my purpose. And it’s like, people are talking, it’s like, it’s Robert Redford. They’re asking questions about being in some movie or whatever and I’m in the back and I’m going, whoa, this is, this is it. This is. And I remember I was like one of the last people to leave the room. I never asked them a question, but I was sitting, I, I remember my back was against this wall and I was just overwhelmed with the possibility that I could give my life to this. And um, yeah, so that was kind of the start to pilot.
Enrique Alvarez (20:29):
Wow. That’s uh, that’s an incredible story as well. And uh, definitely, uh, Eureka moment if, uh, there’s uh, one. Um, so, and I, we understand that plywood then has evolved through the years from that very first one meeting, uh, to become an amazing organization. Could you tell us a little bit more about what is it that you guys now do? Cause I know you have your podcast and you’re helping others and you have a place so that startup companies can be there. But so if you could break it down and somewhat simplify it for people that maybe have never heard of you guys, what, what are you, what kind of services, what kind of, uh, goals are you pursuing right
Jeff Shinabarger (21:05):
Now? Yeah, so plywood is a nonprofit in Atlanta that leads a community of startups doing good. Um, we’ve been around for 13 years, which means I’m getting older, I’m getting much older. <laugh> uh, we’ve been able to work with over a thousand projects. Um, I wish I could say some of that. All of them are sustaining, but when you work with startups, the first idea, isn’t always the final idea, you know? Uh, but the cool thing is it’s, we’ve worked with a thousand people, you know, I, people, um, that care at the core, I mean, if there is like a commonality with all the people we’ve worked with, I think it’s, it’s people that want more in their life than just making a paycheck, you know? Um, and that’s not to say that people don’t need to make a paycheck. They do, they have to sustain their life and all stuff, but they wanna be a part of something that’s more meaningful.
Jeff Shinabarger (21:57):
And, uh, so we’ve had to build programming around that. We do have a coworking space, um, in what the west end in Atlanta, uh, which has been really life giving. We have an event we do annually called five presents and we do programming, um, which is training that starts with a program called path, which is a six week online program leads to a, more of a boot camp, style, retreat kind of thing called foundations. And then we have groups that meet monthly called layers. And, uh, but at the core of all, this is community. I mean, most people that are leading organizations, whether that’s a nonprofit or social enterprise or even an on a general entrepreneurship program, if I was to say, what is one commonality that all of them have it’s that they’re lonely, that they feel like no one else understands what they’re going through and you get a bunch of those people together. And all of a sudden there’s, there’s a commonality and there’s deep connection. And, uh, we’ve been able to foster some of that for a lot of years.
Kristi Porter (23:05):
Yeah. I have another question I wanna ask you in just a second, but if you’ll talk a little bit more, especially since we have a global audience here and sadly not, everybody’s here in Atlanta with us, which if you wanna see us all, then we’ll all be at plywood presents in August. But, um, so I’ll do the little plug there, but then also talk a little bit more, I guess, about path since that is something somebody could do from no matter where they are. And I love, um, I can’t remember if it was you or Kayla that I was talking to a while back, or maybe you said it on stage somewhere, but back to alluding to what you just said a few minutes ago, part of, one of the metrics you guys were really proud of with path, or at least at the time was that some ideas didn’t move forward past that six weeks. And so it was a great like indication of, should somebody spend their life doing this? Is it not sustainable enough right now? And so that was one of the metrics that you guys had was it wasn’t just, is your program sustainable, let’s help you get it launched, but it was also like giving them the awareness to know this needs to be refined more before they start dumping a lot of money or time or energy into it.
Jeff Shinabarger (24:06):
Yeah. I love it. Thanks for asking about that. I mean, and you’re you’re so right. P is a six week course. It’s all online. Um, and we go through cohorts. So, uh, you do it with a group of 10 to 20 people. Um, we have a facilitator, that’s a part of it. You’ll get online once a week through zoom, but also, um, do some homework along the way and path we ask, I always kind of explain it’s like, these are the 300 questions your mom is gonna ask you that you don’t wanna answer, you know, but it’s gonna let you know if you really wanna pursue it or not. We, we work through, uh, what is the problem you’re solving? Why are you the person to solve it? Who do you need to attract to the problem? It’s questions like that? Um, it’s the starting place to launching something and maybe you’ve launched it also.
Jeff Shinabarger (24:54):
And you’re like, I just got into it and I don’t even know why I did this. You know, it might be good to go backwards in time to start to ask some of those questions. I think our next group of cohorts are starting about September 1st. We do it consistently throughout the year. You could tap in from anywhere in the world. Um, and it costs about 150 bucks. And, um, yeah, it’s like a, it’s a great starting place. Some people don’t finish it. And usually it’s because they got into it and they’re like, I don’t really want to give that much work to this project. And for us that’s success, we have, there is thousands and thousands and thousands of nonprofit organizations that live in this world that are competing for donor money, which is a weird thing to say, mm-hmm <affirmative>, we don’t just need another one.
Jeff Shinabarger (25:44):
We need ones that are gonna sustain that people are gonna give their life to, to, to pursue, or they’re gonna work really hard to make it happen. Um, and so these are programs that can kind of get you going and help you realize, like, is this something that I’d rather, you invest $150 and decide not to do it right? <laugh> than go and, um, and give up six months later, you know, so that’s a program we have. Additionally, if you’re anywhere in the world, we have two podcasts that we host. Um, that’s all free content. One is called the plywood podcast, bunch of free, awesome stuff in there. And then the other is one that I do with my wife, uh, which listen, if you listen to this other podcast, it’s called lover work. I can explain further around this, but, uh, it’s around relationships.
Jeff Shinabarger (26:29):
And we ask the question, is it possible to change the world, stay in love and raise a healthy family. It’s a question. My wife and I have been wrestling with for years. I will say, if you listen to this, you’re probably gonna fall more in love with my wife than me. You’ll think she’s way more interesting, everybody. Awesome. Everyone loves Andre, but, um, you you’ll get to know the two of us in our funny relationship and all the debates we have in life. Those are a couple things you can tap into anywhere in the world.
Kristi Porter (26:56):
Yes. And you’ve written a couple of books as well.
Jeff Shinabarger (26:59):
Kristi Porter (26:59):
Which are also great. Well, you talked about that. You’ve supported almost a thousand startups. And I remember like years ago on the stage, that was the grand vision. Let’s support a thousand. And so now you’ve, you know, surpassed that already. So, and when I think we’ve hit on it in a few ways, but in your mind, what is it that continues to set plywood people apart from other non-S that are helping people get their, you know, maybe incubators or accelerators, trying to get their ideas off the ground. And, um, let’s also look forward. What, what are some of the things you have on the horizon?
Jeff Shinabarger (27:30):
That’s a good question. You know, it’s funny you talk about a thousand, this, or you can list the projects. We don’t. Ah, that’s, that’s fine. I mean, that’s what donors probably wanna hear. That’s the big numbers, but for me, um, I keep going cuz like I get to interact with real people. Mm-hmm <affirmative> I, I think like if I, if I only thought about it in quantities and numbers, I would’ve lost complete track of why I do what I do. I mean, I, but I come into my office and I interact with Ray and Terrence and Archie and real people. Mm-hmm <affirmative>, you know, that are like hustling every day. Um, and so I think, I think, I think that’s why I, yeah, I do this work, you know, I think it’s important that it’s easy to lose track of why you got into this mm-hmm <affirmative> in the midst of sustaining it.
Jeff Shinabarger (28:26):
I, you know, I think <laugh> back when I first heard Robert Redford talk about social entrepreneurship, nobody else was talking about this. This was like a topic that was like, what? Huh? What do you mean? You can combine service and for profit and nonprofit in the middle of how does that even work from a tax standpoint? There’s all these questions people have. Well, years later, a DEC, more than a decade later now it’s like commonality and incubators are happening. Sellers are happening, all these things you asked, like what’s different about us. Um, I think all those things are really good. I think there’s people pursuing it and doing awesome stuff. Very few of them have been around as long as we have. Mm-hmm <affirmative>, there’s something really amazing about longevity. Um, especially in the startup space, like most people are trying to get in and out quick, we’ve been at this for a long time.
Jeff Shinabarger (29:17):
We’re not going anywhere. And that’s, you know, and that this is no matter what industry you’re in. You’ll you’ll always think you’ll always see something new emerging. And you’re like, maybe that thing is better, but what’s interesting is there’s something that happens when you’ve been a part of it for a long time. You see things that other people don’t see. You’re not enamored by just the new thing and I’m listen, I love new stuff. I, I love it. I’m get so excited when there’s a new press conference about Tesla, apple, or whatever. I, I don’t have a Tesla. That would be awesome. <laugh> but uh, but you know, I get excited. I, I, I love new ideas, but what I think I’ve learned, one thing I’ve learned over many years is like, just because something new exists, it doesn’t mean that it’s actually better. You know? And um, so I think what sets us apart is we’ve been around for a long time. Yeah. And, and uh, yeah, this is part of our mission. It’s not just the next great thing that we’re trying to make some money off of or something we’ve been doing it for a long time.
Enrique Alvarez (30:24):
No, it makes, um, I think it makes perfect sense, right? Because your whole idea and your whole quote unquote business model, which I would say organizational model, if you will, um, it’s based and founded on the, how much you connect with other people truly and develop this great friendship. So the more you’ve been doing it, the more friends you have, the more connections you have, the more meaningful it is. And of course it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy, which is great. So we’re, as you can tell, we’re both big, big fans of yours. I mean, no one can probably beat Christy. I’ll have to give that to her, but, uh, she is one of your major fans, but so you’ve been around social entrepreneurs and, uh, uh, entrepreneurs in general for, for many, many years, you’ve seen the trends that work, you’ve seen the trends that don’t work.
Enrique Alvarez (31:08):
You’ve been, uh, having all this program spa and some others that actually help people think through the organizations they want to build and create. Um, so have you, what have you seen? What kind of trends and, and what is like a little bit more future looking? What, what do you think the horizon for, for this new quote unquote new social entrepreneurs is, uh, with everything that we’re living right now, the, the pandemic, the Warren Ukraine, so many social, uh, differences that we’re having and, uh, on justice and all the, all the things that we’re leaving through. Um, what’s your take on all this and how do you forecast it somehow into the future? Well,
Jeff Shinabarger (31:50):
Well, that’s an easy question. Thanks for throwing that softball at
Enrique Alvarez (31:54):
Me. <laugh> you could just talk about
Jeff Shinabarger (31:56):
Enrique Alvarez (31:57):
It, five minutes gave me all the tougher questions to me. I don’t know.
Jeff Shinabarger (32:01):
Oh, just kidding. No, I love it. I love it. I, you know, I think so. It is funny. People come to me oftentimes. I mean, there’s the training we do. And then there’s the, the personal relationships we have. And I think people come to me at usually at their lowest points and their most celebratory moments, you know, and recently I’ve been able to sit with some people in some real celebratory moments, which has been really, really cool people celebrating 10 anniversary of an organization or those, one of the projects, the cooler project just celebrated 10 years of their service and work and partnership in Rwanda. But that’s amazing. Yeah. And you know, I, all those problems, it’s funny, this is where longevity plays a role. Like all those things you just listed. Yes. Yes. It’s been a really hard few years. And guess what, like, based on how things are going the last few years, it’s like, there’s gonna be something else that’s next, you know, there’s gonna be another catastrophe.
Jeff Shinabarger (32:59):
And actually, you know what, that is not new. These things have been, there’s been problems happening for decades, years, decades, hundreds of years. But in recent years, we’ve had access to the information way quicker, right? Like these things were all happening in the world, but it took some crazy documentary for us to hear about it years after it was happening. Now we know instantaneously, uh, which is good and bad. I mean, I think the thing that is transpiring a lot is that people, um, are gaining a little bit of sense of apathy and a big sense of anxiousness. You know, that just the worry that emerges is exponentially greater, cuz they’re hearing about it more and more and more with every new cycle and the new cycle prioritizes things that are problems that causes reaction. Right. And so based on the amount of reaction it transpires, the positive in this is like things are starting to change.
Jeff Shinabarger (34:02):
You know, I think, um, I think there’s some social issues specifically in America that has had exponential progress in the last two years. And I think that is I’m hopeful of that progress. So what do I take with all of this? I think, um, I, I say this a lot to myself and other, as long as there’s people in this world, there will be problems. And the question is like, what do we do about it? You know? And sometimes, sometimes we’re responsible for those and sometimes we’re not. And I think, um, if you’re listening, I think there’s probably something that you feel probably a sense of brokenness. Like where you, you, you feel a personal connection to something that is broken in this world that breaks your heart, that you want to do something about it. And may, maybe you should lean into that a little bit. You know, um, you can’t solve every problem in the world. You can’t, you can’t address every war. You can’t solve every pandemic you can’t, you know, but maybe, maybe one you should dig in a little further. You could, I don’t wanna say should, you could dig in a little further, right? You could take a step forward and maybe, and probably you have some gifts that could enhance that issue in some way. And that, that to me is a beautiful potential
Enrique Alvarez (35:26):
For the, do you think, um, do you think that’s the role of social entrepreneurs these days? I mean, would you kind of see there stepping up even more or maybe being converted into being social entrepreneurs or having a slightly more, uh, conscious approach to what they do as opposed to, uh, going month by month, uh, paycheck by paycheck? Is that, do you think that’s the role that people should play a bit more?
Jeff Shinabarger (35:52):
I mean, I think it’s the question people are asking. I think they’re trying to figure out, I mean, there’s this term of the great resignation. I think there’s, there’s two sides. That one is like, people are trying to get paid more and the other is they weren’t, they wanna find more meaning in their work. And um, I don’t know how all that lines up with social entrepreneurship yet, but I, I do think that people want their work to matter in some ways. Um, and it doesn’t always line up perfectly. Like just because it is, I, I realize that it’s not, not everyone is gonna find their full meaning and purpose in their work, but when it does line up in some capacity, I think it makes people feel really good. And um, and that’s a hope that I think a, a lot of people have, uh, it doesn’t always line up perfectly. I wanna be really clear about that, but sometimes when it does, it’s, it’s pretty beautiful.
Kristi Porter (36:48):
And you mentioned a couple of times acting as a mentor for others. So in a more, uh, personal setting or one-on-one setting, so now you have this microphone right now. So what do you wish you could say to more leaders in the social impact space? It could be advice, caution lessons learned words of encouragement, but what is something you, you wish that you have to say a lot or you don’t get to say a lot and you’d like to repeat it to a larger audience,
Jeff Shinabarger (37:13):
Go on vacation, take a break. <laugh> yes. It’s like, amen. Like, right. Like it’s, uh, it’s hard work. Yeah. Y’all are working hard. Especially the last couple years. People have been trying to sustain through this season and whether that’s the combination of virtual school and their work and whatever, all the things combined it’s like take a break. Like when you take that break, when you step away, it’s amazing how it refuels you mm-hmm <affirmative> and then you can keep going again. And what happens on those vacations is if you have a partner, you tend to connect more with that partner. It’s good for your marriage or relationship your kids, see your eyes more than they see your phone. Um, your, your team tends to feel more responsible in their own ways. You empower them to make decisions when you’re not making every decision yourself. And then you come back and you get sun and you get life and you eat good food and you, you know, like take a break and be reminded of why you got into this in the first place. Um, and then come back and hit it again.
Kristi Porter (38:28):
Yeah. I’m also curious if you, so we talked a lot of course about entrepreneurs, which is a, a lot of the space you work in and Enrique and are both entrepreneurs, but I’m curious if there are any guidelines or advice you give to people to say, um, if they’re trying to figure out, should they start on something on their own or should they join something that’s already happening when to start when to not when to collaborate when to not?
Jeff Shinabarger (38:52):
Yeah. That’s a great question. Um, this is a complicated one. Cause some, you know, I wish, uh, I wish I could give you a secret sauce of what, right. Which projects really take off and which ones don’t. But I don’t have the secret sauce. I don’t, I don’t know the magic. I don’t know what ones work and what ones don’t, but it, and I will say, I have a story. One time of a guy that asked me my opinion. He gave me this idea and he asked my opinion of whether he should do it. He was like a complete stranger after I spoke in an event one time. And I quickly said, I don’t know, I wouldn’t, I wouldn’t invest. I said something like smart out comment like that. And two years later and he didn’t do it. And then two years later, like there was another business that started, which was his same idea.
Jeff Shinabarger (39:37):
And he came up to me and he is like, it was your fault. You told me not to do this. I was like, whoa, I don’t, I don’t. I first of all, I’m sorry. Right. And secondly, I don’t, I can’t, I don’t know. I don’t know the ones that were, which one down, but I will say this one thing that I have learned is, um, people that stick with ideas longer, it usually somehow they can point to something in their life that they can connect with that idea. So it’s part of their own personal story in some way. And it might have been a problem. They cur they personally felt it might have been a social impact, a social issue that impacted their family. It might have been, I don’t know what all the scenarios are, but they can pinpoint to something in their story that connects with this thing that they’re launching. And they tend to stick with the idea longer than the average person. So people that don’t have that they usually are in and out in less than two years. Uh, but if they can pinpoint that, somehow it connects with their storyline in some way they tend to last longer. That’s just one commonality I’ve seen.
Enrique Alvarez (40:51):
No, that definitely makes sense. So now you’ve, you’ve been giving us a lot of really good advice throughout this interview. And, uh, so thank you for that again. Uh, Jeff, if you could maybe, uh, for the younger people that are following us and for the younger people that are listening, uh, if you could maybe summarize it in maybe top three bullet point categories or characteristics that someone should have, or, or should aspire to have to have a sustainable lifestyle and be successful in things that you’ve been mentioning, like, Hey, take a break. Uh, do this, do that. I mean, what do you think, like the top three things should be for someone that, uh, might be feeling anxiety and wants to just be better at, uh, just having a healthier lifestyle altogether?
Jeff Shinabarger (41:33):
Yeah. I mean, I think different things connect with different people. I, I get nervous, like giving you the here’s the top things I would say, but I,
Enrique Alvarez (41:43):
And I love those lists. So I apologize
Jeff Shinabarger (41:45):
Enrique Alvarez (41:46):
No, my, my brain’s like, uh, what’s the bullet points til three move on next one. No,
Jeff Shinabarger (41:51):
But you know, wouldn’t it, wouldn’t it be? Wouldn’t it be nice? Oh, of course. That was the case. Wouldn’t it be nice. It never works that way, but I will say one thing that has helped me is surrounding yourself with people that think and care about those things. Being willing to be vulnerable with a few people that care enough to encourage you when you need it and to tell, you know, when you shouldn’t do it. I remember I had a, um, a board meeting a few years back that this was five or six years ago. We had started this. Chris, you probably remember we had started this project where we were, um, employing refugee women to make these bags out of, oh, I have one billboard have one in my billboard bag. Yeah. Billboard bags. And it was an amazing project. We were able to create jobs.
Jeff Shinabarger (42:49):
We created mentor relationships. We did, um, job training. We did English as a second language. All, all these types of things were all integrated into this whole thing. And I loved it. I loved everything about it. It brought me so much joy, but it was really financially. It was a really hard to sustain all that. And I remember I was in a board meeting and, uh, it was at that it was at a critical point for our organization to determine, is this the direction we’re gonna go? If it is, we need to double down on it. We need to invest more money or are we gonna actually focus more on training others in their work? And it was like a strategic direction for the organization. I thought it was like a 50, 50 split on our board. And so we did a vote and I remember it was like ABL.
Jeff Shinabarger (43:36):
I don’t know. I don’t know if we’ve ever voted this way on anything else, but we voted, like people wrote on a piece of paper and like stuck it in a hack kind of thing. Cuz it was a pretty intense conversation and we didn’t want other people to affect other people’s votes. So we all voted there’s there’s 11 board members. I was one of the board members. The vote was 10 to one. We counted 10 to one to end the program. And you wanna know who the one person that voted to keep. It was me. It was me. I wanted to keep it, they all, but, and I was like, I, I was, I was blown away. I was like, you guys, you all voted against me. You just shut me down. You know? And it hurt that moment. It was hurtful. And it was the most loving, caring thing that happened.
Jeff Shinabarger (44:28):
Like they cared enough about me. They cared enough about our organization to make the right decision, even though I wanted something else, you know? And it’s like, most people don’t have people in their life that are willing to say the hard thing that we need to hear, cuz it’s gonna hurt. And we we’re try. Like, that’s probably why we bounce around between cities. That’s probably why we bounce around between projects because like we don’t wanna admit that we failed and we don’t wanna admit that this thing didn’t work and we wanna, we would rather just change our friends instead of actually going deeper with them. And so if I could give a piece of advice, it’s like have a longer term view with some people that really care, you know, and they’ll start to get to know what you’re really good at and what you’re not good at and they speak truth into your life, you know? And um, and they’ll be there when times get really hard to, you know, they’ll lift you up. So, um, community is a big thing. One of our theme, our, we have a theme this year for our event, which is basically just people need people. And I think that’s a core belief in our organization, in our community.
Kristi Porter (45:43):
Mm-hmm <affirmative> absolutely. Thank you. Um, well I wanted to also ask one of your other favorite phrases to bring up, um, which was a mural on the old office wall was the based on John Lewis’s words, like good trouble being up to good trouble. Um, and so as we talked about, we’re dealing with all the social issues, pandemic, political division, climate change, all these things. Where do you feel like plywoods role is as far as good trouble?
Jeff Shinabarger (46:13):
Um, yeah, I think, you know, that’s an amazing concept. We have, I Congress to John Lewis had the opportunity to meet him years ago and interview him. And it was like one of those moments that I have the there’s like the edited version. And then there’s the unaided version that someday I’m gonna show my, my daughter and son. And, um, it was in, I remember after that interview, I interviewed him with this a pretty famous hip hop artist named LaRay him and I did it together and we were talking afterwards and it was like, this is like a moment we’ll always talk to our family about, you know, um, he lived in a story that, that we all celebrate, but it was so hurt, hurtful and hard and he endured it. And um, so his perspective is just completely different than anyone else you ever meet.
Jeff Shinabarger (47:06):
Um, and part of that process is I got to know his, his right hand person, her name’s Tori Butler. And she, as he was like starting to, um, struggle physically, um, before he passed, uh, I recruited her to my team, which was huge. It was a, it was like a big win. And uh, so she leads our director of operations. So we talk about things like this, a lot, like things that she learned being in relationship with. I mean, she, she worked in for 22 years, what a, what a cool opportunity. Um, and so I, I don’t know what our, I don’t, I, I would say that our community is involved in many projects that are disrupting what a status quo. I think that’s the, I think that’s the, the core of what it means to do good trouble, to see things that are not right and being willing to step in and, and do it. And I don’t know how much of that we can take responsibility for, but I feel like I have a lot of friends that are, that are stepping in those gaps and, and doing incredible work.
Kristi Porter (48:09):
Thank you so much for your time before we let you go. Um, what’s the best way to connect with you in plywood? How can people get involved?
Jeff Shinabarger (48:18):
Yeah. Uh, you can follow us on Instagram at plywood people or go to our website, plywood people.com. Um, love to, I don’t know when this is coming out, but, uh, come to our annual event in August in Atlanta called private presents. Um, I think, I think if you wanna connect with our community, um, pursue us, you know, I, uh, we are here to serve and lead this community. And, um, I think if some of the things we talked about today resonate with you, you’ll find a whole bunch of other people that you’ll be like, I wanna be their friend, you know? Yeah. And, uh, so I think, I think that’s the core of who we are of what we
Enrique Alvarez (48:57):
Do. Well, Jeff, thank you so much, so much. Um, I actually had the pleasure to attend last event for the first time and I can totally relate to what you said that there’s so many good people that kind of feel deep inside connected in certain ways. And they just don’t realize that at least that’s what happened to me during those kind of couple of days. You, you really feel that connection. Uh, and you’re like, well, oh, I’m not crazy. All other people think this way too. And so I, I, yeah, I’ll just say that if, uh, if you’re in Atlanta or you actually, uh, want to travel to Atlanta for this, it’s definitely, uh, definitely worthwhile do so we’ll put all the, uh, links and instructions on this episode. So you guys can sign up and, uh, and as you said, yeah, they wanna join the more good people that plywood, uh, events and the community has, the better will be for the world. So mm-hmm, <affirmative> Jeff. Thanks again. And for everyone out there listening to this new episode of logistics with purpose, please, don’t forget to subscribe. Thank you so much, Christy. Thank you so much.
Kristi Porter (49:59):
Thank you. Absolutely. Thanks for your time, Jeff.
Jeff Shinabarger is the Co-Author of Love or Work and founder of Plywood People, a nonprofit in Atlanta leading a community of startups doing good. His work has been featured by Forbes, Inc., CNN, USA Weekend, and Huffington Post. He is the co-founder of Q, mentored over 1000 startups, and created the largest social entrepreneur event in the south called Plywood Presents. Connect with Jeff on 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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, 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.
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.
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
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.
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, 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, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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 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.
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!
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.
Principal & CMO, Supply Chain Now
Host of Supply Chain Now and TECHquila Sunrise
When rapid-growth technology companies, venture capital and private equity firms are looking for advisory, they call Greg – a founder, board director, advisor and catalyst of disruptive B2B technology and supply chain. An insightful visionary, Greg guides founders, investors and leadership teams in creating breakthroughs to gain market exposure and momentum – increasing overall company esteem and valuation.
Greg is a founder himself, creating Blue Ridge Solutions, a Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader in cloud-native supply chain applications, and bringing to market Curo, a field service management solution. He has also held leadership roles with Servigistics (PTC) and E3 Corporation (JDA/Blue Yonder). As a principal and host at Supply Chain Now, Greg helps guide the company’s strategic direction, hosts industry leader discussions, community livestreams, and all in addition to executive producing and hosting his original YouTube channel and podcast, TEChquila Sunrise.
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.