Despite its popularity as a profession now, no one grows up intending to work in procurement (no one!) And yet, many people that follow windy roads into the field fall in love once they are there. With supply chains in the spotlight over the last couple of years, procurement professionals have had the opportunity to drive a new range of value through initiatives like supplier diversity and sustainability. Enrique and Maureen chat with Kelly Barner, Owner of Buyers Meeting Point and the host of Dial P for Procurement on Supply Chain Now.
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 episode of logistics with purpose. My name’s Cales and today we have a really real good guest, good friend as well, and coworkers at supply chain now. Uh, but before I introduce her, I would like to say hi to Maureen. Hey Maureen, how are you doing?
Maureen Woolshlager (00:51):
Hey Enrique, how are you?
Enrique Alvarez (00:52):
It’s great. I mean, you and I were talking before Kelly joined us. And, uh, you said that last one you did was what? A couple, uh, couple months ago?
Maureen Woolshlager (01:00):
No, a couple years ago I did one of the first ones with, uh, Greg and Scott and Suzanne Dickerson down in Charleston.
Enrique Alvarez (01:07):
Well, it’s awesome that, uh, you’re back and, uh, we have a great guest today. So without further ado, Kelly bar owner, managing director at buyers meeting point, LLC, Kelly, how are you doing? How’s your week going?
Kelly Barner (01:20):
I’m good in Rick. It’s nice to be here with you and hi, Maureen. Nice to be here with you as well. I’m I’m glad to be on logistics with purpose.
Maureen Woolshlager (01:27):
Enrique Alvarez (01:28):
Welcome. Welcome once again. And, uh, again, it’s been, uh, challenging couple of weeks with everything that’s going on in the world.
Kelly Barner (01:35):
Absolutely it has, but I think it’s changed our perspective on everything, right? Just like, you know, those of us that have been in supply chain or I guess in my case procurement for a while, when things started happening with where is the toilet paper, why aren’t my Amazon packages coming? We were sort of, we had an insider’s view on that. And now we’re sort of looking at Russia and Ukraine with the rest of the world and thinking about what the implications are gonna be. So I think everybody right now is focused on some aspect of that.
Enrique Alvarez (02:03):
Absolutely. Maureen, do you wanna go ahead?
Maureen Woolshlager (02:06):
Sure. Kelly, to start us off, will you tell us a little bit about where you grew up and your childhood and give us a little bit of perspective of, of who is Kelly?
Kelly Barner (02:15):
Sure. So I don’t hide it. I’m a Boston girl. Um, although I say Boston, when I’m talking to people that are in my opinion far away, um, I’m actually in a little town called Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, which is right dead smack in the middle of sort of the rectangle part of the state. Um, I actually right now live in the same town that I grew up in. I did go off and have sort of my fun kid free, no backyard years, um, working in and around the city. But once it was time to do the family thing, we, we came back here. So, um, it’s a really cute little new England town. Um, and it’s amazing now because there is so much technology and so many platforms that are available to us that, you know, I’ve been working out of my home for geez, 13, almost 14 years now.
Kelly Barner (03:04):
So it’s been a very long time, um, a little bit ahead of the curve. I know everybody else learned how to do that over the last couple of years, but it’s been a wonderful opportunity to connect with people as everybody got more into video and virtual events. Um, and so I, I like having my home base here where I grew up. Um, but every single day I come into my office and I sit at my desk where I am right now and I might travel to Atlanta, Georgia, or I might travel to speak to somebody in Germany or Italy. Um, so it’s a, a wonderful time to be both based in Shrewsbury and also virtually traveling the globe every day.
Maureen Woolshlager (03:41):
So Kelly, do your kids go to the school that you went to when you were a child or is it you’re not quite in the exact area?
Kelly Barner (03:48):
So they do actually. And it’s really sad because where I went to high school is now called the old high school.
Maureen Woolshlager (03:55):
Enrique Alvarez (03:56):
Oh no. I
Kelly Barner (03:57):
Know it’s so bad now it’s to middle school. Um, my daughter, Anna attends that building and it’s very 1960s concrete, modular tech, um, the new high school, which is actually right up the street from the, from the house that I grew up in is this beautiful glass windows, high tech, fancy looking building. Um, it is a little bit weird. I get to re-walk some of the halls, um, that I walked in, but I will say, um, so Shrewsbury sports teams are the colonials. Um, I was big into sports when I was going through the school system and it still chokes me up a little bit every time when one of my kids goes running by with the blue and gold on and we, you know, GOs. So there’s, there’s just something about sort of reliving that experience through them. That’s been incredibly magical.
Enrique Alvarez (04:47):
That sounds great. Sounds
Maureen Woolshlager (04:48):
Really great. Yeah.
Enrique Alvarez (04:48):
Yeah, for sure.
Kelly Barner (04:50):
It is great. I know I’ve got a, a cross country kid and a football kid, so we have, we’re not the same season, which helps quite a bit fall in spring. Think if my, if my third son wants to pick a sport, it’s gonna have to be basket or something in the summer because the coordinating the sports schedules gets intense
Enrique Alvarez (05:06):
Logistics. Right? It’s all about logistics,
Kelly Barner (05:08):
Logistics with purpose. As a matter of fact,
Enrique Alvarez (05:10):
That’s true. There’s no, uh, better purpose than kind of racing children. I, uh, I for sure. Um, what were, what were your sports back then? Were you also kind of, uh,
Kelly Barner (05:21):
So I was a row a
Enrique Alvarez (05:22):
Kelly Barner (05:23):
Yeah, I was coordination was not always my big thing, so they didn’t trust me to like kick anything or hit anything with a bat. Um,
Maureen Woolshlager (05:31):
And Molly is actually harder than it looks. I think, you know, it,
Kelly Barner (05:35):
I think, I think it is
Maureen Woolshlager (05:38):
Yourself. I think growing is a sport,
Kelly Barner (05:42):
Got to sit. Um, and as you can imagine, you know, rowing it all in the, the Boston area is a big deal, but I got to row the head of the Charles four times.
Maureen Woolshlager (05:51):
I was just sitting ahead of the Charles, did you do that? That’s so
Kelly Barner (05:53):
Awesome. I did. I rode the head of Charles four times, which I figure you guys can weigh in. I figure that gives me an exemption on the Boston marathon. Yes. I checked my, my local Boston sports thing. Yes. Um, and I was also fortunate because growing up, I went to the one public high school in the entire state that had a crew team. Oh wow. And so I walked into college being one of the very few kids that already knew how row, and it did kind of change my college experience a little bit, going straight to the varsity boat, um, as a freshman. So that was really exciting. So none of my kids so far seem to be into the, into the water sports. Um, but it was, it was a, I love team sports, just like I love team work, right. Whether it’s supply chain now or, or meeting point or art of procurement. So I thoroughly enjoyed getting to be on sports teams growing up.
Enrique Alvarez (06:42):
Well, congratulations. And, um, it going back to your earlier days, if you can actually tell us a little bit of a story of some kind of a, uh, the event that happened to you early on that kind of shaped who you are and that kind of slowly started paving the, the road towards, uh, the Kelly barer that we have today and all the different, uh, things that you currently do. That would be great.
Kelly Barner (07:04):
Sure. So I was thinking about this and I have lots of embarrassing stories. I’m gonna tease those and save those probably for another day. But I think a really meaningful story that comes to mind. Um, so in, when I was going through high school because of space and constraints, eighth grade was actually in the high school. So it was another one of those advantages. We could go out for high school sports. We could sometimes take high school classes. And then we got to participate in some of the high school initiatives. And one of the big events they did every year was a writing contest. And I’d always been a reader, but not necessarily a writer. And what they would do is they would pick some type of, I don’t know, idea, sparker. It would be a song, a piece of artwork, a poem, and everyone in the entire school would be exposed to this idea spark.
Kelly Barner (07:55):
And then we had some number of weeks in English class to write a short essay. And the eighth grade year, it was this beautiful song. It was actually, um, variations on the cannon Paco bells cannon, but it was all piano music, absolutely gorgeous. And I would’ve personally been happy just to sit in class and listen to the music for all those weeks. Um, but I wrote an essay with all my classmates and some minute it, I was selected as one of three winners from my grade. And I think that was the year. It dawned on me that it wasn’t just about reading for me, that it might be writing. Now, ironically, I carried that right through high school. And when I went to college, my major was English lit before 18 hundreds. So my plan was to be a college professor focusing on Shakespeare TRSs and Milton, which clearly didn’t work out because now I’m in procurement and supply chain.
Kelly Barner (08:49):
So I didn’t end up doing that, but I did find an opportunity after working in business for a while to come back and take my subject matter expertise, combine it with my ability to write, um, and truthfully make a career out of it. Most people do not like to write. They’re very honest about that. And I will always say, thank you, cuz I consider that job security. Um, but I certainly had no idea when I was in the eighth grade, listening to that music and writing my, my fictional essay, um, that it would end up actually setting me on my future professional path.
Enrique Alvarez (09:19):
That’s incredible. So you never really had like a diary that you kept or anything like that was your first kind of official writing assignment and that’s what woke your, that was it writer in you up?
Kelly Barner (09:30):
Yep. And, and as a matter of fact, I went on to the, the essays were all a, I think to prevent the teachers from being tempted to pick favorites. Um, but I went on and of the five years that I was in high school. Um, I won the contest a total of four times. So I think that had a lot to do with, with pushing me into being an English major in, in college. Um, but even now I never get tired of writing. I thought really enjoy every new project. Every project is a puzzle. And even though business writing is very different from Shakespeare or, or creative writing, it’s still a process that combines learning and listening to people and figuring out the right message and finding a way to make it interesting. So it may not be fiction anymore, but I still think there has to be entertainment value to our, our business writing and reading as well.
Enrique Alvarez (10:19):
Do you still write some fiction for yourself or at some point, have you considered that or
Kelly Barner (10:24):
I don’t all of my writing now. It’s like, what’s that expression? Um, it’s, it’s always the cobbler’s kid that don’t have shoes. All, all of my writing time goes into the professional stuff I will say. And every spare moment I get, I will find something to read and some of its business, a whole lot of it’s definitely not. That’s sort of the one passion that, you know, when I think about where do I spend my guilty moments, I definitely spend them between the pages of a book. But, um, these days, all my creative writing is business oriented. What are you reading right now? Right now I am reading. It’s actually right over there. Um, the title, what is the title? Oh, it’s a book about parables. Um, and so it talks about how, when we read a story, what are we supposed to see as literal and what are we supposed to view as sort of teaching us something or being an example of, of a style of conversation.
Kelly Barner (11:20):
So it’s a little bit reading about writing, um, which ends up being useful, but it’s, it’s part of a small discussion group. I have a, a small group of ladies that I meet with every Thursday morning and I find it really helpful to get me out of my comfort zone. It couldn’t be further from business or supply chain than anything. Uh, but they’re very smart group of ladies. And so it’s a completely separate, we go from book to book, to book, reading different kinds of things, and we challenge each other. In fact, a couple of them have talked about different book groups, not that they’ve been kicked out of,
Enrique Alvarez (11:56):
But they have
Kelly Barner (11:58):
Probably, um, where they figured out, maybe it wasn’t the, the book group for them. It’s definitely not contentious, but there’s a lot of, I don’t agree or, you know, I don’t really think that I read it that way or I see this point over here. I don’t think that’s what he meant. There’s, there’s plenty of debate and ID exchange that goes on. And it, I, I will sometimes be, I’ll be honest. Don’t tell them, reading the last few pages as I’m joining the zoom because there’s never quite enough time for reading, but I always leave the group being so glad that I stepped away from what I consider sort of my work life and spent 90 minutes in this other universe, thinking about other things. I come back to everything with a much clearer mind.
Enrique Alvarez (12:36):
It’s important, right? It’s definitely important to it is from time to time, take some breaks, uh, care about yourself, care about your mind and your agree body and just be healthy and change is always a good thing. So, yeah, especially now with everything that we’ve been going through in the last couple years, and it seems like it just going to continue you piling up, uh, into the future. So thank you for sharing that. It looks like you have everything very well set up. Is that something intentional given you being such a professional, uh, zoom, uh, almost celebrity by now, uh, is, are those books, do they mean something? Is that, can you tell us a bit about what you can see in the, they do,
Kelly Barner (13:14):
So let’s see if I can do this without breaking eye contact. Um, right. My red phone, that’s obviously for dial P um, it’s sort of the branding of my show on supply chain. Now, the three books, one of which I’m blocking a little bit, um, I wrote those, those are the, the three books that I’ve written, um, down below there. So while I was consulting in procurement, the Brigg project that I work most of the time, which is what sort of gives me my logistics experience is I helped Conway before being acquired by XPO, not only implement procurement technology, but really build out a program. They had only been purchasing and between process and reporting and governance and all of that. I helped them build out, um, a more mature procurement program. Um, I, you know, another supply chain now tie in, I am a huge fan and supporter of the veteran community.
Kelly Barner (14:06):
Um, so that flag was made by an air force veteran by a veteran owned company, something, you know, I think we’ll talk a little bit about supplier diversity as we get into the conversations. So I always like to have that over my shoulder and then the other two things. So that’s part of the complete works of Shakespeare. Um, on the one side with, this is how cool I was in college. I studied in England and what did I bring home in my suitcase? Not beer, not, you know, soccer slash football stuff. I carried home marble bookends of shakes beer. So that’s, that’s my bookends. And then the picture, this is the lady, um, right near where I am. Uh, there’s a beautiful Worcester art museum. And when the world was closed for the pandemic, they did a really nice thing where they would go around the gallery and take pictures of the different artworks that are hanging in the gallery.
Kelly Barner (14:58):
And this one is a work. It was apparently a part of a series of very popular breakfast paintings of well to do ladies, um, from the, from the 19th century. And this picture went by in my Facebook feed and I did my best, you know, to keep it together during the, the extreme shutdown, but everybody has their moments. And I will admit that when this picture went by, there was something about the lady that really captured my attention. And so I took a screenshot of her and she was in my phone and it’s hard to tell probably from there, but the features of her face are not particularly well defined. And I found myself almost meditatively in quiet times or times when I needed a break, I would go back and look at the picture again. And I almost found that she looked different based on my day. And so some days she was just sitting quietly and peacefully every once in a while I would look at her and think, oh my gosh, she looks sad today. Or today she looks tired. Other days she might look prayerful. And so as soon as I started thinking about what I needed in my backdrop, don’t worry, I didn’t steal it. It’s not the original.
Kelly Barner (16:04):
And I go lift it off the wor art museum gallery wall, but I did manage to get a canvas print. Um, and even though I don’t see her, I, I see her every morning when I come to work. And other than that, she’s got my back. Um, but it, to me, it’s a reminder of going through the, sort of the full range of emotions of that time of everybody being home. So, so that’s my lady.
Enrique Alvarez (16:26):
It’s a beautiful painting.
Kelly Barner (16:28):
I love it. I really do. I have to be careful every once in a while end up wearing the same color as her and people will ask me if I’m dressing to look like the picture. So I try to stay away from the sort of tey blue. Um, but it’s, uh, it’s a very nice calm setting to come to work in every day.
Maureen Woolshlager (16:44):
So, Kelly, you’ve talked a lot about, you know, moving back to where you grow up and kind of your, somewhat of your personal progression over the past couple years, we haven’t really talked about your professional pro pro progression yet, but what if you could go back and talk to your 21 year old self, what sort of advice would you get? I mean, I know you just turned 22, so you for step,
Kelly Barner (17:06):
I, I’m trying to think way, way back to last year. I, I know,
Maureen Woolshlager (17:10):
I know it might be a stretch, but, um, um, it, you know, I, is there any advice or what would you tell her, um, that, that maybe to do something different? Or what advice would you give her?
Kelly Barner (17:20):
I think I would tell her to hang in there. You know, it’s tough transitioning from college to the real world. Um, and I think, you know, we talked a little bit about the fact that I was part of a crew team and, and we rode full eights. And one of the things that I hit had experienced, I mean, for, let’s say nine years by the time I graduated from high school is pretty much year round. There were, you know, the eight rowers plus the coxswain. And so there was a very tight knit group of us that in college, we had practiced at 5, 5 15 in the morning. Wow. So we were sort of offset from the rest of the college universe. And you would get to the point where it felt like your whole life was on the same rhythm as this tight-knit group of girls.
Kelly Barner (18:00):
And then we graduated in everything sort of scattered to the wins. And I was lucky. I went on to grad school and then I got a job, but it took me a aisle to sort of find my new tribe. It took me a while to feel truly connected to another group of people, the way I had been connected to them. So I think that’s the advice that I would give. I would, I would say, like, be patient it’s coming, it’s all gonna work out, but hang in there because those were a transitions are always hard, but those were a tough couple of years that I tried to figure out what the, the longer term path of my journey was going to be.
Maureen Woolshlager (18:35):
Yeah. I’m sure. Once, you know, when you left high high school and you started in college, you kind of had a softer landing pad for some of the newness. Oh, definitely. Because the team that you were with, so it, it definitely makes sense that leaving college and leaving that team, and you were probably going through some of that, maybe when a lot of people did that, you know, their freshman year in college and absolutely you were older. So you were like, wait a sec. I, how do I navigate this new unfamiliar territory without my tribe with me?
Kelly Barner (19:04):
Right. Well, it’s sort of like when you’re, I’ll say a little kid, but let’s say preschool kindergarten type age, who is your best friend? Well, your best friend is the one digging with the sand pale next to you. Right. You don’t worry about who’s my tribe. What’s my community. They’re the people that are around you. And when you find yourself doing grownup things out there in the grownup world, and everybody’s very busy and they have their families, and you’re trying to sort of reconstruct that it’s a time when you do learn a lot about yourself. Um, you learn about what makes you happy or what stresses you out or the kind of people that you wanna spend your spare time with, but it does take some effort to consciously build that back up again.
Enrique Alvarez (19:40):
Absolutely. And we actually had like a pretty good example of that over the last two years when we were all kind of, uh, quarantining with our own family and our own tribe. And then we went out into world or we’re starting to slowly kind of open up to the world and yeah, and that’s, I guess another opportunity for us to kind of revalue the kind of, uh, relationships and friendships we have, and then try to be a little bit more kind of, uh, um, purpose oriented in terms of who you wanna hang out with. But changing gears a little bit, Kelly here, um, let’s just talk a little bit more about your professional journey and tell us more, a little bit more about you and how you went from like a successful writer rower to, uh, to what you’re doing now. And, and just, uh, tell us a little bit more about you from a professional career standpoint.
Kelly Barner (20:25):
Sure. Um, so I, I, even though I understood I, wasn’t gonna be a, a Shakespeare professor, um, graduate degree is in library science. I thought, well, if I can’t teach about the books, I could always work in the library books, make me happy. Um, and while I was there, I discovered that some companies had libraries. And so I started down this road of market research and corporate librarianship, and I absolutely fell in love with it. Um, and fairly quickly after graduation, I actually ended up getting hired by a global knowledge management program, being run at the time by a whole USA, which in the us, if you’re up and down the east coast, it’s the grocery company that owns stop and shop tops giant Landover. At the time they owned us food service. And some of those change have, uh, have changed in and out.
Kelly Barner (21:17):
But although I had the master’s degree, which I needed, what actually got me, the job was that through high school, I had worked in a stop and shop. So I was just, well, the kid and stock the shelves. Um, and it helped me because I obviously understood the rhythm of the stores. I understood what they were about, and that became my little edge to help me get that job. Um, and as lucky as that seemed, the timing must have been a little bit off because maybe six, nine months after I joined I’ll hold while the corporate parent Royal ahold had their own little Enron style, accounting scandal, I mean the Dutch equivalent of like FBI agents going into the building with the cardboard boxes, very dramatic, not great if you work for knowledge management program, because they immediately started laying off everyone. Non-essential and I was definitely non-essential, I’ll be totally honest about that. Um, but I was about halfway through a corporate sponsored MBA program. I had my meeting with HR. I was all prepared to be laid off and some wonderful person in HR figured out if they laid me off, I walked away with all that tuition money. They came to me and they said, how do you feel about procurement? And I had no idea what procurement was. And so I said, I love it. It’s my favorite. I wanna spend my career there cuz I’m thinking student loans and apartment you’re like it’s. So you
Maureen Woolshlager (22:46):
Asked that’s exactly what I wanted to do my whole
Kelly Barner (22:48):
Life. I’ve been waiting my whole life for someone to ask this question, where have you been? And I can still remember sitting in my cube the very first day at work Googling strategic sourcing. What is because if someone came by and said something to me, I didn’t want them to think I was so stupid that I needed to be sent home immediately. Um, but I was lucky once again and I ended up, I worked on the hired services, sourcing teams. So all of the different third party services that make a supermarket run everything from window washing to grease trap, cleaning to floor, washing, to background checks, all of those different things I would source. Um, it was an amazing education and it’s something that I fall back gone even now because everyone goes to grocery stores. So if I have to explain, you know, what is procurement or what’s the difference between direct and indirect spend?
Kelly Barner (23:39):
I can fall back into that example of supermarkets and give people examples of things that, that they’re familiar with. Um, but I ended up finishing my MB a program and there just weren’t any promotion opportunities. Um, but we had implemented a software called in tourists and they approached me and offered me a job to come join their consulting team. And I, I got the job and that’s when I go, want to support Conway and a number of other, uh, companies as they were upskilling their procurement teams. And I loved that job. I actually absolutely loved it, but it was like 8000% travel. And so when it was time to start a family thing, this is not gonna work. Um, but one of my former colleagues from the supermarket company had just started this thing called buyer’s meeting point. And she reached out to see if I would want to join her. Um, and so that was 13 years ago. Um, I’ve never looked back. I never foresaw potentially being in any sort of entrepreneurial position, even though the, the school I got my MBA at is Babson college have the number one ranked entrepreneurship program in the country never took a class, never even occurred to me that that might be a good idea. Well,
Enrique Alvarez (24:53):
That didn’t stop you to get into procurement.
Kelly Barner (24:55):
So yeah, no, and sometimes it’s better not to know what you’re doing. It really is like, just keep moving. Right. Keep moving. Um, so now I get to read and write and interview people and has continued branching out both through dial P on supply chain now and the work that I do with art of procurement. So I’m still reading, still writing, still focused on procurement. Um, but it gets more and more interesting all the time, especially with some of the things that we’ve talked about that have changed so much.
Maureen Woolshlager (25:22):
Could you tell us about buyer’s meeting point, but maybe start more where it was 13 years ago and if it’s changed or yeah. You know, the evolution of it?
Kelly Barner (25:32):
Yeah. It’s, it’s changed a ton originally. It was sort of like white pages. So if you’re looking for a source of information about procurement or something that you’d need to do your job, we tried to build these lists, but as our lists got more and more complete, it became earn harder for people to find things. And so we very slowly started writing, uh, nobody called a curation back then, but I think that’s kind of what we were doing. We were recommending resources. We were writing about events that were upcoming. And then of course I realized there were books like, well, if I call up these publishers and tell them that I reviewed books, they’ll send me books for free. This was great. I would get books in the mail for free and I would read them and review them. And it continued my education and it gave me unique content to be out there.
Kelly Barner (26:17):
Um, I now own buyer’s meeting point outright. I actually, uh, purchased the other half of the business from, um, my, my co-founder some number of years ago, um, which, you know, has made it, I love being independent, but it makes that bigger tribe that much more important. Um, it’s not easy being an entrepreneur. It’s not easy balancing the challenges, you know, the successful days are awesome, but not every day can be successful. And so it’s nice to have a supportive network that I can lean back on. Um, but today buyer’s meeting point is predominantly a source of content information. We have really active social media accounts and, and a community online. Um, and so it’s, I consider it my home base for all of the other work that I, um, but it’s been a terrific foundation to sort of stand on my own two feet, be fully responsible for all of the finances, marketing sales, any of that kind of stuff. You know, when you run a business completely by yourself, you’re the CEO and the janitor at the exact same time and you own every single thing in between. It, it all comes back to you. So it’s at this point, I don’t think I could go back to a real job. You know, people talk about having dogs that are crate trained. I think I’m like the
Maureen Woolshlager (27:32):
Enrique Alvarez (27:33):
Kelly Barner (27:34):
I couldn’t nine to five. Like I don’t think I could work for another person. I couldn’t go back to a cube. Um, I love the freedom of it. I’m probably the toughest boss I’ve ever had. Um, but I love the fact that I get to make all of the decisions about, you know, where to spend my time or where the business should go next.
Enrique Alvarez (27:49):
Absolutely. And yeah, you’re definitely your toughest, uh, boss and, uh, the most critical as well. And, uh, that’s actually a good thing. Um, so tell us a bit more about your, I know that you’re, um, very active when it comes to own companies and diverse suppliers. So before I ask you about like what you do in that particular area, just why, why do you, why were you so kind of interested or, or excited about actually learning and diving a little bit into this diverse suppliers and minority owned companies?
Kelly Barner (28:21):
Sure. So there’s, there’s been a spike in new supplier city programs over the last couple of years. Um, but it’s not a new initiative actually remember back in the days when I was a procurement practitioner, um, it was interesting, there was one day where we managed to get a contract signed with a woman owned business and they brought us all into the break room and gave us a cake. I remember thinking that was kind of odd. Um, like why are we having cake? Um, it was when you figure almost 20 years ago, probably at this point. So not that many companies had supplier diversity programs, ESG was not even a concept. Um, but I sort of picked up on the fact that,
Enrique Alvarez (28:58):
So what is, I’m sorry to interrupt you. What is ESG for people that are listening to us? And don’t probably know any of, any of this.
Kelly Barner (29:03):
I know procurement acronyms, um, so ESG initiatives, environmental, social, and governance. So it basically takes things like sustainability initiatives or regulatory governance and compliance as well as, um, actually both supplier diversity and also potentially workforce diversity. And it combines them under one corporate heading. Um, so, you know, that’s sort of a, that’s relatively new ESG is sort of a new idea, um, to make it worse. Um, it’s really just replacing CSR, which is corporate social responsibility. Um, so now we’re getting more specific instead of this sort of broad as a corporation, we have responsibilities to society and we wanna be a responsible member of the, of the, um, environment and of the communities where we function. It’s gotten more specific. And I also think a little bit more worldwide. Um, Europe is ahead of us on, on some of the sustainability things. And now the us is getting some opportunities to return the favor by talking more about diversity and, and sharing some of the maturity that we’ve built up in that area. Um, so that’s, that’s ESG.
Enrique Alvarez (30:17):
What value, I mean, what value added can actually this, uh, diversity companies who are diverse minority owned companies have, uh, to your clients, to other clients, to corporations.
Kelly Barner (30:28):
Yeah. So for, uh, consumer facing companies, anything B2C consumers have learned over the last couple of years, how much power they truly have to change the direction of companies. They wanna make sure that the company is that they buy things from have a workforce that either looks like them as a consumer, or roughly matches the distribution of character traits and, and personality traits that are out there in larger society. So certainly there’s brand value. There’s customer loyalty. Um, in many investment companies are really activist around this. They wanna make sure that there’s all different kinds of diversity included in the supply base, but perhaps most importantly, one of the big things that companies get when they invest in a supplier diversity program is it gives them a reason to work with different suppliers. You know, procurement traditionally is trying to bring down cost and we do that in most cases through economies of scale.
Kelly Barner (31:27):
And so if that’s your only award constraint, you end up awarding all of your contracts to the biggest supplier out there. When you start bringing in other things, whether it happens to be sustainability impact, whether it happens to be trying to work locally, um, or bring in a business that’s owned by a woman, a minority, a veteran, someone with disabilities, or somebody from the LGBTQ community. It gives you another reason to work with different people and simply working with different people, brings in different ideas, the benefit of different experiences. You know, if we all look at the world the same way, we’re all gonna try to solve problems, the kind of following the same path. And so bringing in people that have lived different journeys and look at the world in different ways, I would almost equate it to the difference between somebody that’s very art mind and somebody that’s very scientifically minded. In my opinion, the best solution comes from getting the two of them to work together. If you have all art minded people, your world will be beautiful, but you probably won’t meet any deadlines. And if you have all science people it’ll be very technically accurate, but there may be a certain fines or elegance missing from your solution. And so simply diversifying the types of businesses that a company works with can make them more resilient, more innovative, um, certainly things that are incredibly important, regardless of what kind of company you
Maureen Woolshlager (32:46):
Lead. Do you think that it’s harder for companies to take on kind of diversity initiatives because of the perception like you had said, if we are just going to go and procure or sell to know those that are the lowest, um, cost that might exclude some of these smaller companies that bring this more intangible value, how do we, what, what do you think about that as to how do companies get on board with that when it doesn’t necessarily always have an immediate positive impact on their bottom line?
Kelly Barner (33:19):
Yes. Someone definitely has to own it internally. Um, and it has to be someone that brings the passion to the project, but can also operationalize it at scale. You know, it’s sort of like we talk about all the time everybody owns risk, which is true, but somebody has to completely own it or everybody’s gonna like, oh yeah, we should also think about risk, but it’s not my main focus. I think one of the challenges around supplier diversity is that not always, but a lot of these businesses are small. And so bringing in a smaller supplier, they may not meet the typical insurance requirements. They may not be accustomed to working through your sourcing contracting payment process. I mean, a huge one is how long does it take company to pay their suppliers? If your supplier is looking at sort of in their best case, 30 day payment terms, and your company typically pays everybody in 60 or 90, they’re gonna have payroll problems. They’re gonna have difficulty paying for inventory. And so companies don’t always anticipate some of the shifts that they need to make, or simply exceptions that they need to be willing to make for these C.
Maureen Woolshlager (34:21):
So what advice would you give to a company that was considering going through the formal process to become a minority owned, uh, cert certified company and how would a company go about doing that?
Kelly Barner (34:33):
Sure. So the first step is to figure out sort of what category you fit into. There are certifying bodies that are associated with all of the different categories of, of diversity. Uh, for instance, WeBank is the organization that certifies women owned businesses. Um, there’s also NMS D C, which is the national minority supplier development council. They manage minority on businesses. Now the first question is really, are you gonna do business with private sector entities or are you hopefully gonna supply the government? Um, that brings in some complexities because in a lot of cases you will have to get different certifications from local state and federal government, depending on where you’re based. Whereas in the private sector, typically you go to one of these main organizations and at a certification, which is not necessarily easy. You have to turn over financials, you have to go through this very involved process with them so that they make sure that only qualified companies get the certification.
Kelly Barner (35:35):
Um, but I think the other thing that, that I’ve learned and I’ve been on sort of a, a journey in recent weeks to learn more about supplier diversity is that you have to be very clear how it fits into your value proposition. And that’s both in terms of how does it make you stronger and more unique as a supplier, but you also have to think through the tactics of how am I gonna bring this into my sales process? You know, what does not work is simply going outside your company and holding up a big sign that says, Hey, we’re minority owned. Guess what nobody cares. Right. But it has to be, we offer this amazing service or this innovative product. Oh, and guess what, we’re also minority owned. And we invest in our people and our work is diverse and, you know, it needs to be part of a total package, which I think companies need to think through very carefully, but when done, right, I’ve seen some amazing examples and I’ve spoken to some amazing business owners that prove how you can take a very successful business and just put it over the top using sort of the diversity angle to communicate more about your workplace culture and your investment in people and talent.
Kelly Barner (36:45):
That is incredibly important, even to large corporations now. And making sure you communicate that in the right way really does position you as having a competitive advantage when there’s a, a major contract to be.
Maureen Woolshlager (36:59):
Yeah. So I guess, how do you, how do you suggest smaller companies work that into the spaces that they’re looking to, to generate growth? What would be their, their lead?
Kelly Barner (37:10):
I would say the best place to start is companies you’re already doing business with because they may not have selected you because you are a diverse owned business. So simply going to those companies and producing your certificate or multiple certificates in some cases and saying, Hey, did you know, that might be a way to get a contract extension. It might be a way to get a larger percentage of the business. It might be a way even to get more face time with them and deepen that relationship and potentially become part of corporate development programs or re research and development initiatives. Uh, but I would definitely start with anybody that you’re already doing business with and then to grow beyond that, I think there’s two great ways. One is most of the organizations that certify have sort of like mixed serves or networking events or, or meet and greets work through those organizations because the buy side companies that get involved there are actively looking for diverse owned businesses to partner with.
Kelly Barner (38:11):
Um, and the other way would be making sure the language is reflected in an integrated way in your marketing materials. So it’s not just per putting a sticker on your homepage. It says, Hey, you know, I’m woman owned. Um, it’s a matter of making sure that all of that language is cohesive. You know, we believe in people and people are important and innovative ideas come from different places. And so we want you to know all of these things about our team and our company and what that means for you as a potential customer. I think that can be very powerful, both your own customer retention and new customer acquisition.
Enrique Alvarez (38:47):
Kelly, you mentioned a little bit about the, uh, networking aspects of it, and you have to go to all this meet and greets and make sure that you work, uh, your weight through those, uh, organizations, and then try to connect with the companies. Are there any kinda, uh, public resources or listings out there, even if they’re not public, if you had to pay for them, are there any kind of resources that you can mention, uh, for companies to kind of go and try to connect with, uh, with other corporations that have this minority, uh, programs?
Kelly Barner (39:13):
Absolutely. I mean, to typically as you go through the certification process, you get pulled into that. And so I think, you know, it’s no different than networking at local events or spending some time on LinkedIn. The ROI that you get out of it is really contingent upon the time and effort and energy that you put in. And so I think a good place to start if you can, is locally know, for instance, N M S D C has localized chapters where you not only get access to a database where companies can come discover you, but you get to meet other diverse own businesses in your area, and you can learn from those other business leaders. So I think working both in terms of the, the organizational category, where your certification is held and then also by city, right? Atlanta’s a great example. It’s a huge hub of business.
Kelly Barner (40:01):
These organizations are strong there. The same would be true of Boston, Chicago, you know, up and down the west coast. And so finding a combination of geographically based resources with sort of identity based resources is sort of like a one, two punch. Um, but it does take time. Um, and especially in those cases where a business is small, make very careful decisions about how much time are you investing in this? What kind of an ROI are you seeing from it? Because it’s never gonna substitute for sales. It’s never gonna substitute for attention to your current customers. It’s simply one more way to get the word out there at your business and to demonstrate what makes you different.
Enrique Alvarez (40:40):
I’ve been thinking, uh, tons of notes, by the way. I’m hoping that everyone else is listening to this is doing, doing the same thing. And, and of course we’ll, we’ll link some of these references that, uh, Kelly’s mentioning when we released the episode. So thank you once again, sorry, Maureen. I interrupted you again.
Maureen Woolshlager (40:56):
No, it’s fine. I was gonna say so with 13 years at buyer’s meeting point, I mean, you’ve probably had a lot of ups and downs and challenges and you know, all of those are a foundation to, to who you are and how the company is right now. Are there any in particular that stick out that we’re worth sharing for the rest of us who might wanna be entrepreneurs or, or not in your space and we could learn from, from your experiences?
Kelly Barner (41:23):
Sure. I mean, I think, I don’t know if this counts as a, as a down, but it’s certainly reality, you know, a lot of times people reach out and they’ll say, oh, I’m thinking of starting a new business or going out on my own. Um, because I wanna spend more time with family. And I think, uh, okay, you might wanna stay where you are. Uh, because when you are the one trying to stand up a business, nothing happens if you don’t do it. And so just like, you know, we talked about the tough decisions that diverse own businesses have to make around where to network versus where to sell or focus on operations. Same’s true for an entrepreneur. You’re always making that decision. Do I actually focus at this kid’s birthday party? Or do I check my email? And I know that sounds horrible, but that’s the reality when every minute you invest in the business is what might potentially get you through the next month or the next quarter or the next year.
Kelly Barner (42:14):
It’s, it’s really hard and figuring out where that fits into your personal journey. It’s important to be honest with yourself, it’s incredibly hard. Um, I literally dream about work. It’s not that I don’t dream about other things. There’s, you know, nachos and ice cream that appear in my dreams as well. Um, but it consumes you in a way that in not nine to five job does not. And so I would always say to people be very careful about what you think it means. Talk to people that are willing to be very honest with you about if it’s actually gonna support the kind of lifestyle you wanna have. It probably took me a solid five years of working at buyers meeting point before the business was generating any red revenue, let alone paying me any kind of decent salary. So it’s a journey. I mean, the upside at the end of that is that it’s yours and nobody can ever take that away from you, but it is, it is not a journey for the faint of heart by any means.
Enrique Alvarez (43:07):
Well, thank you so much for that advice. I’m sure a lot of people out there can relate to it. And, um, thank you all so much for giving us a, a time today to actually speak with us. It’s always a pleasure. And the more I talk to you, the more I learn about you and the more I admire what you do. So thank you once again for everything you do. Um, we didn’t really talk much about dial P but, uh, we might have one or two minutes more. Do you wanna say something about your other kind of slide business, if you will?
Kelly Barner (43:35):
Sure. So, uh, like logistics with purpose dial P is a program within supply chain. Now family shows, um, it’s a combination of guests and topics that revolve around procurement and then guests and topics that have nothing to do with procurement, but that I find interesting. Um, so it’s a weekly podcast. It’s periodic live streams, it’s monthly video interviews. Um, we actually just recently got our own dedicated feeds. So you can now subscribe exclusively to dial P um, but it’s a, it’s a wonderful place. You know, we talked a little bit early on about creativity. I have very few bounds other than being interesting. And so it’s a great place for me to get, to be creative and share my perspective on the world and truthfully start fascinating conversations with people that I would otherwise not have an opportunity to connect with.
Enrique Alvarez (44:23):
I totally recommend you guys subscribing to, uh, to help P for procurement and Kelly. Thank you very, very much. Once again, for being here with us, how can, uh, our listeners connect with you and support you or learn more about buyers meeting point?
Kelly Barner (44:36):
Um, I think probably the easiest way is to connect with me on LinkedIn. Um, so please follow or connect with me there. You can also go to buyers, meeting point.com, um, or buyers meeting point right on LinkedIn. There’s a presence in both of those places. And of course, check out dial P both on the supply chain now site as well as on LinkedIn. Thanks,
Maureen Woolshlager (44:55):
Kelly. It was great talking with you today.
Kelly Barner (44:57):
Thank you, Maureen. Thank you, Enrique. It was a pleasure to be here.
Enrique Alvarez (45:00):
Thank you so much, uh, for you to be here, Maureen, always a pleasure. And if you, uh, listen, if, if you listen to this episode or any of the other episodes of logistics with purpose and you enjoy the conversations that we’ve been having and, uh, the ones that we’ve had today, please, don’t forget to subscribe once again and, and thank you very much. Have a.
Kelly Barner 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’.
Maureen Woolshlager started her career at McMaster-Carr’s Management Development Program working in sales, marketing, distribution operations, finance and accounting. After McMaster-Carr, she spent a year managing operations in one of Target Corporation’s warehouses before finding a role within a small management consulting company in Denver, Colorado. She worked on large projects for international food and restaurant companies and advised on account management, business development, operations management, warehouse operations, continuous improvement and distribution center operations, and procurement/supplier/inventory optimization. She has spent the last 9 years living in Belgium & Germany where her husband has been stationed as a US Army officer. Maureen has her B.A. from Emory University. She earned a certificate in Management & Marketing from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania & her M.B.A. from the University of Phoenix. Learn more about Vector Global Logistics here: https://vectorgl.com/
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.
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.
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 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.
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.