Supply Chain Now
Episode 897

I always joke with my students, the legal part is the easy part, right? You kind of issue spot. There's a formula. There's the black letter law. Gets a little sticker in the application. [...] How do you then do what your code of ethics and your value set say and encourage you to do?

-Jessica DePinto

Episode Summary

What allows a 21st-century company to achieve sustainability both from an environmental and a business perspective? That’s the big question at the heart of Loyola Senior Lecturer Jessica DePinto’s course on corporate governance. In this episode, she joins Scott and former student Susan Woller to discuss the leadership mindset, purpose-driven companies, #ESG goals and more. Tune in as student and teacher join forces to reflect on instructional leadership, designing meaningful courses—and why we all need to unplug and reflect.

Episode Transcript

Intro/Outro (00:00:03):

Welcome to supply chain. Now the voice of global supply chain supply chain now focuses on the best in the business for our worldwide audience, the people, the technologies, the best practices, and today’s critical issues. The challenges and opportunities Stay tuned to hear from those making global business happen right here on supply chain now,

Scott Luton (00:00:33):

Hey, good morning, everybody. Scott Luton here with you on supply chain. Now, welcome to today’s show today. We’re gonna be diving into the topics of professional development and the various ways that we all learn as well as one of our hosts here at supply chain now likes to say never stop learning. So stay tuned for an enlightening and interesting conversation. Now with that said when welcome in our two guests here today, uh, my friend Jessica DePinto an adjunct professor with Loyola university of Chicago, Jessica, how you doing?

Jessica DePinto (00:01:02):

How are you doing Scott? I’m doing well.

Scott Luton (00:01:04):

It is so neat to see you. I look forward to our conversation and you’ve brought a, a dear friend, Susan wooler, a lifelong learner and Loyola alum, Susan, how you doing?

Susan Woller (00:01:13):

I’m great. So glad to be here. Thanks for having

Scott Luton (00:01:16):

Me. You bet. So, you know, we’re we’re today, we’re talking about one of my favorite topics. I don’t know about y’all, but learning, uh, Eureka moments, the journey we’re gonna get all kinds of best practices and observations from you both. But before we get there, I wanna start the conversation where we usually start many of our conversations, getting to know you both a little bit better. And just gonna start with you, you know, tell us about where you grew up and, and give us a few anecdotes about your upbringing.

Jessica DePinto (00:01:41):

Sure. I grew up in Chicago, born and raised. I am a second generation Italian American, and I say that because it is so much a part of who I am. So growing up, we had a rich, wonderful family. We’ve been in Chicago since the early part of 20th century, but the mantra has always been education. Mm. So I have two very hard working parents, much like many of our students, they were first generation Chicagoans. And for them, their most important focus was just get my kid educated. Mm. So oftentimes I’d be sitting in the midst of my aunt’s coffee clutch at the kitchen table, and they’d be sharing all of their stories and their histories, which thankfully, so I’m now the family archivist, but I’d be doing my homework, you know, so I’d be doing my homework while all of this rich family oral history was going on. And so I’m extraordinarily grateful and that’s part of why I teach at Loyola. I teach in the degree completion program. And so many of our students are actually first generation Americans.

Scott Luton (00:02:46):

Wow. What a, what an incredible purpose and noble purpose to add into the noble mission already of teaching. So that’s, that’s gotta be really rewarding and gratifying Jessica.

Jessica DePinto (00:02:57):

It is. And I love it. I love teaching in that school and I love meeting students like Susan.

Scott Luton (00:03:02):

Well, I’m gonna pivot in just a minute. We’re gonna get Susan’s take, but I got one follow up question for you, Jessica. You paint a lovely picture with your family as you’re knocking out homework and you’re hearing all kind of great stories, I think at the kitchen table. Well, that conjures up food in my mind. So, so what is one dish that is inseparable from your upbringing is there. And it’s tough maybe just to name just one, but what’s one.

Jessica DePinto (00:03:25):

It is, that is, you heard the side, right? Cause all of a sudden I’m getting the sense and smells. I think for me, it’s pasta and I think of fed eco Fellini’s quote, where he says life is a combination of magic pasta. And so I, for me, those, those profound family food memories are always baked into that. And I think that’s why I love studying so much. Cause Cause the food, the food is mingling with what I was learning.

Scott Luton (00:03:51):

I love that, man. I love that. I love that quote. I’m a it from you. Please do. <laugh> all right. So Susan, thanks again for joining us here today. I look forward to kinda learning more about your mutual aspects of your journey, but tell us, Susan, where did you grow up and give us some of those anecdotes?

Susan Woller (00:04:05):

Well, I am Midwest born and raised. I was born in, uh, Wisconsin, Milwaukee, and then we kind of jumped around the Midwest a little bit, did a stint in Illinois and then Minnesota and then back to Illinois. So I’ve always been in that region and I will always say I, I was raised with a very strong work ethic. And when you interact with people across the country and of course we’re, we’re global people. I interact with people in Europe all the time in my work you can, it’s pretty evident. Uh, work ethic is, is kind of evident, but everybody always says the same thing. Boy, you Midwesterners, you guys got some kind of work ethic. And so my father was the very first in his entire family to get a college education. He was an electrical engineer. And so it became really important to my family to have an education.

Susan Woller (00:04:57):

And I started down that path, but life got got in its way. And so I came back to finish my education. I don’t wanna call it a bucket list cuz I think it sounds like something you do before you CRO I will say it was a lifelong goal of mine to finish my education. I had many friends who said, are you crazy? You’re going back to school now, are you crazy? And I said maybe, but it is it, it was the most rewarding experience of my life. And, and uh, I still feel, uh, more whole from that experience

Scott Luton (00:05:30):

And you know what, it’s good to be crazy in life. You know, that that’s where we get some of our, our best experiences. Right. So one quick follow up question for you both since kind of geographically, y’all have that in common. You know, I spent a couple years in Wichita, Kansas. I I’ve spent some trips to Chicago for sure. You know, it’s a great part of the country. It’s beautiful. And, and the people are beautiful as well. What is one thing? And Jessica I’m, I’m pose this to you first, but what’s one thing that might surprise folks about the Midwest.

Jessica DePinto (00:05:58):

I think that there there’s a sense of a, a cosmopolitanism and there’s a melting pot, especially I think in obviously in Chicago and the outlying areas. It its me when people from the east coast may say something like, wow, you’ve got a world class museum here

Scott Luton (00:06:16):

<laugh>

Jessica DePinto (00:06:19):

And so I think of course our work ethic, like Susan mentioned people know about that, but I, I think people maybe don’t realize the fact that we surely are a diverse part of the country. Right. And it’s worth stopping when you’re doing your flyover.

Scott Luton (00:06:36):

Yes. You know, I, I can’t agree with you more. And Chicago is just one of the, the, the, the world treasures in terms of cities and, and all that encompasses. And I think folks would be surprised about all the business innovation that’s come out of, of the Midwest and all the places you, you both have mentioned. Uh, Susan, I’ll give you a chance though, to, to, uh, formally answer the question. What’s one thing that might surprise folks.

Susan Woller (00:06:58):

You know, I think we Midwesterners have a, a tendency to be a bit, I don’t know, maybe, maybe somewhat reserved a little bit homegrown, reserved, but everybody always says the same thing. We are a genuine lot of people. We are straightforward. We we’re truth tellers. And we, we do like food, the Midwest people, they kind of think, well, if you aren’t going to Italy or Paris or something, or New York, we have fantastic restaurants in Chicago and in the suburbs. And the weird thing in Chicago is you could find the best place to eat. That’s in a shopping mall.

Scott Luton (00:07:32):

Yes, I agree. I agree. Well, thank y’all both for, uh, shedding some more color there. Let’s shift gears and let’s level set just a bit and Jessica will keep starting with you. Yeah. Tell us about what you do professionally.

Jessica DePinto (00:07:44):

So professionally, I am trained as a lawyer. That’s part of the reason why I began that class. And it’s really funny. I think if I get ahead of it a little bit, why I I’m an adjunct professor professionally also work in a nonprofit, but my, my legal training informed so much of why I developed the course and it informed so much of why I’m so passionate about teaching this course. So I spent many years in private practice teaching my clients about different aspects of global trade regulation, teaching other attorneys about that particular practice area and how they could be proactive in issue spotting the risk for their corporate clients. And then I started to see a theme emerge <laugh> and I was doing more of my time and more of my joy as a practicing lawyer was coming from the teaching aspect of it. And the flip side also was so many of the penalty actions that we were defending were born out of the fact that people just didn’t know the regulations. And so I thought started to think about, wow, I really wanna get in on the front end. Right. Which is keeping people knowledgeable and informed. And so I say in my heart of hearts, I am an educator and I, you could see the smile on my face, in the light, in my eyes that I love saying that,

Scott Luton (00:09:17):

Uh, Hey,

Jessica DePinto (00:09:17):

Professionally trained as a lawyer when my heart is as an educator,

Scott Luton (00:09:21):

I love it. And that’s a beautiful combination. And as you say, you exude that and we’re gonna talk about the course you referenced here in just a minute, cause that’s certainly part of the y’all’s mutual journey here, Susan, same question for you. Tell us about yourself professionally.

Susan Woller (00:09:35):

Uh, when I, uh, went back to Loyola, went back to school at Loyola. I was not in the profession that I am in today. I I’m at the same company that I was at. And I will say that I have used what Jessica provided to me over and over again. And she hit on a keyword, which is risk. And as the doing compliance and regulatory work, uh, for a medical device, we talk about risk all the time. We talk about risk-based thinking. And so that’s a really big part of what I do and not to mention non-disclosures and a lot of the legality that surrounds it. So it’s been very helpful in my role as, uh, compliance regulatory.

Scott Luton (00:10:15):

I bet it’s almost like we’re living in the golden age of risk on, on so many different levels. Right. And going back to something Jessica said about one, I think issue spotting is what the, is the phrase you used. Jessica. I love that because we all have a blind spot. And, and so to, to have an attorney and, or an educator, you know, help you identify what’s in that blind spot. I mean, that’s how you get better as a leader, as a professional, just as a human being. So, so Jessica, you reference this, this, this, uh, course that you develop that focuses on law and regulations for organizational leaders a second ago, you kind of touched on what made you build the course, but is there anything you left out? What, what else was into, Hey, I’m gonna go build this.

Jessica DePinto (00:10:59):

I was curious about, I was curious about these concepts that I was seeing playing out. And I, I loved having Stu students like Susan and particularly Susan in the class because they asked the challenging questions. But I was curious when I built this course in 2015, what is a sustainable 21st century company? And why I asked that question, not necessarily sustainability from also important environmental, right? But what’s gonna keep a company around for the long haul. And it was born out of what I saw good and bad in private practice. And I started just for fun researching that came across a discussion that the NY stern school business had with then CEO, Unilever. And they were talking about just this thing. And I thought, I wanna build a class where we ask these questions about what if, what if you looked at a multi stakeholder theory of corporate governance and what is a corporate purpose, as opposed to just looking at shareholder value, but you really look at your community, your employees, the environment, what footprint, what’s your obligation as a corporation, if do you think there is one?

Jessica DePinto (00:12:19):

So I built the course around that. And at the same time I was, um, just networking with friends from Loyola and Loyola was the perfect fit for this course. I, I so desperately wanted to find a good home for this course. Loyola was looking to revamp a little bit, their business law course and the MI and Loyola’s mission of social justice, um, environmental stewardship. It was the perfect combination. And so finding the home for this course at Loyola and engaging with students like Susan that were curious and asking these questions just allowed this course to blossom

Scott Luton (00:12:58):

Mm-hmm <affirmative>. Wow. I love that makes me wanna sign up and take the course today, but also I love how you are looking at, at this course construction and the purpose behind it, very holistically, right. And including your, you know, sustainability very holistically, as important as the environmental aspect is it goes far beyond that. And, you know, uh, for example, here in global supply chain, I think one of the silver linings here in the last couple years has been, uh, a heightened focus on the employee experience. You know, it’s one of those E exs. CXS UXs, those are, those are great things, but are we taking care of our workforce? Right. I think that’s really brought that into more laser focus in recent years. So I love that Jessica, I’m gonna pause for a second. I, I got a couple of questions to ask you Jessica, about the course, but Susan kind of, as Jessica described her, why there for building it and what resonated with you?

Susan Woller (00:13:54):

Well, very much what she said, but the course was a holistic approach. You know, you’re gonna, you’re, you’re probably gonna go into a course like this, not, not knowing that from the get go, because when you think of organizational leaders and studying law and regulation, you’re not thinking that it can take that kind of scope. Right. And when it gets bigger and bigger and bigger, it so lines up with the, the Jesuit approach, the Loyola approach of being holistic and it’s, we’re not islands. We, we look at, uh, what we’re doing, how we’re serving the community and how all of that fits in and what is our responsibility and where are the legal lines? And then where are the, maybe the more moral philosophical lines? And then they get all muddied up. I think that was one of, that was one of our homework assignments, like what, what was muddy here? So let’s, you know, get into that muddiness and let’s duke that out and see what we come up with.

Jessica DePinto (00:14:51):

I also really resonate with the approach of culture, whether it’s the culture of the world, it’s the culture that I interact with. And it’s the culture of the company that I work with. And I’m very involved in cultural change in my company. Um, cuz I think that’s, that’s what we need to do in order to make the world a better place. We take care of our little bit and if that sphere gets bigger and bigger and we have access to that, then that’s how we influence.

Scott Luton (00:15:18):

I love that we interviewed a guest one time and her name will come to me soon, but she had a phrase that it takes all of us together, uh, with these small nudges to collectively move mountains. And that’s kind of what I heard in your response there, Susan. So, all right. So Jessica back to you and, and it’s gonna be just kinda like a food question a minute ago. There’s, it’s tough to, to, to kind of bolt it down to one thing there’s so much there, but, but for all of our professionals, practitioners, our leaders around the world, no matter what, what industry they’re in. What’s one thing that they’ve gotta know that is definitely in that course. You built

Jessica DePinto (00:15:52):

Educating people. If we’re gonna make these large goals as an organization, collectively that we need to make, right climate change, diversity, people need access to education. So educate your folks, support their desire for education. If you’re gonna put them in a new role, make them feel that they have the tools that they need. And they’re equipped to feel successful in that, whether we’re talking degree completion, like where student and, uh, Susan and I met a micro credential, an executive education program during the pandemic, I didn’t, you know, in my off hours I’m like, well, what am I gonna do? I, I took an executive education course on digital transformation. I took a course on ESG so that I could be better and more informed for my students. So to the, to the employers and the leaders, your people can be empowered to lead when they feel empowered and confident that they have the knowledge and part behind them to do so.

Jessica DePinto (00:16:55):

So, um, that’s something that we talked a lot about in the course as well. And I’d love to hear Susan’s perspective. I began the course with the question of, do you think you’re an organizational leader and it’s about 50 50 split where people will say, well, no, I’m not because I don’t have the title. And so I challenge them and I’d say, well, why, you know, we ultimately, and this might be a spoiler alert for my future students. I’m gonna watch it. But I think just empower your people, whatever role they’re inhabit, especially now, and access to education and give your people that access.

Scott Luton (00:17:36):

Yep. I love various elements of that answer. It certainly the better, you know, it reminds me of the phrase. Uh, one of our guests shared one time, you know, an informed really you could, you could fill in the blank here. An informed blank makes informed decisions, right? Informed consumers, informed employees, informed team members, colleagues, informed leaders, you name it. And of course you’ve gotta be educated, whether it’s formal or informal, uh, to be more informed, Susan, don’t get you to respond. We’re gonna talk, uh, Susan in a second more about your kinda your feedback around the experience and how it kind of shaped your worldview so to speak. But what did you hear Jessica say there better yet? What was your answer to the question that she opens a course with Susan

Susan Woller (00:18:19):

Mm-hmm <affirmative>, uh, I have a tendency to be in that in kind of, and I’m, I’m actually pretty reserved person, but you wouldn’t know it. And in that environment, I think I opened my mouth way too much. So I was really holding back because you know, people were going around the room and they were saying exactly what Jessica said. Yeah, no, I don’t. That’s not my role. I’m a support person. And I, I think I pretty much jumped in and I said, whoa, whoa, wait a minute. We are all leaders. And no matter what our role is, no matter what our life experience is, we are all leaders. And when we embrace the mindset of leadership that helps us to move forward. Because if we’re not thinking like a leader, we are limiting what we can do for ourselves and in this world. But we’re just thinking too small.

Susan Woller (00:19:10):

Yeah. And I think I’ve always said Le leadership, you have to lead up a lot in the world. So your leadership with the titles of leaderships up here, and then we all that are acting as leaders without the title are here. And when they start leading down and we start leading up, you get to that nice gooey white stuff in the Oreo cookie that everybody goes for first. Cause it’s the best, right? <laugh> you’re gonna, that’s what you’re get. That’s what you’re all leading up to. But it’s a nice synergy when we’re working together to get there.

Scott Luton (00:19:43):

Okay. I was about before you went to the Oreo, which took my mind a whole different, different place. I was about to say shout all of that louder for the folks in the back. Cause they need to hear that cause it’s true. Yeah. Uh, but Oreo man, my daughters would agree with you. I think all they eat is the cream. I like the whole thing and lots of milk and I gotta, I gotta keep ’em locked away cuz I like ’em too much <laugh> but you know, both of y’all make such a, a important point because if we think of ourselves as leaders, we’re gonna feel empowered to drive the change that we’re, we’re certainly capable of, of driving and, and feel like our voice matters. And that’s so important on so many different levels. So I appreciate what both of you are sharing there. Let’s shift gears a bit. Cause you know, you mentioned sustainability earlier, uh, ESG, very important acronym with true action results behind it for many organizations at least get it right here in, in the 21st century. Right? Yeah. So <laugh> I gotta I to stop, make sure I got it. Right. So Jessica you’ve baked ESG elements into the course that we’re talking about. What’s been one topic related to that, that your, your students love to talk about.

Jessica DePinto (00:20:48):

So from my perspective of the course of teaching is now I started in may of 2015. Oh it’s may of 2022. Right? I think the students from where I sat and heard was this concept of the law kind of taking you only so far. And the organizational leadership part is what is really gonna drive the richness of their career from both the challenges and the successes and what I heard, uh, distinctly students got really interested when we started talking about the, the social aspect. What do I mean by that? I showed a video clip of just the rhino Plaza factory disaster back in 2013. And I linked it to the triangle factory disaster back in the early 19 hundreds and said, okay, here were the decisions, you know, we, and so we look at what the leadership decisions may or may not have been. We use that as case studies and say, what would you have done differently?

Jessica DePinto (00:21:49):

What was the company’s responsibility in each of those scenarios? What wasn’t the responsibility? And what’s interesting to me is seeing how what’s happening in the wider world is really changing the student’s perspective on what that corporate purpose and mission is. And we usually divide the students in half and have people take either side of the argument. And I encourage students to take the opposite part of the argument that would’ve been their national natural tendency. So from where I sit, it’s that social dynamic and I had one student say, you know, I was talking about this with my daughter and we are changing how we purchase. So we’re really thinking in terms of fast fashion, do we need that extra pair of jeans where I didn’t realize my daughter did went, did some research, came to me and said, mom, did you realize that, you know, fast fashion contributes to, you know, potentially contributes to environmental and has a major environmental impact. So the course started a convers, an intergenerational conversation between the woman who was in my class, the mom and her teenage daughter. But I’d love to hear Susan’s perspective,

Susan Woller (00:23:09):

Susan. Yeah. I think the point that was that you make here that was so profound is we can be, especially going into a class of, of law and regulation. We can come in very narrow focused. And once that starts to get a little bit bigger and then it helps people to understand that even as simple as being as a consumer, that we have a responsibility there and we have power. Cause honestly, if everybody stopped buying a ticket to a football game, that cost way too much money and stop going, that would influence those team owners to bring that price down. But we don’t, we go and we go, or if we stop buying something, that’s hurting the environment or is abusive to children who are in those kind of sweat factories. When we start taking that action. I mean, a perfect example is years ago, cuz I’ve been around a while now <laugh> it was really hard to find organic food because nobody really wanted it, but people started wanting it and when we wanted it and we asked for it, boy, you can find it in the Juul. You can find in it. You don’t have no, I mean, I love whole foods, but you can find it in so many places now. Right. It’s and that was all driven by a consumer desire and need. And then that takes it further for us as to, we need to do a little bit of research on where that stuff is coming from too. Right. But it, it, we have this sphere of power that we can be mindless about or we can be really mindful about.

Scott Luton (00:24:44):

Uh, so well said and, and the good news here, the good news is more and more according research I’ve just looked at yesterday, even since 2019, the last couple of years, all generations won’t are willing to pay for more sustainably made products. Uh, now some would say, well, we hadn’t come far enough, fast enough. And, and we, we got lots more work to do, but, but we gotta celebrate the wins as we get ’em even the small ones. And then one other quick thing, both of y’all have referenced, uh, uh, Jessica and Susan, you all said a lot better than I can, but there’s a legal responsibility. And then there’s a moral responsibility, almost a human responsibility. So I’m a big fan as well. At least Jessica view of history, right of history. Rose Knox is a great story. So if y’all are, are new to Rose Knox, y’all check it out.

Scott Luton (00:25:31):

She and her husband started a business which became Knox gelatin, which is, you know, the global product, uh, around here today. Her husband died instant like very surprisingly of a heart attack. This is the early 20th century. She took over the business. Even her closest advisors and friends saying, don’t do that. You shouldn’t do that. She defied ’em took over the business. And then one of her first actions she took unfortunately, was not required of by law at the time. But the factory that she led, the company, uh, the factory up in New York, they made certain people enter into the factory from a back door. Right? The very first thing she did is she, she locked that back door and said, ladies and gentlemen were all gonna enter to the front door. And that, that just one instance of her leadership, we need more rose Knox’s here in 2022, right.

Scott Luton (00:26:25):

Of folks that are Susan, that might be a little bit crazy. It may be in their time, but they don’t care what the doubters say. They’re gonna do it. And they’re gonna make changes for the better, whether it’s it’s legally driven or if it’s just, uh, humanely driven. So, uh, Jessica and Susan, thank you all for your perspective. You’re so much, you know, anytime ESG and, and beyond the environmental, but societal and governments, you know, uh, governance comes to a discussion is so deep and wide. It touches on so many different things, right. It’s not just a project. Okay. So, so Jessica, I, I share with you, I ramble sometimes, but I can’t help it. Y’all are evoking really cool stuff. All right. So Susan talking about this class, we’ll talk about it kind of in a different perspective now. Cause I think this will help, you know, a lot of our listeners that are either going through classes, they’re designing and building classes much like Jessica or, or maybe it’s not classes, maybe it’s company initiatives where they’re trying to lead remotely and otherwise talk about your experience student perspective, uh, on delivery and, and the content and including the hybrid model that I believe that that was utilized for this course.

Susan Woller (00:27:33):

Well, first I’m gonna just jump a little bit off on what you said previously because Jessica created an atmosphere in our room in which it was a place for a healthy debate. And it, it also was a place to really stir up thinking about these kinds of social and legal responsibility. And I say that because I don’t think we have enough environments today in which we can safely debate. We, we live in a culture in which when people disagree, they just don’t know how to have a, a healthy debate. It’s either I say my piece and you don’t agree. And so I changed the subject. And so that was really important to have that so that we could then grow and learn. And the, the piece that was other pieces that were really helpful in Jessica’s class is the application of it. She empowered all of us to take ownership of that class.

Susan Woller (00:28:26):

So she wasn’t, she wasn’t posturing herself of I’m the brilliant person here up front. I’m the person here that has this information that I’m gonna share. I’m gonna pass it on to you, but you all take ownership. We’re all kind of at that same level. So we’re all coming to that front door together. Yes, I’m the professor, but we are, we are level setting here. We’re all adults, we’re all leaders. We’re all gonna take ownership. And that also then set the tone to, um, an opening for more absorption of the topic and more freedom and more, I don’t know if you wanna call it courage, but confidence. One of our projects, of course, we got up, we did all of the research on our product. We built our business, we did all the legality. And then we did, did a final presentation at the end. And I don’t care how old you are. People still say the greatest fear of all people is to get up in front of others and speak <laugh>. But I think it went really well for all of us because there was a real sense of ownership of our project. We knew our business, we researched it, we could speak to it. We were confident. And, uh, the atmosphere that was created in that room,

Jessica DePinto (00:29:41):

Um, gave us that ability to be real free about how we presented,

Scott Luton (00:29:45):

Uh, Susan. I love it. I wanna get Jessica’s response. I, I think, uh, I, I agree with you. It’s, it’s, it’s very difficult to have conversations where folks disagree. We we’ve almost forgotten the ability to disagree respectfully, but constructively, but Jessica way in Susan shared a lot there. What what’s most important to you?

Jessica DePinto (00:30:03):

So I think this is part of why I, I absolutely love teaching in the school of continuing and professional studies, that Loyola two reasons. The department allows us to respect our students and create that respectful environment. But it’s the students like Susan who said, Hey, I wanna do this. I, this is, this makes me whole, I view the role. And I, and I know a lot of my colleagues in that department do that. We are here to facilitate and orchestrate your learning. So we view ourselves as almost like an orchestra conductor. You are all professionals, you all have a richness to contribute. In fact, Loyola uses a term and it’s, it’s really pronounced in the school of continuing and professional studies building a community of learners. And so it’s the pedagogical training that Loyola gives us to, to kind of make sure that we’re creating that environment.

Jessica DePinto (00:31:05):

I remember student, I remember, uh, Susan and Jones project, um, cuz it, the capstone project of the course of eight of the eight weeks is, um, basically social entrepreneurship create a, create a project. And in this way, students are able to incorporate all the legal aspects that they’ve learned into one holistic end project, Susan and Joan did an organic food product. I remember, and they passed out samples like perfectly packaged. The other students were delighted. But for me, that always gives me such a tremendous sense of joy. I’m not gonna say accomplishment. I really <laugh>. I say this when I, when I read through what the students are submitting at the beginning of the course year, and then I see the end product and especially in, in Susan and Jones case, a tremendous sense of joy, like to see the, the end, the end product.

Jessica DePinto (00:32:02):

I go back to the civil discourse. And I remember reading something that St Ignatius, the founder of, um, the Jesuit order had said to the Jesuits. He was, you know, at some 14th century conference, let’s call it a conference that all different religious sex were gonna be or different sex of Catholicism were gonna be represented at. And he, he gave them like a little guide book on civic discourse and the importance of learning how to disagree so that you’re respectful of people with whom you hold different viewpoints. And I often like to say that in these courses, a byproduct of the law and regulations for organizational leaders and the content is, um, how do we learn and how do we maybe not learn some cases? People know this because they’re just, it’s natural. How do we cultivate a climate of civility in our disagreements? Because we’re gonna disagree. That’s the, that’s the inevitable part.

Scott Luton (00:33:13):

And if you’re not, well, you know, if you’re not disagreeing, I’ve always said you you’ve got a really a surface level relationship. Right? Right. You can’t trust the ability and you can’t trust relationship to disagree and, and taking a step further. We’re we’re talking about, you know, here, obviously supply chain now it’s usually we’re big old supply chain nerds. We talk supply chain all the time. Supply chain teams have to disagree. Right. They have to disagree and they’ve gotta, you know, they’ve gotta learn. And in fact, we all need, maybe, maybe Jessica we should do is, is pass out this civil discourse guide. <laugh>, let’s, let’s make that be the next, uh, mass global distribution and then get it in the hands of all our professionals out there. So we can, we can have Frank, uh, conversations again, respectfully while making progress as a team organization and, uh, frankly as a world.

Scott Luton (00:34:00):

So I appreciate y’all weighing in on that. And there’s so much there it’s universal. It goes far beyond just business and, and certainly in global supply chain. So Susan, we’re having, you know, we’re having a really big picture conversation. You never know these with these, uh, podcasts here, you, you tee up that, uh, go down this path and before you know it, the hour’s over and you’re, you’re, you’re touching on all kinds of things related to life and business. But Susan, talk about the engagement with the course, the topics, the conversations, how, how has it really impacted both your personal and your professional life, your leadership style, you name it.

Susan Woller (00:34:37):

Hmm. Yeah. We’ve talked about this before, but I’ll, it’s worth repeating that it really was a platform to speak on a high level with regard because law is a lot like math. It, it has to all add up. We, we look at the laws before us. We, we have to follow those laws. We see changes happen that change the laws, but we, we stay within our lane because that’s the deal math has to add up too. It’s just, there’s, there’s a parameter there. Um, so we, we use that and we embrace that to use the right terminology, to watch what we say, how we say it, speak correctly with the correct terminology in the context of, of what we’ve learned and also in a kind of a persuasive way. So we’re incorporating leadership in there. We’re incorporating respect. We’re also incorporating the correct terms. So no, and, and knowing how to take the route legally, when we, when we did our class project, that was, that was really informative on many levels because you man, maybe some people do just start up a business, but I’m sure they’re gonna backtrack, or they’re gonna find themselves in a sticky situation.

Susan Woller (00:36:02):

At some point, the beauty of the law is when you follow what you’re supposed to follow and you follow the process and take the necessary steps. Not only do you become more well informed, that makes you a better business person, because now you have that knowledge and you can act on it, it’s gonna lead to the success of your business. And so, uh, I think it was very eye opening, um, to, to learn, uh, what was required and what needed to be done and then follow through with that. Um, it’s a lot more than one thinks it is

Scott Luton (00:36:39):

You, you know, uh, I’ve never once thought about the connection between your first point, their math and law. And it might mean <laugh> am I failure to comprehend? That might be why I think so bad at legal interpretation because I’m not good at math. So, uh, but it’s, it’s so true. It’s so foundational. It is, it is so, uh, concrete and to, I think you said, it’s all gotta add up. We gotta balance the equation, both sides of the equation. It doesn’t, you know, math and the law. There’s so much of it that, that doesn’t change. It’s it’s like bedrock. And I’ve never thought about the connections between the two, but Jessica hearing, Susan speak about impact and these observations about what it’s taught her and just in general, what it can teach, uh, other leaders and professionals. What comes to your mind? What your response be?

Jessica DePinto (00:37:29):

Well, first of all, again, it’s, it’s, it’s joy in hearing a student and now a colleague, right. You know, once the students become alums and, um, and hearing the impact of the course, um, and in the fact that this in engaging with the course, Susan then felt additionally equipped to do the risk analysis and you know, many entrepreneurs. And I, I would see that when I was in practice, many entrepreneurs may jump into a situation and then afterwards half to unwind something. Cause maybe they didn’t think about it in the beginning. And, and so that was, that was intentional when I built this course, right. I don’t want entrepreneurs to become, you know, fearful and not take those risks. It’s just a calculated risk, right? Taking that calculated risk, being mindful of what the risks are and then being equipped with what your own personal core values are, making those decisions. I always joke with my students, the legal part is the easy part, right? You kind of issue spot. There’s a formula. There’s the black letter. Law gets a little stickier when you get into the application. And then if it’s unchartered territory and the law says one thing, but you know, that morally, that law isn’t right in the case of Mrs. Knox. Mm.

Jessica DePinto (00:39:01):

How do you then do what you, your code of ethics and your value set say and encourage you to do. And so I think what I love about teaching this course is I could look at it one way. The world in the last two years has provided a ton of challenges, but it’s also provided some very interesting talking points for the students that coming into and through and graduate from this course

Scott Luton (00:39:30):

Completely agree. I think, uh, you know, there’s always good news if you go looking for it and with the pandemic, you know, it’s one of the silver linings, which you, uh, uh, brilliantly identify is this is gonna be the lesson that keeps on teaching the very painful lesson the world’s going through, but it’s gonna be, it’s gonna be studied for decades to come and business schools and companies, and certainly supply chain. And, you know, that certainly is, uh, a silver lining. I, I wish we could have gone. I wish we could have learned a different way, but, but, but as long as we’re acting all we learned, you know, mm-hmm <affirmative>. So with that in mind, learning, learning, that’s, that’s our big theme here today. You know, it’s so important. As I mentioned, one of our hosts here, uh, uh, never stop learning. We hear that quite a bit. Of course, that requires these special folks that are willing to teach, teach others and help them advance in life and in business. So I want to ask, uh, both of y’all. So again, to paint this picture, as we were talking about pre-show, uh, the Waldorf Historia, or what’s a, what’s a grand hotel in Chicago, Jessica.

Jessica DePinto (00:40:32):

Oh, what does it hit? Susan? The Hilton Hilton ballroom.

Scott Luton (00:40:35):

Okay. Chicago. Hi, let’s do it. So, so picture yourself. You are at the keynote stage, uh, of the Hilton Chicago ballroom. You’ve got the captive attention of the, the world’s leading, uh, thousands, thousands of practitioners and teachers and, and, and maybe wanna be facilitators, right? Maybe they’re up and coming, but you’ve got their captive attention and the edge of their chair. What is one thing? And, and Susan, let’s start with you. What’s one thing, one piece of advice that you’d give that room in terms of how to most effectively teach or instruct.

Susan Woller (00:41:09):

I think it’s posture. I think posture and position. I had mentioned this before and, and Jessica talked about her role. She’s the orchestrator and the facilitator. So I have been in classes. I have had professors that posture themselves much higher than the rest of us. Now, some part of me has a lot of admiration for that PhD that has that head bunch of knowledge. That’s imparting it. And I’m prepared to do that. I’m prepared to participate that in a, in a one-off lecture, because I’m gonna learn something they’re gonna impart their information, but in a environment where your class is coming together over a period of time, and you want that group of people to open up so that they can absorb absolutely everything. The only way that that can happen is that you’re gonna look eyeball to eyeball at them with respect and at the same level. Otherwise it’s not gonna work.

Scott Luton (00:42:14):

I can’t agree more. I can’t agree more. You know, I, I mentioned pre-show Irene Rudick, who had tons of experience and business success and, and was a legislator and, and, and had all the prestige factors that you’re kind of speaking to. But man, she’d sit down, look in eye and share a cup of coffee and, and make you make you feel like you’re a peer. And you learned so much from that. Uh, Dr. Robert Cannon, uh, university of South Carolina was teaching computer science. I was well outta my league in that class, but man, to sit down and, and help you along as if you had a PhD or he didn’t have one maybe so important. So Jessica, same question, whether it’s posture, which Susan’s speaking to, which is so powerful, but what would be your one piece of advice to the, uh, Chicago Hilton ballroom?

Jessica DePinto (00:43:00):

So, first of all, thank you, Susan, be flexible, right? I know that you have a plan and, you know, I, I have to make sure that learning objectives are met, right? So there’s no certification or critical test at the end, but be flexible, go in with your plan, especially when you’re teaching in multiple modalities. Right? So Susan’s class was hybrid. I mean, some of it was online. Some of it was face to face physically, if you’re teaching a class, that’s 100% OUS now like we’re doing now, or, you know, it’s online or face to face, be flexible in your approach, be flexible in how you engage with your students, how you tweak your course, so that it becomes interesting and relevant to this year, as opposed to even last year, but mean train true to that core as to why you’re there. And what’s your purpose.

Jessica DePinto (00:44:03):

And what’s your mission in transmitting that knowledge, everything else, you know, and this is, this is coming from the woman who <laugh>, you know, has this binder with every minute of her life map out of what’s gonna happen during the day. But I think the greatest flexibility comes when I am teaching because I have a sense of in each module or section what I want to impart. And then I just try to listen to the students and make those connections between the, the plurality of voices. And I love that in the school that I teach at Loyola, I do see a plurality of voices in terms of race, gender, age group, right. And allow that plurality to teach each other and enrich what I had in my mind, in my little plan book, give that opportunity to enliven the learning objectives. I had a great professor.

Jessica DePinto (00:45:07):

I know you talked about mentors and I think we all learn from one and to Susan’s point, um, you know, I had professor mark MUA. So one of the little known facts is I got my on the scholarship. I got my master’s in Italian language and literature. So I tried to bake in literary principles, um, into the organizational leaders part, cuz I think great literature makes for great case studies, but professor Muza who translated the divine comedy ante LA Gary for penguin classics and was arguably one of the foremost experts on this text. When we would sit in our seminar class with him, he would look and say, what did the text say to you? What did you get out of the text? How would you interpret this cont? And the first time I remember thinking to myself, uh, you know, this, guy’s translating this for penguin classic, explain. I just, I just graduated my undergrad degree. This is my first year in, you know, my first semester in graduate school. And I remember too, one of his, his, uh, textbooks actually, or his, his translations was dedicated to all his students because he said, you’ve allowed me to interpret this text and tweak translations in a different way. So professor MUA, like your professor Rodick is no longer with us, but I say I carry his model of instructional leadership with me every day.

Scott Luton (00:46:49):

I love that on so many different levels, but it reminds me that I learned a little Tibi about you dare Jessica. We’ll have to have a subsequent conversation about the one Alfredo parade of the famous principle, the parade

Jessica DePinto (00:47:02):

Principle.

Scott Luton (00:47:03):

Yeah. So we’ll, we’ll circle back on that. Who knows. Um, okay. So as we come down the home stretch again, really have enjoyed this conversation that touches on so much, uh, with both of y’all Jessica and Susan humanity, goodness gracious. Beyond business, just the sheer humanity. We’ve all been through quite a bit. We’ve referenced a couple times over the last few years goes without saying, but those Eureka moments that we’ve had at various times, I think I referenced pre-show sometimes we have a one an hour. Those, those can be some painful days, but what’s one, as soon as I’m bringing you back in the conversation here, what’s one Eureka moment that you’ve had here in the last couple years.

Susan Woller (00:47:43):

Well in even in light of COVID, um, when I was, um, when I was at school at Loyola, I actually created a little sticker and I stuck it on my laptop. And when I began to lose sight of humanity and connecting with others, and this was way before COVID all it said was face to face. And that was my prompt of, yeah, I can send that email, but wouldn’t it be better if I could do it face to face to connect with that human being. Because when I get up from my desk and I walk across the building to Tom’s office and I say, here’s, what’s going on, I’m happy to follow up with an email, but what do you think? And we have that connection. We create life. We create a synergy, we create energy and it makes for a better company culture because I work kind for a tech company. I mean, we do data migration for, you know, a DICOM medical data migration. We’re all at our computers all day long. We’re all, most of us are software engineers, geeks, technology, people,

Scott Luton (00:48:52):

Smart people, and

Susan Woller (00:48:54):

Well, and, and you know, that kinda lends itself to I’m going disconnect from human relationship and just get the work done. And so then when, when COVID came, we all were working remote and we weren’t connecting. And then of course, many of us went on teams or zoom or whatever vehicle. And now all of a sudden we don’t wanna be on camera because for some reason we don’t. And, and, and for some of, not me, because I, I just felt that I needed to put myself together to go to work. But some people were literally popping out of bed and working in their Jamm’s. That’s why they didn’t wanna go on camera <laugh>. So when you make the effort to put yourself together, you do that because you have every intention of pushing that video button. So you can have a face to face with people.

Susan Woller (00:49:44):

And the Eureka has always been for me that I have to fight. I have to always get more humanity ground because people wanna stay hidden. They in, they, I don’t know for some reason, uh, aren’t connecting as much as they used to. And so I push that and I push it and I push it and I encourage people to connect. I’ll even reach out to somebody during the day and I’ll say, Hey, do you have a minute? Let’s talk. And then I’ll say, Hey, Christopher, you wanna turn your camera on? I wanna see what’s going on with you. <laugh> so I think that is that’s the humanity piece. And we, man, we just, that was alive and well in the culture of Loyola. Always.

Scott Luton (00:50:30):

That is wonderful to hear. So face to face should be a mantra before you send that, that email before you send that text, think about how it’s gonna be perceived. I, I think email is funny, Jessica and Susan email has been like the greatest gift for communication and like the worst gift ever for communication, you know, agreed. But I digres Jessica, same question. What’s been one of your favorite Eureka moments you’ve had in recent years.

Jessica DePinto (00:50:57):

Loyola has a term that they, you know, it’s one of the pillars of the education, uh, core persons basically like you cure their whole person. And I think, you know, I’m kind of hard charging in my studies and I want my students to learn and I learn, and I remember, uh, we talked about this as faculty and said, you know, these students are going through a lot, many, the students are working full time. They have children at they’re homeschooling. How can we pair back? How can we pair back so that we’re not diluting the content, but we’re honoring the fact that now we’re asking our students to be on a zoom call. And so what it did was heighten my responsibility to make sure that the course that I did was entertaining and engaging, and also recognize that, you know, if a student brought their young child to the class, you know, I would joke and say, you know what, when she gets sworn as, as the next Supreme court justice, 20 years from now, I hope I’m alive because I wanna maybe say that a portion of what she learned in this class.

Jessica DePinto (00:52:10):

And so it’s being respectful of the other students, making sure that their learning outcomes and their learning out environment isn’t compromised, but also recognizing that the education piece is an important dimension, but it’s one dimension of the work family life. And I think if we go back Scott, to the question that you asked about, you know, you’ve got a room full executives in the room, in addition to the learning, you know, and, and encourage your people to learn. I think the pace of change is so rapid. Now I would add that, and this is a big tenant of a gen Jesuit education, build it into the curriculum, allow your people the time to reflect. And that comes with unplugging. Yeah. But I think the ubiquity of the emails and how much we’re changing and how much we’re doing, we’re missing the component about lessons learned, taking a pause really. So we can think about it, right? Not everybody is one of these dynamic thinkers that can think quickly on your feet. That’s what we’re hoping to accomplish in the class. Right. But sometimes those moral good, those good calls come out of having somebody who have had the full eight hours of sleep <laugh>. And so

Scott Luton (00:53:32):

I’m with you, I’m with you, you know, maybe it sounds simple in our ears, but it’s so such a powerful key takeaway is as the baking in time to reflect, you know, as an entrepreneur, it’s all about action, right? You gotta, I mean, you gotta be a self-starter, you gotta, you know, no, one’s gonna look out for your company, except for you. You gotta, you’ve gotta put it in the headlock, whatever it is and, and move forward. But I’ll tell you about y’all’s journey. But for me, especially over the last, you know, 10 years, nine years of being a, uh, entrepreneur, it’s those moments where I turn off the email, I, I, I, I shut down my phone, at least put it on silent, turn it and turn it face down. Right. Where I can’t see it. And you reflect through the conversations you reflect through the decisions that you’re trying to make. And that’s where I’ve arrived. Don’t know about. Y’all about that’s where I’ve arrived at some of my most powerful, uh, decisions, most impactful decisions or lessons learned. So, Jessica, I think, uh, if that’s, it sounds like that’s part of the culture at lo Loyola, is that right?

Jessica DePinto (00:54:35):

Mm-hmm <affirmative> yeah. I mean the seventh, the seventh class, right. We’ve got eight weeks together. So I bake in, in my seventh class a reflection piece where it says, okay, let’s what do you learn? What did you learn outta your group projects? What did you learn in this course? How has it changed? Or maybe it didn’t. And what I encourage my students to say is, if it didn’t change your leadership style, then I wanna know, I wanna learn. Right? So that’s a decided part of the transformative Jesuit education, which I, myself, ironically, didn’t have. My dad encouraged me and would always talk about, I think it’s something he wished he had more of was a Jesuit education. And I think one of the other aspects of the humanity, Susan May know this, cuz I think it, hers was the first class I shared was why do I teach?

Jessica DePinto (00:55:29):

Why do I choose to teach at Loyola? My dad in 2008 was diagnosed with leukemia. He was treated at Loyola hospital. His diagnosis was such that it was a terrible diagnosis. Not nobody could have cured him, but what I learned about leadership and organizational leadership from his care team and current person and looking at my dad as a whole patient and not can we pushed this clinical trial, but really looking from that perspective, I took as much about that when I developed my curriculum for organizational leadership than I did on drawing from the business courses. And I feel compelled to add that and cause that’s the humanity piece as well.

Scott Luton (00:56:18):

Mm-hmm <affirmative> uh, wow. So Susan, uh, as we, I hate to, I almost to shut down the conversation and, and, and close and adjourn this session, cause there’s so many lessons to be learned from y’all’s experiences and your expertise. But, uh, we must Susan, if folks wanted to learn more and connect with you face to face or not, who knows, uh, but what would be, what would be your advice to them? How can, how can our listeners get in touch with you?

Susan Woller (00:56:44):

Well, interesting. Uh, having been a former student at Loyola, there was a, um, opportunity that I had to serve in a capacity at Loyola in which we were, um, we would answer students questions that were concerned about coming to Loyola and what should they know? And can they handle the workload and how can they balance it all out because they have a husband and kids in a job. And so I am a, a fan of I’m a fan of answering any question and being available to support anybody and encourage. And one thing that I heard over and over again was it’s. It was really, it was really feared that held people back and I encourage people to push forward. And it was always, you definitely can do this, you know, you’re smart enough, you’re good enough. You can do this, you make the commitment and just plan the plan, but don’t get too rigid about it and follow through. We are successful in life as long as we keep taking steps forward. And I think that when we get so stuck that we can’t take that next step is so really I encouraged everybody to, to go for it, to, to, to do it. And that it is doable. And the reason I can say it’s doable is I, and so many others have done it while we’ve had full-time careers, commutes children, things we’ve been involved in and it is definitely doable. So,

Scott Luton (00:58:14):

And if people call you crazy who cares do it anyway. Right?

Susan Woller (00:58:18):

Do it, do it

Scott Luton (00:58:19):

Anyway. Do it anyway. That’s great. Susan, really appreciate you sharing. And, and Jessica saying question you, uh, I, I, again, I love the passion for instructing teaching. Helping folks kind of have their own discu, uh, Eureka moments, helping folks reflect on what they, you know, all that they’re learning and, and how they’re applying it. Uh, you just love what you do. How can folks connect with you, Jessica

Jessica DePinto (00:58:42):

LinkedIn? So, um, I have a different scarf on and shorter hair, but Jessica dip, Pinto <laugh>, um, and LinkedIn is the best way to, to connect with me. And I’m, I’m happy to connect with fellow educators and to students point students that are asking, do I go back to school? Do I sign up for this? Yeah,

Scott Luton (00:59:01):

<laugh> do it, do it, do it and do it and do it. Well, really. It’s been a, a pleasure and honor reconnecting with you, Jessica and meeting you, Susan. I really enjoyed the conversation here today. It touches, uh, so much of it is directly relevant to supply chain. And so much of it is, is, is directly Le uh, relevant to life in general, or no matter what you do, right? So big, thanks to Jessica dip Pinto. Big, thanks to Susan roller. We look forward to reconnecting with you soon, listeners, Hey, hopefully you’ve got 18 pages of notes like I do from Jessica and Susan’s perspective here today. We’re gonna make it easy. Check out the episode page. You can connect with them and, and follow up for your own conversations, but most importantly, whatever you do, Scott Luton on behalf of supply chain now challenging you to do good to give forward and be like Jessica and Susan be the change that’s needed on that note. We see next time, right back here on supply chain now. Thanks everybody.

Intro/Outro (00:59:58):

Thanks for being a part of our supply chain. Now, community check out all of our programming@supplychainnow.com and make sure you subscribe to supply chain. Now anywhere you listen to podcasts and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. See you next time on supply chain. Now.

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Featured Guests

Jessica DePinto has more than 15 years’ experience in federal regulatory compliance and business law. She recently completed the Sustainable Capitalism & ESG Certificate from University of Southern California – Berkeley Law – Executive Education Program. She is a senior lecturer/adjunct faculty with Loyola University Chicago – School of Continuing and Professional Studies where she designed and delivers the course, Law and Regulations for Organizational Leaders. She has guided Fortune 500 companies in their global trade regulatory compliance objectives. While a manager in Deloitte Tax LLP Customs and Global Trade practice group, she conducted in-depth assessments of clients’ policies and procedures. With a deep technical knowledge of global trade regulations, Jessica was responsible for designing and delivering best practices compliance training programs for clients in diverse and highly regulated sectors, including textiles, wearing apparel and footwear. She edited and managed Deloitte Tax Customs and Global Trade eminence publication, The Link Between Transfer Pricing & Customs Valuation, one of the most authoritative guides of its kind, compiling essential information regarding import valuation and implications of related party pricing in over 50 countries. While in private practice, she successfully advocated clients’ positions before federal regulatory agencies and represented clients in penalty actions before U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Department of Homeland Security. She served as president of the Justinian Society of Lawyers, chair of practice committees for the Chicago and Illinois State Bar Associations and has published on issues pertaining to import regulations and supply chain transparency and labor. She is a member of the American Bar Association. Connect with Jessica on LinkedIn.

Susan Woller is a results-focused professional who’s ability to plan, manage and execute is demonstrated by a successful track record in marketing, administration, operations management, business development, technology and project management. Her hallmark is delivering profitable solutions and efficient business management strategies critical to achieving organizational and client goals. Connect with Susan on LinkedIn.

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Scott W. Luton

Founder, CEO, & Host

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Vicki White

Controller

Vicki has a long history of rising to challenges and keeping things up and running. First, she supported her family’s multi-million dollar business as controller for 12 years, beginning at the age of 17. Then, she worked as an office manager and controller for a wholesale food broker. But her biggest feat? Serving as the chief executive officer of her household, while her entrepreneur husband travelled the world extensively. She fed, nurtured, chaperoned, and chauffeured three daughters all while running a newsletter publishing business and remaining active in her community as a Stephen’s Minister, Sunday school teacher, school volunteer, licensed realtor and POA Board president (a title she holds to this day). A force to be reckoned with in the office, you might think twice before you meet Vicki on the tennis court! When she’s not keeping the books balanced at Supply Chain Now or playing tennis matches, you can find Vicki spending time with her husband Greg, her 4 fur babies, gardening, cleaning (yes, she loves to clean!) and learning new things.

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Scott W. Luton

Founder, CEO, & Host

As the founder and CEO of Supply Chain Now, you might say Scott is the voice of supply chain – but he’s too much of a team player to ever claim such a title. One thing’s for sure: he’s a tried and true supply chain expert. With over 15 years of experience in the end-to-end supply chain, Scott’s insights have appeared in major publications including The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and CNN. He has also been named a top industry influencer by Thinkers360, ISCEA and more.

From 2009-2011, Scott was president of APICS Atlanta, and he continues to lead initiatives that support both the local business community and global industry. A United States Air Force Veteran, Scott has also regularly led efforts to give back to his fellow veteran community since his departure from active duty in 2002.

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Allison Giddens

Host, Logistics with Purpose

Allison Krache Giddens has been with Win-Tech, a veteran-owned small business and aerospace precision machine shop, for 15 years, recently buying the company from her mentor and Win-Tech’s Founder, Dennis Winslow. She and her business partner, John Hudson now serve as Co-Presidents, leading the 33-year old company through the pandemic.

She holds undergraduate degrees in psychology and criminal justice from the University of Georgia, a Masters in Conflict Management from Kennesaw State University, a Masters in Manufacturing from Georgia Institute of Technology, and a Certificate of Finance from the University of Georgia. She also holds certificates in Google Analytics, event planning, and Cybersecurity Risk Management from Harvard online. Allison founded the Georgia Chapter of Women in Manufacturing and currently serves as Treasurer. She serves on the Chattahoochee Technical College Foundation Board as its Secretary, the liveSAFE Resources Board of Directors as Resource Development Co-Chair, and on the Leadership Cobb Alumni Association Board as Membership Chair and is also a member of Cobb Executive Women. She is on the Board for the Cobb Chamber of Commerce’s Northwest Area Councils. Allison runs The Dave Krache Foundation, a non-profit that helps pay sports fees for local kids in need.

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Greg White

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.

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Chris Barnes

Principal, Supply Chain Now
Host of Supply Chain is Boring

Talk about world-class: Chris is one of the few professionals in the world to hold CPIM-F, CLTD-F and CSCP-F designations from ASCM/APICS. He’s also the APICS coach – and our resident Supply Chain Doctor. When he’s not hosting programs with Supply Chain Now, he’s sharing supply chain knowledge on the APICS Coach Youtube channel or serving as a professional education instructor for the Georgia Tech Supply Chain & Logistic Institute’s Supply Chain Management (SCM) program and University of Tennessee-Chattanooga Center for Professional Education courses.

Chris earned a BS in Industrial Engineering from Bradley University, an MBA with emphasis in Industrial Psychology from the University of West Florida, and is a Doctoral in Supply Chain Management candidate.

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Karin Bursa

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.

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Kevin L. Jackson

Host of Digital Transformers

Kevin L. Jackson is a globally recognized Thought Leader, Industry Influencer and Founder/Author of the award winning “Cloud Musings” blog.  He has also been recognized as a “Top 5G Influencer” (Onalytica 2019, Radar 2020), a “Top 50 Global Digital Transformation Thought Leader” (Thinkers 360 2019) and provides strategic consulting and integrated social media services to AT&T, Intel, Broadcom, Ericsson and other leading companies. Mr. Jackson’s commercial experience includes Vice President J.P. Morgan Chase, Worldwide Sales Executive for IBM and SAIC (Engility) Director Cloud Solutions. He has served on teams that have supported digital transformation projects for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the US Intelligence Community.  Kevin’s formal education includes a MS Computer Engineering from Naval Postgraduate School; MA National Security & Strategic Studies from Naval War College; and a BS Aerospace Engineering from the United States Naval Academy. Internationally recognizable firms that have sponsored articles authored by him include CiscoMicrosoft, Citrix and IBM.  Books include “Click to Transform” (Leaders Press, 2020), “Architecting Cloud Computing Solutions” (Packt, 2018), and “Practical Cloud Security: A Cross Industry View” (Taylor & Francis, 2016). He also delivers online training through Tulane UniversityO’Reilly MediaLinkedIn Learning, and Pluralsight.  Mr. Jackson retired from the U.S. Navy in 1994, earning specialties in Space Systems EngineeringCarrier Onboard Delivery Logistics and carrier-based Airborne Early Warning and Control. While active, he also served with the National Reconnaissance Office, Operational Support Office, providing tactical support to Navy and Marine Corps forces worldwide.

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Enrique Alvarez

Host of Logistics with Purpose and Supply Chain Now en Español

Enrique serves as Managing Director at Vector Global Logistics and believes we all have a personal responsibility to change the world. He is hard working, relationship minded and pro-active. Enrique trusts that the key to logistics is having a good and responsible team that truly partners with the clients and does whatever is necessary to see them succeed. He is a proud sponsor of Vector’s unique results-based work environment and before venturing into logistics he worked for the Boston Consulting Group (BCG). During his time at BCG, he worked in different industries such as Telecommunications, Energy, Industrial Goods, Building Materials, and Private Banking. His main focus was always on the operations, sales, and supply chain processes, with case focus on, logistics, growth strategy, and cost reduction. Prior to joining BCG, Enrique worked for Grupo Vitro, a Mexican glass manufacturer, for five years holding different positions from sales and logistics manager to supply chain project leader in charge of five warehouses in Colombia.

He has an MBA from The Wharton School of Business and a BS, in Mechanical Engineer from the Technologico de Monterrey in Mexico. Enrique’s passions are soccer and the ocean, and he also enjoys traveling, getting to know new people, and spending time with his wife and two kids, Emma and Enrique.

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Kelly Barner

Host of Dial P for Procurement

Kelly is the Owner and Managing Director of Buyers Meeting Point and MyPurchasingCenter. She has been in procurement since 2003, starting as a practitioner and then as the Associate Director of Consulting at Emptoris. She has covered procurement news, events, publications, solutions, trends, and relevant economics at Buyers Meeting Point since 2009. Kelly is also the General Manager at Art of Procurement and Business Survey Chair for the ISM-New York Report on Business. Kelly has her MBA from Babson College as well as an MS in Library and Information Science from Simmons College and she has co-authored three books: ‘Supply Market Intelligence for Procurement Professionals’, ‘Procurement at a Crossroads’, and ‘Finance Unleashed’.

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Mary Kate Soliva

Host, Veteran Voices

Mary Kate Soliva is transitioning from active duty in the US Army. She is currently in the Doctor of Criminal Justice program at Saint Leo University. She is passionate about combating human trafficking and has spent the last decade conducting training for military personnel and the local community.

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Jeff Miller

Host

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.

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Amanda Luton

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.

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Clay Phillips

Business Development Manager

Clay is passionate about two things: supply chain and the marketing that goes into it. Recently graduated with a degree in marketing at the University of Georgia, Clay got his start as a journalism major and inaugural member of the Owl’s football team at Kennesaw State University – but quickly saw tremendous opportunity in the Terry College of Business. He’s already putting his education to great use at Supply Chain Now, assisting with everything from sales and brand strategy to media production. Clay has contributed to initiatives such as our leap into video production, the guest blog series, and boosting social media presence, and after nearly two years in Supply Chain Now’s Marketing Department, Clay now heads up partnership and sales initiatives with the help of the rest of the Supply Chain Now sales team.

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Trisha Cordes

Administrative Assistant

Trisha is new to the supply chain industry – but not to podcasting. She’s an experienced podcast manager and virtual assistant who also happens to have 20 years of experience as an elementary school teacher. It’s safe to say, she’s passionate about helping people, and she lives out that passion every day with the Supply Chain Now team, contributing to scheduling and podcast production.

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Billy Taylor

Host of Dial P for Procurement

Billy Taylor is a Proven Business Excellence Practitioner and Leadership Guru with over 25 years leading operations for a Fortune 500 company, Goodyear. He is also the CEO of LinkedXL (Excellence), a Business Operating Systems Architecting Firm dedicated to implementing sustainable operating systems that drive sustainable results. Taylor’s achievements in the industry have made him a Next Generational Lean pacesetter with significant contributions.

An American business executive, Taylor has made a name for himself as an innovative and energetic industry professional with an indispensable passion for his craft of operational excellence. His journey started many years ago and has worked with renowned corporations such as The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. (GT) leading multi-site operations. With over 3 decades of service leading North America operations, he is experienced in a deeply rooted process driven approach in customer service, process integrity for sustainability.

A disciple of continuous improvement, Taylor’s love for people inspires commitment to helping others achieve their full potential. He is a dynamic speaker and hosts "The Winning Link," a popular podcast centered on business and leadership excellence with the #1 rated Supply Chain Now Network. As a leadership guru, Taylor has earned several invitations to universities, international conferences, global publications, and the U.S. Army to demonstrate how to achieve and sustain effective results through cultural acceptance and employee ownership. Leveraging the wisdom of his business acumen, strong influence as a speaker and podcaster Taylor is set to release "The Winning Link" book under McGraw Hill publishing in 2022. The book is a how-to manual to help readers understand the management of business interactions while teaching them how to Deine, Align, and Execute Winning in Business.

A servant leader, Taylor, was named by The National Diversity Council as one of the Top 100 Diversity Officers in the country in 2021. He features among Oklahoma's Most Admired CEOs and maintains key leadership roles with the Executive Advisory Board for The Shingo Institute "The Nobel Prize of Operations" and The Association of Manufacturing Excellence (AME); two world-leading organizations for operational excellence, business development, and cultural learning.  He is also an Independent Director for the M-D Building Products Board, a proud American manufacturer of quality products since 1920.

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Chantel King

Social Media Manager

My name is Chantel King and I am the Social Media Specialist at Supply Chain Now. My job is to make sure our audience is engaged and educated on the abundant amount of information the supply chain industry has to offer.

Social Media and Communications has been my niche ever since I graduated from college at The Academy of Art University in San Francisco. No, I am not a West Coast girl. I was born and raised in New Jersey, but my travel experience goes way beyond the garden state. My true passion is in creating editorial and graphic content that influences others to be great in whatever industry they are in. I’ve done this by working with lifestyle, financial, and editorial companies by providing resources to enhance their businesses.

Another passion of mine is trying new things. Whether it’s food, an activity, or a sport. I would like to say that I am an adventurous Taurus that never shies away from a new quest or challenge.

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Lori Sofian

Marketing Coordinator

Lori is currently completing a degree in marketing with an emphasis in digital marketing at the University of Georgia. When she’s not supporting the marketing efforts at Supply Chain Now, you can find her at music festivals – or working toward her dream goal of a fashion career. Lori is involved in many extracurricular activities and appreciates all the learning experiences UGA has brought her.

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Katherine Hintz

Sales and Marketing Coordinator

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

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Ben Harris

Host

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.

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Page Siplon

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).

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Kristi Porter

Host, Logistics with Purpose

Kristi Porter is VP of Sales and Marketing at Vector Global Logistics, a company that is changing the world through supply chain. In her role, she oversees all marketing efforts and supports the sales team in doing what they do best. In addition to this role, she is the Chief Do-Gooder at Signify, which assists nonprofits and social impact companies through copywriting and marketing strategy consulting. She has almost 20 years of professional experience, and loves every opportunity to help people do more good.

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Kevin Brown

Host, Logistics with Purpose

Kevin Brown is the Director of Business Development for Vector Global Logistics.  He has a dedicated interest in Major Account Management, Enterprise Sales, and Corporate Leadership. He offers 25 years of exceptional experience and superior performance in the sales of Logistics, Supply Chain, and Transportation Management. Kevin is a dynamic, high-impact, sales executive and corporate leader who has consistently exceeded corporate goals. He effectively coordinates multiple resources to solution sell large complex opportunities while focusing on corporate level contacts across the enterprise. His specialties include targeting and securing key accounts by analyzing customer’s current business processes and developing solutions to meet their corporate goals. Connect with Kevin on LinkedIn.

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Sofia Rivas Herrera

Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol

Sofia Rivas Herrera is a Mexican Industrial Engineer from Tecnologico de Monterrey class 2019. Upon graduation, she earned a scholarship to study MIT’s Graduate Certificate in Logistics and Supply Chain Management and graduated as one of the Top 3 performers of her class in 2020. She also has a multicultural background due to her international academic experiences at Singapore Management University and Kühne Logistics University in Hamburg. Sofia self-identifies as a Supply Chain enthusiast & ambassador sharing her passion for the field in her daily life.

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Jose Miguel Irarrazaval

Host, Logistics with Purpose

Jose Manuel Irarrazaval es parte del equipo de Vector Global Logistics Chile. José Manuel es un gerente experimentado con experiencia en finanzas corporativas, fusiones y adquisiciones, financiamiento y reestructuración, inversión directa y financiera, tanto en Chile como en el exterior. José Manuel tiene su MBA de la Universidad de Pennsylvania- The Wharton School. Conéctese con Jose Manuel en LinkedIn.

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Demo Perez

Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol

Demo Perez started his career in 1997 in the industry by chance when a relative asked him for help for two just weeks putting together an operation for FedEx Express at the Colon Free Zone, an area where he was never been but accepted the challenge. Worked in all roles possible from a truck driver to currier to a sales representative, helped the brand introduction, market share growth and recognition in the Colon Free Zone, at the end of 1999 had the chance to meet and have a chat with Fred Smith ( FedEx CEO), joined another company in 2018 who took over the FedEx operations as Operations and sales manager, in 2004 accepted the challenge from his company to leave the FedEx operations and business to take over the operation and business of DHL Express, his major competitor and rival so couldn’t say no, by changing completely its operation model in the Free Zone. In 2005 started his first entrepreneurial journey by quitting his job and joining two friends to start a Freight Forwarding company. After 8 months was recruited back by his company LSP with the General Manager role with the challenge of growing the company and make it fully capable warehousing 3PL. By 2009 joined CSCMP and WERC and started his journey of learning and growing his international network and high-level learning. In 2012 for the first time joined a local association ( the Panama Maritime Chamber) and worked in the country’s first Logistics Strategy plan, joined and lead other associations ending as president of the Panama Logistics Council in 2017. By finishing his professional mission at LSP with a company that was 8 times the size it was when accepted the role as GM with so many jobs generated and several young professionals coached, having great financial results, took the decision to move forward and start his own business from scratch by the end of 2019. with a friend and colleague co-founded IPL Group a company that started as a boutique 3PL and now is gearing up for the post-Covid era by moving to the big leagues.

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Kim Winter

Host, Supply Chain Now

The founder of Logistics Executive Group, Kim Winter delivers 40 years of executive leadership experience spanning Executive Search & Recruitment, Leadership Development, Executive Coaching, Corporate Advisory, Motivational Speaking, Trade Facilitation and across the Supply Chain, Logistics, 3PL, E-commerce, Life Science, Cold Chain, FMCG, Retail, Maritime, Defence, Aviation, Resources, and Industrial sectors. Operating from the company’s global offices, he is a regular contributor of thought leadership to industry and media, is a professional Master of Ceremonies, and is frequently invited to chair international events.

He is a Board member of over a dozen companies throughout APAC, India, and the Middle East, a New Zealand citizen, he holds formal resident status in Australia and the UAE, and is the Australia & New Zealand representative for the UAE Government-owned Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZA), the Middle East’s largest Economic Free Zone.

A triathlete and ex-professional rugby player, Kim is a qualified (IECL Sydney) executive coach and the Founder / Chairman of the successful not for profit humanitarian organization, Oasis Africa (www. 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).

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Nick Roemer

Host, Logistics with Purpose

Nick Roemer has had a very diverse and extensive career within design and sales over the last 15 years stretching from China, Dubai, Germany, Holland, UK, and the USA. In the last 5 years, Nick has developed a hawk's eye for sustainable tech and the human-centric marketing and sales procedures that come with it. With his far-reaching and strong network within the logistics industry, Nick has been able to open new avenues and routes to market within major industries in the USA and the UAE. Nick lives by the ethos, “Give more than you take." His professional mission is to make the logistics industry leaner, cleaner and greener.

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Alex Bramley

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.

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