Logistics with Purpose
Episode 62

I was in a metaphorical darkness, but I still had electricity. I still had a house. I still had running water and food in my fridge and a fridge that worked. And that really was a profound effect on me. And from that very day to now, I've devoted my life to tackling this issue that we will call energy poverty.

-Simon Doble

Episode Summary

On October 11, 2011, Simon Doble saw the light when it comes to global energy poverty. Now, his organization SolarBuddy works to create awareness and tackle this critical issue. Energy poverty is an obstacle to education, health, the environment and economic development around the world. Tragically, 3.8 million people die prematurely from the effects of energy poverty every year.

In this episode, Kristi and Elisa chat with Simon about his personal path to global citizenship, the current state of energy poverty, his organization’s innovative approach to empowering children through educational solar kits, lessons learned along the way and more.

Episode Transcript

Intro/Outro (00:02):

Welcome to logistics with purpose presented by vector global logistics in partnership with supply chain. Now we spotlight and celebrate organizations who are dedicated to creating a positive impact. Join us for this behind the scenes glimpse of the origin stories, change making progress and future plans of organizations who are actively making a difference. Our goal isn’t just to entertain you, but to inspire you to go out and change the world. And now here’s today’s episode of logistics with purpose.

Kristi Porter (00:34):

Hi, I’m Kristi Porter from vector global logistics. Thanks so much for joining us for another exciting episode of logistics with purpose. And today I have the absolute pleasure of co-hosting with my team member, Elisa Rodriguez, Elisa, how are you?

Elisa Rodriguez (00:49):

Hello, Tracy. Everything great. Thank you so much. Um, thank you for doing this. We are really happy to see this podcast, so thank you so much. And thank you Simon for joining us today.

Kristi Porter (01:03):

Yes. So tell everybody who we have joining us and who’s, um, amazing story we get to share today,

Elisa Rodriguez (01:09):

Simon. Uh, he’s a founder and global CEO at solar body, so we are more than happy to have to have you here today. Participate with us on this podcast. So Simon, how do you feel?

Simon Doble (01:26):

Mm-hmm, <affirmative>, uh, I’m very excited to be here. Thank you very much for, um, for inviting me along. I’m, I’m looking forward to sharing some stories and, and, um, and uh, talking about the work we do and, and I appreciate the opportunity to, to, to be on your podcast and, and, and share that. So thanks for having me,

Kristi Porter (01:44):

For sure. Absolutely. And we have so many questions to ask you, you’re doing such incredible work, so we wanna hear all about it, but before we get into some of the professional side, um, we wanna ask you a little bit about your growing up and your background and, um, how you became, who you are. So you wanna kick us off with that?

Elisa Rodriguez (02:03):

Yeah. So welcome again. And Simon, first of all, please tell us second up experience you had while up, what was your type like?

Simon Doble (02:15):

Well, it was my childhood like, oh, um, I was, I had a lovely, very, very precious childhood. I was, I was very lucky. I was born into a, um, a beautiful family. I’m the youngest of four children. Um, and, uh, there’s a few years between my elder siblings and I, so, um, it was like I had five parents to be perfectly honest with you. Um, but, uh, in their life at that, um, but I grew up in a Southwest of England, uh, a county called, um, which is very rural. It’s very rural part of England. Um, very idyllic, um, lots of old houses in, in old cottages with fated roofs and in beautiful farms and, and whatnot. So, um, so yeah, it was a very idyllic childhood. Um, my father was an entrepreneur. Um, he’s retired now, but, uh, back then he was a, he was an entrepreneur. So, um, that sort of entrepreneurship was, was, was put into my DNA and, and, uh, many years later here we are, but, um, but yeah, Southwest England, um, went to university in London. Um, and, uh, and yeah, it was a very, very special childhood growing up.

Kristi Porter (03:25):

Sounds like it sounds very picturesque. I I’m picturing it in my mind as you’re talking about it with the beautiful batch roofs and everything. Um, I already wanna visit tell us a little bit more about those early years. What is there, um, significant, you said entrepreneurship was something you learned about early on. Is there something specific that stands out to you, a story that now has shaped who you are?

Simon Doble (03:49):

Um, I think, yeah. Yeah, I think, I think there’s a few actually, but I, I just remember, um, I remember the transition from my father being a, a non businessman, I working for somebody else and then starting his own business. And, and, um, and, and, and that, the shift that, that had on my family and, and my father, particularly in the hours that he worked and, and the pressure that he was under and the responsibility that he took on, um, not just having people working for him, but their whole families. And, and I remember that vividly, um, as a young boy, 5, 6, 7 years of age where my father would, you know, he, he, he would work extremely hard to, to put, um, a life, a nice life for his own children and a nice roof over our heads, but also took it very seriously that he had a responsibility to do that for everybody that, that worked for him and, and worked with him.

Simon Doble (04:44):

And, and that was probably the most, um, most lasting memory of, of, of that time. Um, there was a lot of, there was a lot of, uh, hard work in, I think that, uh, instilled in me a certain set of values in, in ethics and business that, um, we, we as business leaders or, or founders or whatever, um, have a responsibility beyond the bottom line, beyond our shareholders, but also most importantly for the people that are in our teams and in their, their, their families. And I think that’s probably the biggest lesson I learned growing up.

Kristi Porter (05:19):

That’s a big one. That’s a good one.

Elisa Rodriguez (05:22):

Yeah. So if you could turn back time and talk to your all 21 year old self, what personal or professional advice would you give,

Simon Doble (05:35):

What personal and professional advice or,

Simon Doble (05:41):

Um, that’s a, that’s a very good question as well. Professional advice. Um, well, I, I mentioned I went to university and, and this is, this is personally for me and certainly not for everybody else, but, um, I felt frustrated at university. I felt like I was, um, I was like a grey hand in, in a, in a, in a cage ready to go and, and take on the world in, in three years of of study was, was preventing that. And, and, um, so I was building businesses and generating income whilst at university. And, and I think the, the business world is littered with, with dropout university, dropouts that gone on and done amazing things. And, and I think looking back, I probably wouldn’t have gone to university. Um, okay. So that’s slightly professional and personal, I guess. Um, because I had ideas and plans that I wanted to implement right there and right then, and, and learning about it in a classroom, hasn’t been anywhere near as valuable as learning about it in real life.

Simon Doble (06:42):

And, um, and I’ve certainly learned, learned business in, in, in whatnot, um, through the school of life. And, and that’s probably what I would tell my 21 year old self, even though at 21, I was nearly finishing university. Um, so that’s probably what I tell my 18 year old self <laugh>, um, from a more personal level, um, uh, maybe try not to do everything at once, just, you know, slow down a little bit, and there’s plenty of time and there’s a long life ahead of you and, um, and, and stop and take things in every now and then rather than be that Greyhound and, and, and, and run as fast as you can and do as many things as you can just, just slow down a little bit and, and smell the roses, so to speak.

Kristi Porter (07:26):

Yeah. Well, moving fast and trying to do it all is practically the entrepreneur credo. So also makes sense from that standpoint

Simon Doble (07:34):

<laugh> yeah, that’s right.

Kristi Porter (07:36):

Um, well, we definitely wanna get into solar buddy, but you also had a journey from university until you started the organization six years ago. So what did that professional journey look like for you?

Simon Doble (07:48):

Um, so I, I did a, I did a number of things. I, I, I, um, various little projects in various little businesses in the UK before I left the UK. Um, and then I had the great fortune of, um, a few circumstances in my life that, that shaped some of my thinking. And one of those was all the way back to being 16 years of age. I, I, um, uh, it was, it was late 1989, so I’m showing my age there and, um, in the Berlin wall came down and it was coming down and, and I, I, I, I took it upon myself to go and experience that firsthand as a 16 year old boy. And, um, that sort of, um, that comprehension in, in awareness of, of two, um, two nations, but 2, 2, 2 people coming back together again, after years of separation for separation was, was something that really, uh, had a profound effect on me. And then I had, you know, rolling forward a few years. I had the great fortune

Kristi Porter (08:49):

Traveling. Let’s pause there. If you can’t just bring up. I was at the Berlin wall when it was coming down, and then six years later, let’s talk. I mean, you were there as part of a moment in history. And of course today, the day we’re recording, it was the day is the day of queen Elizabeth’s, um, funeral, another moment in time as well. So what, for those of us who like Alyssa was not born yet, and those of us who were watching it on TV as a little kid, like me, what was it like to be there? What was that experience that, yeah. Tell us more about that.

Simon Doble (09:20):

Uh, it, it was, it was incredible. I mean, I, I was, I was at school in the UK and, and our history teacher rolled out the TV, the old, black and white sort of big TV on, on, on the wheels. And, and we were sat there and started watching it on the news and, and I just felt completely compelled. I was fascinated with, with the cold war and the iron curtain in itself in how, how a country, you know, could be divided into, into five and, and, um, sorry, four, and, and then a whole city divided into two and, and big, huge war just divided families. That, that to me is a very young boy, was very conflicting and confronting. Um, so when, when history started happening on TV, I was like, I, I have to be there. I have to, I have to understand this.

Simon Doble (10:05):

I have to comprehend it. And, um, I have to be, I have to immerse myself in, in it, in, in try and understand what’s what it must feel like. Um, so yeah, I just, I just basically bunked off school. Um, I’m not advising anyone to do that, but <laugh>, um, uh, bunked off school, um, which is an English term. So I, I skipped school and, um, and made my way from, from the UK to, to, um, Munich in Germany and then, and then up to Berlin from there and, and just, uh, joined the crowds and, and, and, and joined in on what was going on and met some amazing people that I’m still friends with now. And wow. Um, and, and it was a moment in history and, and I’m proud that, that, you know, I, I, as a boy had the, the naivety, but also the bravery to, to go and do that and, and, and experience it.

Simon Doble (10:57):

And what I experienced was families coming back together that, that had been separated and, and people opening their eyes to two different worlds that, that was right next door to each other. And, and back then, you know, east Berlin was literally like going back in time, you know, fairly 40, 50 years. And, and if you were in east Berlin era coming into west Berlin, it was like stepping forward in time 30 or 40 50 years. And to see those expressions in, in the wonder, and that bewilderment on people’s faces was actually profound. And, and I still remember, um, meeting a girl and, uh, from east Berlin and, and I took her into a McDonald’s for the first time and, oh, wow. And it was, you know, something so simple and, and basic as that. And, um, she, she’d never experienced anything like that. And, um, that still sticks with me today. So, so a lot of that is it, it, uh, sort of foundations of some of my thinking and trying to build bridges between communities and, and we’ll getting to that later, but, you know, that’s kind of set a, set a foundation of, of some of my thinking and how the world should be. And, you know, there shouldn’t be barriers and borders between people and families there should be. And, and, and people generally there should be unity and, and unification and kindness, and in, in a little bit more, um, cohesion, I guess.

Kristi Porter (12:20):

Wow, that’s incredible. Okay. You can keep going, but I, I could talk about all day. It’s just utterly fascinating. I saw when I was in, um, DC at the museum several years ago, they had a piece of the wall and all of that. No’s fascinating just to look back and be able to see it, but to actually be there, I can’t even imagine. So it’s incredible.

Simon Doble (12:38):

Yeah, yeah. Yeah. I spent the following free summers in, in Germany. Um, seeing seeing the country come, come back together and, and people, you know, again, be reunited and, and whatnot. And, and, and, and as an Englishman, a, an English young man, a boy basically, um, going into areas where they hadn’t had any interaction with an English person for, you know, since the, since the end of the second world war, you know, building friendships with people that, that initially despised you, um, purely because of your, your, the country of birth. And, and then, you know, a few weeks, a few months later after, you know, spending time with, with a certain community, they, you know, you’re going to the house for dinner and stuff that, that was as a young man, that, that, that helped me formulate my thinking as well. So, yeah,

Kristi Porter (13:30):

Certainly some lessons we could use today.

Simon Doble (13:33):

Mm absolutely. Absolutely.

Kristi Porter (13:36):

So what happened after, after Germany?

Simon Doble (13:39):

Um, so I, I finished university and, uh, I always knew I wasn’t destined to remain in the UK. I always knew I was destined to, um, travel and experience the world and in cultures and stuff. So, um, I wandered around the world for a couple of years. Um, went to some amazing places and met some amazing people and, and learned a lot about, um, the, the, the, the world generally and cultures and whatnot, and, and the disparity of circumstances and, and, and, uh, in wealth based on location in the world and, and whatnot. And, um, and then I ended up here in Australia, which I’m talking to you from now in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, um, and, uh, yeah, met a girl and fell in love and, and, um, had three beautiful children and, and, uh, um, and built a business here, here AF not about a year, two years after I arrived here in Australia, started a business that, that was in the building industry.

Simon Doble (14:43):

Um, I was living in a very small surfing community in, in Queensland. Um, I don’t surf my children do that’s, that’s my daughter behind me, um, who just arrived back from Los Angeles yesterday after a surf trip in California. Oh, wow. Um, but, um, but yeah, I living in a, a little surfing community. There wasn’t a lot of business opportunities. There wasn’t a lot of, um, a lot of need for, for the, for the, uh, degree that I had in, in the global experience that I had. So, um, so I, uh, I, I built a, I started a building company and taught myself how to build houses and, and developed a building company and, and design houses and, and, um, yeah. Sort of fell into that really, and did that for a few years, um, until, um, until very sadly, very tragically. My, my marriage fell down, fell apart and, um, and there was a lot of heart break in that. And, and so I, you know, needed to find myself again and find a new direction that, that had a lot more purpose and, and, and back to my original values of the world and global citizenship and, and, you know, here we are. So,

Kristi Porter (16:00):

Yeah, I’m curious. Um, also you talked about, again, you have, I know there’s so many gems in there and you are skimming past all these incredible things that I know we’re not even catching glimpse up, but you talked about traveling the world for two years and becoming a global citizen. What that meant to you. Are there a couple things from, um, and awesome places and awesome people, and it sounds like you’re very good at picking great scenery. <laugh> um, you, uh, are there a couple things that stand out that, again, just really shaped you or stood with you, um, or that you saw examples of more building bridges that you wanted to kind of continue delving into that type of work?

Simon Doble (16:36):

Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Um, so I, you know, I’ve been to 106 countries. Oh

Kristi Porter (16:41):

My gosh. Yeah.

Simon Doble (16:42):

Which I’m very, very grateful for, uh, to have the opportunity to do that. Um, that’s been over the last sort of 30 plus years, but, um, but I think, I think different parts of the world, like in Africa, I saw a lot of things that, that I saw a lot of community love and, and care for each other and, and, you know, things that there’s no picket fences, there’s no separation of houses. There’s no, um, you know, there’s no things like that, that that was, was, um, really interesting to me and, and communal living was sort of, so to speak in, in, in non-family members, looking after other fam you know, other, other people within their community. And, and I felt that was, that was, that was an ingrained sort of concept. And I felt that was really interesting. Um, as a young boy, young man, um, you know, Ethiopia, I fell in love with E Ethiopia when I was, you know, very young.

Simon Doble (17:36):

Um, and, and it’s still close to my heart in any places like the middle east. Um, the back then were still, um, nothing like they are now, uh, Dubai didn’t exist, you know, um, in, and, and places like that was so watching them grow and change over the years has been quite interesting. Um, and then into India and, you know, the different, the different way of living there and, and, um, you know, compared to Africa, that was, you know, again, again, really quite interesting, and then all the way over to Asia where, you know, so many different countries and so close proximity to each other, but they’re all very different in their own beautiful way. And, and, um, the different languages and different religions and food and way of doing things. And, um, you know, there was times in Cambodia back then that it wasn’t too long after Paul part and Kumar Rouge.

Simon Doble (18:27):

And so there was a lot of, um, there was a lot of pain in, in suffering in Cambodia back then. And, and, you know, that, that taught me other lessons. And then, you know, you go into Vietnam and we’re on a million miles after the Vietnam war and, and, you know, the, the travesties of, of what went on there. And so there was a lot of, a lot of things in there that not just the beauty of the world, but, but what, what humans were doing to it as well, and doing to each other that, that I think, um, helped me maybe see the world in, in a slightly different way that, that we don’t need to be mean to each other. We can try and be kind to each other, you

Kristi Porter (19:07):

Know? Yeah. Yeah. Well, I look forward to reading your memoirs or, and, or your photo book when those come out one day. So keep posted, stop interrupting you, you can go ahead.

Elisa Rodriguez (19:18):

<laugh> yeah. So again, well talking about solar body again, and it’s mainly focused on fighting against energy poverty. So can you please define energy, poverty, and what do you do to alleviate this issue?

Simon Doble (19:38):

Sure. Uh, I’d be delighted to, um, so for me, I, I, uh, it all started for me with energy poverty, um, on October the 11th, 2011, um, very specific date there. Um, but, uh, I, I read an article in, in, um, in time magazine. I, I was going through the divorce that I mentioned in, I was in a fairly metaphorical, dark place. I was, you know, slightly heartbroken and not seeing my children every day. And, and, um, and that’s very hard for the children. It was very hard for me and, and obviously mm-hmm, <affirmative>, you know, very hard for my, my now ex-wife, but like, it is for anybody in divorce and, and whatnot, but, um, I’m quite an emotional cat and wear my heart and my sleeve. So, um, it, it, I, I struggled with it. And, uh, and this, this idea of, of, of, you know, living how ever after is had gone.

Simon Doble (20:38):

So I was in a very dark place at the time. And, and, um, and I picked up this time magazine in my parents’ house, um, and, and just fell, fell open to this, um, article that, that, that highlighted the, the headline of the article was energy, poverty, uh, the world’s worst form of poverty. And, um, I was like, whoa, what is this? Um, you know, I, I, I traveled the world. I I’ve been into so many different places and, and basically I’d lived in energy, poverty, but actually hadn’t really comprehended it, you know? Um, so I, I dived into this article and it just absolutely spoke to me. It, it, it, it, I just, it, it was a moment in time where it was profound for me in, in, in really, and I’ve had the great fortune of meat in the offer, uh, the journalist of that article.

Simon Doble (21:33):

And, uh, and, and it just, it just described energy, poverty, and how it affects so many people purely based on where they were born and, and for no reason. And, and I think we can all describe what water poverty is or water insecurity is in general, economic poverty and different things like that, and homelessness and everything, but, um, energy, poverty back then, and even still now is still such a hard thing for people to comprehend. Um, so, you know, very, very highlight, um, free billion people cook their meals on, uh, firewood every day or every evening. Um, you know, a few years ago, 1.4 billion people. That’s just now less than 1 billion people use kerosene lanterns or kerosene oil for lighting every day and every nine. Um, the fumes from, from those kerosene lanterns kills more children in aids and malaria combined every year from, from the fuel that, uh, from the smoke that they inhale.

Simon Doble (22:31):

Um, you know, it keeps hundreds of millions of people in this perpetual cycle of poverty, because they’re, you know, they’re generally earning between two to $3 us dollars a day, and then they’re spending about 40 up to 40% of that on, um, on fuel to see and, and, and cook, um, which, you know, constantly creates this perpetual cycle of poverty. And, and I read this and I was like, wow, okay. You know, I thought I’d knew a little bit, but I actually knew nothing. And, um, and the fact that there was so many people and literal darkness, and I was in a metaphorical darkness, but I still had electricity. I still had a house. I still had running water and food in my fridge and, and a fridge that worked. And, and, and that really, um, was a profound effect on me. And, and from that very day to now, I’ve devoted my life to, um, tackling this, this issue that we will call energy poverty. So

Kristi Porter (23:35):

That’s incredible. Um, thank you. That’s thank for sharing that that’s incredible work and excited to hear, um, more about you. You let’s talk about, let’s get a little further in, so you’ve given us kind of the broad strokes of your mission, but how does it happen? How does this, how does energy poverty get alleviated and how does solar buddy in particular, how does that, how do you make that happen and what are these yellow buckets we see all over? <laugh> your social media and website?

Simon Doble (24:05):

Yeah, so we, I mean, um, so I, I, I read this article in, you know, I studied a lot about the issue and, and discovered a few facts and, and whatnot. And, um, I ended up designing, um, I, I was always a, an inventor tinkerer, innovator, or whatever, um, curious mind, I guess. Um, and so I was always, even as a young boy, just, just trying to come up with ideas and concepts that, that may take the world by storm, you know, um, and back then it was about making money, but, but by this point it was about making impact. Um, so I invented, I ended up inventing a, a solution, uh, for refugee, um, humanitarian 10, a solar powered, uh, solar powered light, um, uh, system that, that, that I took to the UN and it got picked up by those guys. Um, and that was my first sort of foray into innovation in solar. And, oh, that’s so bad for your

Kristi Porter (25:07):

Little fray.

Simon Doble (25:09):

Um,

Kristi Porter (25:09):

You just wandered over and presented this to them. That’s pretty incredible itself.

Simon Doble (25:14):

Yeah. Yeah. That’s literally what I did. I, I, I jumped on paint Geneva and, and knocked on the front door at U N H C and said, Hey, how you doing? I, something I wanna show you. So, um, but there’s a whole nother podcast in that probably, but yes. Um, but, um, but ultimately that, that entered me into this world of, of, you know, the, the humanitarian world as we call it in, in, in, um, understanding the issues a lot more in, in, in discovering why. So few people knew anything about energy poverty, because the vast majority of us don’t live in it. Right. And the ones that do don’t have the voice in the, in the platform to, to explain what it’s like. Um, so in that world, I, I really UN, unearthed a, a greater knowledge of, of the, and, and build a greater empathy of the people that actually suffer from it.

Simon Doble (26:06):

Um, and during those years, between 2011 and 2015, um, you know, I, I lived in Somalia. I lived in Ethiopia. I lived in Iraq in, in, in Chad and, you know, all these other places around the world that, that are in chronic, you know, energy, right. Um, energy, poverty, I guess. Um, and I started, um, I, I, prior to this, I’d written a series of children’s books and, you know, they, they were, they’d done quite well, and they were about keeping children safe in, in, and stuff. So whenever I, I sort of go out and hang out in the communities in, in my curious mind, we’d wanna learn in, in, in watch and listen and, and understand how people live and survive in such such environments. Um, I’d take a bunch of children’s books with me and hand ’em out to the kids and stuff.

Simon Doble (26:59):

And, um, and it was at those moments where we’d sit and talk and listen and, and read. And then as the sunset, the kerosene lanterns would come out and, and just the toxic smoke from those lanterns, um, just, and the, the children were so oblivious to that. And they were trying to read and wanting to read and wanting to learn, but like, but the smoke was so terribly toxic. I couldn’t sit there for, you know, longer than, you know, a minute or so without coughing my eyes watering my nose running yet, these children were just, it was nothing to them, you know? And, and, um, and that was when I decided to move out of the safety sort of security, a element of, of working with the UN and set up my own charity and, and actually do something that had more of an impact directly for children that, that needed it.

Simon Doble (27:53):

And, and that’s where solar body comes from. And the idea, and, and that’s still the, the foundations of our idea was if we could develop an education program, um, for children that don’t live in energy, poverty, children in America, predominantly children in Australia and elsewhere around the world Europe, um, where they can learn, um, not just about energy, poverty, but about global citizenship, about the sustainable development goals about the environment, um, and about culture and about however people in children live in the world. And then part of that learning is I designed a, a little solar kit, um, that once built by the children, um, that they’d learn about the issue. They, they made the kids, um, and completed it. So it would work. Um, we could then donate those solar, like kids, um, that are completed to children, um, around the world that, that actually lived in energy, poverty.

Simon Doble (28:50):

Um, and if we could do that and we could do that, um, by millions and millions and millions of units, then, um, ultimately we’re, we’re educating and creating awareness about the problem with, with the next generation. So they’re empowered to feel like they can actually solve it, um, along with providing tools for children in energy, you know, in energy, poor countries to study have a better education. So then they feel in, in are aware enough to be able to know that they can help solve it as well. And it all comes down to education and awareness and, you know, a challenge, anyone to read a book in, in the pitch black cuz you can, and, and we all know knowledge comes from books, um, and maybe podcasts and a few other bits and bobs now. But, um, but that’s the essence of the idea. And in, uh, I mapped out on my dining room table in late 2015, and we, we went live in, in early 2016 and six plus years later now, we’re we operate in 52 countries.

Simon Doble (29:50):

We’ve donated lights all across the world to millions of children and, and all those lights are stacked in those little yellow buckets that you see. And, um, and there’s 50 lights in each bucket. And then once those lights are handed out to, to the 50 children, those buckets are, are then converted to water filtration systems. So they sit in each classroom and, and pur and purify the water, um, for, for the children in the classroom. And, and that’s what we do. And, you know, we do it well. Um, I often joke that we are a logistics charity. You know, we, we, we have factories that supply our DC centers and then those DC centers send buckets of lights across the world to classrooms, to corporate conference rooms, to, uh, you know, big events. And then they, um, and then they get sent from there once they’ve been quality controlled and checked, um, to the last mile, very remote communities, all across the world in Africa, the jungles of Papua New Guinea and we’re all India and the islands of the south Pacific. And, you know, when you look at it like that, we are basically a logistics charity, you know, um, and that’s the hardest part of what we do, but, um, but it’s around, you know, the, I call it book end goodness. But ultimately we’re, we’re educating hearts and minds, both, you know, with children and people, adults that don’t live in energy, poverty in, in connecting them, connecting them with, with the bridge of a light, um, to children that, that do live in energy, poverty.

Elisa Rodriguez (31:26):

We know yet you already expand your operations. Uh, what are some of your future projects like,

Kristi Porter (31:38):

Tell us what’s on the,

Simon Doble (31:42):

On the horizons. Okay. Um, lots and lots and lots of things. <laugh>

Kristi Porter (31:47):

I have no doubt.

Simon Doble (31:49):

<laugh> we, we, we have a, we have a little book coming out, little children’s book. Um,

Elisa Rodriguez (31:55):

Wow. We current,

Simon Doble (31:57):

So that’s our first one of 18 that we’re currently, we we’re working on another 17 children’s books to tell the story of, um, amazing children in the world that help other children with, with some of issues of, of the globe. Um, so I’m really excited about that. I I’m a, you know, I’m a, I’m a big grown up child basically. So,

Kristi Porter (32:19):

And why write book when you can write 18?

Simon Doble (32:23):

Exactly. Exactly. Yeah. I, I did 12 in my first series. And so, um, go, go a few more on this one, but, um, but yeah, so we’re working on that. Um, but there’s, you know, we’re constantly innovating as much as we’re an education charity or, or a logistics charity. We’re also, um, at our core an innovation charity. So, um, we, we’re constantly developing new products and new solutions to, to lift more people out of energy poverty, um, from, from student body, which is, is now live, which is, uh, a more powerful solar system that will, um, that operates as a room light, uh, also as a torch, but also charges mobile phones. Um, we provide them to predominantly young teenage girls, um, so they can feel safe walking around their village at night. Um, they don’t get taken outta school to go and charge, uh, mobile devices in, in other villages, so they can stay in school.

Simon Doble (33:22):

Whil those devices are charged at home with their new student buddy, um, which protects them in, in very, you know, various ways. Um, I’m working on, on a cook stove, a renewal energy powered, cook stove, and a renew energy powered refrigeration system. Um, we do, we do community lighting and sports lighting. So children can play sport after, after the sunsets and remote parts of the world where it’s very hot during the day mm-hmm <affirmative>. Um, we, uh, so that’s a, you know, product pipeline, I’ve developed a, a carbon trading platform, um, which feeds into our community projects. Um, we we’ve created a, a corporate engagement program where, where, uh, people learn about solve the 17, uh, uh, they learn about the 17 sustainable goals in certain, um, light real life experiences in, in examples of that. And then they have to innovate solutions as part of their, um, as part of their team building and, uh, um, uh, day. And, um, we’ve developed that and that’s going really well. Um, and, and there’s lots and lots and lots of other things we do, but, um, just

Kristi Porter (34:37):

A typical Tuesday for you. Yeah. <laugh>.

Simon Doble (34:40):

Yeah. But, um, but we, I, I have, I have unbelievably passionate, capable in an inspiring team that, that, uh, works with solar buddy and, and, you know, we, we, we attract some amazing people to come and join our journey and, and, um, and I’m very, very, very lucky and, and grateful for, for the hard work that they do and, and the passion and that they bring to the table every day. So, um, so that’s, I’m very lucky in that sense.

Kristi Porter (35:07):

Yeah, that’s incredible. Thank you. Um, I’m curious, you’ve mentioned of course, a ton of things. It all came from, you know, one idea or one initiative and springing out of that. Um, of course, I’m sure there were a lot of challenges along the way. Would you mind sharing some lessons learned, um, you know, either mistakes that you made or something you just couldn’t anticipate that you had to pivot for perhaps like a pandemic <laugh>. Um, okay. But, uh, just a few things you’ve learned, learned along the way, especially as a tinker, an inventor, a guy who sounds like he’s always got, um, you know, juggling a bunch of ideas at once and, and trying to be, you know, bring a team and, uh, onboard to this and expanding into multiple countries.

Simon Doble (35:50):

Yeah. It’s, um, I mean, nothing, nothing big and audacious is easy, and that’s why, um, they’re big and audacious and not everyone tries to do them, you know? Um, you have to have a little bit crazy. Absolutely. <laugh> um, I, you know, my personal life has definitely taken a back seat, um, for the last 10 years and probably will for the rest of my life. Um, and that’s because my personal life and my professional life is so intertwined, um, that, that I live and breathe what I do. And, and, um, so, so lessons learned, um, that if you think you’ve, you’ve, uh, you’ve got to the finish line, um, in fact you’ve just started pretty much, you know, mm-hmm, <affirmative>, um, you have to constantly be ahead of the curve in, in always thinking into the future whilst working on the present. Um, you know, I work in, in five years in advance in, in, in some of the things that we’re doing and then, and then build the, the steps to get there.

Simon Doble (36:55):

Um, but, um, but I think that the lessons I’ve learned from, you know, I I’ve started many companies in, and I currently run a, a bunch of social enterprises as well as charity. But, um, the thing for me from a charity point of view is it’s incredibly tough, um, to, as a businessman, but also a CEO of a charity across that divide between, um, how to make money and how to, uh, um, raise, um, donations. And there’s a, there’s a real, um, interesting sort of dynamic for me that I’ve, I’ve witnessed firsthand of so many amazing business leaders and, and successful business people. Um, don’t look at, um, founders or, or people that run charities or work in charities with the same, um, the same business respect, if that makes sense as they do their peers within the business world. And that, that to be perfectly honest with you annoys me.

Simon Doble (38:01):

Um, we, you know, I’m, I’m, I’m able to say that because I, I see in both both camps, um, and, and I’ve been successful in both, both camps. And the thing that I see all the time is if I’m having a conversation with somebody that, that comes from the business world, and they don’t know that I also own businesses and run businesses that are successful, then there’s almost like a, you know, you’re doing good work well done. Um, but do you really know how to scale? Do you really know how to do this? Do you really know how to do that? And that to me is, is moderately patronizing to, to the industry, not to me, but to the industry. And, and there’s this concept in notion that people that start charities are only doing it because they have such big hypes and, and, and they, they wouldn’t survive in the business world.

Simon Doble (38:57):

And yet running and growing and developing and expanding a charity is a hundred times harder than running and growing and developing and building a business. Um, you have no equity to, to slice off. You have no, um, you, you know, you, you are constrained by vibrator and far more powerful government bodies than, than, than a bus than a business, a private businesses. Um, you know, you, you have to justify and explain every single dollar that is donated to you rightly so completely fair. Sure. Um, but you, but to invest that dollar into hiring the best staff that can make that dollar $10, which means more people’s lives are, are changed, then that’s, that’s frowned upon. But if you, you know, if you make $10 million in your business and you hire the best staff around, then, you know, that’s, that’s well done, that’s congratulated because then you’re gonna make more profit.

Simon Doble (39:53):

Whereas, you know, the, the, the concept in charity is you have to do everything on a shoestring, but you have to do it. You know, you have to do more and bigger. And the problems we’re solving are far more complex and far more challenging than, you know, running a, a business that is selling widgets to a market that wants widgets. And, um, that’s the lesson I’ve learned. And, and I continue to learn that, um, and I’ve managed to work my way through that. And, and, you know, I’m not, I’m not this isn’t a Carlan sort of business is bad. And ch you know, this is a, this is just a reality of the mindset is even in the grant space, you know, you, you apply for a grant as a charity. And, and they’re amazing, you know, the people that pay for the grants and donate the money and, and the philanthropists they’re phenomenally superb and beautiful human beings, but there’s, you know, it costs money to apply for a grant.

Simon Doble (40:51):

It costs money to report on the grant. It costs money to, to manage the grant. It costs money to impact in, in, in, in, in, in, and implement the grant. But then the, the, the desire is to a hundred percent of the funds that you receive, go to exactly what you know, to go to go to the mission in, in the, the notion of overheads in salaries and, and scale are just totally thrown out the window. And that’s the, without doubt, the biggest lesson I’ve learned, um, I enjoy it now, it’s, you know, six years in, it’s like, bring it on, you know, um, I, I, I sit with a, you know, sit with some amazing people and it’s like, look, we know what we’re doing. And they’re like, yeah, we know, you know what you’re doing. So that’s, you know, that’s been a, a, a nice outcome, but there’s so many, so many amazing charity leaders, charity managers, um, charity finds that, that are doing such great work on such short, low budgets, and they don’t get credit for it. And, and they should, you know, they really, really should, um, from a business perspective, they really should.

Kristi Porter (42:06):

Yeah. Agree. That could be a whole other topic one day <laugh>.

Elisa Rodriguez (42:11):

Yeah. So, um, when you’re think about the idea of giving life to do those who need the most where, well, I have been working in just one quotation, <inaudible> from sexist to Dominican republics. So where do you currently ship and how do you make the decision to focus on that specific areas? I understand that you have like the product and you consolidate everything in Texas, but I not sure if all your, like, are there

Simon Doble (42:52):

Such

Kristi Porter (42:52):

A big need? How do you decide where it goes? Yeah,

Simon Doble (42:55):

Yeah, yeah. I mean, if we could grow 10, 15 times tomorrow, then, you know, hopefully we could sort that out, but ultimately we, um, as, as a charity, um, and again, this goes back to some of the governance in, in, in government sort of requirements that we have to fulfill. Um, we, um, we have to turn away a tremendous amount of local, um, NGOs or, or small charities that are registered in certain countries around the world that don’t have international or, or, or Western char Western registration. So if they’re, and, and that’s not because we don’t want to work with them at all, quite the opposite it’s because we can’t work with them because our governance and our registrations won’t allow us to work with small grassroots, um, organizations that don’t have rec they’re not recognized within the United States or Australia or elsewhere, which is incredibly frustrating in, in, in heartbreaking to say no to people, but we are inundated every day from, from amazing, amazingly passionate in, in kind people that just want to help their own communities and their own countries.

Simon Doble (44:08):

Um, so that’s our first filter, um, is, you know, can we work with an organization that has, um, amazing knowledge in, in understanding and, and cultural sensitivity awareness, um, of what goes on in, in the countries that we wanna work with and support. Um, and if they do, are they registered in the appropriate jurisdictions that, that, that align with our governance requirements? Um, and then we build, we build a commitment with them through, through, um, through due diligence and hard work in, in agreements where we can, um, supply them with what we have and, and want to supply them with. And then they have the tools and the skills and the capabilities and the support from us to distribute the systems is, is easily and as sufficiently and as cost effectively as possible. Um, and then their, their responsibility to us is to, um, share, share the stories and share the impact and share the, um, the evaluation of, of the solutions that we’ve donated to them.

Simon Doble (45:13):

Um, so currently we donate, um, to the Dominican Republic, um, primarily outta the United States. And that’s because, um, it’s a close neighbor of yours in, in the us, in, in there’s, there’s a, you know, um, uh, a, a neighborly way of thinking, um, when it comes to circumstances like, so, you know, here in Australia, a lot of donations are, are requested to go to Papua New Guinea or, or to south Pacific, because, you know, we have a lot of connections with those countries as we should. And so there’s a lot of awareness that we need to do more and, and that’s, that’s where the pool comes from. Um, but we, we donate lights to, you know, Madagascar, Kenya, Tanzania, um, India, wow, Cambodia, um, you know, all, all over the world. And that’s a network that we’ve built up over the last six or so years, and, and it continues to grow, but, um, it’s extremely difficult.

Simon Doble (46:17):

Um, extremely hard to manage the logistics, extremely hard to justify the cost of the logistics to, to our donors. Um, we’ve worked for six years trying to reduce our logistics costs. We’ve worked for six years to try and build partnerships with the, you know, the big courier and freight companies, um, because of what we do. Um, and it is without that being the hardest thing we’ve had to do within, within the charity. Um, there’s, there’s, uh, yeah, it’s a, it’s a tough call. Um, and hopefully our relationship and our partnership can blossom to start solving that, that problem.

Kristi Porter (46:58):

Where was, um, I’m curious, where was the first country you, you shipped to, um, outside of Australia and what country were you you the most excited to get into?

Simon Doble (47:09):

Um, so the very, very first, um, the very, very, very first test we did was, um, out of a very, very prestigious, um, very expensive private school in Shanghai, um, wow. To a very, very, very remote, um, impoverished school in Somalia. Mm. And we did that. Um, primarily we, we did that for two reasons. One are our, our, like at the time were made in the factory just outside of Shanghai, but the, the Chinese culture isn’t necessarily very charitable. And, um, we felt that if we could prove the concept in a country, in an environment and in a school that, um, was so alienated from, you know, the, the, the rest of the globe from, from that perspective, and then deliver lights to one of the most hardest, most remote, most underserved communities in places in the world, if we could do that, then we could, we can, we can build on, you know, so we, we took that as the hardest challenge and, and, uh, some amazing stories and impact came out of that. And that was late 15, I think, um, early 16, and then the very first proper, um, media coverage, uh, story was, was out of a school here in south Brisbane. And we sent lights to pap new Guinea, our, our closest neighbor. Um, and that was all over the news here in, in Australia, um, for a long time. And, and that generated a huge amount of momentum in, in, um, and, and awareness and, and, um, that, that sort of propelled us forward quite quite well. So that was the first one.

Elisa Rodriguez (48:59):

Well, that is exciting to stories. Um, so Simon, please tell us how can connect with you so, or more about you.

Simon Doble (49:13):

Um, so we, they can, anyone can go onto our website. Um, it’s solar buddy, S O L a I B y.org OG. Um, and there’s everything you need to learn about what we do, why we do it, how we do it, um, on there, they can donate on there, which obviously would be very, very grateful for people to do that. Um, in, in every donation results, in, in a light being donated to a child, um, somewhere in the world, you can select where that, where you want that light to go. Um, I have my own website, which is Simon doble.com. I do speaking in, in whatnot. So if anyone wants a book me as a keynote, then, then I’m more than happy to turn up and, and have a chat about this on stage. But, um, my whole, all my fees go are donated to, to the charity.

Simon Doble (50:04):

Um, and, um, yeah, follow us on Instagram, uh, solar under school, buddy. Um, we have a campaign coming out for Christmas to provide, um, birthing lighting kits across, um, across Southern Africa, but there’s thousands and thousands and thousands of, of, um, remote birthing suites in sub in, in, in Sub-Saharan Africa, that, and elsewhere in the world, um, where, where children are born, um, in the most extreme circumstances where midwives are holding phones in their mouths to use the torch from the phones whilst they’re performing operations to deliver children. Um, so, and I, I, you know, I’ve been aware of this issue for many years, but this Christmas we’re running a, a big campaign to send as many birthing, uh, lighting kits as we can to, to, to the, to the places that need them. So children can be born in a, in a safe environment. So when

Kristi Porter (51:07):

Does that kick off

Simon Doble (51:09):

That kicks off? Uh mid-November I believe. Okay. Um, so, you know, keep an eye out for that. Um, more, the more support for that, the, the more, the more children will be born in a, in a healthier environment. Um, and then every mother that gets, uh, is born, um, every child is born and the mother gets to take home a, a little solar light for their, for their child as well. So, um, just little things like that, but that’s gonna be a really nice Christmas campaign and hopefully it’s very successful. Yeah. Um, but yeah, just, just go to our website, follow us on our Instagrams, um, Instagram and, and social media, um, share this story, you know, tell people about energy, poverty, and, and, and what one light can do for a child to get a, um, be able to do their homework, feel safe and, and, and go to go to bed, turning that little light off is the last thing they do feel safe and secure, and just share that story, you know?

Kristi Porter (52:04):

Yeah. Um, so one more thing before we let you go, um, which we could talk all day. I already can tell, I have so many more questions. We’ll have to do a follow up at some point, but, um, so what’s one thing. Our listeners, obviously you’re a nonprofit, so we would love people to go on and donate. Um, otherwise, what is the one big ask that you would, that you would ask of our listeners to be able to take action on your story? Is it something you need something they can do? Um, what’s your big ask?

Simon Doble (52:33):

Um, uh, so many, no, um, I think, you know, we, we, we, we, we survive off donations in, you know, the more donations we receive, the, the more impact we can have and the more stories we can tell and the more children’s futures we can illuminate, but I think, you know, messages, stories, um, explanation, it’s still such an unknown issue. Yeah. Um, that just, just sharing the knowledge, just sharing the story, sharing the facts that this actually exists in as organizations, not just us, but other organizations as well, um, that, that, that are determined to end this once in for rural. So, um, everybody’s born into a, into a safe, toxic, free environment. And, and, um, you know, not only is it helping people right now, but it’s absolutely helping the climate, um, you know, the more renewable energy solutions that are put out there, um, helps, helps the environment instantly. So, um, so just sharing, sharing the knowledge, um, I mean the two things we exist for is awareness and impact, and, and if you can donate to create impact, then we will love you forever. But if you can share a story to create awareness, then we we’ll love you just as much. So, you know, that’s all I can ask for.

Kristi Porter (53:49):

Fantastic. Well, thank you so much for your time. Um, Alisa, thanks for joining me this round, but Simon, thank you so much for being here for sharing the solar buddy story and for everything you’re doing to create impact and awareness around the world about energy poverty. So we appreciate you being here. Um, and we look forward to keeping up the relationship with you.

Simon Doble (54:09):

Awesome. Thank you very much, guys. It’s been great chatting to you. So have a nice day.

Elisa Rodriguez (54:13):

Thank you. Thank you for sharing your story and thank you for letting us know how you being here. And you’re like our example for everyone here. So thank you.

Simon Doble (54:26):

Thank you very much. That’s nice to hear. It’s beautiful to hear. All right. Take care, everyone.

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Featured Guests

Simon Doble is a purpose driven humanitarian, social impact entrepreneur, innovator of sustainable solutions, author and keynote speaker. Driven by passion, dedication and empathy, Simon combines his unique skillset to improve the lives of millions of people living in energy poverty across the globe, whilst inspiring others to do the same. In 2011, Simon read a Time Magazine article detailing the devastating effects of energy poverty and why it is the worst form of poverty that stopped him in his tracks. Determined to make a difference, the article changed not only Simon’s life, but through him would go on to change the lives of hundreds of thousands of people, and counting. Simon was a founding member of the Moving Energy Initiative of Chatham House in London UK; an initiative to develop an understanding of the energy needs of refugees. Simon’s time on the UNHCR committee saw his inventions improve the quality of life for thousands of refugees in the Azraq refugee camp, Jordan, among others. Simon was also a founding member of the Global Off-Grid Lighting Association and an early member of Lighting Africa. In 2015 Simon founded a bamboo push bike enterprise, now known as WYLD Bikes, a social enterprise helping provide quality employment in Ghana whilst supporting disadvantaged youth in Australia through meaningful employment. A year later he founded the global charity, SolarBuddy; a global organisation dedicated to illuminating the futures of all children, with the goal of gifting millions of solar lights to children living in energy poverty to assist with their educational outcomes & health. Simon’s understanding of the intersectional and systemic injustices that drive poverty and its myriad effects has enabled him to purposely build both charity and business models that are designed to address the cause of global issues rather than merely the symptoms. Simon has worked with organisations all over the world to re-define their purpose, integrating actionable and measurable programs at their core. Recently Simon founded Barefoot Citizens, a group of social enterprises, including Luca Power, Barefoot Consulting, Wil + Hamilton & WYLD Bikes. Simon’s natural leadership style has led him to become a mentor for more than twenty Australians, from young professionals to established senior businesspeople. He has presented his keynote addresses to over 70,000 people globally. A father of three himself, Simon is determined to ensure that all children have access to a safe, fulfilling education that will enable them to determine their own bright futures. Connect with Simon on LinkedIn.

Elisa Rodriguez Duron was born in Mexico City. She completed her bachelor’s degree in International Business from the Autonomous University of Aguascalientes and she also has studied abroad in Seville, Spain for six months in the University of Seville. She is adaptable and compatible with others. She knows what’s right in tough situations. She is responsible, honest, and she loves to help others. She likes to exercise and learn new things. It’s easy for her to make new friends. She really loves to travel and know new cultures. She has been working at Vector Global Logistics since 2017 in Sales. For her, Vector is a new beginning and a way to grow professionally and personally by helping others with small actions that cause a great impact in the world.

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Kristi Porter

Host, Logistics with Purpose

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Adrian Purtill

Host, Logistics with Purpose

Adrian Purtill serves as Business Development Manager at Vector Global Logistics, where he consults with importers and exporters in various industries to match their specific shipping requirements with the most effective supply chain solutions. Vector Global Logistics is an asset-free, multi-modal logistics company that provides exceptional sea freight, air freight, truck, rail, general logistic services and consulting for our clients. Our highly trained and professional team is committed to providing creative and effective solutions, always exceeding our customer’s expectations and fostering long-term relationships. With more than 20+ years of experience in both strategy consulting and logistics, Vector Global Logistics is your best choice to proactively minimize costs while having an exceptional service level.

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Joshua Miranda

Marketing Specialist

Joshua is a student from Institute of Technology and Higher Education of Monterrey Campus Guadalajara in Communication and Digital Media. His experience ranges from Plug and Play México, DearDoc, and Nissan México creating unique social media marketing campaigns and graphics design. Joshua helps to amplify the voice of supply chain here at Supply Chain Now by assisting in graphic design, content creation, asset logistics, and more.  In his free time he likes to read and write short stories as well as watch movies and television series.

Donna Krache

Director of Communications and Executive Producer

Donna Krache is a former CNN executive producer who has won several awards in journalism and communication, including three Peabodys.  She has 30 years’ experience in broadcast and digital journalism. She led the first production team at CNN to convert its show to a digital platform. She has authored many articles for CNN and other media outlets. She taught digital journalism at Georgia State University and Arizona State University. Krache holds a bachelor’s degree in government from the College of William and Mary and a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from the University of New Orleans. She is a serious sports fan who loves the Braves. She is president of the Dave Krache Foundation. Named in honor of her late husband, this non-profit pays fees for kids who want to play sports but whose parents are facing economic challenges.

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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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