Veteran Voices
Episode 58

I think the biggest lesson I learned was what I think my limits are. I can't do this. I can't do that. There's no way I can finish this obstacle course. There's no way I can run five miles in under 45 minutes. There's no way I can do this 10-mile march with 70 pounds on my back and a weapon. There's no way I can go up this rope and ring the bell. By the end of it all, it was like, wait a minute. I did that. Not only that I did it well.

- Selina Meiners, Director of Communications for the Veterans’ Health Administration’s Office of Clinical Services

Episode Summary

Sometimes in life, when there is an important decision to be made, all you can do is sit down and make a list of ‘pros’ and ‘cons.’ Understanding the relative priority of short-term opportunity versus long term vision, or the kind of care you need versus what others in the same position will decide to do – those are hard decisions that decide the course a person’s life will take.

In this interview, Mary Kate Soliva and Scott Luton welcome Selina Meiners. Selina is the Director of Communications for the Veterans’ Health Administration’s Office of Clinical Services, part of the U.S. Department of Veterans’ Affairs. She served in active duty as a U.S. Army officer for more than 10 years, and during that time she learned what she was capable of as well as the direction she wanted her life’s journey to take.

Selina shares her honest reflections with Scott and Mary Kate about:

  • The value of flexibility and self-determination, even when it comes at a great cost
  • What she really thinks Veterans should do with the window of time between when they leave service and when they enter the private sector
  • The dedication she has had the opportunity to experience and show towards Veterans in her time working for the Veterans’ Administration

Episode Transcript

Welcome to veteran voices. A podcast is dedicated to giving a voice to those that have served in the United States, armed forces on this series, jointly presented by supply chain now, and vets to industry. We sit down with a wide variety of veterans and veteran advocates to gain their insights, perspective and stories from serving. We talked with many individuals about their challenging transition from active duty to the private sector, and we discuss some of the most vital issues facing veterans today. Join us for this episode of veteran voices.

Scott Luton (00:40):

Hey, good morning, everybody. Scott Luton and the one only Mary Kate Soliva with you here on veteran voices, Mary Kate, how you doing?

Mary Kate Soliva (00:47):

Great Scott. Thank you.

Scott Luton (00:49):

It is so good to see you. Uh, I’m such, I’m the biggest Mary Kate Soliva fan. I love what you’re doing as hosting and leading veteran voices. And thanks for letting me make an appearance with a, a special guest here.

Mary Kate Soliva (01:01):

I always thank you, Scott. Well, I appreciate you joining me on this, this fine day. <laugh>

Scott Luton (01:07):

It is a gorgeous day out there. I was just outside looking at our flowers, but I digress. Uh, we have got a great guest here today. Uh, wonderful conversation teed up with a us army veteran, doing big things now in the public affairs, public relations and communications arena, and one that continues to serve our veteran community. So stay tuned for a great discussion. Uh, Mary Kate, as you know, this program is part of the supply chain now family programming, and we conduct it in partnership with our friends at vets, two industry, a powerful nonprofit doing big things for the veteran community. Right? Well, Brian and the whole team over there, uh, were big fans,

Mary Kate Soliva (01:43):

Big fans, big fans. They helped me so much during my transition from the military. So lots of love for vets industry.

Scott Luton (01:50):

Yeah. And that’s how we met Mary Kate. And you know, we’re gonna have to do a future show on some of the, not, uh, not to call ’em case studies, but just some testimonials of how they’ve helped so many people in their transition. So we’ll have to tee that up for a future episode, but

Mary Kate Soliva (02:04):

Love that

Scott Luton (02:04):

Today, Mary Kate today, uh, wanna walk him in our guest. Uh, are you ready?

Mary Kate Soliva (02:10):

I’m ready. Yeah, I’ve been ready. I’m waiting for this for a while. <laugh>

Scott Luton (02:15):

So, uh, our guest we’ll introduce her, serve an active duty as a us army officer for more than 10 years. She currently serves as director for communications for the veterans health administrations office of clinical services, which is part of the us department of veterans affairs when welcome in Selina Meiners. How you doing?

Selina Meiners (02:35):

Hi, Scott and Mary Kate. Thank you so much for having me. It’s great to be here.

Scott Luton (02:40):

You bet. Well, Sina, it’s great to meet you again. We had a little technical, uh, on my end last time. So it’s so great to have you back.

Selina Meiners (02:48):

It’s great to be back. Thanks.

Scott Luton (02:50):

So Mary Kate, we’ve already kinda, you know, I’ve got a sneak peek on Celina’s journey. I’m, I’m really excited of diving in here and sharing it with our veteran voices, community and ecosystem. Are you ready to get started?

Mary Kate Soliva (03:01):

I’m excited. I, I love, I love where this is going already and I love welcoming in a veteran sister cause see sky, I keep inviting my veteran sisters on, on veteran voices.

Scott Luton (03:11):

You know, that’s such an important, uh, element, you know, for so many different reasons. You know, I think our last guest RA last, I can’t remember her first

Mary Kate Soliva (03:20):

Name marina. Marin

Scott Luton (03:21):

Marina. Yes.

Mary Kate Soliva (03:21):

Marina the us Navy. Yes.

Scott Luton (03:24):

Powerful story. And, and she also much like Selena here continues to serve, uh, the veteran community. So I loved that discussion, but so Selena, as we dive into your story here today, before we talk about, and Mary, Kay’s gonna talk about your time in uniform. Let’s get to know you a little better. So tell us, where’d you grow up and give us an anecdote or two about your upbringing?

Selina Meiners (03:43):

Well, I grew up in Niceville Florida. It, yes, it is very nice. It is on the panhandle, um, right underneath Alabama, essentially. Okay. And so a little bit about my upbringing is, you know, I even came from a military family. My dad is retired air force and he retired as a master Sergeant and he really instilled in me a lot of values and personality traits that I carried on. It’s one thing that I remember is every weekend, every Sunday morning, 5:00 AM, he’d wake me up really. And I’m thinking yes, all through my teenage years and everything. And I didn’t realize that this isn’t really normal until later, but he would wake me up and we would, we had a little routine where we would go to Denny’s for breakfast and then we would go to Walmart or, and he would buy some fishing supplies and he would let me buy school supplies, which was like, I was obsessed with school supplies and, you know, we would do different things. Like he would teach me to drive. He would teach me how to get my oil changed, um, or how to change my oil in my car. And, you know, I remember even when my car broke down, he was like, well, I hope you have a great pair of running shoes.

Scott Luton (05:15):

<laugh> Chevrolet.

Selina Meiners (05:16):

Right? I mean, it was, he, he knew how to fix everything. He know, he knows how to fix everything still. And he is just a good hometown, Michigan, you know, American boy <laugh> basically mm-hmm <affirmative>. And so I love,

Scott Luton (05:32):

Yeah. I love those Sunday mornings, as you described, seems so instrumental in your upbringing, Mary Kate, how special it would that be? Huh?

Mary Kate Soliva (05:41):

It is. And I think that you said in the, in the moment in your teenage years, waking up that early is probably not, but I mean, looking back on it now, like you say, you got those memories going to Denny’s how to, I mean, those just life skills, right? Teach. So that’s special,

Scott Luton (05:59):

Mary Kate, I’ve got a special question for Selena. Were you into trapper keepers? Like I was as a kid.

Selina Meiners (06:06):

<laugh> uh, trapper keepers. Lisa Frank. I mean, you name it. I was into it if it was yes. Yeah. Stuff at yes, yes, definitely. Um, but my dad, I think is the reason why I am so tough. You know, people always say, oh, you’re so tough. You’re so tough. I’m not, I don’t think I’m really that tough cuz my bar is high or then it probably should be. But whenever I’m around people, you know, even if it’s lifting one of those big water jugs onto the thing. Oh no problem. And people are like strong with you. Like

Scott Luton (06:42):

<laugh> it sounds like, sounds like to me, Selena, uh, is that your dad was a kind of a hammer meat nail, make it happen, fix it, you know, in the, you know, very practically minded and, and that’s kind of some of the things I’m picking up a as you describe, um, what he taught you and kind of how you are now. One quick question. Before we switch over to your time in the military, what what’d your dad do in the air force?

Selina Meiners (07:04):

He was an electrician. Mm. So even today he like, I have these snowflake Christmas lights I’ve had ’em since 2008. They like flash whenever they break, like, you know, one snowflake doesn’t work anymore. I’m like, oh my gosh, dad. And he’ll fiddle with it. He’ll fiddle with it. He’ll fix it. Yeah. He can fix anything electrical. Really?

Scott Luton (07:28):

Yeah. Those are valuable. That’s

Mary Kate Soliva (07:30):

A good guy have around.

Scott Luton (07:31):

No kidding. Mary Kay. You took the word right outta my mouth. Well, um, so in your dad’s name,

Selina Meiners (07:36):

Selena, his name is John.

Scott Luton (07:38):

John. Well, John big shout out from Mary Kay and the batter better voices. Thank you

Mary Kate Soliva (07:43):

For your service

Scott Luton (07:44):

Family. That’s right. So Mary Kate speaking of service, that’s a great segue, man. You’re reading my mind. Where are we going from here? Yes.

Mary Kate Soliva (07:50):

Let’s talk about your time in uniform. What branch should you serve in what’d you do? And definitely gotta know about where you, where you went. Cause I know that we don’t always go to the nicest places, but we’d love to hear about your uniform.

Selina Meiners (08:06):

Well <affirmative> well, so surprisingly surpris to everyone, uh, in my family, I joined the army. I did try to join the air force first. And my, so my undergraduate degree is in broadcast journalism from the university of central Florida. And when I graduated, I was interviewing to be a TV news reporter. I did get an offer in Dohan Alabama. I remember. And it was just not gonna make ends meet. So I was like, you know what? This isn’t gonna work for me. I need healthcare. I need stability. I need, you know, so I went to the air force. I said, well, they have broadcasters. Let me try to join the air force and was just a very long process with the air force. And it didn’t really work out in accord with my accordance, with my timeline. And my dad was like, okay, that’s cool.

Selina Meiners (09:06):

You wanna be a broadcaster in the air force? Is that an officer? Or is that enlisted? And, and I didn’t know, honestly, anything about the rank structure at all. Like I had no idea until, you know, I was already in the army, what ranks really meant. And um, he said, I said, oh, I think they, they said, they’d bring me in as an E three. You know, I was happy to be considered to be a broadcaster. Yeah, I was. And he was like, no, I did not help you get through college. Mm-hmm <affirmative> to, to not go the officer route. And I was like, okay, I dunno what that means. But I went over to the army recruiter and they were like, you know, this was 2006. So they were like, come on in, <laugh> see, we say going over to the army, they’re like literally across the hall, they’re just like standing in the doorway.

Selina Meiners (09:58):

Right. They were trying to the actually they literally were standing outside. They, you know, they have those arm forces recruiting centers where there’s the air force, Marines, all the branches. And I was walking back to my car and the army recruiter was like, Hey, where are you going? You know? And, and I was like, nowhere <laugh> and then they kind of dragged me in kind of day by day. The recruiter was very good. She was like, you know, every day she’d be like, now army values, you know, you you’re gonna come back tomorrow. Right. With this paperwork filled out. And every day it was like, you’re gonna come back for this physical. You’re gonna come back for the next thing. You know, I was in the army. So <laugh>, I, I was like I said, I’d come back. I was okay. And so next thing you know, I went to basic training at Fort Jackson, um, the regular basic training because they had this option, um, where you go to basic training and then you go to officer candidate school at Fort bending, Georgia.

Selina Meiners (11:00):

So I went to basic training and graduated that. And then I went to, uh, officer candidate school, Fort Bening. I was 22 years old. I had no idea. It was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. Go how we live <laugh> seriously. I mean, I was always an athlete growing up. Um, but officer candidate school was like physically the hardest thing I ever did in my life. So wow. It was a shock to the system, but yeah, then I, I went on to serve 10 over 10 years and, um, I was a signal officer. So I worked in it for the first three years. And then the last seven, I worked in public affairs and I served at Fort Riley, Kansas, and second brigade, first infantry division, the big red one and did two, one year deployments to Baghdad, um, 2008 to 2009 and then 2010 to 2011. And then I was an instructor at Fort Mead, Maryland at the defense information school, which is where all department of defense, public affairs professionals are trained. So, um, that’s, that’s the gist of my army career.

Scott Luton (12:20):

Wow. That

Mary Kate Soliva (12:20):

Was a whole lot of fun. Scott, what you think about that? Your, your air force buddies missed out, man. They probably went to the bathroom and locked up <laugh> and she just went across the hall.

Scott Luton (12:29):

They, we took a long coffee break and missed people, missed good people like that. But Hey, uh, ele, I gotta ask you, as you kind of paint your picture of these different, um, uh, stops you made when you, when you started and you hit Fort Jackson, which is just out, you know, Columbia, South Carolina, and then Fort bidding is down in Columbus, Georgia. What time of year was it?

Selina Meiners (12:48):

It was spring. It was March of 2006 when I got to Fort Jacksonville. So it was pretty cold.

Scott Luton (12:55):

Okay.

Selina Meiners (12:56):

So you beat, but in the summer, yes, it was definitely hot. I remember my sweat was sweating <laugh> I mean,

Scott Luton (13:03):

Yes. Well, you know, thing. So some people have referred. I I’ve some time in Columbus, love Columbus and Columbus is not cool, but for some reason, Mary, Kate Columbia, some people call Columbia and, or Augusta the armpit of the south based on kind of, it just attracts all the heat right there. I’m not a meteorologist, but there’s something about Columbia and or Augusta GA where Fort Gordon is that it just brings the heat. It, it just attracts even more heat. It’s like a, uh, you open the oven and, uh, even the wind is hot. Uh, but so, so

Mary Kate Soliva (13:35):

Your sweat is sweating. That’s what I’m hoping sweat

Scott Luton (13:36):

Is

Mary Kate Soliva (13:36):

Sweating. I went to L and Jackson too. So I can, I can definitely, I got, I got fond memories, but see you, you got to go to the sweeter shine at better side of the, the line there, but, uh, they give you a little bit of taste about how we live before they send you off.

Scott Luton (13:54):

Well, that’s right, Mary Kay. I forgot you. You spent time, I guess your basic was in, in Columbia at Fort Jackson’s. Well, huh?

Mary Kate Soliva (14:00):

It was and, uh, lost, lost of sausage gravy. I, you know, they had us in height order and I remember like in the food line they would give the, the tall guys extra, like bigger portions. And I’m like, I did the same number of pushups as these guys, my scoop of food they’re was always at the end of the line, cause my height. And then the time I get to sit down, the drill instructors are already making us get back up again.

Scott Luton (14:25):

Oh man, I don’t miss

Mary Kate Soliva (14:27):

Look. I really didn’t get to eat basic training.

Scott Luton (14:30):

I don’t miss those days. You know, I love the regularity of basic from my time way of forever ago. But man walking past, uh, what do we call it? The VI Viper pit, you know, the rounding off your bite. You don’t wanna be picked on Celine. Is this, is this stoking any memories?

Selina Meiners (14:49):

Oh, I mean, it was, it was tough times. I remember basic training being, I was cold, tired, sick. <laugh> I mean, I had no idea, you know, what, what was, what at that time? Mm, I mean, I think it didn’t hit me until midway through basic training that what I was gonna be doing next. I had no idea. So <laugh>

Scott Luton (15:13):

A lot of folks have that epiphany.

Selina Meiners (15:15):

Yeah.

Mary Kate Soliva (15:16):

Yeah. Did you have that? Did you have that guidance from, from anybody? Like when you, that epiphany moment, like, did you have any sort of mentorship throughout your time in the early stages of your career that helped guide you? Anybody that sticks out to you?

Selina Meiners (15:29):

Oh, so many everybody really played a role in it. It’s just such a personal and professional growth journey from the beginning. Absolutely. And I think the, the biggest lesson I learned throughout, especially the initial training environment was what I think my limits are. I can’t do this. I can’t do that. They’re nowhere near that. So I remember always thinking, there’s no way I can do that. There’s no way I can finish this obstacle course. There’s no way I can run five miles in under 45 minutes. There’s no way I can do this. You know, 10 mile road, March with 70 pounds on my back and a weapon. There’s no way I can go up this rope, ring the bell. And by the end of it all, it was like, wait a minute. I did do that. Not only that I did it well. And so I think it was just a really big learning lesson for me that it’s it. It’s not about I can’t because what you think that’s not your limit, your limit is way beyond that. And it’s all up here. A lot of it’s mental actually. And so you just have to push through it and push through it and it’s through pushing through it. Cause if you’re not willing to put the work in, you’re not gonna get anywhere. But if you put the work in, eventually you will get there. So that was, yeah.

Scott Luton (16:56):

Do the

Mary Kate Soliva (16:56):

Work. That’s so funny, right? When you, uh, yeah. When you get to the end of basic training that people are actually banking, the drill instructors, it’s like you, you almost get to a point where you appreciate going through all that and, and the bond that you make from, with the people that you’re there with. So I, I agree with you. It’s tough to pick just, uh, one or two, uh, mentors from that time. But those lessons learned Scott, those sound, uh, really useful just in life, right? Oh yeah. You gain from that service and that training.

Scott Luton (17:26):

I think what just shared there in the last couple minutes, I think it is it’s, it’s a universal solvent, right? You do the work, you do the work, you don’t get distracted. Yeah. Sometimes, some days are gonna stink more than others, but you keep doing the work and doing the work and holding the faith and, and you’re gonna eventually gonna benefit. And, and you’re gonna, especially if you don’t give up while others do, cuz you’ll along the way, folks, you’ll see other folks give up and just maintain that focus and put in the works. I love, love, love that message Selena. So let’s talk about, uh, your transition to private sector, right? We’ve spent a lot of time here at veteran voices. Uh, one of the things we’ve talked a lot about and thanks to Mary Kate for leading the conversations is about transition. You’re still, you know, I, I think my observation is I think there it’s gotten better. I think, I think corporate America to some degree has kind of wrap their head around how to lean in more to transitioning military members, but we still have lots of heavy lifting and, and a lot more work to do. Tell us about your transition.

Selina Meiners (18:26):

My transition was, I was hustling and I mean, I, when I decided I was going to get outta the army, which was months before I was going to pin major. So I, I had been selected for promotion and I, and that was a hard decision to say, you know, Hey, I’m at the 10 year mark, you know, that’s usually where people decide kind of what to do. And I thought, man, I’m leaving so much opportunity here on the floor, but it just, I felt like it was time to take care of myself in different ways. And it, I just felt strongly for that. So I wrote a pro and con list. A lot of times you have to put it on paper to see what are the pros of me getting out, what are the pros of me or the cons of me getting out. And here’s the thing too. Everyone in the service is gonna tell you to stay in and probably people that are very close to you because they’ve seen, they, you know, they’ve seen the benefits of it.

Scott Luton (19:30):

Well, and Selena, if I can, if I could button for just for a second, you can’t go anywhere. And it’s, it’s a lot of pitches and some salesmanship, at least it was during my time. And, and really you’re in the moment you’re living in the moment. And then you start thinking about some of those pros. I came really close to reenlisting and Mary Kay, I’m not sure if, if this kind of resonates with your experience too. Yes. But very much. So you kind of need, I love this pros and cons approach because for all the good, good messages you get from, from those that are, that are, you know, wanna keep you as part of the team. You gotta gotta balance that with that outside view as well, Selena. Right. Cause it depends on what’s right for your journey. Is that kinda how you kind of felt about it?

Selina Meiners (20:11):

Yeah. And the thing about it is, is the pros and cons were pretty equal. And so for me, the deciding factor really was, you know, I, I need to take better care of myself and I need the flexibility to do that. And you know, when you’re in the military, it’s 24 7. So if you’re not feeling good, too bad, you can’t take sick. Leave that morning. No they’re gonna make you get up extra early to go to sick call. So it’s gonna be extra uncomfortable. You know, you can’t always be there for your family, your friends. I mean, think about all the things that people miss out on when they’re in the military. So I just, I did the pro and con list and it was pretty equal. Of course there was this big risk of, I have no job lined up. <laugh>

Mary Kate Soliva (21:03):

That’s the big one

Selina Meiners (21:04):

That was a risk.

Mary Kate Soliva (21:05):

Your dad. How was that for your, your dad who had, who had done served 20, 20 years. And did he, did he weigh in at all about you getting out? He did, especially over the halfway point, right?

Selina Meiners (21:16):

He did. He, but you know, Scott, you can relate, you know, Mary Kay and I, we were tough. We were in the army. And so Scott, you were in the air force. My dad told me he’s he never even blinked an eye. When I said I’m thinking about getting out, because he’s watched me go through back to back deployments and they were not easy. They were not easy deployments. So he was very sympathetic. Like, yeah, go ahead. You know, get out. You’ll be fine. But yeah,

Mary Kate Soliva (21:53):

That’s great. I absolutely think it’s, um, that’s the part that I found played in, in my transition were kind of the, the voices of other people that are trying to weigh in on what’s best for you. And of course you have your family weigh in, but there were some folks that I’d only met a couple times, or maybe even just once I reached out to them on LinkedIn or whatnot to say, Hey, could I meet you for a virtual cup of coffee? And sometimes the advice they gave me was just so out in left field from what I was, but I was taking it to heart. Cause I’m like, they obviously know better because they’ve already transitioned. And so I think it takes a lot to just, uh, take that step back. Like you said, the pros and cons list for yourself and your family, as opposed to that list, thinking about it for everybody else, cuz people’s opinions are gonna be different.

Selina Meiners (22:39):

Oh yeah. And I always tell people that, you know, my friends who are still in and, and they’re like, oh, I’m gonna stay. And I guess I’ll stay in two more years. If I stay in two more years, I go, everybody you talk to in the service is gonna try to get you to stay in. Cause, but they’re not living your life. They’re not inside of your body. They’re not living in your family life, you know? Right, right. And so I’m not saying it’s a bad option because I would say that after I made the decision, it was like a lot of stress, right. Because it’s not like a regular job where you, you give two weeks notice and you quit. It’s like this transition period where you’re like, you can’t get a job, but you also know that you’re not gonna have one. So it’s very stressful.

Selina Meiners (23:21):

And during that time, you know, I was hustling. I was, you know, working on my resume. I was trying to figure out the timelines. Okay. When can I apply to government jobs and get veterans preference? Like what, you know, what are, what is all of that? What does it look like? And that, that was very stressful. But, um, and it took about four years after getting out for me to kind of, I would say, not miss being in the army because it was really hard at first that was like my tribe, my identity, my, that was who I was, I wasn’t Selena, I was captain minors. And I felt like, you know that. And so to kind of leave that environment after being in it for so long, it was a shock to the system. <laugh>

Scott Luton (24:13):

I believe it, I, I think I can certainly relate to that, that, that tribe, that family, that even, even if that consistency in terms of what to expect, you know, E even though, you know, every day wasn’t just like the other, but it was, it was really tough, tough decision, I think for any, any, uh, uh, military member before, you know, maybe perhaps the easier decision when you hit your 20, I don’t know you, maybe your, your dad has talked to you about that. That might be the easiest decision to get my 20 <laugh> then I’m, you know, I’m out, I’ve heard a lot of people talk to me about how easy that decision is. Of course you gotta get there. But, uh, anyway, so let’s, um, you, you were just as minute ago, uh, Selena kind of thinking about, you mentioned your advice to others. So if, if, you know, we were, if you were addressing a room full of active duty military members going through that same, you know, pro and con you know, internal, uh, decision, critical decision, uh, and maybe they opt to transition, what advice would you offer them?

Selina Meiners (25:14):

It’s twofold. Cuz we just talked about hustling and you know, constantly kind of planning the next step for, for later. And so it’s twofold. Uh, that’s what I did. I was highly stressed and I didn’t need to be, that’s what I learned. Hmm. If I could turn back time, I would have used all of my transitional leave and gone on a gigantic trip for 90 days. I would’ve spent time with everyone that I wanted to and woke up late, stayed up late, did everything I wanted to do. And I didn’t, I didn’t, I took a week of leave and then I started working and I regret that mm-hmm <affirmative> because it would’ve been okay. And I think that’s my advice is that it, it will be okay. You know, if you did the work, just enjoy your terminal leave. Mm. Because you’re never gonna get an opportunity for that much vacation time at once. And I wish I could turn back time. I always say, I wish I can take weight. I wish I could take a month off anytime. Just, you know, don’t even pay me. I just want a month off.

Scott Luton (26:31):

So, you know, <laugh> so, you know, I love in Mary Kay. I wanna get your, your, if you look back, uh, I wanna ask, get your take in just a second, but you know, one of the things I heard there from, uh, Selena is, you know, a lot of times the stress we’re feeling is the stress we’re putting on ourselves and that’s within our control. Uh, and I think that is, you know, that’s more universal advice, uh, whether you’re, you know, supply chain professional, uh, and you’re grappling with, you know, uh, our day to day or you’re in the military or you’re a veteran or whatever, you know, a lot of these things are within our control that we can, we can, uh, directly address. But Mary Kate, looking back when you exited and separated from the army, what’s one thing you would’ve changed?

Mary Kate Soliva (27:14):

Well, I, I, I definitely have to piggyback off Selena when I actually, I, I didn’t even take a week. I was, I was thinking that we must have been so nice that you even took a week because I, I got off active duty on a Saturday and I started my new job that Monday. Wow. I, I literally rolled right into it, but I, I was losing, I don’t, I didn’t even think that I’d be able to enjoy vacation without having a job lined up. And I didn’t get an offer letter until 10 days before my last, I had 10 days left on active duty. And when I got that offer letter and I was just, I think all the, the nerves, but I, I would say my advice is really about finding your why, because to Salina’s point about taking that time off, I was meeting with so many other people who didn’t understand really where I was at, cuz everybody’s unique situation.

Mary Kate Soliva (28:00):

It’s your journey with your family and what’s best for you and your family. And I was taking in so much advice that I didn’t stop to pause and say, what is my why first? So I could be deliberate, more deliberate with the conversations I was having and be more deliberate with my time. So I think I was running out of time at the end and it was kind of rush, rush, rush, and then no vacation. So just Lay’s point. I would, I wish I would’ve taken that time to really step back, find my why earlier on

Scott Luton (28:26):

Love the advice, both of y’all are offering up here and y’all had me beat, I didn’t, I couldn’t find a job to save my life when I got outta the air force. Uh, I didn’t know what I was. I mean, there was a lot of stuff that, that, uh, I should have been more prepared for, but it took me like six months.

Selina Meiners (28:41):

I think that’s a really important point. And Mary Kay kind of alluded to it, it depends on your situation because there are some Moss that are not as job transferable. And so, you know, you, that needs to be in your pro and con list. And so you have to be prepared for that. Um, so it’s, it’s definitely a case by case basis because as they always say an infantry man is not as transferrable as an it professional or a logistics or admin or, you know, we like to make fun of the support staff when we’re in, but it’s the support staff that <laugh>, you know, may have an easier transition.

Scott Luton (29:25):

Excellent. Such a great point. Yes. Excellent point. Okay. I love the advice. I, I appreciate the Frank conversation we’re having about our, our, our different, uh, journeys and experiences, especially with, with the critical topic of transition. Let’s move forward a little bit. Uh, cuz I think got Mary Kate and I both think you’ve got a fascinating role now, as you mentioned, kind of in the pre-show you’re usually on the other side of the mic or the camera, which we’re gonna talk about in a second, but what do you do now?

Selina Meiners (29:51):

So I am blessed to work at the department of veterans affairs. I love the VA personally and professionally. It’s a fantastic place to work and the VA care is bar none. So I’m the director of communications for the office of clinical services within the veterans health administration. VA of course has veterans benefits, administration, veterans, health administration, national cemeteries, and the program office that I work for has many heavy hitting programs within it. The homeless program office office of mental health and suicide prevention, spinal cord injuries and disorders, surgery, primary care, specialty care and diagnostics. And so it’s a very large program office over 40 sub specialty offices. And um, my role is to tell the office’s story. So, um, in short that includes getting the word out on all of the great things that the VA is doing and that the, the services that are available, um, and making sure veterans know VA is there for them,

Scott Luton (31:11):

Just a breadth, what you described there. Uh, it, it, it, it’s, uh, remarkable and, and I appreciate what you do and, and the rest of the, the VA to massive VA team, Mary Kate, before we talk about chats with the chief, uh, would you hear there about what, what Selena does with the VA and, and, you know, gotta get the word out, huh.

Mary Kate Soliva (31:31):

Again, I think it’s great to hear the inside scoop from someone who is working to, to hear that you, there is a good culture and that the, you have a, you’re having a positive experience working from the inside cause in the, the media tends to spin things all kinds of ways. And I think just hearing that, um, that’s what I, I really captured is just getting a, a deeper look into veteran affairs and knowing that there’s all these resources available. And I have to tell you that even filing our claim, I know we didn’t touch on, on that really in the transition, but that process to, to file your VA disability claim. Um, and then knowing that there’s all, you just mentioned a list of all the, the great things and there’s specialists that are focused on that. They’re doing research and they’re there for us.

Selina Meiners (32:18):

Mm-hmm <affirmative> and

Scott Luton (32:20):

That’s a great point. Uh, and, and I, we should also, we, we, we mentioned vets to industry on the front end. I think the awareness of course, of all, everything at the VA, but, but beyond, uh, you know, in this, in this ecosystem of, uh, of veteran services, you finding and being aware of a resource for a need, you have it’s so, uh, helpful to have org, to have people like Sina, but also to have organizations like vets to industry that kind of vets all these things out there. Cause unfortunately as the three of us know in the last, you know, 20 some odd years, there’s been a lot of bad actors, you know, set up shop for profit shop and kind of, and kind of use that, uh, veteran services organization that VSO as a, um, almost like a Wolf in sheep’s clothing, right? Uh, and we gotta vet the real resources and the real, the folks are there to help veterans from the folks that are there to make, make a buck. And, and it is so disappointing to make that observation, but it’s reality from what I’ve seen, at least, uh, Selena, any thoughts there,

Selina Meiners (33:22):

I just encourage all veterans to choose VA, give VA a chance. I will tell you firsthand that these people who work at VA, they are so dedicated. A lot of ’em. Let me tell you, they could make double, triple the amount that they make at the VA on the outside. And they serve in the VA because they want to serve veterans and they are the best honestly, and truly it’s the best care that I’ve received. And I have a civilian healthcare, you know, my husband’s still active duty. Wow. And it is the VA is bar none. All of the programs, the VA offers, not just, uh, the healthcare side, but the home loan, the GI bill. I mean, I used the GI bill after I got out and got a master’s from Georgetown, that’s $30,000. Wow. That’s a $30,000 program, you know, so the VA facilitates all of this and they are, uh, truly amazing for, for every negative story that may be out there that you have to really peel back the onion and kind of say, okay, well, what, what is being said here? And what’s not because there’s a lot of things that people don’t hear. They don’t get to hear the VA side of the story. A lot of times, due to privacy, HIPAA due to, you know, and there’s probably a thousand good stories for every bad, uh, story that you hear that isn’t being told. Mm

Mary Kate Soliva (34:55):

Let’s tell you. I had a chance to, to have breakfast with, uh, secretary McDonough one time, my opportunity with hives. And he took the time to have breakfast with us, but being able to talk to, especially the man himself, when you were talking about VA, the VA and, and women’s health, um, was one thing that I brought up and it was, he, he looked, he looked at me and sort of did this, like, you know, email me kind of thing. And, and I did, and he actually had a, a doctor reach out to me, a woman doctor, reach out to me to talk about some of the things that I was concerned about for myself. And so the fact that the secretary that took that time, I mean, that was, yes, that was huge. I mean, and I let speak over and over again about that. I mean, how often do you get that? But he really took it to heart. He didn’t just say, reach out to my people. He’s like contact me directly. And he put me directly in touch with the professionals. So

Selina Meiners (35:49):

That’s how he is. And he is, he is fantastic. We’re very lucky to have him,

Scott Luton (35:55):

Man. Uh, there’s so much Mary Kay, you keep surprising me, but all this stuff you’re up to at elbows, you’re rubbing. All right. So let’s, let’s talk, uh, Selena about this podcast. I know that there’s a bunch of different things on your play, a bunch of cool things that you do clearly. You love what you do. And, and I love that, um, that resonates with a bunch of us here. Um, talk, talk to us about this podcast chats with the chief. What is that

Selina Meiners (36:19):

Chats with the chief is a podcast that we started, um, with Mr. John Jensen. He actually, his last day was Friday. Um, but he was the veteran’s health administration’s chief of staff for two years. And he said to me, Selena, I wanna do something that really showcases all levels of VHA, really connecting people, focusing on employee engagement, getting to know each other as people, but also how we interface in the system. And so that podcast is real, was really, we did 21 episodes, um, total, and we’ve had the most wonderful guests like Dr. Norman Putin. He was in black haw, the actual event. Um, and he got outta the army was very much impacted by the opioid crisis. Seeing a lot of his friends suffering from that. He decided to go and become a pharmacist. So he got his pharmacist credentials, and now he’s a pharmacist in the VA.

Selina Meiners (37:32):

And I don’t know if you’ve seen Blackhawk down, but he is a true, bad a <laugh>. So I love him. Right? So hearing his story and we just, uh, last week broadcasted our episode with Dr. John Perlin. He used to be the under secretary for health, and now he’s the president of the joint commission, which is the governing body that, you know, makes sure that quality and safety throughout the healthcare systems across the country are, are good to go. And he is a phenomenal guest. Mm. I mean, again, not a veteran, but has deep roots in the military community and cares so much about veterans. So hearing these stories, we’ve also had secretary McDonna on the show and, and many, many others. So that’s always been a great project to work on to tell those stories,

Scott Luton (38:30):

Love it. So chats with the chief, I’m assuming you can find that wherever you get your podcast from, and of course, we’ll try to include some links in the show notes of this episode to make it really easy for you. I love, love those conversations. Perfect. You described Mary Kate black Hawk down. One of, you know, I think of when I think of recent military movies, you know, saving private Ryan, certainly black Hawk down, there’s a few others that come to mind, but these are, these are compelling movies that tell such a story that everyone needs to know, because it, to me, at least it really captures in, in a way that only Hollywood can that the sacrifice and the images of the sacrifice that that folks are making when we’re sleeping in our bed. Right.

Mary Kate Soliva (39:12):

Yeah, absolutely. And I think even we talk about like all the, the training that the military puts us through to prepare us for moments like that, but you really don’t know Dew and how we’re gonna act in that moment when literally your life is on the line. And that’s when you really get to see with the men and women on your left and right. And to your rear, like, are they really gonna step up? And, and it’s in those moments, like you say, where they’re total bad age, as Celina said, <laugh>, uh, they think about like how, how far they have come, um, to get where they’re at now. And, and they didn’t do it for the fame and glory to get a movie in Hollywood after them it’s. And, uh, it, it, it was there for, for them and their team. They were there for them and they, they were there for themselves, for their team, mainly their team. And, and I think that that just goes to show, uh, what makes us second to none compared to other professions out there. Mm,

Scott Luton (40:07):

Well, man,

Selina Meiners (40:08):

Blackhawk down, I just wanna add is probably my favorite military movie and it’s not a story. People go, oh, that, that, that was a happy ending. That was a great story. That is a story about improvising, adapting and overcoming based on the ever changing environment and the unexpected actually happening. And most importantly, never leaving a fallen comrade mm-hmm <affirmative> that’s to me, that’s the story in that particular movie, never leaving a fallen comrade, no matter what, even though it was, it was, you know, almost a death wish to go back into the fight to get to recover battle buddies. Yes. Didn’t matter. Never leave a pollen comrade, and that’s easier said than done. And so I admire everyone who was involved in that, for sure.

Scott Luton (41:03):

Can’ agree more with both of y’all and, and I, I appreciate how both of you have eloquently, uh, shared these important lessons to learn from these stories that, that really we’re obligated. And it’s our duty to make sure that the now generation next generation who’s to come, that these stories stay alive and well. Right. Cause there’s so much to learn. We gotta honor these folks and we’ve gotta act on their, their sacrifice. So, right. So let’s talk about, let’s switch gears for a second. Let’s talk about this point in time, count that you were, uh, part of in Washington, DC, I’ve been a part of, uh, same thing a couple years ago here in Atlanta. What was your, tell us what it is and what were your experiences there?

Selina Meiners (41:41):

So this was not my first time participating in the point in time count either was my first time participating it in D and what that is is, uh, the VA community partners and, and the department of housing and urban development. And they, they lead the, the point in time effort. Uh, you go out on one night, usually in January, but you know, it can vary based on the community and you survey people who appear to be homeless. And so this time actually, I got, I, I, I signed up like I normally do. And someone said, oh, secretary, McDonough’s going to do the point in time, count with you. I was like with me, wow. Like, you know, and so, uh, he walked around, uh, the streets of DC with me for five hours. And this was between nine, 9:00 PM. And, you know, one, 2:00 AM, it was 16 degrees.

Selina Meiners (42:49):

I believe that night it was really cold. And, um, we walked around the, the streets of DC. You know, when we, we, you approach someone, you, you have some questions that if they agree to answering them, and it’s all in an effort to understand how have homeless Le uh, levels changed from year to year across our country. So it’s not just for veterans, it’s for homeless people who appear to be homeless across our country. And it’s a very special event because it, it ends up helping get people off the streets so that I always like to do the point in time count. And it’s just, it’s just a, a very humbling experience as well. And, and you really just feel like you wanna help. And that, that is what you’re doing to help you’re, you’re going around and asking them questions and seeing kind of what the situation is and connecting them to resources hopefully. Right.

Scott Luton (43:49):

I, I completely agree with you. Uh, you know, I served with, uh, we have a great organization called vet Atlanta here in Atlanta. It’s a big shout out to Lloyd Knight and Mary Kay, you may be familiar with that organization. Awesome team, uh, very powerful action driven. So as part of some, my volunteerism with Atlanta, I took the midnight shift for the point in time count here in Atlanta a couple years ago, it was, it was a, also really cold night, but, you know, the awareness you leave with, and, and I, I was kind of sharing a little bit pre-show, it took me a while to digest what I saw, right. Because I think when you hear the word homeless, we all, probably, as humans, we make certain, you know, uh, thoughts in our mind, right? Subconsciously, but man, those interactions with, with all of those people here throughout Atlanta, it really opened my eyes up to, to not only some of the challenges, but their journey and, and some of their needs that aren’t unfortunately, always thought about. So if you get a chance to volunteer in this point in time, count that they take place across the country, they always need volunteers do it. Mm-hmm <affirmative> you, you will thank, you’ll be thankful. You’ll learn so much. And you’ll be in position kinda what Selena’s talking about to help more after you, you know, kind of seek first to learn. So, um, appreciate you sharing that Selena.

Selina Meiners (45:02):

Yeah. I just wanna reiterate it is our duty, like you said, nobody should be homeless. I mean, can you imagine being outside the entire month of January, nobody should have to, nobody should be homeless. And so we have to, we have to end homelessness and we can, and there are a lot of people hard at work on this. A lot of great people. Um, our homeless program office is phenomenal. They do phenomenal work, always focused on, on this. So it is our duty

Scott Luton (45:36):

Agreed point in time count. So listeners y’all check that out. All right. So Mary, Kate, we’re coming down the home stretch with our wonderful guest here. Uh, Selena miners, where are we going next?

Mary Kate Soliva (45:46):

Yeah. Celina, thank you so much for, for sharing that. Gosh, I, I was already just getting chills, listening to you describing that. So Scott, yeah, I can, I can totally relate that. I probably would’ve taken time to digest seeing that. Mm. Uh, cause usually like underlying issues, but the fact that you continue to serve beyond the uniform is so commendable. And, um, I, I heard that you were the, the first female to serve as the MC of the veterans day services at Arlington national cemetery this past November. So could you tell us a little bit about that special honor and how special that was and, and what it meant to you?

Selina Meiners (46:21):

Oh gosh, that was just the greatest honor. I, I, where do you want me to begin? Um, <laugh> I, I, I couldn’t believe it. They had a tryout for the role of the master of ceremonies and I, I didn’t think, you know, I didn’t think there’s so many great people who are good at that kind of thing. And so when they told me, I said, oh my gosh, I’m so excited. And I, um, my dad, uh, I had him fly down for it so that he could attend. And, um, my husband came also, he is a still active duty army, as I mentioned. And, um, I remember just thinking, oh, wow, this is nationally televised. This is a big deal. I can’t all of these veterans, everybody, all the veteran service organizations. I mean the secretary of defense was there, like sitting right behind me.

Selina Meiners (47:20):

I was like, uh, don’t mess this up for, you know, the people there’s so much work that goes into it with the band and, and all of the, the people who help with veterans day. It’s incredible. So, um, did a lot of, uh, a few rehearsals with the, the military district of Washington and their team and they are true professionals. Um, they run, you know, they run all of that and, and Arlington cemetery is amazing. Of course. So, yeah, they, they, there was this part in the speech that I distinctly remember of course, because I’ve never been anywhere close to the president before. And it’s where I introduce him and, and I look over and I’m like, oh wow. He is right there. <laugh>, that’s kinda crazy. Um, it felt, it didn’t feel real, so, but I got through it without, without any mistakes. And I, it was kind of a blur and I was like, wow, I can’t believe that happened those crazy. I don’t know what to say about it. But, um, the veteran’s day is, is obviously always special because it’s our chance. Unlike, you know, Memorial day is more somber to, to remember, you know, those who’ve lost their lives, but veterans days for, for all veterans, um, past present. And so it’s, it was great to, to fill that role. And I was very honored to be the, the first female, uh, veteran, too, to, to do that. <laugh>

Mary Kate Soliva (48:50):

Absolutely incredible. And I just thinking, like you just described, mentioning Arlington, even just looking to the riot of Arlington cemetery at the gates is the women in military service Memorial

Selina Meiners (49:00):

Yes. Is like

Mary Kate Soliva (49:01):

Right there and people walk right by it all the time to go straight to the cemetery. Yes. In fact, you being the first woman and, and being at Arlington and with the women’s Memorial right there, very powerful.

Selina Meiners (49:12):

Yes. Actually the, the, um, the post launch, uh, brunch was hosted there, and that is an amazing, amazing, um, Memorial and, and museum to, to check out highly recommend. I wanna go back and really digest more of it because it was so wonderful and touching, cuz I don’t even think we, when we were in the military, you know, you kind of, I wanna say felt like you knew your place and I know that’s bad to say, but I distinctly remember so many times thinking, oh, well, you know, I’m a woman and it’s just not a woman’s place. You know, it’s not a woman’s career. So of course we’re not depicted. We’re not, you, you kind of like accepted it almost. And to see now that it’s, uh, becoming more common for people to understand, Hey, women serve too. Women have been serving, they’ve been serving forever. They’ve been serving in combat and forever, you know? Um, I was in a combat unit.

Mary Kate Soliva (50:18):

I hope you’ll share this story with them.

Selina Meiners (50:20):

Yeah,

Mary Kate Soliva (50:21):

Yeah, absolutely. I, I, I really can relate to that. I hope that you’ll, you’ll contact to share how you’re the first, because Scott, if you don’t know that women in, in military service Memorial is like the first women on submarines, the first women, uh, fighter pilots, like there’s so many, um, that, that Memorial in that museum just captures so many of the first for women in service of, of the branches. And it’s just absolutely incredible. So ele a little bit more about the, the ceremony. Um, H how did that, that go? Was it, was it really long? Was it, was it short? What was, what was the service? Could you tell us a little bit more about that?

Selina Meiners (50:57):

Oh, well, there was a lot of prep work that went into it, you know, uh, the VA in partnership with the military district of Washington, you know, the army they’re working on veterans day and Memorial day all year long, and to make it, you know, special. So of course you have to get there far in advance, go through special security, you know, get a special pin and all of that stuff. So you don’t get tackled by the secret service cause they’re everywhere, which was really cool. I was like, can I walk here? Can I walk there? This is so cool. Like, am I okay? You know, I had never been around that kinda environment before, so, but it was wonderful. Um, no, it was not long. It was, I enjoyed the day I enjoyed the day. I just talked to everybody I saw and, and it was just beautiful and to have my dad there and, and my husband that was really great. Very special.

Mary Kate Soliva (51:51):

Very special. Yeah. Well, what do you think about that, Scott? That was incredible.

Scott Luton (51:56):

Uh, it, it is incredible. It is incredible. And, and I appreciate, you know, the last time we were together, we didn’t get a chance to dive into this as much as you described it here today. And gosh, I’ve got just, um, uh, a much better visual and I didn’t realize about the Memorial right. Era as you go into the right. I, I missed that much. Like you described Mary Kay. I missed it. You know, we, we, we were, so, uh, I had a very little time and as we talked about, I think last time, Selena and Mary Kay, we, I think we’ve talked about this. You don’t wanna like book an hour for Arlington. You really want to give it, you wanna have plenty of time. Yes. To kind of, um, uh, uh, explore may not be the right word, but just to kind of soak it all in, it’s such a powerful moving experience. And clearly despite I spent, I think half a day there, maybe more I missed, um, important part. So Mary Kay, thank you for sharing that with me and listeners

Mary Kate Soliva (52:47):

Made and my reenlistment ceremony there. So I, I dragged my unit to come. I say, you wanna come see me reenlist? You gotta see it come to the Memorial. And I did that because I knew that I knew that so many of my soldiers didn’t know about the Memorial people go use it for the bathroom, but they go right by and totally miss it. And it’s right there. And they see the building and they don’t realize they have, they have uniforms of our women service members, our sisters who have been killed in action. They’ve got their uniforms and cases there. They’ve got so many photos of just the, the bad a women. I didn’t keep saying that Alison bad, a, the bad a women that are in that Memorial and now Selena, you definitely can get more memorialized there as the first, the Wellington event.

Selina Meiners (53:34):

That’s great. That does not even compare even, even like a little piece of my, my nail here in comparison to what they have done. But I did also wanna mention that the, it was last year was the hundredth anniversary of the tomb of the unknown. And it was the first time that people could go and lay, uh, flowers down and the old guard and the honor guard. They’re just, they’re just amazing, right? I mean, I, you can’t, I don’t know, it’s, it gives me goosebumps, even just thinking about what they do and all of the different things they do. So, um, that was another special thing. And, and we commemorated that on the cover of the program, uh, as well.

Scott Luton (54:21):

Well, uh, you’re gonna have to write a book about all the experiences that you’ve shared here today. I, I promise you it’s coming. I can see it now. I can see, I can already see the, the front cover, uh, one that would make your dad, John. Right. Very proud. So, John, uh, clearly, uh, I love, uh, how much, uh, your daughter spoken about your impact on her journey here today? Who knows about Tia episode Selena with you and your dad, maybe, but <laugh> Let’s, as we start to wrap, let’s make sure folks know how to connect with you first. Uh, Selena,

Selina Meiners (54:53):

I’d be happy to connect with people on LinkedIn. So just look me up Selena miners you’ll find me I’m there.

Scott Luton (55:01):

And that’s how I found I that’s what I was, I was, I was learning about, uh, that special veteran’s day ceremony. And that’s how we first got connected. So I’m so glad that you’ve taken time with us here, Selena miners. I really enjoy and appreciate what you do. And as Mary Kay pointed out your continued service to our veteran community, it takes, it takes those action organ leaders, uh, the need and our responsibility is so great. So I’m really very thankful for what you do. Selena. Thank you, Mary Kate, speaking of both of y’all are bad. A women, uh, bad, a fellow veterans uh, both of y’all continue to serve right. Mary Kate, as you know, we’re big fans of what you do, not just here at veteran voices, but everywhere and you see it, you see it in action. So Mary, Kate, how can folks connect with you?

Mary Kate Soliva (55:45):

Yes, absolutely. Definitely. On, on LinkedIn, I’m on LinkedIn as well. And, uh, Mary Kate saliva, S O L I V a and also, um, Vetro I’m also, I also volunteer there on, on Vetro free platform for you to sign up for mentors. So happy to help wherever you’re at on your, your journey.

Scott Luton (56:03):

Love that. And, and that’s a very sincere, I, I see it again. We all see it. So love what you do there. Uh, Mary Kate, and of course this is her show. So you can find Mary Kate regularly every other Friday, just about, uh, here at better invoices. So subscribe, uh, cuz you don’t wanna miss conversations just like this one here today we’ve had with Selena miners. All right, folks, Selena again, thank you for your time. We look forward to reconnecting with you down the road a little bit.

Selina Meiners (56:28):

Thank you so much for having me. Um, and thank you both for your service.

Mary Kate Soliva (56:33):

Thank you. Your dad’s your husband’s continued service. Um, and thank you, especially for continuing to serve beyond the uniform. I mean very powerful what you’re doing now. So thank you.

Scott Luton (56:43):

Couldn’t say it better. So big thanks to Selena minors with the director for communications, for the veterans health administration’s office of clinical services, which of course is part of the us department of veterans affairs, Selena that tried to trip me up there and I just about gave them, but I think we got it.

Selina Meiners (57:01):

I was holding my breath, huh?

Scott Luton (57:03):

No big. Thanks of course, to our host here at veteran voices, our fearless bad, a host Mary Kate saliva really appreciate all that. You do. Mary Kate.

Mary Kate Soliva (57:12):

Thank you, Scott. Thank you.

Scott Luton (57:14):

And to our listeners, you are why we exist. So if you’ve got story ideas, I bring ’em to us. Be sure to, uh, connect with us across social media. Uh, we’re active on LinkedIn and Twitter in particular. Be sure to connect. You’re not gonna miss connecting with both our guests, Selena miners and our host, Mary Kate saliva and fine us, uh, veteran voices, wherever you get your podcast from a big thanks again to our, uh, nonprofit partners over at vets to industry, but folks, whatever you do, Hey, be like ele be like Mary Kay, do good. Give forward. Be the change that’s needed. And on that note, we’ll see. Next time. Right back here on veteran voices.

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Selina Meiners is the Director for Communications for the Veterans Health Administration’s Office of Clinical Services. The Veterans Health Administration is America’s largest integrated health care system, providing care at 1,293 health care facilities, including 171 medical centers and 1,112 outpatient sites of care of varying complexity, serving 9 million enrolled Veterans each year. Selina joined the Office of Clinical Services from the VHA Office of the Chief of Staff where she served as the Deputy Chief of Staff’s Executive Assistant. She also previously served as Public Affairs Officer for the Bay Pines VA Healthcare System in Bay Pines, Florida, and in Washington, D.C., as a Public Affairs Specialist in the Veterans Benefits Administration’s Office of Corporate Communications and at the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). NIFA is an agency within the U.S. Department of Agriculture focused on addressing societal challenges through research, education, and extension. For more than 10 years, Selina served on active duty as an officer in the U.S. Army. She was an instructor in the Public Affairs Leadership Department at the Defense Information School (DINFOS) from 2012 to 2016. DINFOS, located on Fort Meade, Maryland, is the Department of Defense’s (DOD) premier training institution for military, DOD civilians, international military and interagency students in the field of public affairs and visual information. From 2007 to 2012, Selina served in leadership positions within 2nd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, a multifunctional, deployable combat arms unit at Fort Riley, Kansas. While with the division, Selina completed two year-long deployments to Baghdad, Iraq, in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn. She was the brigade Public Affairs Officer, responsible for the organization’s internal, external and community relations activities. She also served as a Signal Network Support Company Manager, providing customer service to more than 3,000 users with tactical communications networks integral to combat operations. Selina graduated with a Master of Professional Studies in Public Relations and Corporate Communications from Georgetown University in May of 2019. She earned a Master of Science in Administration and an Education Specialist degree in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of West Florida. She also holds a Bachelor of Arts in Broadcast Journalism from the University of Central Florida. In her spare time, Selina loves to be on the beach in Florida, read fiction and work out at Orange Theory. She is also a certified personal trainer. Connect with Selina on LinkedIn.

Hosts

Mary Kate Soliva

Host, Veteran Voices

Scott W. Luton

Founder, CEO, & Host

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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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