Veteran Voices
Episode 48

Hard work and networking go a long way. Don’t give up; be persistent and keep moving forward until you find that space that fits your needs.

- Kristina Rodriguez, U.S. Army Veteran

Episode Summary

Kristina Rodriguez is the Regional Operations Manager for The Brokerage for Virginia and North Carolina, and the co-manager of the employee resource group for Colliers North American diversity equity and inclusion program.

She comes from a big military family, with her older brother (Marines), uncle (Vietnam war), and great aunt (Army) all entering the service. Since she wasn’t able to serve on the front lines, she became a Military Police officer in the U.S. Army for three years. After leaving the Army, she ended up in a role as a part time leasing agent for multifamily and real estate.

In this conversation, Kristina shares her story with host Scott Luton:

  • Why she thinks it was right to remove the service restrictions on women able to meet the front-line standards for their branch of the military
  • Her three pieces of advice for anyone transitioning out of the military into a civilian professional role
  • The communications differences between the military and civilian careers that Veterans need to be aware of

Episode Transcript

Intro/Outro (00:02):

Welcome to veteran voices, a podcast 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 taught 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 (00:41):

Hey, good morning, everybody. Scott Luton here with you own veteran voices. Welcome to today’s show. Hey, on today’s show, we’re gonna be talking about the journey, transition and success of a us army. Military police veteran turned real estate pro doing big things industry. So stay tuned for a great discussion. We’re gonna have a lot of fun here today. Hey, quit programming it. Before we get started, this program is part of supply chain. Now family of programming. We conduct veteran voices in conjunction with our friends via partnership over at vets to industry. So we learn more about this powerful nonprofit that serving so many folks in across the veteran community at vets, the Newmar to industry.org. Okay, so let’s welcome in our esteemed guests here today. I’m telling you you’re in for a treat. Want to welcome in Kristina Rodriguez, a KRod regional operations manager for the brokerage for Virginia and North Carolina. And wait, there’s more. She also serves as co-manager of the employee resource group for call years north America, diversity equity and inclusion program. KRod, how are we doing this afternoon? Um, amazing.

Kristina Rodriguez (01:52):

We’re doing great over here in Virginia. All right,

Scott Luton (01:56):

Doing great. It’s been a big week, big week. Uh, and you know, we get the, uh, finished a week by spiking the football with this time with you here this afternoon. Looking, been looking forward to this. Now you are up in Norfolk, Virginia, right? That’s where you are now.

Kristina Rodriguez (02:11):

That is correct.

Scott Luton (02:12):

Yes. Now we’re going to talk about your journey in a minute and also talk about, um, your transition, what you did in the military, what you do now, but are you new? I know you’ve been promoted a couple of months back. Did you move to Norfolk or have you always been there?

Kristina Rodriguez (02:26):

Did Scott. So I moved here to Virginia from Dallas, Texas.

Scott Luton (02:30):

That’s right. That’s right. Thanks weeks ago. Okay. So we got it. We can’t say Dallas without mentioning our mutual friend, uh, right. The one and only ward Richmond. So awards a good dude. Huh?

Kristina Rodriguez (02:44):

He is. He’s amazing. He’s got a lot of fire in him. That’s for sure.

Scott Luton (02:48):

Lots of fun. All right. Well, let’s dive in with the one and only Christina Rodriguez. I want to start with a simple question, right? We’re going to get into your military service in a minute, but where did you grow up, Christina? Uh, and give us, you know, give us a few anecdotes about your upbringing.

Kristina Rodriguez (03:05):

So I grew up in LA Porte, Texas, or I was born in the port, Texas moved to Baton Rouge, Louisiana. When I was about, I don’t know, like second grade, third grade. So I was raised in Baton Rouge, Louisiana with great food, Cajun food, you name it, can’t find it anywhere else. And so I grew up there and I was a competitive dancer for many years. So I meet it in ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, all that kind of good stuff. And then I went to a, um, magnet school when I was in high school. And so I was surrounded by a bunch of 4.5 kids. And so,

Scott Luton (03:45):

Well, what did you say? 4.5 kids. Yes.

Kristina Rodriguez (03:49):

We had some, we had some brainiacs, so they took the majority of them took like honors classes, AP classes, college credit classes. I was not that great in school. So I decided to sign up for the military my junior year.

Scott Luton (04:04):

Okay. So we’re, I want to dive into that. Let’s back up for a second, because much like my middle daughter, perhaps. I hope I’m not, I’m not letting any cats out of the bag here, but you know, she loves everything, but, but some things that go on at school, right. She loves to dance and she loves the creative side and loves cooking. So, and that, you know, we all have our different passions in life. I want to back up though. So Baton Rouge, right? Yes. You know, the cool thing about coming across the river in Baton Rouge is you’ve got that gorgeous steel bridge. It’s been there for quite some time. I spent extra times. I went to, uh, Austin, Texas for an event probably about a year and a half ago back when we could probably closer to two years ago now. And I drove the supply chain now van out and we brought it back and there was a traffic shutdown right around that bridge. So I probably spent 45 minutes on that span and had plenty of time of analyzing every part of Baton Rouge. But it’s such a cool, it’s such a cool city. And to your point, there’s so much character and the food, you really can’t find the really good stuff, the authentic stuff, anywhere else in the world. So that had to be pretty special area and town I grew up in, huh? Yes,

Kristina Rodriguez (05:18):

It was. It it’s the culture. It’s the food. Um, the very laid back friendly casinos, uh, can’t forget new Orleans. I’m not going to lie during my high school days. I probably visited new Orleans many times. So now when people are like, Hey, let’s go to new Orleans. I’m like done that.

Scott Luton (05:40):

Been there, been there, done that. All right. So did that make you growing up in Baton Rouge? Does that make you a big LSU fan?

Kristina Rodriguez (05:48):

So unfortunately, no. So this is a crazy story about LSU. So when I got out of the military, I started going to LSU, but I wasn’t your average college student. So I didn’t do the whole tailgating, partying going out and things like that. Um, now my parents, on the other hand, they are and fanatics. So my parents have a farm out in Leesville, Louisiana. And if they don’t catch the games on the radio, because there’s no cable out there, they don’t catch the game on the radio. They will drive home to bathrooms to make sure that they catch it on the TV. So they are huge. Fans

Scott Luton (06:27):

Love it. Okay. We’ll have to connect with your folks and talk football at some point in time. Oh my gosh. So one last question, before we talk more about you, when you joined the army is so clearly you are, your passion was, uh, all types of dancing. It sounds like. And, and the arts, I guess, the dancing arts did you not want to, and I’m not sure what you do beyond high school in those towns. I there’s plenty of art schools. Did you talk to me about that? Decision-making did you just say, Hey, maybe you still dance. I don’t know. Did you decide to kind of hang that up and, and go into the army or do you still do both?

Kristina Rodriguez (07:04):

So when I was dancing, I started when I was young. So I started when I was maybe six years old and then I got more competitive as it went on in back when I was younger, they were really big on weight meeting weight. So everything was good up until probably towards the end of my sophomore, beginning of junior year, when they started really honing down on, you have to be a certain weight to be able to be in the competition group. I was not a big person, uh, back then, but based on their standards, I was so because of the stress, right. And all that kind of stuff, my mom and I made a decision for me to just bow out gracefully. And so my junior year that’s when I stopped dancing. But I say that to say this, a lot of the girls that did dance with me and compete with me, they either own their own studios. Now they went on to do cheerleading for the Dallas Cowboys or, you know, some kind of dance squad in that way. They progress through their career.

Scott Luton (08:06):

I hate to hear that all that kind of nonsense that takes place sometimes that discourages us from chasing what we love to do. Right. So we’ll have to circle back on that, but we’re one adventure comes to an end. Another one opens up and gosh, where you are now, you’re you’re kicking butt. And I bet you still did a little dance on the side is my hunch. We’ll keep that door shut, but let’s talk about, let’s talk about what made you join the U S army. So tell us, when did that hit your radar and then ultimately, what, what made you join?

Kristina Rodriguez (08:39):

So what made me join was it was kind of twofold one. Um, so I have an older brother who’s two and a half years older than me. And he had joined the Marines before, during his senior year in graduation. So that was one thing that I saw happen and I thought it was interesting. And on top of that, my uncle was drafted in the Vietnam war. Wow. And then my great aunt who’s now passed. I think it’s been seven years now. She retired as a Lieutenant Colonel from the army, uh, as a nurse anesthetist. And so we have a really big giving back and really big military family. And so those were some kind of things that besides the grades and competing with 4.0 students, all of that combined, I took the AskPat and they asked me, they said, what do you want to do? And I said, I want to be in the front lines. I don’t want to be close. I want to do this. And unfortunately back then, women were not allowed to fight on the front lines. So the closest that a woman could get was an MP. And so that’s why I opted to be a military police officer in the us army.

Scott Luton (09:53):

That’s really cool. Now give us a time reference in terms of wind up policy, that kind of restrictive policy. How long ago, when did you join again?

Kristina Rodriguez (10:02):

So I joined in 1990s spot. It was 90, 95, 94, 95. So it was my junior year. I graduated high school in 96 and my aging myself,

Scott Luton (10:13):

Uh, I’d kind of forgotten some of those, some of the restrictions, uh, female pilots, there were, there were a variety of restrictions, I think back then still in place. And now that’s not the case. Right. I think,

Kristina Rodriguez (10:26):

Um, which is really great. There’s been a change in movement where females are, uh, if they meet those standards, uh, that they’re able to pursue those careers. And that is a huge turn for the military. And I’m so excited for females out there who are joining.

Scott Luton (10:41):

So at the time you got as close as you could to the action to being right there in the thick of it. And that was, uh, the military police role. Let’s talk about while you’re in. So you joined the air in, in the mid nineties or so, and I did too, by the way, I joined the air force in the mid nineties. So we’re, we’re probably both proud genexers maybe. So tell us, tell us about your service from the time you joined. How long were you in what’d you do where’d you go?

Kristina Rodriguez (11:07):

So a couple of the reasons why I joined was because it was family history and then I wanted to travel and I wanted to make a difference and make an impact don’t we all at that age. Right. So I did basic training and AIT at Fort McClellan, Alabama. So that was pretty intense and pretty crazy, uh, back then, I guess I don’t have the normal workflow of your average military person. Um, and that’s because, so when I joined at first, I wanted to travel and when I went through,

Scott Luton (11:44):

No, I didn’t want to travel. I did,

Kristina Rodriguez (11:47):

But I didn’t have the opportunity. And this is where time, times are different then than they are now. So I joined and I went through AIT, basic training. I came down on orders for Germany, which was, I was really stoked about. And then for some reason, something happened with my paperwork and I ended up going to being stationed at Fort Polk, Louisiana,

Scott Luton (12:09):

Just not far from home, not far from

Kristina Rodriguez (12:11):

Home two and a half hours.

Scott Luton (12:14):

So I got a better, I’m not a one upper, but I got to share. It looks like we got some parallels. When I joined the air force in summer of 94, I kind of wanted to see the world, but I was real home homesick, but I put shower for space, I guess, on my dream sheet. Right. You got stationed there, which was about 90 minutes from home. How crazy is that? During the military side of the world? Not always the case. Okay. So Fort Polk, Louisiana was your first duty station, is that right?

Kristina Rodriguez (12:41):

Yes, my first and only first

Scott Luton (12:44):

And only. Okay. So you didn’t travel. Did you ever deploy, uh, while active duty?

Kristina Rodriguez (12:50):

So when I was in active duty, we were in peace time. So I was fortunate that I didn’t get deployed to any war zones. Um, so yeah, so I stayed at Fort Polk. I did travel to Germany to go visit a military friend of mine. So I went to visit for about 30 days. Yeah. And then fast forward, I went to South Korea when I did a study abroad program at LSU.

Scott Luton (13:16):

Okay. So ultimately you got some that traveling? I did. That’s wonderful. I’ve never been in South Korea, but as a fan, it was a fascinating trip. How long were you?

Kristina Rodriguez (13:24):

I was there for a semester. So about six months.

Scott Luton (13:27):

Okay. All right.

Kristina Rodriguez (13:29):

I know I’m all over the map, Scott.

Scott Luton (13:31):

Yeah, no, no. All this is so I’ll know all this makes sense. So Germany while you’re still in kind of some RNR, I bet you took space a maybe did you take space a or did you go to commercial?

Kristina Rodriguez (13:42):

Probably commercial. Everything’s a little hazy. I’m not going to tell you why.

Scott Luton (13:46):

Okay. Well, all right. So you traveled to Germany, why you’re in, but most of your USP’s time in the midnight is there, most of your, your service time was, was there Fort Polk, but you did after you got out, it sounds like you were a semester in South Korea, which I bet was just fascinating. So was it all when, when you’ve been before you went to South Korea and we’ll come back to when you exited in a minute, but when you went to South Korea, was it what you had in mind? What were you most surprised with? Because you were there quite some time to be there a semester, you could really immerse yourself, right?

Kristina Rodriguez (14:17):

It was. So when I first got there, um, I was blown away. I was, my anxiety level was hit really high. Cause you don’t, it’s kind of like you prepare yourself for going to a new country, but you’re really not prepared until you get there. Right. Fortunately, I did a lot of research on the front end, which is really important for anybody who’s traveling to understand customs and stuff like that. But I went there and walking off the plane, not being able to read, assign, not being able to understand what anybody is saying. It’s, it’s a culture shock. It’s huge. Fortunately, when I finally got to the college, we had, um, partners. So the program had partners. So we were partnered with a student Korean who was kind of like our guide. So they would show us around town. They would come down and tell us like what trains not to go on or what subway is not to take due to backlash that that was happening because of Westerners coming over and things like that. So seeing things from a civilian perspective, aside from a military perspective was pretty fascinating because there’s a lot of stuff that goes on in other countries that we don’t hear about here. So yeah, it was fascinating

Scott Luton (15:31):

A bit what a wonderful experience, but you got lots of stories. Some you can tell some of you can’t tell, but I’m jealous. I hope to visit, uh, I’ve heard a lot about soul and that will maybe do some traveling later.

Kristina Rodriguez (15:42):

Everything’s built up everybody’s on top of things.

Scott Luton (15:44):

Well, you know, it’s crazy. It is. I served in the air force with, uh, an airman Kim, uh, from Korea. He, his family had since moved to, to the LA area, but he would, he’d share a lot of, uh, Korean customs and, and, um, and always want to make, you know, always made me want to go back. So I will have to compare notes later. Let’s talk about when you exited. So back back, going back, military police in the U S army, when did you get out? Uh, before we talk about that, tell, talk to us about a couple of individuals that you serve with. Uh, and I know we’d never, we never, we need hours and hours for this. Who’s a couple of folks that you serve with that really are special to you.

Kristina Rodriguez (16:27):

So to kind of stand out. So one of them was, uh, Sergeant Roseboro. He was an inspiration to other soldiers. He was a strong leader. He was knowledgeable. He was the first one that any leadership called to get stuff done, and he could get soldiers to do anything for him because he cared about the soldiers. So he was really impactful in my life. Uh, second one was, uh, Sergeant Hamlin. Now he was ironically, he was with me during my basic training and AIT. He wasn’t my direct drill Sergeant, but he was in a company. So he was in another platoon and, um, seeing how he worked with soldiers and stuff like that was really inspiring and motivational. And then when, right when I was getting out at my duty station, he showed up. So the MP station or the MP battalion that was at McClellan moved to Fort Polk. And so that whole company showed up right when I was leaving and him and I had a really good part’s heart. Cause he was like, Rodriguez, why are you leaving? What’s going on? But we were to the point where I was on my way. And so there was like nothing we could do to go back. Um, so those are two, those are my two big ones.

Scott Luton (17:53):

Sergeant Rosaro Roseboro sorry, Sergeant Roseboro and Sergeant Hamlin. Right? Well, so it sounds like they both not only were good leaders, but they also were Frank with their feedback. Yes.

Kristina Rodriguez (18:06):

Firmed a fair

Scott Luton (18:07):

Firm, but fair. I like that. It’s really important from here. If folks can’t give you honest feedback, you, you’re never going to uncover some of the things in your blind spot. Right.

Kristina Rodriguez (18:17):

That is true. And it’s true.

Scott Luton (18:19):

Okay. So when did you exit and separate the army?

Kristina Rodriguez (18:23):

So I served for three years. There was a couple of reasons why I separated. One of them is I got pregnant. And so when a female gets pregnant and he have an option on exiting or staying in, and I just want to say upfront, all the single moms out there that are in the military and serving, I respect you and commend you because that’s some hard stuff, some hard decisions you have to make. Um, and one, one of the reasons why I decided to get out was because when you find out that you’re pregnant and you go, uh, the military asks you to do a family plan. So they’re like if you get deployed, where do you want your child to go? If something happens to you and you pass away, where does your child go? So it’s all these things that you have to think about for the future of your child, that the military forces you to bring that forward. And I was just not in that place where I was like, I don’t want to leave my kid. And so that’s one of the reasons why I decided to,

Scott Luton (19:23):

I had no idea. I had no idea that you have options, uh, when, when you become pregnant in a house, I had no idea that that may make sense. Now, looking back, I can see the military doing it, but this is the first time I’ve heard of this. Um, yeah. And, and, you know, I want to say I served in the air force with a young lady that got pregnant and I guess she stayed in and went through that whole, um, family plan, family plan. And I want to say, now I’m kind of talking out loud. Maybe we did chat about this, but of course that was about 25 years ago. That’s blows my mind today. Kay. Rod. All right. Well, so with, so clearly for your path and your preferences and I, I love the shout out to single mothers because gosh, it is tough. So you, you chose to separate from the army. And so talk to, let’s talk about your transition. You know, the transition is one of the main things we talk about here at veteran voices, we all met. Most of us struggled in our transition. A lot of folks are still struggling in their transition, which, which, you know, we’ve got a lot of work through there, but talk to us about your, so when you made that decision and you separated from the army, what, what came next and, and how did you determine what came next?

Kristina Rodriguez (20:38):

So I didn’t have a plan when I got out. Um, when I exited, fortunately I was only two and a half hours away from my home town. So I was fortunate to be able to go back home and kind of reset and figure stuff out. And I worked odd jobs when I got out. Cause it’s it’s, you kind of don’t know what to do with your experience. And how do you explain your DD two 14 to people and all this kind of stuff? So, fortunately, because I went back to my hometown, I had family friends, and so I worked on jobs. Like I was a data entry person. I did janitorial work at night when I was going to college, I did, I worked at a convenience store, cleaning gas pumps and stocking shelves. And so taking these odd jobs, just trying to one, go through college and to figure out what I want to do. Wow,

Scott Luton (21:29):

Okay. Rod, that is, that really illustrates perseverance. And just, we’re going to get this done and pay the bills along the way that a lot of folks don’t have the Moxie to do that. So when you think through that transition part of your life, where you’re doing things, some folks just flat out refuse to do, how proud are you that, that if it was me, I’m telling that story to my kids, my grandkids, my great grandkids, whenever they say it’s tough. Uh, so, so what does that mean to you now?

Kristina Rodriguez (21:58):

It means hard work and networking goes a long way. It really does, uh, not giving up and being persistent and you keep moving forward until, until you find that space that fits your needs and what your,

Scott Luton (22:13):

And maintaining a sense of humility, which I think a lot of folks could benefit by big of taking a big old spoonful of humility these days. Right? Yes. Let’s talk about kind of getting through those, those just make it work times, you know, odd jobs as you, as you call it, you know, the part-time stuff, a variety of stuff as you’re getting through, it sounds like as you’re getting through college and did you, did you finish up college and then get into real estate? How did that?

Kristina Rodriguez (22:40):

So it was while I was in college, I think it was my junior year and I was cleaning gas pumps at the local convenience store. And a family friend drove by in her nice little Beamer, Alexis or whatever she was driving. And she’s like, Christina, what are you doing? And I was like, what are you talking about? What am I doing? I’m working, going to school, you know? And she goes, no, no, no, no, no. She goes, you’re more than this. She goes, let me introduce you to somebody. And so she introduced me to a property manager at a tax credit property, and that’s how I got into property management for multifamily and real estate. So that was the beginning of my real estate career. And I started out as a part-time leasing agent.

Scott Luton (23:27):

Okay. And that was, that would have been what, late nineties, early two thousands.

Kristina Rodriguez (23:32):

2000, yeah, 2000.

Scott Luton (23:36):

So that, that you never know what tiny little random conversation, what it’s going to lead to because now you’re working with one of the, and we’ll touch what you’re doing now, but you’re working with one of the biggest names in real estate, doing big things, been promoted, your responsibilities are growing, you know, sky’s the limit and it all stems back. It’s crazy. It sounds like to me, at least Austin’s back to kind of a random conversation and then that connection that your family friend was willing to make for you. Absolutely.

Kristina Rodriguez (24:07):

Absolutely.

Scott Luton (24:08):

All right. So let’s talk before we talk about what you’re doing now, let’s have you give a SU uh, think of you’re keynoting to a room full of thousand soldiers, airman, semen, you, whatever that are transitioning, right. Just like you mentioned, you said you didn’t have a plan. I’m guilty. That that was my biggest reason. I probably struggled with my transition to, I didn’t have a good enough plan. A lot of folks unfortunately are in that same boat. So what are, what’s a couple of pieces of advice you would give folks that are listening that are either in the transition kind of in the, in the suck, right, as we all know, or they’re getting prepared to transition.

Kristina Rodriguez (24:49):

So I would recommend three, three major things that I would recommend. One, I would make sure that you find someone who can help you translate your DD two 14 into a civilian resume. That’s number one, especially if you’ve done a lot of years, because there are innate skills that soldiers are taught. That’s not readily taught in the civilian world. And so we have so much more to offer when it comes to leadership, strategic thinking and things like that, that we don’t know how to relate that for a civilian population to understand. So that would be my first one, find someone to help you convert your DD two 14 into the civilian resume. That’s number one, number two, I would highly recommend create a LinkedIn page when din pages like Facebook for business, get that going and get that ramped up because that will help with your networking.

Kristina Rodriguez (25:41):

And it’s a really good source to find companies who really help veterans and who really focus on hiring veterans. Uh, so LinkedIn page last is if you find a company and you do that networking and go to those career fairs, find a company that has a very strong, mature employee resource group for veterans that’s extremely, extremely important. And what employee resource groups are, is they are programs inside a company that help foster like growth and development and learning and training for veterans. Like they really hone in and focus on that. And so that comradery that you feel in the military will translate over to, into the other company, because that’s what the employee resource group does.

Scott Luton (26:28):

I love it. And they also focus on engaging those communities and hiring members of those communities.

Kristina Rodriguez (26:35):

Absolutely. They have, they do a big thing. They partner with a lot of other organizations to help hire veterans who are

Scott Luton (26:41):

Exiting. Those are the three wonderful pieces of advice. I’ve gone back to the first one. You know, I, I agree with you. I think one of the best things I did early, early in my career is invest in a resume writer, right. You know, no one likes to spend, you know, a couple of hundred bucks or for some of the bigger ones, maybe a thousand bucks. I don’t know. It’s been a while, but having that outside, ah, that, that is, uh, that who has a gift for writing and interpreting that’s a great investment in it.

Kristina Rodriguez (27:09):

Absolutely. It will pay off tenfold

Scott Luton (27:13):

The other, would you agree with this, Christina, while we’re talking resumes, despite what many folks may say that they’re, your resume is not a silver bullet, right? You’ve gotta be able to network and play the numbers game. You gotta be able to interview really well. So you need to be practicing interviewing. Would you agree with those?

Kristina Rodriguez (27:33):

Yes. Yes. Interviewing is very important and the way military people are used to communicating doesn’t translate very well when you’re talking to someone who’s not familiar with our terminology and our lingo and acronyms and all that other kind of stuff. So it’s really important to get your game face on

Scott Luton (27:54):

That’s. Right. Okay. Well that I love, I love good practical advice to all three of those points. And then your color commentary there was, was spot on. Let’s talk about what you’re doing now. So we mentioned earlier regional operations manager for brokerage for Virginia, North Carolina, with, with Colliers, which let’s start there. What does, what does Colliers did? So

Kristina Rodriguez (28:14):

Colliers as a commercial real estate company. And we provide various services from brokerage service to occupier services, to rims, which is real estate management services. So we provide a whole slew of services for real estate commercial real estate. And there’s a difference between commercial real estate and residential real estate. So I work in the commercial real estate.

Scott Luton (28:37):

Okay. So, uh, I am not a real estate expert. So don’t tell ward that don’t tell ward that secret. So when you, when you talk about commercial real estate, you’re talking about space for like distribution centers, for businesses, for retail locations, all of that. So basically everything but homes right. And residences, is that right? Okay. All right. So that’s, I bet that is just, uh, you know, being the supply chain nerd, I am, you know, warehouse and fulfillment center, or even the micro fulfillment center. I bet y’all are really busy. So in your role as regional operations manager for the brokerage, for those two states, give us maybe just a couple of generic every day may be a little bit different, but what’s a couple of core responsibilities you have.

Kristina Rodriguez (29:27):

I focus on streamlining the processes for human resources, finance technology, and information. And so those poor operation groups that help make the company run smoothly. Okay.

Scott Luton (29:43):

So it’s kind of like, sounds like a little bit to me, like continuous improvement.

Kristina Rodriguez (29:46):

Absolutely. Yeah. Revamping processes, finding streamlines workflows, you name it.

Scott Luton (29:53):

So what did, is that something that you did in the military, you went to school for? How did you arrive at being a continuous improvement, guru

Kristina Rodriguez (30:02):

Networking and growth and development that’s for sure. So in the military, I was pleased officer, so that some of the things that I learned, and this is what I was talking about was really important about translating what you did in the military to civilian. A lot of this stuff that I did in the military translates over to what I currently do. I didn’t know that I didn’t know how to communicate that. So it has taken me longer than what it could have to get where I am today.

Scott Luton (30:31):

I love that. Um, and it sounds like you love what you do.

Kristina Rodriguez (30:34):

I do. I love it. I love people. I love bringing energy of loving, inspiring, fun, absolutely

Scott Luton (30:41):

Making these better and easier and more productive, uh, for a company that is blowing and going as you put it in an industry. It’s same. All right. Let’s talk about this, this employee resource group. You’ve already touched on it a little bit. So I want to dive in a little deeper again, this is the ERG for Colliers, north America, diversity equity and inclusion program. You in particular, you’re passionate about the, the, the, the veterans component of that. How can you share some of what you’re seeing and experienced and how, how can companies, regardless of size, you learn from some of y’all’s best practices of obviously finding and hiring and onboarding veterans, but also what is missed, at least from what I’ve seen, they don’t create an environment where veterans can thrive and advance within the organization. Speak to all of that, if you would.

Kristina Rodriguez (31:29):

So one of the really big things, so our ERG is in the early stages. So we just celebrated our one year in November, we had a huge event. Um, so that was fun. Uh, so for our process, going through the veterans initiative is meeting with other companies who have mature ERG for veterans and finding out how they created partnerships, what their best practices are trying not to reinvent the wheel in learning from other people’s stumbles or challenges. And we have found other companies extremely receptive in sharing their path, their plan, where they were, what they did to get where they are today. And so, again, it’s all about building those relationships and reaching out to other people, because what I found in this community is no matter who you work for, if there’s a veterans program, they’re willing to connect with other companies with other veterans programs, because we don’t care where the veteran works just as long as we can help them and get them employed and put them in the right position to help them grow and develop. Um,

Scott Luton (32:39):

So how would you say in your words, and it’s a new program celebrated your first year anniversary and admittedly, I’m not an ERG expert. I love the fact that more companies are investing in them, uh, across different spectrums and different walks of life, which is I think, a great move and it helps folks make connections and engage with others. And again, advanced and also feel included as part of an organization. How do you, how do you all measure success?

Kristina Rodriguez (33:08):

So right now we measured success as our, this year. We focused on membership and people, self ID, and the reason why itself as better, either veterans or family members of veterans, and even we have people going in and self ID as not bettering. And that is to get the statistics of the demographic of our company, where we are now. And so our plan is to utilize that information, to push policy and procedure within the company, to increase the support for veterans that come on to call yours, and then inevitably as people come on and it’s part of the onboarding process to self identify, it’ll show our ministry. So that’s the long-term plan.

Scott Luton (33:51):

I love it. Okay. Anything I’m going to, I’m going to surprise you with a question, but this is a related question here. Yeah. As you think about other organizations that may be behind the eight ball, and certainly behind times more of a laggard when it comes to, you know, wanting to engage the veteran community, whether it’s for hiring purposes or you name it, you know, there’s some companies that do really well, that they’re trailblazers. And as we all know, even though we’ve made gains, I think in the last couple of decades, there’s some companies that’s all talk. And in little action, if you had a, if you had the, um, the fortune 500 CEOs or C suite kind of their captive attention, you know, for companies that really want to improve their value prop for veterans joining their workforces or whatever, anything you would suggest to them,

Kristina Rodriguez (34:37):

I would suggest them to partner with veteran hiring programs that are out there. We have nonprofits out there. I think you and I spoke to it before that’s to industry. Like there are programs out there that are already trying to help veterans exit and get them set up to where they need to be and to just go out there and find those organizations and find those nonprofits and engage in those conversations and it know what is the need, and then find a solution for that need be the solution for that ne

Scott Luton (35:06):

Be the solution. I like that. And you would probably agree with me. We got to do our due diligence and vet the organizations, right? You don’t just stop at the first one about U K rod that, you know, certainly since nine 11, uh, it’s on the good side. It’s, it’s, it’s really cool to see corporate America, uh, and a nonprofit community kind of re-invent many aspects of it to, to, to help veterans, but the flip side of any of movement, any movement like that, you’re going to have the folks that aren’t out there to do good, and they’re there to make money. And, uh, it’s really important to, to, you know, vet and screen and, uh, make sure you’re, you’re working with folks on the up and up. Right? Right.

Kristina Rodriguez (35:52):

So one of the things I would suggest is when you do go in and you find someone who has, uh, an ERG program or anything like that, or they say that they’re really supportive of hiring veterans, find another veteran, ask the hiring manager, ask the talent acquisitions person, Hey, do you have a veteran that’s currently working for your company that you can connect me with? In my opinion, good companies will have a veteran waiting in the wing as veterans come on to have that conversation with them. Another good thing is to look at the company’s core values, do their core values match your core values because that’s extremely important. If your innate core values does not coincide with the companies, it’s probably not going to be a good fit for you.

Scott Luton (36:37):

Um, great advice there. All right. Well, we have zipped through this interview. Uh, I want to make sure I want to make sure it sounds like there’s so much that you can share and hopefully we’ve hit on the main things. Is there anything else before we, we make sure folks know how to connect with you, Christina, anything else that you didn’t want to share to any of our listeners, uh, whether they’re, you know, still wearing the uniform or they’re about the hanging up, or maybe they, you know, they’ve already transitioned and now they’re trying to make their way through, you know, the private sector and learning all those things that you and I both learned as, uh, as we’ve gone through that. Anything that we’ve left uncovered.

Kristina Rodriguez (37:18):

I don’t think so. I think the main thing is networking, building those relationships, finding people, um, because that’s where we get our knowledge from other people’s experiences, right?

Scott Luton (37:29):

Harvey, Mackay, have you heard this before? Harvey Mackay, author keynote and telling what all the stuff he did, but one of his famous sayings, when it, as it relates to networking is you gotta dig your well before you’re thirsty. Right? And when I think of investing in networking, you know, we can’t treat it transactionally because then it, uh, you’ll be that person that you and I both know that hit 50 people in a room to gather cards. It’s all about, Hey, what can you do for me? That’s why no one likes to network, but what I’m hearing with you and those savvy folks know how to do it is investing, putting some skin in the game, going after the long play. Right. And really trusting the process, right. While you’re building your network.

Kristina Rodriguez (38:15):

And, you know, network is sometimes I feel like it’s a dirty word because of the bad connotation it hands. So that’s why I’m really big on building relationships and connecting with people, finding that thing that brings you together. A common brown that helps propel the conversation.

Scott Luton (38:35):

Okay. So how can folks connect with the one only

Kristina Rodriguez (38:39):

Christina Rodriguez, a K a K rot. I am one of three different social media platforms. I am on LinkedIn at Christina Rodriguez, zero one. I am on Instagram at B Christina Rodriguez. And I am on Twitter at K rod, 0 9, 1 6 inside notes. Thoughts to let you know where Kay rod came from. Our lovely ward Richmond that we talked about earlier. So they started calling me Kay rod in the office. And I let them think that they pointed. Um, but actually that between K rod and hot rod veins. Yes. These were names that were given to me in the military for all my military buddies. Yes. I’ve been living with it for you.

Scott Luton (39:25):

I really wish you had told me about the hot rod nickname long before I loved that one. I’m only privileged

Kristina Rodriguez (39:31):

People to hear that.

Scott Luton (39:34):

All right. Well, we’re going to make it easy for folks. Our list serves to connect with hot rod. Uh, we’re going to all those social links that she just mentioned. They’ll be in the show notes of the episode. You’re one click away from connecting with Christina, uh, what a breath of fresh air, congratulations on all of your success. And, uh, I can’t wait. We’ll have to, uh, regroup here maybe, uh, further in 20, 22 hard to believe it. We’re already there. And so what else that you have to share?

Kristina Rodriguez (40:01):

That makes sense. Thanks for having me. I appreciate

Scott Luton (40:04):

It. You bet. All right. So we’ve been chatting with Christina Rodriguez, AKA Kay rot and hot rod, new nickname ward. I can’t believe you didn’t let me know that one. And we’ve been, we’ve been referenced in our dear friend, ward, Richmond, who also is part of the call your family. Okay. So folks, hopefully you enjoy this conversation as much as I have. Let’s give a big, uh, tip of the hat to our dear friends over at vets to industry. You can find them. They’re a great nonprofit. They do all the, you know, a hot rod. And I both spoke about the value of vetting resources out there. Right? Making sure they do what they say they’re going to do and do it the right way. That’s the big value that, that, uh, vets to industry does. So you can learn more at vets, the numeral two industry.org. Be sure to find veteran voices, wherever you get your podcasts from a most importantly, gosh, if Christina doesn’t have you ready to run through the walls? I got a challenge, uh, to 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. Thanks everybody.

Would you rather watch the show in action?

Featured Guests

Kristina Rodriguez, As a Regional Operations Manager for brokerage in Virginia and North Carolina, Kristina effortlessly coordinate the efficient and effective delivery of the corporate support processes for the brokerage division, including the human resources, finance, and information technology areas. During her 20+ years in real estate, she has worked alongside C-level executives, top producing and high profile office and industrial advisors along with other movers and shakers within the industry. Her tenure in the business gives her a keen understanding of the broker and operations relationship and how it impacts the client experience. Kristina is also a Co-Manager of the Employee Resource Group (ERG) for Colliers’ North America Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Program. As a U.S. Army MP Veteran, her focus is on the Veterans Initiative with a mission to provide opportunities in recruiting, mentoring, networking, and professional development for military veterans and family members of veterans working at Colliers. Connect with Kristina on LinkedIn.

Hosts

Scott W. Luton

Founder, CEO, & Host

You May Also Like

Click to view other episodes in this program

Additional Links & Resources

Learn more about Veteran Voices here

Subscribe to Veteran Voices and other Supply Chain Now programs here

Learn more about Vets2Industry

Check Out Our Sponsors

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.

Connect on :

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.

Connect on :

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.

Connect on :

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.

Connect on :

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.

Connect on :

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.

Connect on :

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.

Connect on :

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.

Connect on :

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.

Connect on :

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.

Connect on :

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’.

Connect on :

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.

Connect on :

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.

Connect on :

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.

Connect on :

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.

Connect on :

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.

Connect on :

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.

Connect on :

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.

Connect on :

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.

Connect on :

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.

Connect on :

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.

Connect on :

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).

Connect on :

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.

Connect on :

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.

Connect on :

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.

Connect on :

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.

Connect on :

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.

Connect on :

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).

Connect on :

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.

Connect on :

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.

Connect on :