Veteran Voices
Episode 82

During plebe year, I would think about the tens of thousands of people that had done that before me. If they can do it, you can do it. Just do it with your team, get it done.

- Alicia Washkevich, Chief Operating Officer, New Politics

Episode Summary

Nothing demonstrates the importance of building a mission-driven cohesive team culture like spending time in the military. On a Naval ship, people from different ranks, different backgrounds, and even civilians all have to come together and learn to collaborate to achieve stated goals. They must all learn to adapt and overcome.

Alicia Washkevich led logistics with the Expeditionary Action Group One, foreign militaries, and the United Nations for anti-piracy and security operations during the Global War on Terrorism. She was awarded the Navy’s Commendation Medal for coordinating aid given to 21 released hostages, repairs to 3 pirated vessels, and the repatriation of ten Somali personnel under custody (aka “pirates”) into Mombassa, Kenya. Today, she applies many of the lessons learned while on active duty in her role as Chief Operating Officer at New Politics.

In this interview, Alicia speaks with host Mary Kate Soliva about:

• Why she had to watch Top Gun before attending the Naval Academy

• The importance of seeing each day’s challenges as tomorrow’s great stories

• How the world of non-profits became her passion, her profession, and her reason for getting out of bed every day

 

Episode Transcript

Intro/Outro (00:02):

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 talk 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.

Mary Kate Soliva (00:49):

Hello everyone. Thank you so much for joining us again today on Veteran Voices. I’m your host, Mary Kate Soliva. And for those of you who are new, I hear on Veteran Voices. I love to be able to interview veterans who are continuing to serve beyond the uniform and giving back in some way, shape, or form. Our service doesn’t end once we hang up the uniform. So really excited about today’s special guest. But just a quick programming note, veteran Voices is part of the supply chain now family, you can get our podcast wherever you get your podcast from. Uh, so feel free to tune in out. And we also have our own YouTube channel as well. And Veteran Voices is a proud partnership as well with Military Women’s Collective and the Guam Human Rights Initiative. And you can learn about both of those great organizations, a military women’s collective.

Mary Kate Soliva (01:41):

Shout out to Navy veteran and a dear friend of mine, veteran Sister Marina AK outta California at military women’s collective.org, and the Guam Human Rights Initiative. Something a Cause near Dear to My Heart where we’re defending human rights through research. And you can find more about them@guamhri.org. So without further ado, I’m really excited to introduce our guest today. She is the c o O of New Politics, but she is also a Navy veteran who served on active duty. And thank you so much for joining me today, Alicia Ovitz, thank you so much.

Alicia Washkevich (02:18):

Great job with the last name. I like to keep people on their toes and uh, excited to be here.

Mary Kate Soliva (02:24):

Thank you. I would say the same thing about me for saliva. I can’t tell you how many costs people wanna say saliva and I was like, if you don’t like her, Seba or sa me alone. So that’s how I kind of tag on. That’s how you can remember how to say my last name. So I’m glad I got it on the first time go. So Alicia, I’m super excited to have you on. Thank you so much. And I would love for folks, you know, to kick off veteran voices with a motivational quote to get us pumped up. So what do you got for us today?

Alicia Washkevich (02:53):

Oh, I thought about this motivational quote. I wish I had a motivational quote for you from like Thoreau or something. I have three, I’ll call them catchphrases that I try and live by in my life and two of them are from the Navy. So the first one is adapt and overcome. I feel like that’s my day, all day, every day. Also, I’m a mom. I’ve got two kids working all the like everything every day is like adapt and overcome. We’ll figure it out. The second one is one team, one fight, which I think a lot of that also relates to my work now at politics and also just life. Like we are all in this together. We’re all on this planet together in family. Like we’re all in this together. So I’ve got one team, one fight, and then the last one is just, you know what, at the end of the day it’ll be a great story and that’s something that I think similarly around kind of the adapt and overcome whatever life throws at you at the end of the day, it’s probably gonna be a great story.

Mary Kate Soliva (03:45):

No, and I really loved that last one. I haven’t heard anyone um, say that one is their favorite motivational quote, but I, it makes me think like when I actually hail from Guam and one of the things that I’ve also been told is being a good storyteller and the importance of storytelling. And so I really love that, that last message there because we all have a story, right? And that’s why I, I love being able to do veteran voices because I really get to dig deep into the backgrounds of everyone.

Alicia Washkevich (04:14):

Yeah.

Mary Kate Soliva (04:14):

So I mentioned about, I know you reside here in DC now, but you’re also from Jersey, right?

Alicia Washkevich (04:21):

Yeah, Jersey girl. I can fist pump with both hands. <laugh> that’s, it’s like for our listeners.

Mary Kate Soliva (04:26):

Yeah, she totally just did a fist bump right there with you. So it is great ’cause actually I have family in Jersey as well. We’re central Jersey. But I would love if you could take us back to where you grew up.

Alicia Washkevich (04:39):

So I grew up in South Jersey. It’s interesting you say central Jersey ’cause I feel like there’s only north and south and then there’s this like figment of our imagination that is central Jersey. That time I’m not from there, right. Central jersey that doesn’t exist. So I always, I used to say that I, I grew up on the Jersey side of Philadelphia, but yeah, born and raised there. I still have a bunch of cousins that are over there and then I was like the wacky cousin that joined the Navy and got out of New Jersey and ran around and saw the world. But Jersey was great. I did go to the Jersey Shore. I just took my kids there like a month ago.

Mary Kate Soliva (05:09):

Not the reality TV show. We’re talking about like.

Alicia Washkevich (05:11):

not, not the reality TV show more, more the beach and uh, playing in the wave. But no, it’s great, great to grow up there.

Mary Kate Soliva (05:19):

No, I, I love that. And I guess with, did you grow up in a small family? Do you have a pretty big family?

Alicia Washkevich (05:24):

So I have a big family in the sense of I had a lot of cousins. I am an only child. After about two weeks after I was born, my grandmother got really sick and then moved in with us and my mom had said like she kind of had two people in diapers and like two people that needed a lot of work at the same time and just never wound up having another one. So I’m an only child but my cousins are, are truly like my siblings. I mean we try and take like vacations together every year. Like we’re just a big loud New Jersey family with the extended cousins, which is really nice.

Mary Kate Soliva (05:55):

I love that so much. The big family, I don’t know. And when I think of Jersey, I also think of having the extended families. It’s kind of the same thing with mine where my grandmother grew up on the same street as her cousins and so she, they all grew up together and it’s like they had the neighborhood kids. We almost couldn’t tell one from the other. They all just like one big family. So yeah, I absolutely love that. Did you have, so I, I’m really curious about some of the, the lessons learned or anecdotes. Does anything stick out to you from that time?

Alicia Washkevich (06:25):

I think how the lessons learned and anecdotes are just that we were always there in our community and like our front door was always open. We were always involved. There were always random people at holidays and over our house and I think that’s part of how my parents raised me too, that there’s always room at the table, very privileged that we always had like there’s always more food that we could share but that we always had a warm open home that anyone was in and out, whether it is the cousins or the family or the neighbors or someone random that my mom works with. And she was just always really involved in the community. She was a teacher and she had a like side hustle as a seamstress. My dad worked at a pharmacy and it was just, my dad kind of had this quote of it’s always better to live your life owing some, like having other people owe you a favor. Not that you’re like running around collecting favors like you’re the mafiaa or something, but truly just living sort of your life of service so that like if you ever need anything in your life, you have a community there to support you because you’ve lived your life supporting a community. And I think that’s just stuck with me kind of throughout my life and yeah,

Mary Kate Soliva (07:33):

no, no. And like, well I love what you said about just having enough food to essentially, you know, here’s my plug in the saying army here, but you had enough to feed an army. Just having that, that table and having, and I remember that we’ve talked fondly, my sister and I, but just how we had our friends just go and ring the doorbell. Like nowadays you gotta give everybody notice that you’re coming over. But it’s like back then you would just show up at people’s houses, right? And it’s, or you just walk in. It’s kind of like a full house situation if you just coming on in, you help yourself to the fridge, think joints for supper. But I, I really love that. And I knew we talked just briefly before we came on the episode about the midshipman photo behind you on the wall and one of the things that I drill <laugh> is that being a well-rounded person is something that’s so important just to, to be able to take that next step. So I’d love to hear your thought process. Do you recall the moment that you’re like, I want to become a naval officer?

Alicia Washkevich (08:33):

Yeah, it’s pretty wild. So no one in my family was in the military. My grandfather worked at shipyards in Philadelphia and I was a competitive swimmer and there was like a good friend of mine that was a year older than me who was on my swim team with me, wound up going to the Naval Academy. So that’s when I first sort of even heard about it or knew what I didn’t. I really truly didn’t know what I was getting into to be honest, but I did. So she went and it seemed cool. And then there’s a program called Summer Seminar. So the summer before your senior year of high school you can spend a week at the Naval Academy. They put you in a squad, you’re like running around doing some pushups, you’re like, they show you all the cool ocean labs and the wave pools and all the things. But the big thing for me during that week is like I was in this squad for a week and at the very end of the week after they did, you know like they did some of the pushups and running and a little bit of yelling like an indoctrination. But at the end of the week I was so close with this random squad of people from all over the country that I had never met before this week. This is also back in the days before social media. Like we didn’t have phones, we were like pen pals writing letters to each other. I truly couldn’t imagine what it would be like after four years. So like yes there was kind of some of the pomp and the circumstance, but really the traditions around the comradery, it just had me hooked. I couldn’t believe how close we were after a week.

Alicia Washkevich (09:59):

And just thinking about that experience after four years, I was all in, honestly my dad were like nervous but I was like, I’m just gonna go to the Naval Academy, it’s gonna be fine.

Mary Kate Soliva (10:08):

You just try to be like, well it’s just school. But I was waiting for you to say something along the lines of like, top Gun hooked you. So I actually love that it wasn’t Top Gun. I love that it was actually the comradery of the people that you met that would like, let’s run around and do some pushups, let’s do that.

Alicia Washkevich (10:24):

No, I had to watch Top Gun before I went to the Naval Academy. Every, if there’s any Navy pilots listening right now, they’re like probably appalled. I had to watch Top Gun before I went to the Naval Academy because I had heard they’re gonna grill you on, can you name all the call signs from Top Gun? And I didn’t know them so I had to learn them before I went.

Mary Kate Soliva (10:42):

I was like, should I test you now? But no, I own a sweet, I uh love it if you love it.

Alicia Washkevich (10:48):

I love that gun, even the new one, <laugh> and.

Mary Kate Soliva (10:50):

I love that. What and just outta curiosity, since you create such a strong bong with the folks from that week, did any of them also get an appointment with.

Alicia Washkevich (10:58):

Two of them did, yeah. Two of them credit, they wound up, you know, like in different companies and like we still take in touch over those four years and I have a 20 year reunion coming up so I’ll, I’ll probably see them there as well. So it was pretty cool.

Mary Kate Soliva (11:10):

No, that’s, that’s really amazing. So your parents weren’t just their set, uh, hesitant about you going, but I would say that Jersey, Maryland, not, not terribly Florida, it’s not like you would decide to go to the Air Force Academy on the other side of the country, you know like so just I guess talk me through your plebe. I really wanna know how how did that go for you?

Alicia Washkevich (11:34):

Well that was an awakening. I mean again, you know, so my parents, I was an only child and I was a girl so they weren’t nervous but they got on board and then like truly embraced the entirety of my time at the Naval Academy and in the Navy. I mean at one point I think my dad bought the like anchors away car horn for football games. But the plebe, he went all out. He went all out, he went out. I mean Plebe was like, it was bananas. They have gun ry sergeants and you’re doing rifle pt. My gun Ry sergeant was, and I hope I could ever find him again somewhere in the world. His name was literally Gundry Sergeant Slaughter and he was the most terrifying man. But like I know deep down he was like an amazing human.

Alicia Washkevich (12:16):

But you’re doing rifle PT and it’s really hot and you don’t have AC and everybody’s just sitting and.

Mary Kate Soliva (12:21):

your name’s slaughtered.

Alicia Washkevich (12:22):

Yeah, like it’s you’re everyone’s yelling at you but you’re there. Like this is where that one team won fight comes in like you are there with the squad like you are trying to all just get through it and get through it together and I don’t know come out stronger all the cliches. But I believe it, it was truly one of the tougher things I’ve done in my life. But I would think to myself, you know like think of all of the tens of thousands of people that have done this before you, if they can do it, you can do it and just like do it with your team, do it with your spot, get it done. It was bananas. The other weird fun thing for any women listening feel like they’re what you’re doing, your pushups and it’s really hot and you’ve got your hair in your face as a female ’cause they cut your hair like at your chin and you’re not allowed to izer clips or anything.

Alicia Washkevich (13:08):

And so every time they’d pop us back up to attention, all the girls would real quick try and tuck their hair behind their ears ’cause it’s like sweaty and all over your face. And then there was some like master sergeant or some who knows that was like, that’s so unprofessional. When the girls were popping to attention and tucking their hair behind their ears. I know how we can fix this. We’re not gonna give them hair times, we’re gonna cut them all bangs. So then they line up all the girls into the barbershop who bless all the barbers who have never really cut women’s hair. And I, for those that are listening can’t see I’ve got somewhat curly hair. They like took a comb and essentially made a headband of hair, pulled it all forward in your face and then just cut it like an inch around framing your face.

Alicia Washkevich (13:51):

So you had these like inch long bangs, we all looked like lions. Like you had this like inch long sort of fluff and then this weird longer mane in the back And it was so crazy. And I think back to that time of just like, who caress whatever’s happening, it’s adorable. They have no idea what to do with women in their hair and they just cut us like inch long bangs like a headband framing your face. But at least we’re not tucking it behind our ears when we’re popping up to attention.

Mary Kate Soliva (14:18):

I can just only imagine. And what I I love about you highlighting the fact of the experience you that was unique for women female midshipmen is because the first class graduating class of women from the academy is 1980. Right?

Alicia Washkevich (14:33):

Right.

Mary Kate Soliva (14:33):

So it, it’s like it wasn’t so even still, like you’re at a, you’re there at a time where it hasn’t been that long. Still with it fairly recent. Those folks are still alive from the first class of eighties. So you know to think of, like you said, God bless them for uh, figuring out how to to cut a one inch bang. But it just goes to show about how there’s still light years behind the rest of the forest. So fast forward us to your shift selection ’cause you know I did get to see that you’re, you went surface warfare. Correct. So talk me through that process of you’re thinking there of I wanna be a sw, I wanna go swope, I wanna be a toast Black top gun again, top gun wasn’t in the cars <laugh>.

Alicia Washkevich (15:17):

No I, I actually did an aviation cruise and it was a lot of fun. But, so I studied oceanography at the Naval Academy and they did have something called the ocean option, which I was able to earn.

Mary Kate Soliva (15:28):

Nice.

Alicia Washkevich (15:28):

They picked just a few students that I, I happen to have really good grades. I worked really hard and they picked a few students that you’ve got what was called an ocean option. So that meant when you graduated you had to go unrestricted line first. So you had to go like swo pilots sub, well you gonna be on subs when I was there but like nuclear swo. But then after you earned your unrestricted line qualification, so like after you get your swo pin you could turn in your ocean option and it was an immediate lateral transfer to the restricted line. So when I was in the Navy, it’s now information dominance. Back then it was called me talk, it was meteorology and oceanography. So I had that ocean option coming outta the naval academy and I did really wanna do oceanography in the Navy.

Alicia Washkevich (16:08):

So I knew that if I went surface warfare all I had to do was get my SW pin and serve my time like through my SW pin. But then I could drop the ocean ocean and have the immediate layout, oral transfer to the meat talk community. So you ask about ship selection ’cause it’s so funny, I actually, I picked my ship and got my first choice. I was ranked pretty high in the class but then I went to grab school. So I did the i e program, which is the immediate graduate education program. Everything has an acronym. And I was at Monterey and then when I was at Monterey I injured my knee and I needed surgery. And then when you go on duty, they like cancel your orders. So the orders that I worked all four years to try and get and have my first ship selection to be outta Japan got canceled ’cause I had to go on limited duty for my knee surgery.

Alicia Washkevich (16:54):

But it all works out. It’s always gonna be a good story. Here we are. So I wound up on the u s s Oak Hill out of Little Creek Virginia and I mean truly can’t say enough about the crew that we’re there. It was a bananas time. We were one of the first ships that were deploying with the expeditionary action group for anti-human trafficking and anti-piracy. We were one of the first ships where they were like launching off the unmanned aerial vehicles that are like looking over Somalia to do the deterrence around piracy. And it was, there was a lot of really cool things that, that I still got to do and had just truly remarkable people in my unit and and on that ship.

Mary Kate Soliva (17:32):

No, I, no I love that you mentioned about how it, it all worked out because like you said to you four years and getting a chance to pick especially a cool assignment such as Japan <laugh>, um, and then for that, for you to have to take a, a career pivot and I’m always adamant to talk to their listeners about transitions, right? I think we, we talk so much about the transition from military to civilian life, but there’s transitions that we go through throughout our time in uniform and then even once we’re, we hang up our uniform for the first time, we’re still, we still go through transitions, right? I’m still a couple years post active duty and I still feel like I’m figuring it out as I go. So to know that you got to do something so cool and I just had to do a plug there where you talked about human trafficking piracy. ’cause one of the things that I’m doing right now in the, is the, the counter human trafficking stuff but looking at it from a national security perspective instead of just human rights. So the fact that the Navy was on board in the oak u s s Oak Hill was focused on that is really is pretty cool.

Alicia Washkevich (18:31):

Yeah, it was awesome. And so I did that. I actually stayed longer as a swo than I had. I got my swo pin and I continued to serve as a swo and didn’t just drop my ocean option right away because I wanted to see, I wanted to see the end of, of really that service on the ship. But then when my time was done on the Oak Hill, then I did sort of drop my papers to transfer to the me tech community and I joined a new unit that had just been established for naval hydrography. So kind of like mapping out the bottom of the ocean, um, which was called fleet survey team. And they were based out of the tennis space center in Mississippi. And that was really cool because it was one of those things where there’s all these fun jobs in the Navy that you don’t necessarily see.

Alicia Washkevich (19:12):

In addition to being a pilot like dot gun, I was riding around on jet skis with sono buoys behind me and working with dive teams or the special boat team absolutely doing really cool things all around the world, like closer to import. So I wasn’t going out on big ships, I was going on like smaller ships and jet skis. I think this geeky scientist that was still doing cool expeditionary things.

Mary Kate Soliva (19:35):

So the Navy was paying you to ride around on jet skis all day long. That’s.

Alicia Washkevich (19:40):

yeah. Pretty amazing. Or go diving in the Red Sea, like why not <LAUGH>.

Mary Kate Soliva (19:44):

or diving. Gosh, that’s really, really cool. I love this to hear your thoughts During that timeframe from the Oak Hill to you beyond jet skis, were there sort of the mentors that you had along the way? Was there anyone that you wanted to give a shout out that sort of took you under your wing at that time?

Alicia Washkevich (20:00):

Yeah, I, I mean I’d have to give a a shout out to now retired Captain Brian Conan and, and Dave Keen who was the executive officer, he’s still in the Navy right now too. Truly. So they were my commanding officer and executive officer while I was at pleat survey team. I had just come from Swo, right? Like I’d just come from surface warfare. This was a new unit that they were establishing and really like a new unit just in the Navy and a, a new like service to the Navy and to foreign NAS that we were working with. But I mean I think you know like being a SWO is is bananas and you’re deploying and you’re standing watch and this or whatever and now here you’re still deploying at fleet survey team. But like you’re coming in and out of an office, you’ve got gss, you’ve got civilians that you’re working with and civilian scientists.

Alicia Washkevich (20:47):

And it was the really first time that not everyone came from maybe exactly the same background. You’re like when you’re on a ship, like you’re all on that ship together. Mm-hmm <affirmative>, you’re all deployed together. Everybody is in the name no matter what your rank is. Like you’re all there eating the same food while you’re underway and working towards the same goals. And when I was with fleet survey team, there were like civilians that had never been in the Navy and now they’re working with the military or there’s GSS and learning how to balance some of the, like the stakeholders there ultimately really served me in my career once I got into nonprofit. Because it’s not, you’re not exactly just follow, not everyone is exactly following order. They don’t have the right exact chain of command. There’s a lot more collaboration that you have to work with and figure out.

Alicia Washkevich (21:37):

And honestly I am so grateful to my c o and XO at the time because I was a, I was always a person that was like involved and I would be the fun boss and I’d plan our holiday parties and like I just, that was naturally something that I love to do. I’d be involved, I got really upset ’cause I didn’t get to go on a survey to the Maldives Maldives, I’m sure I’m saying that wrong. I was supposed to go and I didn’t get to go because we got pegged with an IG inspection and the CO asked me to give up that survey and stay behind and lead this IG inspection, which is really important and I should have been grateful that I was the one selected to lead this inspection. But I was really bummed that I didn’t get to go on this cool survey to Paradise and I kind of let my disgruntledness bleed out of just myself and my C O N XO pull me in the office and they were like, Alicia, you’re contagious.

Alicia Washkevich (22:36):

All of us, like all of our outward sort of how we present ourselves and how we show up can be contagious and like need to get it together because you’re kind of Debbie downing the unit right now. And that was to have that direct feedback and to have them do it in such a way where they were really kind of calling me in. I really respected that and I, and I also just realized too like at that time I was still in oh three, I was still only a lieutenant. Like there was plenty of other folks that outranked me but that even just me and my position in the unit that like how you show up in a space can be contagious for others. It was a really great moment that I obviously still think about ’cause I’m chatting with you about it right now and it just makes me about every day, how am I showing up for my coworkers?

Alicia Washkevich (23:22):

How am I showing up for my family? And just really trying to kind of reconcile what you can and can’t control and really make the best of whatever situation you, because ultimately that’s gonna be contagious to all the folks around you as well.

Mary Kate Soliva (23:36):

You know? And what a great story of, of lessons learned. And one of the things that I, I really pulled from that was their ability to recognize your change in behavior. To know that you were, that someone that was like the, the bubbly one that did to just bring everybody together and really, like you said, that one team, one fight and really putting team at the forefront and then they could see that you had taken a turn that, that they even took that chance to to talk to you. I think it’s just too easy to just be like, oh maybe they’re having a bad day, but the fact that they took the time to talk to you, I think it really just speaks volumes about them.

Mary Kate Soliva (24:11):

Yeah and I and I love that you, you shouted that out because I think that’s a lesson learned that applies to our listeners. I can definitely think of lesson where I, I can relate to that story as well. So I’d love to hear about your transition now. So you had your mentors along the way, took those lessons learned. How was the transition period for you?

Alicia Washkevich (24:34):

It was a nightmare. Um, in one word summed up at some point when I was serving with fleet survey team and I did serve a little bit longer than my actual commitment back to the Amal Academy. But there was a lot of things going on in my life. My parents’ health wasn’t so great and I was kind of trying to take one too many like, oh no like mom’s in the hospital again. And then I started to, the Navy does tend to put you in like a career path and all the things, but I started to think that there was maybe some more good that I could do for the world outside of the military than inside.

Alicia Washkevich (25:10):

Mm-hmm <affirmative> coupled with my parents failing health. I decided to get outta the Navy in 2008 when the economy was crashing. Great decision Alicia. And it honestly, it was tough. It was tough for me because I didn’t know one, I didn’t even know you could work for a nonprofit as a career and get paid. I thought clearly all nonprofits are just run by volunteers but they’re not. You gonna make career and nonprofit And I didn’t have any real examples of people that transitioned out of the military that didn’t do something that was like military adjacent. Right. That wasn’t,

Mary Kate Soliva (25:47):

I could definitely, I agree with you there. You know, it’s like we automatically think let’s get in, become a co consultants and I’m like what does that even mean? Become a consultant And it’s like what do you do? Yeah, you’re right. Every contracting defense department, defense contracting.

Alicia Washkevich (25:59):

Yeah, exactly. Like everybody clearly goes to work for booze or Raytheon and I’m like, I don’t even, well one, I don’t even know what a consultant is. Can someone just tell me what that job description says? Yeah. I’m like co consult. What? I don’t know what that means. I didn’t know the difference between product management versus project management. My, the first job I got out of the Navy, I literally went with one of those like headhunters that just kind of places, Jo’s places and I was walk working for like a small executive search firm in San Francisco that was doing clean tech, green tech stuff. And I was really excited about that. I mean honestly it became though a little bit more about just like making the money and and all and I was like, this is not what I thought I got signed up for.

Alicia Washkevich (26:43):

And I didn’t know, I didn’t know what I was, I didn’t know anything my, in my tap class at one point the professor was telling the whole class that you shouldn’t put your leadership experience on your resume ’cause it’ll intimidate employers. I’m like, I don’t think that sounds right. It was just a rough transition. But during that time I was in San Francisco I learned that you could work for nonprofit and that could be your career. And to me that mission focus and that drive of a mission, that’s what was really getting me out of bed every single day And like not just reading cash register and having billable hours. So I sort of hunted down nonprofit and again because it’s, it was tough and I think it’s tough today. This is actually something I’m reasonably passionate about for folks to transition that want to continue to serve and something that maybe isn’t military adjacent, it’s tough.

Alicia Washkevich (27:36):

Like it’s tough to break into the nonprofit world or into the, you know, public service sector for something that’s not like military light. But I found the Sierra Club had a military and families program and I just truly hunted them down. I was like, I want to work for you. Please hire me. I literally was in the military, military family program. Please hire. And they finally did like I interviewed for a job or two that they didn’t hire me and then they finally did. And they still at first were like, I don’t know what to do with you. You’re in the Navy. I’m like, but this is a military program’s a beautiful program. Yeah.

Mary Kate Soliva (28:10):

You’re in the Navy so we don’t know what to do with you. Yeah, yeah. You’re so much more than that. You know what I mean? People like recruiters more, so much more than just the branch of service <laugh>. So the soft stereotypes aside, I’d love to ask you about that. Like yeah the, the lessons learned there. ’cause you just touched on some great points for those transitioning, but if, if you were to stand in front of a room of transitioning service members now, like what advice would you give them? Especially those wanting to step into the nonprofit space?

Alicia Washkevich (28:39):

I would tell them to continue to try to break into whatever the field is that you want to, whether or not it is military adjacent. And for anyone out there that’s listening, that’s t hiring. I mean I think there’s a lot more support now for like how you can write up a good resume or talk about your experiences in the military and how they can be really youthful and complimentary, especially to a nonprofit or in the public service sector or politics, which I’m sure we’re gonna talk about here soon.

Alicia Washkevich (29:11):

That you have amazing skills that are so needed in those spaces. And so just learning how to talk about those skills, like for me breaking into nonprofit, I was working with a bunch of truly brilliant compassionate folks that honestly just had a hard time moving things forward. And if you go back talked about, you mentioned the Air Force Academy. I think Oodle Loop came from Air Force or was the Marine Corps, I dunno, Oodle loop. You learn about it in the military, right? Observe, orient, decide actually loop all the way back around. We’ve been trained to see all the moving pieces make a decision and just continue to move things forward. And my opinion across the board in, in nonprofit, that’s just not a skill that’s really developed a ton. And that exists in and around nonprofit. There’s a lot of advocacy, there’s a lot of community building.

Alicia Washkevich (30:03):

But someone to truly be moving things forward and making decisions and continuing to get that mission focus accomplished is a huge skill for folks that have experience in the military to bring to the table in any type of organization or work that is service oriented. ’cause we know that there’s a, a greater mission and we can see like the different steps and we can make decisions even if we don’t have all the information right in front of us because we spent years having to do that. Like you’re out on a ship, you’re deployed, you only have so many tools at your disposal, you have to keep moving things forward. It’s a really I important skill in the public service or the nonprofit sector,

Mary Kate Soliva (30:44):

you know, and I, and I think it, it’s just such a natural alignment. Just like we think in the military, it’s a natural alignment to get into consultancy or go work for booze, we’re going become contractors. But I think there is a natural fit in alignment with the nonprofit space. And I know like during my transition when I realized I wanna get into the county human trafficking space, even if it was in a volunteer capacity, I’m a big advocate of volunteering while you’re still serving. Yes. And I, I think we take that for granted ’cause we’re like, oh gosh, any free time that we have, we’re gonna spend it with the family. And I get that, but I think there’s a lot of value in getting those extra skills that’s outside of our comfort zone. It’s outside and it’s really sparking that passion within us. And it doesn’t even have to be veteran service organizations, right? It could be animal welfare <laugh>. Yeah. Or get getting involved in something completely different than coaching little leagues, you know, and just volunteering your time but then supporting a nonprofit that helps them.

Mary Kate Soliva (31:43):

I spoke to a Marine, one of our other guests, Brian Russell, he, he helps with the youth on cycling right, on bikes. So it’s just really great to hear that your perspective and I think going back now to think of your time growing up, I think it was innately in you all along that service above self, but really rallying people together, which is you sort of need that in a nonprofit space because there’s not, the money’s not always gonna be there in some cases, right. And it’s, it can bog you down when you’re trying to really go after what you want, what the mission is for that nonprofit. Yeah. So I’d, I’d love to hear your thoughts of the nonprofit space is huge. It, it encompasses so many different initiatives and, and great acts. What got you to choose the route that you did towards new politics?

Alicia Washkevich (32:33):

Yeah, so initially when I started with the Sierra Club, I was drawn because I really believe in like I, I grew up in a house where my dad was a like n r a card carrying hunter. And my mom was a teacher’s union, you know, like sort of liberal in this conservative liberal household. And it was still a household filled with a lot of love. Um, but you know, my dad cared about the environment and ’cause you needed like clean water to go fishing and you needed places to hunt Bambi, uh, which is fine. And I always cared about the environment as well. And that’s when I first got out of the military. I was, I was super into the environment and protecting our forests at our national parks and these places to explore. I mean I found myself in my transition when it was really difficult.

Alicia Washkevich (33:19):

Like just spending time outdoors just was really like calming and good for my soul. So then it became really important for me to protect these places where I’d go backpacking and just feel kind of refreshed. And so that’s how I started with the Sierra Club and I was there for quite some time. And again, to anyone listening, I kind of skyrocketed through the Sierra Club I think. ’cause I brought these skills to the table that I learned in the military that were just not super common in the world of nonprofit. But then things were changing, like elections were happening and I felt like I saw this country really to become divided. And it made me think back, it made me think back to my time in the military where I might not even a hundred percent know which way any person in my unit landed on the political spectrum.

Alicia Washkevich (34:06):

But they, we were all great people working together that had courage and integrity and empathy. And I started to think about truly what would this country look like if more people like that were serving in office. So kind of serendipitously, I actually got a call from a recruiter about the job at the new politics and after talking to them it was like, this is everything I could ever want it to be. Because new politics up and down the ballot, whether someone’s just serving on their local school board or their city council here in DC we have volunteer roles that are the advisory neighborhood commissioner, which oftentimes they go unopposed. And those take roles. They’re not necessarily like republican, Democrat, pick a party, pick a side, they’re just roles to serve your communities. Whether you’re just helping local businesses or approving liquor licenses. I just, I mean it’s truly just a role to help your community.

Alicia Washkevich (35:01):

Just thinking about up and down the ballot, having people in those positions that are grounded in their courage and in their integrity that want to serve their communities and their country over themselves or money or a specific political party. Like how beautiful would that be? And I, I couldn’t, I couldn’t be happier here at new politics and I couldn’t be more connected to the mission. We serve folks up and down the ballot, whether they’re running for Congress or gonna sit in the Senate or they’re in a super local hyper-local position. And so we we’re truly just recruiting and developing and then helping folks get elected on both sides of the fence. Folks that care about their communities and care about their country first and foremost. And I think about like the folks in my life, I have a good friend Mike, if he’s listening, I’m gonna actually tell him to listen to this ’cause now I’m gonna call him out.

Alicia Washkevich (35:57):

Yeah, Mike, I have some feelings about some policies and things like that and I know Mike has some different feelings about them. But like, I also know that Mike is an amazing human. He is a Navy pilot and he’s a navy helicopter pilot, but he loves his country. And I would vote for him because I know that as a individual he’s driven by his integrity and he has empathy and he cares and like he’s someone I would vote for. And so whether we might be on different sides of a political spectrum, just giving these real servant leaders into office, that’s how I really think we can revitalize our democracy and just continue to bring our country together because people will do the work and work together and, and really care about their community, not their own self-interest or like money or fame or something like that.

Alicia Washkevich (36:47):

So I mean, just thinking about, I’ve got two girls growing up in this country. I love this country. I, there’s nothing else I would wanna be doing than than working with new politics right now.

Mary Kate Soliva (37:00):

And, and it’s so cool to be involved with individuals that once they, they do take the seat, it’s like you are part of that journey to where they’re making huge impacts and really making waves happen. And I’d love do you happen to, to have a story offhand of, of somebody that you all were able to, to help through that journey?

Alicia Washkevich (37:21):

Well, I mean I think there’s a million stories, but honestly the really, the story I would tell would be how we, we don’t just stop there once they get into office.

Mary Kate Soliva (37:33):

Tell me more <laugh>.

Alicia Washkevich (37:34):

I’d love to. Yeah, so I mean the, the whole theory of change for new politics is that like we’re recruiting folks one to just even run because the people that like myself, there’s so many folks out there that if you didn’t grow up in pick a popular political last name family, that’s like a dynasty. You have no idea how to even break into politics or what even options are.

Mary Kate Soliva (37:54):

very true.

Alicia Washkevich (37:55):

or coming out of the military, why would I ever think I’d be in any type of elected office who even knows how to do that? So we’re truly just recruiting people to just try and even demystify what would it even mean to run for something and just let folks know of the multitude of options out there of this way to kind of serve again this sort of like second service and how you can serve through politics. And it doesn’t have to necessarily be running for something like you can volunteer or work on a campaign. Again, coming outta the military, I didn’t realize like, oh, people have careers where they’re actually working on campaigns and maybe they’re the logistics person on the campaign. Like you don’t have to be an actual campaign strategist.

Alicia Washkevich (38:36):

You can be the finance person or the logistics person or like the person that’s helping knock on doors and talk to the community. So we’re truly recruiting people to just think within theirselves. Are they called to continue to serve and could they do that through politics? And then we give them a free advisor. So like we raise money so that we can take the money out of the equation when working with our candidates on both sides of the fence. So we are unbiased advisors that we are there with them, they can call us, text us, we work hand in hand through their campaign. And then after they get elected, like we don’t stop there. We’re not just gonna throw an endorsement up on our website. We continue to have programming and support for them as they’re hiring or building out their staff or as they’re stepping into this new place and office where now they’re learning how, like how are you negotiating and collaborating on bills or things like that.

Alicia Washkevich (39:30):

So we don’t stop there. ’cause like we really believe as we’re recruiting folks to then kind of throw their hat in the ring or just dip their toe into the political arena that like, we want to be your buddy the whole way. Like we’re, we’re there. Come win, come lose, what are the next steps for you? We’re not just trying to throw a sticker on folks to say, oh hey, we ado endorse you. You’re like a great person. Good luck and congratulations you won. We’re really trying to be your partner through the whole cycle.

Mary Kate Soliva (40:02):

No, I love that scare <laugh>. I I love that because it, it’s not something like you, you put them on the bus and say good luck, here’s but I got some tools for you and hopefully it works out for you, but you’re actually like taking that journey on the bus with them. I’m just thinking of, uh, my poor analogy there, but that’s how I’m visualizing it, is that you’re with them. And, and for our listeners who don’t know much about new politics, is it focused only on veterans? Is it focused on the, the military family as well? Who do you focus on as far as that?

Alicia Washkevich (40:33):

Great, great question. So I like to say we focus on servant leaders and like you’re like, but what’s a servant leader? Great question as well. There’s sort of like the easy, what is a servant leader? Well, it’s someone that served their community or their country before and then we’re obviously asking them to serve again. So you have military veterans, the military community, AmeriCorps Peace Corps. But then as you really think of who are other service professionals, folks that are frontline workers in their community, teachers, folks that in some way have decided they’re serving the kids in their community by being a teacher, the citizens in their community. ’cause they’re a frontline worker, a nurse, like a hello, all the nurses out there through this pandemic and just at any time, like these are the folks that are waking up every single day and maybe not making the biggest paycheck in the entire world that are driven to continue to serve in their career. And we’re asking them if they’re looking to transition or they’re looking for another opportunity to serve, to, to do it through politics. So I like to say servant leaders and that just means any folks that are really serving their communities and their countries already and we’re just asking them to serve again in this new way in politics.

Mary Kate Soliva (41:45):

No, I think that that’s fantastic. ’cause again, that just encompasses what we do here as well, is just that service above self. Somebody that’s continuing to serve and somebody that’s still serving but not in the way that we think of it. ’cause I even was thinking about law enforcement and like our firefighting community, right? So like people that are putting themselves in harm’s way because it’s about that the people that they’re helping more, like you said, than the paycheck, than the titles. It’s about innately at the core of what they’re doing for the greater good. So I absolutely love that. So I was so excited to, to bring you on Veteran Voices and I would love if there’s any sort of thoughts as we wrap up here as far as what you’d like to, to share with folks, how can people get involved? How can they help the, your mission new politics mission?

Alicia Washkevich (42:32):

For sure, you can go to our website, it’s politics.org. If you google new politics, some like cool indie band might also pop up. That’s not us.

Mary Kate Soliva (42:42):

Now I’m gonna justice up.

Alicia Washkevich (42:44):

I know I feel like one day I should find this and take all of our staff to one of their concerts or something.

Mary Kate Soliva (42:51):

Your own shirts, right? Your swag?

Alicia Washkevich (42:55):

Yeah, no, go to new politics.org obviously you can sign up. See there’s like forms that you can fill out. If you want more information, I’ll share my email, right? Like if anyone wants to email me, I’m Alicia, a l i c i a@newpolitics.org. Um, shoot me an email. I mean, we have programming, we have ways that you can volunteer. We have partner organizations that we can help connect you with. If you know someone in your life and you’re like, you know what, that person would really be amazing on a school board or like, that person would just be like, really super amazing. And it doesn’t have to be tomorrow, it doesn’t have to be next year. Like again, we are in this for the long game. So if you’re thinking to yourself like, Hey, I’m gonna be retiring from the military or transitioning outta the military five years from now, 10 years from now, we still want to get to know you because we wanna help you understand what would it look like if you chose to dip your toe into the political arena?

Alicia Washkevich (43:55):

What would you do now to start preparing for that? What conversations would you have? Who could we introduce you to? What other courses could you take to learn and understand more and do a lot of like the internal work to decide is this something you would wanna do? And if the answer winds up being yes, amazing, we’re there with you every step of the way. If the answer’s no and you know someone else that you would wanna nominate or you just wanna get involved or volunteer on campaigns or work on election day and be a poll worker, we’re there to help support all of that because we really continue to believe that this is how we revitalize our democracy. And so email me, go on our website, get involved. We’re here, we’re not going.

Mary Kate Soliva (44:37):

No, I love <laugh>. Yeah, and I, and I, I actually, I really love this because you’re bringing people to seat. They want to touch their, put their toe into the, the political arena. What, but on both sides. So, so many issues. You know, they, they’re able to push forward because we want what’s best for the American people, for our communities. So being able to reach across the aisle and work with other folks. That’s why I love, because I am just guessing that in addition to helping out that individual, you, they’re also broadening their network even within the new politics sphere of you all’s network. So it’s, they’re not just coming to you all with assigned one-on-one. It’s like now they, they’ve just created a whole network of, of, of a support system on both sides of the aisle to help them get where they wanna go. So I I really love that encouraging our listeners to reach out to you Absolutely. And to your amazing team.

Mary Kate Soliva (45:29):

If there’s, did you have any, anything else that you wanted to throw out there before I close out?

Alicia Washkevich (45:35):

No, I don’t think so. I don’t think so. I mean, I, I was like, I always gotta ask you, some people be like, Kate, Kate,

Mary Kate Soliva (45:40):

I got one more thing to say. I thought lots of words, but no, this isn’t the end, Alicia. And I’ve absolutely loved hearing about your journey and you’re always welcome hearing Veteran Voices. If anything else new or you all have some up and coming things coming on, I’d love to be able to host you again and even your team. So thank you so much for joining us today.

Alicia Washkevich (46:01):

Awesome. Thank you. This is, I feel like I could talk to you forever.

Mary Kate Soliva (46:04):

So I love this and I was like, gosh, I wanna dive deeper into the jet skiing there. No, no, let’s go back next year. And I, she’s the wrong branch or what, so I gotta, I was waiting for the Go Navy Beat Army, a Go Army beat, Navy plug there. But thank you listeners, uh, for joining us today on Veteran Voices. Whether it’s your first time or your returning, thank you so much for joining us today. Again, you can tune into Veteran Voices wherever you get your podcast, part of the supply chain, now family of broadcasting and in proud partnership with the Military Women’s Collective and the Guam Human Rights Initiative. You can learn more about Military Women’s Collective at military women’s collective.org and about the Guam Human Rights initiative@guamhri.org. And again, thank you so much Alicia and new politics for joining us today. And again, pay it forward, do good, and be the change that’s needed and we’ll see you all next time.

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Alicia Washkevich led logistics with the Expeditionary Action Group One, foreign militaries, and the United Nations for anti-piracy and security operations during the Global War on Terrorism. While acting as Naval Liaison Office for the Visit, Board, Search, and Seizure Team, she was awarded the Navy’s Commendation Medal for coordinating aid given to 21 released hostages, repairs to 3 pirated vessels, and the repatriation of ten Somali personnel under custody (aka “pirates”) into Mombassa, Kenya. Her time on active duty equipped Washkevich with critical skills such as clear and transparent communication, stress management, and the ability to quickly analyze problems, make decisions, and team collaboration. Yet, the most important lesson from her deployment is nurturing every member of the team, no matter their rank. Today, Alicia serves as New Politics’ COO where she applies many of these lessons from the field into her role, instigating a mission-driven culture that encourages diversity, equity, and inclusion. Connect with Alicia on LinkedIn.

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Mary Kate Soliva

Host, Veteran Voices

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Katherine Hintz

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Katherine Hintz, MBA is a marketing professional 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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Kim Reuter

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From humble beginnings working the import docks, representing Fortune 500 giants, Ford, Michelin Tire, and Black & Decker; to Amazon technology patent holder and Nordstrom Change Leader, Kimberly Reuter has designed, implemented, and optimized best-in-class, highly scalable global logistics and retail operations all over the world. Kimberly’s ability to set strategic vision supported by bomb-proof processes, built on decades of hands-on experience, has elevated her to legendary status. Sought after by her peers and executives for her intellectual capital and keen insights, Kimberly is a thought leader in the retail logistics industry.

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Sofia Rivas Herrera

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Demo Perez

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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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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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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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Vicki White

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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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Allison Giddens

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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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Billy Taylor

Host

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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Tandreia Bellamy

Host

Tandreia Bellamy retired as the Vice President of Industrial Engineering for UPS Supply Chain Solutions which included the Global Logistics, Global Freight Forwarding and UPS Freight business units. She was responsible for operations strategy and planning, asset management, forecasting, and technology tool development to optimize sustainable efficiency while driving world class service.

Tandreia held similar positions at the business unit level for Global Logistics and Global Freight forwarding. As the leader of the Global Logistics engineering function, she directed all industrial engineering activies related to distribution, service parts logistics (post-sales support), and mail innovations (low cost, light weight shipping partnership with the USPS). Between these roles Tandreia helped to establish the Advanced Technology Group which was formed to research and develop cutting edge solutions focused on reducing reliance on manual labor.

Tandreia began her career in 1986 as a part-time hourly manual package handling employee. She spent the great majority of her career in the small package business unit which is responsible for the pick-up, sort, transport and delivery of packages domestically. She held various positions in Industrial Engineering, Marketing, Inside and On-road operations in Central Florida before transferring to Atlanta for a position in Corporate Product Development and Corporate Industrial Engineering. Tandreia later held IE leadership roles in Nebraska, Minnesota and Chicago. In her final role in small package she was an IE VP responsible for all aspects of IE, technology support and quality for the 25 states on the western half of the country.
Tandreia is currently a Director for the University of Central Florida (UCF) Foundation Board and also serves on their Dean’s Advisory Board for the College of Engineering and Computer Science. Previously Tandreia served on the Executive Advisory Board for Virginia Tech’s IE Department and the Association for Supply Chain Management. She served on the Board of Trustees for ChildServ (a Chicago child and family services non-profit) and also served on the Texas A&M and Tuskegee Engineering Advisory Boards. In 2006 she was named Business Advisor of the Year by INROADS, in 2009 she was recognized as a Technology All-Star at the Women of Color in STEM conference and in 2019 she honored as a UCF Distinguished Aluma by the Department of Industrial Engineering and Management Systems.

Tandreia holds a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering from Stanford University and a master’s degree in Industrial Engineering and Management Systems from UCF. Her greatest accomplishment, however, is being the proud mother of two college students, Ruby (24) and Anthony (22).

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Marty Parker

Host

Marty Parker serves as both the CEO & Founder of Adæpt Advising and an award-winning Senior Lecturer (Teaching Professor) in Supply Chain and Operations Management at the University of Georgia. He has 30 years of experience as a COO, CMO, CSO (Chief Strategy Officer), VP of Operations, VP of Marketing and Process Engineer. He founded and leads UGA’s Supply Chain Advisory Board, serves as the Academic Director of UGA’s Leaders Academy, and serves on multiple company advisory boards including the Trucking Profitability Strategies Conference, Zion Solutions Group and Carlton Creative Company.

Marty enjoys helping people and companies be successful. Through UGA, Marty is passionate about his students, helping them network and find internships and jobs. He does this through several hundred one-on-one zoom meetings each year with his students and former students. Through Adæpt Advising, Marty has organized an excellent team of affiliates that he works with to help companies grow and succeed. He does this by helping c-suite executives improve their skills, develop better leaders, engage their workforce, improve processes, and develop strategic plans with detailed action steps and financial targets. Marty believes that excellence in supply chain management comes from the understanding the intersection of leadership, culture, and technology, working across all parts of the organization to meet customer needs, maximize profit and minimize costs.

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Laura Lopez

Marketing Coordinator

Laura Lopez serves as our Supply Chain Now Marketing Coordinator. She graduated from Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Occidente in Mexico with a degree in marketing. Laura loves everything digital because she sees the potential it holds for companies in the marketing industry. Her passion for creativity and thinking outside the box led her to pursue a career in marketing. With experience in fields like accounting, digital marketing, and restaurants, she clearly enjoys taking on challenges. Laura lives the best of both worlds - you'll either catch her hanging out with her friends soaking up the sun in Mexico or flying out to visit her family in California!

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Jake Barr

Host

An acknowledged industry leader, Jake Barr now serves as CEO for BlueWorld Supply Chain Consulting, providing support to a cross section of Fortune 500 companies such as Cargill, Caterpillar, Colgate, Dow/Dupont, Firmenich, 3M, Merck, Bayer/Monsanto, Newell Brands, Kimberly Clark, Nestle, PepsiCo, Pfizer, Sanofi, Estee Lauder and Coty among others. He's also devoted time to engagements in public health sector work with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. At P&G, he managed the breakthrough delivery of an E2E (End to End) Planning Transformation effort, creating control towers which now manage the daily business globally. He is recognized as the architect for P&G’s demand driven supply chain strategy – referenced as a “Consumer Driven Supply Chain” transformation. Jake began his career with P&G in Finance in Risk Analysis and then moved into Operations. He has experience in building supply network capability globally through leadership assignments in Asia, Latin America, North America and the Middle East. He currently serves as a Research Associate for MIT; a member of Supply Chain Industry Advisory Council; Member of Gartner’s Supply Chain Think Tank; Consumer Goods “League of Leaders“; and a recipient of the 2015 - 2021 Supply Chain “Pro’s to Know” Award. He has been recognized as a University of Kentucky Fellow.

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Marcia Williams

Host

Marcia Williams, Managing Partner of USM Supply Chain, has 18 years of experience in Supply Chain, with expertise in optimizing Supply Chain-Finance Planning (S&OP/ IBP) at Large Fast-Growing CPGs for greater profitability and improved cash flows. Marcia has helped mid-sized and large companies including Lindt Chocolates, Hershey, and Coty. She holds an MBA from Michigan State University and a degree in Accounting from Universidad de la Republica, Uruguay (South America). Marcia is also a Forbes Council Contributor based out of New York, and author of the book series Supply Chains with Maria in storytelling style. A recent speaker’s engagement is Marcia TEDx Talk: TEDxMSU - How Supply Chain Impacts You: A Transformational Journey.

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Luisa Garcia

Host, Logistics with Purpose

Luisa Garcia is a passionate Marketer from Lagos de Moreno based in Aguascalientes. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing from Universidad Autonoma de Aguascalientes, Mexico. She specializes in brand development at any stage, believing that a brand is more than just a name or image—it’s an unforgettable experience. Her expertise helps brands achieve their dreams and aspirations, making a lasting impact. Currently working at Vector Global Logistics in the Marketing team and as podcast coordinator of Logistics With Purpose®. Luisa believes that purpose-driven decisions will impact results that make a difference in the world.

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Astrid Aubert

Host, Logistics with Purpose

Astrid Aubert was born in Guadalajara, she is 39 years old and has had the opportunity to live in many places. She studied communication and her professional career has been in Trade Marketing for global companies such as Pepsico and Mars. She currently works as Marketing Director Mexico for Vector Global Logistics. She is responsible for internal communications and marketing strategy development for the logistics industry. She is a mother of two girls, married and lives in Monterrey. She defines herself as a creative and innovative person, and enjoys traveling and cooking a lot.

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Constantine Limberakis

Host

Constantine Limberakis is a thought leader in the area of procurement and supply management. He has over 20 years of international experience, playing strategic roles in a wide spectrum of organizations related to analyst advisory, consulting, product marketing, product development, and market research.Throughout his career, he's been passionate about engaging global business leaders and the broader analyst and technology community with strategic content, speaking engagements, podcasts, research, webinars, and industry articles.Constantine holds a BA in History from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and an MBA in Finance & Marketing / Masters in Public & International Affairs from the University of Pittsburgh.

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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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Greg White

Principal & Host

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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Tyler Ward

Director of Sales

Tyler Ward serves as Supply Chain Now's Director of Sales. Born and raised in Mid-Atlantic, Tyler is a proud graduate of Shippensburg University where he earned his degree in Communications. After college, he made his way to the beautiful state of Oregon, where he now lives with his wife and daughter.

With over a decade of experience in sales, Tyler has a proven track record of exceeding targets and leading high-performing teams. He credits his success to his ability to communicate effectively with customers and team members alike, as well as his strategic thinking and problem-solving skills.

When he's not closing deals, you can find Tyler on the links or cheering on his favorite football and basketball teams. He also enjoys spending time with his family, playing pick-up basketball, and traveling back to Ocean City, Maryland, his favorite place!

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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 a veteran of the US Army and cofounder of the Guam Human Rights Initiative. She is currently in the Doctor of Criminal Justice program at Saint Leo University. She is passionate about combating human trafficking and has spent the last decade conducting training for military personnel and the local community.

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Amanda Luton

Vice President, Production

Amanda is a production and marketing veteran and entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience across a variety of industries and organizations including Von Maur, Anthropologie, AmericasMart Atlanta, and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Amanda currently manages, produces, and develops modern digital content for Supply Chain Now and their clients. Amanda has previously served as the VP of Information Systems and Webmaster on the Board of Directors for APICS Savannah, and founded and managed her own successful digital marketing firm, Magnolia Marketing Group. When she’s not leading the Supply Chain Now production team, you can find Amanda in the kitchen, reading, listening to podcasts, or enjoying time with family.

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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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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

Director, Customer Experience

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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Mary Kate Love

Chief of Staff & Host

Mary Kate Love is currently the VP of marketing at Supply Chain Now focused on brand strategy and audience + revenue growth. Mary Kate’s career is a testament to her versatility and innovative spirit: she has experience in start-ups, venture capital, and building innovation initiatives from the ground up: she previously helped lead the build-out of the Supply Chain Innovation Center at Georgia-Pacific and before that, MxD (Manufacturing times Digital): the Department of Defense’s digital manufacturing innovation center. Mary Kate has a passion for taking complicated ideas and turning them into reality: she was one of the first team members at MxD and the first team member at the Supply Chain Innovation Center at Georgia-Pacific.

Mary Kate dedicates her extra time to education and mentorship: she was one of the founding Board Members for Women Influence Chicago and led an initiative for a city-wide job shadow day for young women across Chicago tech companies and was previously on the Board of Directors at St. Laurence High School in Chicago, Young Irish Fellowship Board and the UN Committee for Women. Mary Kate is the founder of National Supply Chain Day and enjoys co-hosting podcasts at Supply Chain Now. Mary Kate is from the south side of Chicago, a mom of two baby boys, and an avid 16-inch softball player. She holds a BS in Political Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

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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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