In this episode of Logistics with Purpose, produced in partnership with Supply Chain Now and Vector Global Logistics, hosts Monica and Kristi welcome Ashley Bohinc & Henok Berhanu with Carry 117 on the show to share more about their mission of empowering women and purchasing with purpose.
Kristi Porter (00:00:19):
Thank you so much for joining us, everyone. We’re excited to have you here on the logistics with purpose podcast series here on supply chain. Now don’t forget to hit subscribe wherever you’d like to listen to your favorite podcasts. And you’ll find us always talking to people in organizations, making a difference around the world. So if you like do gooders and Changemakers and want to see the world a better place, then please be sure to tune into the logistics with purpose podcast series on supply chain now, and we are excited to welcome some of my friends and special guests today. Um, but first before we get to them, I want to bring in my co-host for today. Monica rush, Mani, how are you today?
Monica Roesch (00:00:57):
Hi Kristi? It’s nice to say hi to you. Thanks for having me here today.
Kristi Porter (00:01:02):
Interview. Yes, this is going to be so fun. We’re excited to do this. I’m here in Atlanta monies in Mexico, Ashley and HENAAC are in Atlanta right now, but HENAAC is also visiting the U S so we have a very multinational podcast episode for each day and as always people doing good things. So I’m wanting and are really excited to welcome Ashley Bo Hans. And HENAAC uh, I hope I say this right. Berhanu um, oh, great. Yes, here all the way from, um, Ethiopia. So welcome guys. I’m so excited to have you here today.
Ashley Bohinc (00:01:38):
Oh my goodness. Thank you so much for having us. It’s so good to be here. Thank you so much.
Kristi Porter (00:01:43):
Yes, absolutely. Um, and more importantly, I love just chatting with you guys and going to events and, uh, introducing people to your products. So now we’re excited to welcome and even more global audience to, um, to carry one 17. So before we get there, you guys both have very accomplished backgrounds. Um, that led up to this co-venture between the two of you. So before we get to that, though, let’s start off with a little bit about your background. So Ashley, tell us a little bit about where you grew up in your childhood.
Ashley Bohinc (00:02:14):
Sure. Um, I grew up in the greater Cleveland Ohio area. Um, my family lived in a small town, um, that was predominantly white, like 98% white. And, um, middle-class upper-class um, and for me growing up, I mean, my family attended church regularly, um, and served regularly, but a huge part of my childhood was sports. Uh, like a lot of people and I traveled a lot for soccer and basketball. Um, growing up, that’s what I did all the time to a lot of different places, met a lot of different people. Um, yeah, so I, you know, growing up, I also played teacher the time I didn’t like play baby Barbie wedding house. I played teacher gave the neighbors homework, got mad when they didn’t do it. Like I always wanted, I wasn’t wanting to be some kind of a teacher clearly. Um, and my parents fostered that for sure. Like they bought me like a whole like old desks from a school set up a classroom for me downstairs and yeah, I would have like imaginary students. And then, you know, that turned into real students who I’m sure in their free time loved to play in school and to after they got home from school, but whatever. Um, but I think my traveling in general started through sports and that was a huge thing. I was a super competitive kid. Um, I liked to, as an Enneagram three, say
Kristi Porter (00:03:42):
Everything you’ve said speaks to your achiever. Yeah.
Ashley Bohinc (00:03:45):
I, to the core, I wanted to break records. I wanted to make the best team. I wanted to be the best on the team. Um, a lot of, a lot of my childhood revolved around me, pretty selfish in a lot of ways if I’m being honest. Um, but my parents did, and I’ll probably share this a little bit later, but my parents did an amazing job of instilling like look outside of yourself and serve other people who maybe don’t have it as great as you in certain areas of life. Um, so I attribute a lot of that to my mom and my dad, um, for sure. And I look back and I see, like I was always drawn to the underdog in situations. I was always drawn to the kid in the class who didn’t have friends and I always tried to befriend them and I was always drawn to like, if there was an issue I wanted to help make it right. I have a strong eight, even though I’m a three, um, I wanted to include people. I wanted them to feel valued. Um, and I can kind of look back at my story and see that that started at a young age.
Kristi Porter (00:04:45):
Yeah. It makes perfect sense. And knowing you now and for the last few years then, yes, that makes perfect sense. I can weather. Um, HENAAC, I’m guessing your background was a little bit different. So tell us a
Kristi Porter (00:04:57):
Little bit about it
Henok Berhanu (00:04:58):
Quite, quite different, quite different. I mean, first of all, I want to thank you guys for having me on this podcast is really an honor to be speaking to you guys and just talking about, uh, you know, what I love to do in K one 17. Uh, so thank you guys so much for having me here. So I am [inaudible], I’m the founder and CEO of K one 17. I was born and raised in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Uh, um, so my mom was a single mom. She was 16 when she had me, um, can imagine, you know, being in a, in a third world country and having a baby at 16. And what was surprising is she actually escaped in the region marriage to come from the countryside, uh, to the city. So being 16, uh, being uneducated, uh, and, and, and coming to a city where she doesn’t have anybody, uh, you know, to look up towards mentor her, uh, and having a baby at that age.
Henok Berhanu (00:05:55):
Uh, I mean, can’t imagine how difficult, uh, it would be. Uh, so I did my, um, school in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. I was, uh, I was the class clown when I was a kid. Uh, I got in trouble a lot with, uh, with, uh, with my teachers. I also got in trouble with my mom, cause I remember I used to give my lunch away, uh, to the kids that didn’t have lunch. Uh, so, you know, I’ve, I’ve always kind of wanted to, um, help or give out what I have, will share what I had, um, as a child. Uh, so that, that got me in a little bit of trouble with my mom too. Uh, but when I was 13, uh, you know, my mom needed a sacrifice to, uh, she called, I mean, she, it wasn’t in her best interest, uh, but she had to send me to South Africa because she thought I would get a, you know, a better education.
Henok Berhanu (00:06:44):
And my, and my dad lived in South Africa to see a, had to send me to South Africa, uh, when I was 13. And that’s where I did my middle school. Um, my time in South Africa, wasn’t uh, amazing, of course I got a better education there and learned English and learned English. Um, and I mean, being there, we can help me Polish my English. Uh, I mean, I didn’t know my dad that well, so, uh, it was difficult. I did not know English at all. So to just go there and be in a society that speaks English, it was really hard for me as a 13 year old. I mean, being a teenager has its own things. And imagine going to, um, a culture that you have no idea of. Um, so it was a little bit difficult for me. Um, but uh, after attending, uh, my middle school there, uh, about when I was 16, I came back to Ethiopia and, uh, finished my high school, also went to university to university and did my degree in business and economics.
Henok Berhanu (00:07:44):
Um, so, uh, as soon as I graduated, because in Ethiopia, the unemployment rate is so high and it’s so hard to get a job. I didn’t have a job for more than a year. Um, and, and the best job that I could get was a job as a translator. Um, so I took that job. Um, my family wasn’t too happy about it because I mean, you can imagine went to South Africa, did my, uh, university, and then here I am, uh, with a bachelor of business and economics, but I’m a translator. Uh, but you know, I felt like God had led me the right way because as a translator, I was translating for adoptive families. I was translating for a missionary. So I’ve, I’ve went through a process of hundreds of, uh, adoption processes. And I’ve been with, uh, hundreds of missions, uh, missionaries and mission teams. So I, we learned, um, it really helped me to where to be where I am now. Um, so yeah, that’s, uh, that’s a little bit of my background.
Kristi Porter (00:08:50):
Never apologize for your English. It is superb. Right.
Ashley Bohinc (00:08:54):
That’s what I tell him all the time. It is really, really good. Yeah. So time well-served.
Monica Roesch (00:09:01):
Yeah, it sounds really well, and I can relate a little bit with both of you in some stuff, because I love sports while growing up, but also felt like HENAAC says, like, it was very important to try to help other children. And it’s very nice that you showed what you had, even when you didn’t have that much. So that’s amazing. And so Ashley, looking back a little bit, what is the story from your early years that shaped who you are and what you do now?
Ashley Bohinc (00:09:34):
Yeah, good question. Um, as I mentioned, like my parents did an amazing job of instilling I’m one of four children. And, um, like every memory I have from my childhood usually has something to do with either sports or like a service project. My parents had us do, like, my dad was the president of our local rotary club, which means every holiday season, my dad was in charge of all the salvation army red kettles in the whole entire county. And so as a family, we would make the schedules for who was going to serve at each of the kettles. And then we would drive around and collect all the kettles as a family would sit around a table and we would count like roll all the pennies together in those roles back in the day when you had to roll them, you know? Yeah. I remember doing that.
Ashley Bohinc (00:10:18):
And I, and because he was the president of the rotary club, like our family was in charge of helping put on the whole, like pancake breakfast for the whole community where kids could come and get breakfast and take pictures with Santa. And we would dress up in like, as like gifts and be around Santos chair. And like, so like every year, these were like consistent things we always look forward to as a family, every holiday, Christmas, we were buying gifts for less fortunate people than us. And it, you know, I remember Thanksgiving, we would be buying Thanksgiving meals for people and delivering them. Like my parents were, I had like, I get chills talking about it because I don’t think I’ve ever really realized how much they instilled. Like it was always part of our family. And, um, I think that stuck with me and I think the pivotal moment for how I landed, where I, I graduated with my undergrad degree in school, health education.
Ashley Bohinc (00:11:07):
My masters is also an education, but one class, because I’m a health teacher. Um, one class that I took in my undergrad degree at Kent state university was I studied an entire semester on HIV aids because one of the units you teach as a health teacher is HIV aids. Um, and for me, I kept no explanation besides I feel like this is just God put this wiring and passion in me because I didn’t know anyone at the time, living with HIV aids. And in that classroom for that semester, we studied like all of the theories of where HIV started, where all the effects, the pandemic left, the way that, that pandemic created a global orphan crisis in the world, because it wiped out an entire generation of parents. Um, and although we talked about HIV aids in the United States, which is where I was living, we also talked about the impacts globally because that pandemic didn’t play out the same way for each culture.
Ashley Bohinc (00:12:04):
I was riveted like riveted learning about it and learning about the transmission from a pregnant mother to a child during childbirth. And how in certain cultures living with HIV aids? Well, in a lot of cultures, it was almost like you were outcast and you were looked down upon and people didn’t want to associate with you. And I was like, that’s so wrong. Like, they didn’t do anything wrong. Like, what do you mean there are kids growing up feeling like nobody wants to be near them like that. That’s not right. Like kids should be with their families. They should belong somewhere. They shouldn’t feel like they’re not worthy. And I was like, just riveted by it. And so one of the theories that we talked about, like was where it all started. And for some reason I was drawn to the pandemic in Africa. Um, primarily because of the affects, the pandemic left on the continent of Africa.
Ashley Bohinc (00:12:57):
It’s something that I’m not sure that Africa will ever fully recover from. Um, and I remember in that classroom, like God birthed something in me. Like I want to help. I don’t want to be a health teacher who just teaches about HIV aids from a textbook. I want to know people who have HIV. I want to know what it’s like growing up, having it transmitted from childbirth. I want to know what it’s like living with HIV. It’s like, I’m going to be a way better teacher that way. And so I was like, I remember when I got my first teaching job in Baltimore, Maryland, I remember going to the school board being like, okay, so I’m going to go to Ethiopia for a few weeks. I need you to give me time off. And they’re like, um, you know, that’s not really how it works as a teacher.
Ashley Bohinc (00:13:36):
Like, but listen, I mean, you tell me all the time as a teacher that I need to like create lessons where kids can experience something, because they’re going to retain that information longer. I’m like the same. Thing’s true for me as a teacher, I want, I don’t want to just teach about this. Like this isn’t just information in terms of these are real life people, and I’m going to be a better teacher. If you let me go experiences and learn from people, I don’t just want to know their disease. I want to know their name and I want to know their story. So I would say that was like a pivotal thing for me, that class, um, for kind of opening my eyes to more of the world and like bigger injustices and bigger problems in the world and just what was in just my community. And I wanted to be part of it. I had no idea what that would look like though. So that’s kind of definitely how I kind of landed where I, um, at least the beginning,
Monica Roesch (00:14:22):
Well, actually that that’s totally really touched like my heart and the way you talk about it, I can tell that you really felt it. And of course it was something that was like getting you to where you are today and with all the passion and like determined person that you look like you are, it’s great that you have not given up and said, no, I want to learn more because, I mean, I know that the U S culture is a little bit more open than others. Uh, with these type of diseases, there are others where, as you mentioned, they treat people like, yeah, they won’t even get near to them. So I believe that we all deserve the same treat because we’re persons. So, um, I’m just amazed and I want to know more about Israel. So hang out now on your side. I mean, probably it’s going to be again, totally be a brand from what Ashley told us, but, uh, can you tell us how you will be, was shaped and another of your childhood experiences? I mean, what brought you here today?
Henok Berhanu (00:15:21):
Um, yes, again, it’s, uh, it’s a little different from Ashley story. Um, you know, as I mentioned earlier, um, I grew up with a single mom. Um, so my mom had me when she was 16. And again, um, you know, she was not educated. Uh, she just arrived to the city, a 16 year old teenage mom having a baby, um, introduced to the city. Uh, she came from the furthest, uh, countryside. You can imagine how confusing it could be at that time or how hard it could be that, that time. Um, so with growing up with a single mom, uh, you know, uh, women are not the most privileged people in Ethiopia already. So imagine being a woman being a 16 year old, having a baby just coming, it’s just all the odds coming together. Um, so it was, we, we went through a hardship, um, you know, as a, as a kid.
Henok Berhanu (00:16:15):
Um, and one of the stories that, um, that I always remember, I don’t, I haven’t shared this publicly really, but, um, um, one of the stories that I would, that I really remember, and that really changed, you know, my worldview as, um, as I remember when I was seven years old, uh, like I told you, my mom didn’t have a job, so we’ve always had a trouble, uh, paying rent and being up to date without rent. So, um, this family that rented, uh, their house to us, um, we owed them, I think three or four months of rent. So, I mean, they physically live on that. So they were like, we cannot have you guys anymore. You guys have to leave. Um, so it was, uh, it wasn’t, uh, it was in what we call the rainy season. So it wasn’t rainy season that we had to leave that house.
Henok Berhanu (00:17:01):
Uh, and we didn’t have a house to go to. So we were just left the house, um, grabbed our belongings, um, which wasn’t my TVO and mattress and some closes. Um, and there was, there was a family nearby. They just saw us walking and, uh, that were gracious enough to offer their house to us. Uh, so I remember going into their house, uh, it’s a, it’s a big compound, uh, and in Ethiopia, most people have their kitchens or outside because there’s a lot of cookies going on and, uh, you know, just to keep their house clean, um, they, they put their kitchen on the outside. So they’re there. Like you can, until you find a house, you can stay in our kitchen. So the kitchen has, has a roof, but still rain would go through it. It didn’t have that nice of a wall. Um, so it was, um, it was a much fluid, so, you know, it would get wet when it was raining.
Henok Berhanu (00:17:53):
So, I mean, I remember my, my, my mom holding the mattress up to just protect us from, uh, from the ring that was coming on us. Um, and I remember as a child asking myself, why are we going through that? And I remember asking myself, I mean, those people were gracious enough to even give us the kitchen, but I, I, I saw across if they had a big house and, you know, nice house considered in that area. Uh, and I was like, why couldn’t we go in there? You know, uh, so as a seven year old, there was just a lot of things going on in my head. Uh, and I can’t imagine, uh, you know, how my mom felt at that time because, uh, I mean, she, she felt like she couldn’t provide for her child. Uh, I’m sure she felt like a failure, but that, uh, you know, that was happening, uh, to us.
Henok Berhanu (00:18:43):
Um, so I think just that story, uh, and that we changed my perspective, uh, of, of, you know, what, what a family should look like, what, how a woman should be given an opportunity, because, uh, if we go to Ethiopia statistics about five or six, there are about five or 6 million orphans, um, that existing Ethiopia, and about 75% of those orphans, uh, are single orphans, which means that they have either a mom or a dad, uh, uh, existing, which in most cases of mom is there, but she can’t provide for her child. So the child is forced to go out and provide for itself or her herself or himself, and even for the family. So, um, you know, that really changed my perspective. And I’ve always, since I was a child, uh, felt like women should be given an opportunity. Um, I have, I have the strongest mom ever.
Henok Berhanu (00:19:43):
Um, I mean, I have the strongest mom ever. Um, I mean she means the world to me and she is strong. She raised me up to, to, to where I am right now. And she had been given more opportunity. I think she would do so much more. So, I mean, that’s how K one 17 would port and, and, and that is why we are all about empowering at-risk women, whether it’s single moms or widows or a women that she’d be given an opportunity. Uh, and, you know, we’re all about empowering women and keeping families together. So, you know, that, that, I guess my childhood and my mom and, uh, all those things have shaped up, uh, you know, my worldview, uh, on how the world should operate and, and hold on it. Yeah.
Kristi Porter (00:20:30):
Yeah. Thank you so much for sharing that. That was amazing. Your mom sounds like an incredible person, so she is, um, that’s incredible. Thank you so much for sharing. So you talked a little bit about, um, let’s fast forward a little bit, and talk a little more about your professional journey. So, um, HENAAC tell us a little bit more about kind of what led up to, um, kind of the things you did before Kerry one 17 and before you and Ashley started on this crazy adventure of yours.
Henok Berhanu (00:20:59):
Um, yes. So, you know, before, uh, I, as I told you before, again, um, I, I got a job to be a chance theater. I had an organization and I was a translator for the first couple of years, and then I quickly move up, moved up to the ladder and got to be a director. Um, so, uh, and really, you know, that really helped me in my professional. Uh, and we, uh, connected me with people. Uh, it really, uh, connected me with what it means or ways, uh, on, on how I can serve my community. Uh, and that’s how, you know, K one 17 was started as soon as this organization, um, uh, you know, shut down. I started carrying one 17. Uh, it was, it was, it was a big process of starting K one 17. Ashley was there, uh, the whole way. Um, and we started with one women.
Henok Berhanu (00:21:51):
And so I, when I worked with the organization before we had 79 employees, and we, you know, when that organization has to shut down all of the 75 employees, uh, you know, uh, lost their jobs and it was all mostly single moms and widows. Uh, it was people who, uh, we, uh, we work in a small town called Quora and this huge garbage stamp, uh, there, and a lot of these women worked on that garbage dump and, uh, you know, while they were working for this organization, uh, it was just, uh, it changed their lives. And, uh, you know, they had an, a stable income, but when it closes down, it meant that they had to go back to the trash. Some of them would have to go back to the street. So, you know, as a person who cares about single moms and as a person who thinks, uh, uh, single moms should be empowered, or women in general should be empowered, it was just hard for me to walk away from. So, um, I didn’t have the means and the income to start an organization, but, uh, uh, with a lot of people’s health, I started caring one 17 with one woman, one sewing machine. Uh, we have, uh, 20 women that we are, uh, helping now, uh, we’ve came across where we’ve empowered about 45 women in general. Uh, so we’ve, we came, we came for, um, uh, within the last six years.
Kristi Porter (00:23:10):
Yeah, absolutely. And, um, Ashley, I know you talked about being a health teacher, but I know you’ve done a few things in between that, um, everyone’s 17 and are still doing a few things in between that. So tell us more about your professional journey. So,
Ashley Bohinc (00:23:27):
As I said, I, um, was a middle school, health teacher, sixth or eighth grade, all the fun stuff. Um, and my first trip to Ethiopia was when I was still a full-time teacher. Um, and I remember when I got back from my first trip, I went for two weeks and got, went with an organization where I got to see a lot of different organizations and the work they were doing some really great work, some not so great work, but one thing that I learned, number one was I couldn’t fix any of the problems. I wasn’t Jesus, I wasn’t their savior, but two that education and opportunity were such a huge way to help. Like that was the way out of poverty in a way. And, um, so I remember coming back from that first experience, and I didn’t want it to be a one-time experience.
Ashley Bohinc (00:24:12):
I’m like, I cannot, I can’t no of these injustices. And I can’t, I can’t fathom how all of this is happening on the same planet. Like in my country, I’m asking for a new cell phone and all this stuff. And then on the other side of the world, somebody is asking for my bottle of water and a pair of shoes because they can’t go to school without shoes. Like I CA I couldn’t make sense of that from my upbringing. I’m like, what I don’t want. I also don’t feel like God wants us to feel guilty about those things. And so I was going through the process of, I don’t need to feel guilty. I just need to be generous and a good steward of the resources and the connections I’ve been given. I remember going back to my classroom and showing pictures of my experience and talking about how they do school in Ethiopia and all the things I learned exactly as I told my school board I would.
Ashley Bohinc (00:24:59):
And one of the cool, this is just a side note, but I have a student who is in my class in middle school who heard me come back for my first trip and talk about it. And she’s now one of like the number two in charge in our organization on the us side. And so she stayed involved and with the whole journey, and she’s 23 years old and she was 10 or 11 at that time. And so pretty cool. Just the whole circle. I had chills talking about that anyways. So I feel like that experience was when I first felt called into full-time ministry of vocational ministry, but I didn’t actually know that would mean leaving my teaching job because I had two degrees in it. I was tenured. I like, I’m like, it’ll just be something I do on the side as a passion project.
Ashley Bohinc (00:25:39):
Well, you know, God just had other plans. So I wrestled with God for a while, ended up the middle school, pastor job opened at the church I had been volunteering at. Um, and so they kept for a year. They were trying to convince us in the same community as a teacher. And I was also a soccer coach, so same community. And I was like, no, I’m good. Like, I love my job. I’ll be the number one volunteer forever. It’s no problem. And, um, God had different plans, ended up taking a job as a middle school pastor for several years. Um, and during that time was when Carrie went 17 was birth. Um, and what I, I think I know ministry can be in any context, but one of the things I really learned going into full-time ministry, especially youth ministry, was that women are always empowered in the same way.
Ashley Bohinc (00:26:23):
Men are empowered in vocational ministry and in the church, um, which is something I’m really trying to change and help change. Um, but it was really my first time. Like I never knew I could ever work in a church because I wanted to be a teacher, but I never knew I could use those gifts in a church. And so similar to how he learns about the importance of women empowerment, I felt that way I’m like teenage Ashley should have seen a woman standing up there using her gifts because then I would’ve known it was possible. Like representation is everything. And so I would say in ministry, that’s where I really started to feel that rumbling. I just had to kind of awake into it at first. I was just like thankful to have a seat at the table. They feel to be there and then starting to notice some of the inequality that happened.
Ashley Bohinc (00:27:08):
Um, and then from there, I moved down to Atlanta, Georgia, um, to work at a church in Atlanta, uh, while I was also starting work for a company called orange, um, which is where I currently work. Full-time, um, orange is an organization that creates resources for anyone who works with the next generation curriculum. Um, for youth ministries, I specifically work the middle school department, but also resources for parents to help partner with parents because they’re the number one spiritual influence in their kid’s life. Um, and we create all kinds of resources. And I love this role because I feel like I pull from my years as a youth pastor. And I pull from my years as a teacher in creating resources to help equip and empower people, to be the primary influence on a kid’s spiritual journey. Um, and through all of those professional careers and opportunities, I’ve been able to network with a lot of people.
Ashley Bohinc (00:27:55):
That’s how I met you, Christie. Um, and I think it’s amazing because as Carrie one 17 was born, um, which is when I was still in Maryland as a youth pastor, before I moved to Atlanta, Georgia, um, we were able to have a whole network of people around us cheering, cheering, everyone on. I also served at before Carrie wins and he was born. I also served at the ministry that HENAAC used to work at, which is how I met head-on. And I was part of it being shut down and being heartbroken by it and being like, this feels like this could have been handled way differently. This is, this is not the kind of help I want to be part of like this isn’t. And so watching him kind of be like, no, I want to own it. I want to start it. Like, will you help me? And I’m like, I’m in, like for sure, I want you to own it as a national to Ethiopia, I’ll do whatever I can to help. Um, and so I I’m happy for the opportunity because I wanted that mission team experience to be more than a moment. I want it to be a movement in my life that I could be part of. Um, and it’s just cool to see like just the journey God has brought both of us on and all that we’ve learned in it.
Monica Roesch (00:29:07):
Wow. So I, this is an open question I wanted to ask you guys, like, how did you meet, but you just mention it. I don’t know if, if Hannah would, you’d like to add something to that story, because, I mean, I cannot imagine you both coming from totally different worlds and then getting to know each other. I mean, I don’t know if you got along well, uh, since the beginning or, I mean, can you tell us a little bit more about how you met before, before going alone? Absolutely. I
Henok Berhanu (00:29:41):
Mean, um, so like actually you mentioned, uh, we met on a mission trip, so I was hired as a translator. So I was a translator for the team that he brought and that’s basically how we met and, and, uh, no, it has not been an easy, um, I mean, coming from two totally different cultures and, you know, coming to from two different business backgrounds and all of that, it was just, uh, communication was hard, um, because you know, English is not my first language. I don’t know the culture. I don’t know how business is done. I don’t know how mission is has done. Um, so we decided to partner with each other, uh, you know, when Ashley said yes to, uh, be part of here one 17. Um, so this day, you know, it’s not easy, it’s not easy, but I think that’s where the best, uh, partnership, uh, you know, comes from, is as I, I am in Ethiopia and I’m an Ethiopian national, I know how best works in the open.
Henok Berhanu (00:30:37):
And I know our culture I’ve been in Ethiopian for 34 years. And so I, she trusts me on, you know, on, on my inputs and I trust her on her inputs here. Um, so I mean, we’ve, as it can be met, uh, for, you know, we have for them as seen for the same mission and vision. Uh, but we do have to, uh, you know, different backgrounds and, um, it’s, it’s not easy colliding two, uh, cultures together and trying to, uh, work for the same goal. Uh, but we make it work because, uh, we, we believe in the same mission because we believe in and empowering women and putting families together and, and we believe in sustainability. So, uh, I mean, that’s how we met. And we met in, uh, through mission trips as I was a translator was a beader, uh, for the group. And, uh, you know, it’s been 10 years since we met and K one 17 is, is doing well because two people from two countries from two different cultures have decided to come together for the same mission and vision.
Ashley Bohinc (00:31:41):
I want to add a little bit to that too. Yeah. I think it’s been such a gift to me. Um, as much as we’ve had to fight through a lot of things and communication and our viewpoint on something. I mean, we’re 10 years and over a year of like, we like done the math, it’s been over a year of time of where we physically spend time together on the same continent in the same room. Um, it’s like 17 trips later for me. And seven trips later for you. Um, I would say nothing has sharpened me more as a human and opened my eyes to the way that I see the world and the way that my upbringing has influenced. Like, we can talk about a certain situation, like as basic as, um, what you do with your bath towels when you’re sitting in a guest house and the way he sees it and the way I see it, like we can miss each other and be like, hold on. And it’s just like a cultural thing right now. Like, let’s talk about this, like in your culture, what does that mean? Okay. In culture, what does that mean? There’s just been nothing more sharpening. And I think I’ve learned a lot about like, what’s biblical versus what’s cultural and how much I, I feel like the more I learn, the more I realize, I know that I know nothing.
Ashley Bohinc (00:32:56):
And I think it’s also just opened my eyes. And I know you feel this way too. Just like to a God, who’s a God of all nations and all cultures and what that means. And one isn’t more important than another, um, regardless of what material things that you have or what upbringing you have. Um, so I it’s been so humbling. I’ve learned a lot about not just Ethiopian culture and not just about God, but about my own culture. It’s hard to know how to talk about your own culture until you have something to contrast it with. Um, so it’s been such a gift for me.
Monica Roesch (00:33:28):
It’s just wonderful. And yeah, I can totally relate whenever I, I meet someone from different cultures is like, I want to learn more, more, and it’s just like, I keep asking questions and hope they don’t get uncomfortable, but they also ask the question. So we’re okay. It’s really fun. I really like it. And it’s nurturing. So Ashley, sorry, going back again to the professional journey of Carrie, uh, one 17, um, how did you decided that the best thing was to sell accessories as a solution for carrying of orphans into empower these women and helping other families in Ethiopia, why these type of products?
Ashley Bohinc (00:34:15):
Hmm. That’s a good question. Um, so one of the main exports in Ethiopia is leather. Ethiopia is known for their leather, which a lot of people don’t know. In fact, Italy gets a lot of their leather from Ethiopia because Ethiopia has one of the largest livestock populations in the world. Um, and so when we started, we wanted to, as much of our material, we wanted it to be indigenous to Ethiopia so that we could support the economy, but also so that we had access to raw material and a quick way and sustainable way. Um, and because there’s access to so much leather, we decide, I mean, we didn’t start with leather. We started with recycled burlap because we weren’t good enough at sewing yet to start with, we would have ruined the leather at that point. So we started with recyclable, uh, like rice and coffee burlap, um, started with that line of product, which we still have roots in that line of products.
Ashley Bohinc (00:35:13):
Um, and it went really well. And then as we got better at sewing, we kind of moved into the leather area because Ethiopia was trying to promote like smaller businesses and social enterprises to do more work with leather because it’s such an important export to the country. Um, and so we, you know, as HENAAC was talking and I was talking about just the importance of empowerment and empowering at-risk women. And you also mentioned that the orphan crisis in Ethiopia, five to 6 million orphans, 75% of those are single orphans, not double orphans, single orphan, meaning one of their parents is still alive, but that parent was selfless enough to drop that child off at an orphanage so that somebody else could raise it. Which if you, if you’re a parent listening, you can imagine how difficult that decision would be. And when you hear her knock story like his mom yet, Tom is like the Mo one of the strongest women I’ve ever known.
Ashley Bohinc (00:36:07):
I love her so much. And I think to myself, what she went through to raise him as a teenager herself, and it would have been, a lot of people are in a situation like that and have to give their child up. And so we, we said we never want a woman to ever have to make the decision that I have to give my child up because I can’t provide for them. You know, you heard his story for that reason. And so we thought, what if we hire women because finding a job was hard, what if we train them? Because they’re uneducated a lot of them. So how do we teach them how to read numbers and hold a pair of scissors and measure something and cut something. Because when you’re able to produce something and you have a skill, it restores dignity to someone who feels like they have nothing to offer.
Ashley Bohinc (00:36:51):
And so what if we hire them, teach them, train them, and then make products export them around the world. Um, it’s primarily to the United States right now, but we have some partners in Europe and Australia that we’re exporting to as well. Um, and then we sell the product and the women then earn a paycheck. And it’s not a handout. It’s a hand up, it’s a job it’s dignifying. And they can care for their children through the fruits of their own labor. Um, they can send their own children to school. They can feed their own children with no problem. And so that’s why we kind of, we decided on bags, um, Kara that’s what Carrie, one of the reasons we need it. Carolyn’s, I mean, it’s products that carry things. Um, and we chose leather because it’s indigenous Ethiopia and give is known for it. So it’s easily accessible. And a lot of times animals, um, when they eat the meat, there’s a lot of leftovers skins. And so we’re using material that’s already existing, um, and trying to use it in a way that uses every piece of that material that’s not wasted. So yeah. You want to add anything to that?
Henok Berhanu (00:37:54):
Uh, yeah, I mean, uh, we’ve been, so w w like Ashley mentioned, uh, we started off with, uh, with burlap and then kind of slowly moved, moved into the leather because, you know, if you’re there, I think it has a lot to do with our weather. Uh, Ethiopia has the best leather in the world. So we wanted to always, uh, also incorporate that into the products that we’re making. Um, it hasn’t always been an easy journey, um, making products and shipping them here. Um, like we, we faced a lot of, uh, difficulties, uh, in, in all of that, um, um, finding raw materials, uh, plantings and as accessories. Uh, it was just not easy, but, um, with, with the hard work of communication and trying to brainstorm what we can do, uh, to, to, uh, avoid those problems, uh, I think we’ve done a good job at, um, being where we are right now.
Kristi Porter (00:38:51):
Absolutely. And I, since talking to you guys, when people talk about buying leather and things like that, I’m like, oh, did you know? And I tell them all the time, cause I’ve said about VOP and everybody’s totally surprised because they think it’s Italy. So
Ashley Bohinc (00:39:04):
We just, we just had a, um, one of our partners in Australia reached out and said, I brought my bag in to have like an additional, um, clip added to it because I wanted it to close differently, whatever. And she was like, the guy has his own leather shop. He’s been doing it for 25 years. And he said to me, where did you get this back? And she was like Ethiopia. And he goes, I’ve been working in leather for 25 years. I’ve never seen leather like this. He said, this leather is the kind of stuff you put in your will. It will literally last forever. And I was like, we need to write that down.
Kristi Porter (00:39:38):
Yes. Put that guy on video. That’s amazing. Um, that’s incredible. So henna, now let’s talk about some of your favorite things to talk about the names of your products, because I wanted that mentioned, and then, um, just tell some success stories. Cause you guys have some incredible success stories.
Henok Berhanu (00:39:56):
Uh, yes. I mean, we’ve, we’ve, uh, we’ve empowered 47, uh, women till this day, uh, in our existence of six years. Uh, and, and I can tell you every story is different. And every story we consider a success story, uh, all of these 47 women have amazing, amazing stories. Um, but, uh, one of the stories as, as would make her name is men high needs. Um, we called her Medi, uh, who’s currently our supervisor, um, which, uh, whom I’ve met six years ago. So, um, I remember, uh, standing in our compound, uh, she walks in, uh, she has a baby on her child. See, she sits on the corner, um, and tries to get somebody to try to try to get somebody to talk to her. Um, we, we at least get three or four people everyday, uh, coming and knocking on our doors and, and asking for a job.
Henok Berhanu (00:40:53):
So, um, you know, we, we have a waiting list that we, uh, that we put them on. Um, and I think one of the most difficult things, uh, that I have to face in our line of work is, is choosing who to hire because you get people that would come and say, I have three kids, I have two kids I can’t provide, I need a job. So just, you know, choosing who to hire is the most difficult thing, but I remember, uh, Mudhoney story. Um, so as I go to her and ask her, you know, what she needs, um, first of all, I noticed that she has a baby that’s more nourished, uh, such a little baby. And I proceed asking her, you know, how she makes a living and where she’s, uh, in life. Uh, she tells me she doesn’t have a home. She doesn’t have, um, she doesn’t have a way to provide for her child.
Henok Berhanu (00:41:41):
And currently she tells me that she goes to people’s houses and knocks on doors and ask them for a job, like for a day job, if she can clean their house pink and wash their clothes, or if she can cook or anything, uh, which isn’t really sustainable. They don’t know her. They don’t want to let her into their house. And she doesn’t, she, she can’t make a living off of that. So, um, because her story was like, it was hard for me to just walk away from her and just say, we’re going to put you on a, uh, on a list and send you away. So we hired her as a, as a team. Um, she did an amazing job as a cleaner. She was on time, she was passionate. Uh, and, and so we ha we promoted her, uh, to be, um, to, to learn how to stop, uh, because I mean, she, she walked up to me, she walked up to me and told me that, uh, I want to be, I want to be, I want to make a bag.
Henok Berhanu (00:42:39):
So she had to learn how to cut. She had to learn how to measure. She had to sit on a sewing machine for various first time and learn how to sell. And I don’t remember her making it a goal to be the best seller, uh, at, at QT one 17. So, I mean, fast-forwarding the story, uh, came from, uh, a woman that did not have any job that did not know how to cut or how to measure, or even how to like no numbers to a person that is, that is running the entire organization and the entire production room. Now, she, she actually has went just above from being, uh, a supervisor to being a trainer. So she trains people that intro K one 17. So I mean, that alone itself, not only, uh, she’s able to provide for her child and put food on the table and send them to school, but it’s, that’s dignity was towards there. And, and, and she had confidence. I mean, when we met her, she couldn’t even look us in the eyes. Um, I mean, and I mean, she, she runs a pretty tight ship.
Henok Berhanu (00:43:46):
Uh, so, um, I mean, the other goal that she made I remember was, um, was her sentence, the ups are up. So he, uh, he entered the kindergarten, uh, and at the end of the kindergarten, a lot of people, uh, would throw a party. A lot of the rich people would throw parties for the kids. And Lenny has never imagined doing that for her child. So, uh, when she, uh, was hired as a soldier, she goes like, uh, so my kid has entered kindergarten. And right now, uh, at the time of his third year, when he graduates from kindergarten, I want to throw a party for him. So she saved for three years and, and threw a party for where you have Sarah, which was an amazing accomplishment for her, um, which was really amazing. We love being part of that. So, I mean, that’s one of the success stories,
Ashley Bohinc (00:44:37):
And there’s a bag named after many, many bag. And then also her son [inaudible], we call them Yabu, there’s like a lanyard, an ID wallet. So we name our products after people, so we can share some other story, not just their history, but like their growth and their excitement. And I love that Yabu, he graduated at the top of his class. And so, and on the card, we have like little quotes from the people that bag is named after. I think he says something like my mom’s, the boss, and one day I want to be the boss.
Henok Berhanu (00:45:07):
And he loves the fact that he’s the boss. And he always brags about that.
Ashley Bohinc (00:45:12):
Oh, which is adorable, which I’m sure you see yourself in him cause he’s your age. But when you told that,
Henok Berhanu (00:45:18):
I mean, uh, you know, every woman that I see there and every child that I see here, I feel like it’s a reflection of me when I was a child. So I just, I, I love, I love that. I think that’s what really gives me energy to do care. One 17 is to just walk in and see the kids, uh, to see the, the, the woman eating together and laughing and enjoying life and, and being, you know, have that fellowship and being there for each other, uh, I think is what we, the motivates me and energizes me amazing.
Ashley Bohinc (00:45:48):
And how many women are employed right
Henok Berhanu (00:45:50):
Now, 20 women, uh, that, uh, that we employee currently. Um, but in the past six years, uh, we have empowered 47 women. Uh, and, uh, and, and them providing, I think we had, uh, 57 people in total that were impacted directly or indirectly by care.
Ashley Bohinc (00:46:08):
Like they were, well, there’s like 57 dependent on those 40 are on those 20 women right now. And I think that’s one of the things we’ve had to learn is like every woman that we come in contact with doesn’t mean that she’ll be there for the long haul. We may have her for a year. We may here for three years or six months. And during our time, we try to be as good of stewards as possible in terms of like, how can we equip them and empower them, and when they are ready for whatever’s next, whether that means starting their own business, or whether that means they don’t want to work because they want to get married and have children, or they’re going to move to a different part of the city. We’re like so supportive of that, whatever they want to do, how can we give them as many skills?
Ashley Bohinc (00:46:50):
So that take them with them. And like one of the things about Medi actually all of the women, we partner with the Ethiopian leather Institute, and they came in and did a whole training with all of our women. And now all the women have a certificate of training from the Ethiopian leather Institute. So Matt, no matter how long they stay with us, they take that with them. And like for the rest of their life, they’re going to have a skill that they can get a job, regardless if they work for us or not. We’re really in existence for women who maybe don’t want to own their own company right now, but they just want a job with a steady income that’s predictable so that they can, you know, keep their family together and prevent orphans in Ethiopia. Incredible.
Monica Roesch (00:47:30):
Thanks guys. Let’s talk a little bit about the lessons learned. Um, guys, this interview has been amazing. I just want to keep knowing more and more about you. You guys are awesome. So yeah, you have mentioned that you have some challenges with the raw material and stuff like that. Um, working at logistics, I know that there are a lot of supply chain difficulties in the way. So can you tell me a little, um, more or, well, a couple of stories about your biggest challenges, especially when sourcing shipping and how do you solve them, or how do you plan to solve them if these problems are happening right now? Oh,
Ashley Bohinc (00:48:14):
Good question, Monica. Um, all right. You want me to start? Yeah. Okay. Um, so I would say raw materials. Um, it is so challenging in general, and then you add the COVID-19 pandemic on top of it. It’s even more challenging. And then you add the, um, instability of Ethiopia’s economy on top of that, it’s even harder. Um, but specifically, like some of the challenges, the materials we use, the cotton is hand woven on a loom it’s made and everything there. The leather is made there, but things like the stuff that cleans the leather or dies the leather at the leather factory, it runs out. And so we have trouble sometimes getting a certain color leather for a period of time because the supply chain for the leather factory that we partner with, because that makes that chemical isn’t is important. Um, and so we, we have problems with that.
Ashley Bohinc (00:49:11):
The other thing is, um, Ethiopia, multiple times has run out of foreign currency. And when that happens, we can’t import nothing gets imported into the country for a period of time when that happened. Like everything that we make, um, is indigenous Ethiopia, except for the hardware for the purses. Like that’s not made, we’re unaware of a place in Ethiopia that makes the hardware that is, um, strong enough for the leather and will last as long as the material. Um, and so we depend a lot on buying the hardware from shops in Ethiopia, that they import it from wherever they import it from, um, different places. And so when the country runs out of foreign currency, there’s nothing coming into the country. And so we’re talking about hardware issues where it’s like, we can’t find the class where we can’t find the buckle and it’s like, this buckle is supposed to be half an inch wide, but now it needs to be an inch because that’s all we could find.
Ashley Bohinc (00:50:08):
And so, like the consistency of finding hardware has been so challenging and the, the lack of predictability in terms of like when it happens, um, versus when an order comes in. And so for a short period of time, um, we were shipping some hardware from the U S when we couldn’t find it in Ethiopia at the same time, trying to find, um, uh, uh, factory in China that had ethical work standards, people that we trusted, um, so that we could put in bulk order of hardware and import our own hardware, because he has an import export license, um, in Ethiopia. And so I would say right now, we’re literally like our stuff is on a ship right now. Our hardware being imported from China to Djibouti and then driven from Djibouti to Ethiopia is our very first time doing that. Um, but we’re really, really happy with the, um, factory that we have partnered with. It was a contact nature, people we trust. And, um, one of the, so I would say that is like a big thing.
Henok Berhanu (00:51:15):
That’s definitely, you know, a huge challenge. Uh, one of the things that within the past three years that we constantly have to deal with the logistics and finding wrong materials. We’ve made it a principle that I can’t go one 17 that we want to use as much as we can indigenous materials. We want to, uh, help the economy, uh, and, and make sure that it’s ethical by purchasing everything that goes into the bank, um, Ethiopia, but whenever, um, it is difficult to do that because, uh, we’re, we’re trying to, uh, get to a point where we make, you know, a quality enough, uh, uh, leather products, uh, and have to choose what kind of zipper, what kind of, uh, uh, buckles that we using. So, um, it’s, it’s even difficult, like Ashley said, so the products are sold in, in, in us. Uh, they’re made in Ethiopia, we’re trying to get, um, uh, hardware from China.
Henok Berhanu (00:52:12):
So that just, just kind of working around that, uh, we have, uh, we have a huge shipment coming from China right now, which is sitting at customs at the border and just getting that into the country, uh, where, you know, bureaucracy is a lot, it could take it’s actually, it has actually taken more than eight or nine months just to do this. And it hasn’t even, uh, arrived at, uh, at our hand yet. So, um, that is a very difficult thing. And that’s always the thing that we’re trying to work through and process. We were trying to, you know, get it from, uh, us, uh, whenever we can’t find it and meet the idea, but that, uh, you know, was expensive. So we were trying to have it come from China. So it’s just, there’s a lot of hurdles that we always constantly, uh, are having to.
Ashley Bohinc (00:53:01):
And in addition to that, I would say the shipping has been so difficult international shipping and the trade lane between Ethiopia and the U S specifically is one of the most expensive in the world. Um, and so even with a nonprofit account. Um, on this side, it doesn’t, it’s, it’s so expensive. So for people who place bulk orders or custom orders, um, the shipping is always so difficult. And so we’ve experimented with several different organizations. Like one of our first we started with FedEx because we weren’t producing enough product ahead of time, like our speed of production, um, to like send it on a boat or something like that. We just weren’t ready for that. So it started with FedEx, but one of the things that we felt tension and as the FedEx and Ethiopia and the FedEx and the U S don’t talk to each other, they’re not like a connected organization.
Ashley Bohinc (00:53:56):
And so it would be like a nightmare for us because they were like, well, we shifted. It’s not our problem. They’re like, well, we have no idea because we didn’t ship it. And the systems don’t talk to each other. And it was like trying to get the paperwork, trying to get through customs. I, I shout out to FedEx, thanks for helping us in the beginning. You taught us a lot, but sorry, we’re not doing business anymore. Um, and then we transitioned to DHL, um, another, and that was way easier because their systems talk to each other in Ethiopian U S so it was much cleaner, still too expensive for us. And so we actually just, right now, this entire pandemic Ethiopian airlines, which is the largest easy, or a large airline in Africa, and it’s above as the home of the African unions, a lot of people travel there and why the airlines have blown up there, which is great.
Ashley Bohinc (00:54:43):
Um, they closed down their cargo shipments, the entire pandemic and the pandemic quadruple the cost of shipping it with DHL. So it was really, really stressful for us. Um, there are a lot of things we just couldn’t, we couldn’t, um, deliver it on time, the time table they want it because we had to make sure it was a large enough shipment to be able to afford the shipping for it during a pandemic. Um, and so Ethiopian cargo, Ethiopian airlines, cargo has reopened. And so we’re in the process. We literally just shipped our first two shipments through Ethiopian airlines, cargo, and learning the process of getting it through customs. And do we need an agent? Can it be a person? Like, what are the fees associated with it? And it feels so far for the first two shipments we’ve been practicing with has been a significant reduction in cost that we were not able to benefit from prior.
Ashley Bohinc (00:55:36):
Um, and I’m sure we’re still kind of learning that. So if anybody has any tips for us, like, please email us. We’re trying to figure this problem out right now. We, we don’t, we don’t know the answer fully, um, but we’re trying to move forward because the other tension is, is can we drive the price of the wholesale product low enough that small boots, small, expensive boutiques have enough margin to up sell it, um, or churches who want to order something in bulk. It’s a low enough price point that they can order in bulk with their nonprofit budget, um, and trying to get people in the supply chain to understand, like we’re not going to be the cheapest option ever. And the reason we are not going to be the cheapest option is because we pay really well and fair, not just a minimum wage, but a living wage and above.
Ashley Bohinc (00:56:24):
And we have a lot of programs that are benefit packages to the women, medical savings, account savings, matching, like all these things that the women have in their, their salary and their deal. And so I’m trying to get people to understand that, like, you don’t want to pay for it upfront if you don’t pay for it upfront in the world, somebody across the road will pay for it because the lack of money they’re being paid to produce it, or the person who made the material is getting ripped off. And so getting people to understand, like, I know this is probably $3 more a bag than what you could buy on Amazon or Alibaba or whatever, like, but we can guarantee you the ethics of our organization and the people we work with them. I don’t even know Christie if I was able to tell you this yet, but we just completed a 15 month process with the world fair trade organization, and finally got our stuff accepted, which is so huge for us. We’ve always been fair trade, but now we are certified in it. Um, and so we’re in the process of kind of being able to add their logo to our stuff and that stuff, so fantastic in debt. Yeah.
Kristi Porter (00:57:35):
Um, and then, I don’t know if you quickly want to mention too, you guys were obviously just from the conversation, people can tell how resourceful you are, but you also made a very quick pandemic pivot as well. So I don’t know if you guys want to talk about a little bit of how you made the shift and what you were doing during that. Although not we’re, we’re not out of it, but, um, how you quickly made the transition and what you were up to.
Henok Berhanu (00:57:57):
Yeah. Um, I mean the spend dynamic has been difficult for us because we are, you know, we primarily, uh, depend on what we sell. Um, so, and the profits that come from selling, so we had four, uh, avenues on how we sell our products, which is boutiques a church and, uh, uh, an online products. Uh, and in Ethiopia that the other thing besides, uh, K one 17, what I do is I have like a stylist that, you know, for missionaries and for adoptive families. So those missionaries and adoptive families that come to, uh, Ethiopia would purchase products from us. So, uh, there were those four avenues where, uh, how we basically sustain every one 17. And, but because of the, uh, pandemic, nobody was traveling. So, uh, the people who came to Ethiopia, the adoptive families, or, or missionaries, um, didn’t come and we didn’t make any sales that they truly went to zero.
Henok Berhanu (00:58:55):
Um, and church, we’re not selling our products here. There were no conferences happening here. Uh, boutiques were closed down here. So, uh, we beds, it could be, um, lift of the sustained off of, uh, what we sold online. So we really have to shift, um, what we, we were doing, uh, because one of the things, uh, I come here is, is to do house parties and, and to attend conferences. And so you talk at church and do table sales, uh, because all those things were not happening. We really had to, uh, we invent the wheel, um, and, and do, uh, instead of doing a house party, we did an online party. Uh, so we did, uh, we invited people to come online and we, where I talk about K one 17, uh, and we did zoom meetings. Uh, so we, we had to reinvent the wheel, uh, during this pandemic, uh, because we have to sustain ourselves and, and another way. So yeah, we definitely had to make a lot.
Ashley Bohinc (00:59:56):
I was also gonna say, like, there was a lot of conversation during this time because business like slowed down so much, you know, there’s this constant tension in a social enterprise of like, there’s the business side of it. And then there’s the stupid side of it. And depending on what side you’re talking about, depends on like, what type of the volume is turned up on what, and during this time, the need in our community that we serve was we need masks made. And local hospitals had no protective equipment. So they were asking anyone who has a sewing organization, can you make hazmat suits for our doctors and our nurses? And so we had to have a real conversation that we need to make money, like, because we’re a self-sustaining organization, we have to sell products, but right now the product’s not moving. And what’s more important is that the women feel like they’re helping their community and their country survive a pandemic.
Ashley Bohinc (01:00:46):
Like how dignifying and empowering is that to go from feeling like you have nothing to offer, to be like, I’m making the equipment to save people’s lives. And so all, like we partner with a bunch of the organizations in the area. Like we don’t compete with people, we partner with people. And so we reached out to everyone said, how many masks do you need? How many masks do you need? We’ve made masks for all our organizations in our community, and then made masks to give out to people in the community. Um, we made hazmat suits for local, at multiple local hospitals and doctors and nurses. And although it was hard because it put us in a situation where we weren’t bringing any money yet, but we were doing good in our community and our community needed the skill that these women had to serve them. And it was, I think really like, almost like shockingly powerful to them to feel like they could make a difference in that way. And it was so cool to cheer them on in it and just know that God’s gonna take care of our organization through this. We just need to be good stewards of what we have. I just loved the chills
Kristi Porter (01:01:51):
And the suits were pretty cool looking, you can go on Instagram, see a picture of him. Um, and I know you’ve been at this a long time and, um, have gone through, as you guys just talked about some of the challenges that you’ve worked through and are still working through. So for anybody else who’s interested in starting, um, a social impact company, a social enterprise, um, either as a side gig or their main gig, just what kind of lessons learned, um, would you give them and what kind of advice would you,
Ashley Bohinc (01:02:20):
Uh, say this is kind of what you need to think about on the front end?
Henok Berhanu (01:02:24):
Um, yeah, I mean, um, I know we kind of brushed up on it before, but I think one of the important, one of the important things that I’ve learned in my past specialty in the past six years of doing K one 17, uh, is, uh, on how businesses are run. Um, so for those people who are thinking, uh, or starting an international business, um, is that I think the best, I think the best thing on, uh, on how K one 17 was successful was that because it was run by a national Ethiopia and, uh, and it is run by, uh, a national in America. So, um, one of the things that, uh, the organization that I worked before, uh, failed was because it was actually owned by an American and run by an American, but the organization existed in Ethiopia. So that person had no idea on how the culture is or how things are run.
Henok Berhanu (01:03:22):
Um, he is an amazing businessman, but didn’t know how business was run in Ethiopia. And so trying to run it on, on how you ran it on the us side, uh, could set you up for failure. And I think, uh, Y K one 17, uh, what successful is that was that because, um, you know, I, my team here trust me on how to make a decision in Ethiopia and how to run the organization and you feel the, how to run the bureaucracy that existed or hurdle through the bureaucracy that exists, um, in Ethiopia and, and my, you know, my team and Ethiopia trusts Ashley and her team here to make the decisions for us. So that partnership on, on, so when you start an international business, always incorporate, uh, and, and national that you run the business app because that is really gonna help you, uh, run the company better. Uh, and I think one of our success stories because, uh, K one 17 is run and found by a national Ethiopia because I know how to help Ethiopians. I know what the problem is if you open it is, and I know how unprincipled this Ethiopia better. Uh, and Ashley runs, uh, the us organization and she knows, uh, best on how to run the organization on the, on the state side. So, um, I think that is, we need a big thing that I have taken away from my past experiences on how to do business internationally.
Ashley Bohinc (01:04:49):
I love that you said that because there are many times, like we’re looking at a situation or a problem, and I’ll say what I think, and he’ll say to me, cause I only, I can only see a problem through the eye, the glasses of how I see the world. Like this was my experience. This is how I would solve it. I just want to think about it. So I’ll say something to him and he’ll be like, I understand what you say, but let me explain why it’s this way. And then he tells me all this backstory and he says, which is why we need to approach it this way. And I’m like, well, that makes sense. I had no idea. And so like part of tension like that we’ve had to work through is like, I had to let go of thinking I know anything about it.
Ashley Bohinc (01:05:25):
And I, he does such a good job of teaching me and I, I try to do a good job of teaching him what I know in our culture. Like, Hey, here’s who our customer is. And this is what they’re going to think. When someone asks this question, this is what they’re looking for, not this, you know, so we have lots of conversations about that. I got just to jump on that. I would also say whether it’s an international organization or a domestic organization, social enterprise, I kind of worked for, to carry one 17 internationally. Well, I guess orange is also a social impact company, um, globally, but I would say, um, one of the things I’ve learned is just the benefits of networking with people who are doing something similar to you. I, that’s why I love this podcast so much. Um, because I think it’s easy to think.
Ashley Bohinc (01:06:07):
No, we’re going to do it a certain way. And it’s like, there are so many organizations we’ve partnered with in Ethiopia where we’re like, Hey, this is the attention we’re experiencing. Have you experienced this? Like, what have you done? You’ve been around longer than us. Like, how did you solve this? Right. And so not looking at other organizations as competition, but as partnerships, which requires a lot of time and getting to know each other and like choosing who’s a partner, that’s doing ministry and outreach and good work in a way that you feel like you want to partner with them. So it doesn’t look bad on your organization as well. I wouldn’t say like, just leveraging that and leaning into resources like this podcast that can help get you miles down the road and, and not feel like you’re starting from scratch because nothing we do is new.
Ashley Bohinc (01:06:53):
Somebody doing it somewhere in the world, let’s learn and contextualize it for Ethiopia. So it’s been, I think that’s been a huge learning thing. And then just the cultural thing that we both learned like that, you know, sometimes his view of a foreigner and what he thinks that they’re being disrespectful. I’m like, that’s not disrespectful. Like we had this, I told you about the towels. Like we, this whole conversation, he’s like the people in the St Argus house, they just don’t care. Like they put their towels on the ground, they put their bath towels on the ground. They don’t know how expensive they are. And I was like, do you know why they do that? And he’s like, they don’t care. And I’m like, no, literally we’re told to do that in hotels, in the us, like, put your towels on the ground. If you’re done with them, they’re trying to help you.
Ashley Bohinc (01:07:33):
And he’s like, really? And like, yes, like, or you don’t have a bath mat, right. When you get out of the shower, they don’t want to fall. That’s why they’re putting it on the ground. So they don’t fall. And he’s like, oh, so like his view was, they’re being rude and they don’t care. And I’m like, literally they’re trying to honor you and not. And so it was just those kinds of conversations that like, let’s talk about what we think this means and what can we learn from it, so that, and, but it requires a lot of trust. I mean, we’re 10 years into this working partnership and it’s not been easy, but it’s been the most life-giving thing. So. Wow.
Monica Roesch (01:08:08):
So that’s amazing guys. Thanks a lot for all of the things that you have taught us today. Uh, it’s been a great taxable, let’s start to grab this up. How can our listeners connect with you? And of course, how can they buy your products, uh, please
Ashley Bohinc (01:08:23):
With us? Oh my goodness. All of that, you can connect with us and buy our products and carry one seventeen.com, C a R R Y one one seven.com. Um, our store is there and there’s a page that you can reach out and you can connect with us on social media too, where I’m Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook, DMS tag us. We’re here. Um, and if you need an email, you can email email@example.com and it automatically goes to both HENAAC email and mine. So yeah,
Kristi Porter (01:08:53):
Yes. And please go on there. They’re gorgeous products. And, um, they have a lot of very loyal fans for good reason, not just because this it’s, uh, thankfully it’s becoming less rare, but to have not only a good mission, but also a good product and not having to rely just on a good story, but you guys, you guys have both, I mean, it’s clear, you’re incredibly passionate about your work, but also your products are beautiful and people love them and are able to love them for a very long time. Um, thanks so much for joining us guys. I’m so excited to have you on there and expose more people to your mission and to all the amazing things that you’re doing. And, um, yeah, hopefully we’ll sell some more bags and as they said, bulk orders, wholesale orders, customized orders. They’ll make it happen, whatever you need. So please go on and talk to them and, um, look at all the things that they have to offer. So for money. And I think so much for everyone for joining us today. Um, again, please go on. And if you enjoyed this episode, we’ve got more for, um, for you from the past year. So please go on and listen to the logistics with purpose podcast series on supply chain now, and subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts. Thanks so much for being here.
Ashley Bohinc is the Director of Middle School Strategy at Orange (The reThink Group, Inc.), and USA Executive Director of Carry 117- Ethiopia. She is passionate about serving and mentoring students and empowering leaders around the world to do the same. Known for her energy, passion, and authenticity, Ashley is a motivator, teacher, strategist, leader, learner, writer, advocate, and adventurer.
Henok Berhanu is the Founder and CEO of Carry 117.
Monica Aurora Roesch Davila has a Bachelor’s degree in Management and International Business from Universidad Panamericana in Aguascalientes, Mexico. She has work experience in purchasing, logistics, and sales for automotive companies, and is currently working at Vector handling some non-profit accounts and helping them achieve their goals. She also develops new accounts and plans with them the better routes and strategies for them to have efficient and cost-effective operations.
Monica believes that everything we do matters and that we can make a difference and impact the world in a positive way with our daily actions, so she tries to do her best every day.
WEBINAR- State of the Supply Chain Report – Priorities for Building Resiliency in Your Supply Network
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.
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.
Data Analytics and Metrics Intern
Patch is a fourth-year Management Information Systems and Marketing major at the University of Georgia. He is working with Supply Chain Now in data analysis, finding insights and best practices to increase company efficiency. Patch previously worked as an intern at AnswerRocket, a data analytics company where he gained invaluable knowledge about analytics, webpage SEO and B2B marketing best practices. In his free time, he enjoys playing tennis, going to concerts, and watching movies.
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.
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.
Principal, Supply Chain Now
Host of Supply Chain Now and TECHquila Sunrise
When rapid-growth technology companies, venture capital and private equity firms are looking for advisory, they call Greg – a founder, board director, advisor and catalyst of disruptive B2B technology and supply chain. An insightful visionary, Greg guides founders, investors and leadership teams in creating breakthroughs to gain market exposure and momentum – increasing overall company esteem and valuation.
Greg is a founder himself, creating Blue Ridge Solutions, a Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader in cloud-native supply chain applications, and bringing to market Curo, a field service management solution. He has also held leadership roles with Servigistics (PTC) and E3 Corporation (JDA/Blue Yonder). As a principal and host at Supply Chain Now, Greg helps guide the company’s strategic direction, hosts industry leader discussions, community livestreams, and all in addition to executive producing and hosting his original YouTube channel and podcast, TEChquila Sunrise.
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.
Host of TEKTOK
If there’s one Supply Chain ‘Pro to Know,’ it’s Karin. She’s earned the title for three years and counting – culminating in her designation as the “2020 Supply Chain Pro to Know of the Year.” Karin is also an award-winning digital supply chain, business strategy and technology marketing executive. A sought-after speaker at industry conferences, you will find her quoted in a variety of supply chain publications – and active in forums like ASCM/APICS and CSCMP.
With more than 25 years of supply chain experience, Karin spearheaded strategy and marketing for Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader and IDC MarketScape Leader, Logility. Karin has the heart of a teacher and has helped nearly 1,000 customers transform their businesses and tell their success stories. Today, she is a sought-after advisor helping high-growth B2B technology companies with everything from defining their unique value propositions to introducing new products and capturing customer success. No matter their goals, she makes sure her clients have actionable marketing strategies that help grow global revenue, market share and profitability.
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 Cisco, Microsoft, 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 University, O’Reilly Media, LinkedIn Learning, and Pluralsight. Mr. Jackson retired from the U.S. Navy in 1994, earning specialties in Space Systems Engineering, Carrier 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.
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.
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’.
Founder & CEO, Supply Chain Now
Host of Supply Chain Now, Veteran Voices, This Week in Business History
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.
Jeff Miller is the host of Supply Chain Now’s Supply Chain is the Business. Jeff is a digital business transformation and supply chain advisor with deep expertise in Industry 4.0, ERP, PLM, SCM, IoT, AR and related technologies. Through more than 25 years of industry and consulting experience, he has worked with many of the world’s leading product and service companies to achieve their strategic business and supply chain goals, creating durable business value for organizations at the forefront of technology and business practices. Jeff is the managing director for North America at Transition Technologies PSC, a global solution integrator, and the founder and managing principal of BTV Advisors, a firm that helps companies secure business transformation value from digital supply chain technologies and their breakthrough capabilities.
Chief Marketing Officer
Amanda is a marketing veteran and entrepreneur with over 15 years of experience across a variety of industries and organizations including Von Maur, Anthropologie, AmericasMart Atlanta, and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. In 2016, Amanda founded and grew the Magnolia Marketing Group into a successful digital media firm, and now she develops modern marketing strategies, social campaigns, innovative operational processes, and implements creative content initiatives for Supply Chain Now. But that’s just the beginning of her supply chain impact. Amanda also served as the VP of Information Systems and Webmaster on the Board of Directors for APICS Savannah for several years, and is the face behind the scenes welcoming you to every Supply Chain Now livestream! She was also recently selected as one of the Top 100 Women in Supply Chain by Supply Chain Digest and IBM. When she’s not leading the Supply Chain Now marketing team, you can find Amanda with her and her husband Scott’s three kids, in the kitchen cooking, or singing second soprano in the Grayson United Methodist Church choir.
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.
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.
Allie is currently completing a degree in marketing with a certificate in entrepreneurship at the University of Georgia. She got her social media start through an internship with Shred, a personal training app, and she’s been hooked ever since. She works to optimize our following base while assisting the team with content creation, influencer outreach and other marketing endeavors. Allie can’t wait to keep growing alongside Supply Chain Now.
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.
Jada is a recent graduate of Old Dominion University, having earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Communications with a media studies concentration and marketing minor. Jada got her start producing content at 16 years old, while attending a radio and broadcasting journalism program in high school, and hasn't looked back! She is an asset to the Supply Chain Now team as a media specialist, podcast and media producer, and production coordinator. Outside of Supply Chain Now, Jada is a big Lakers fan, and also a music journalist and enthusiast.
Ben Harris is the Director of Supply Chain Ecosystem Expansion for the Metro Atlanta Chamber. Ben comes to the Metro Atlanta Chamber after serving as Senior Manager, Market Development for Manhattan Associates. There, Ben was responsible for developing Manhattan’s sales pipeline and overall Americas supply chain marketing strategy. Ben oversaw market positioning, messaging and campaign execution to build awareness and drive new pipeline growth. Prior to joining Manhattan, Ben spent four years with the Georgia Department of Economic Development’s Center of Innovation for Logistics where he played a key role in establishing the Center as a go-to industry resource for information, support, partnership building, and investment development. Additionally, he became a key SME for all logistics and supply chain-focused projects. Ben began his career at Page International, Inc. where he drove continuous improvement in complex global supply chain operations for a wide variety of businesses and Fortune 500 companies. An APICS Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP), Ben holds an Executive Master’s degree in Business Administration (EMBA) and bachelor’s degree in International Business (BBA) from the Terry College at the University of Georgia.
Host, The Freight Insider
Prior to joining TeamOne Logistics, Page Siplon served as the Executive Director of the Georgia Center of Innovation for Logistics, the State’s leading consulting resource for fueling logistics industry growth and global competitiveness. For over a decade, he directly assisted hundreds of companies to overcome challenges and capitalize on opportunities related to the movement of freight. During this time, Siplon was also appointed to concurrently serve the State of Georgia as Director of the larger Centers of Innovation Program, in which he provided executive leadership and vision for all six strategic industry-focused Centers. As a frequently requested keynote speaker, Siplon is called upon to address a range of audiences on unique aspects of technology, workforce, and logistics. This often includes topics of global and domestic logistics trends, supply chain visibility, collaboration, and strategic planning. He has also been quoted as an industry expert in publications such as Forbes, Journal of Commerce, Fortune, NPR, Wall Street Journal, Reuters, American Express, DC Velocity, Area Development Magazine, Site Selection Magazine, Inbound Logistics, Modern Material Handling, and is frequently a live special guest on SiriusXM’s Road Dog Radio Show. Siplon is an active industry participant, recognized by DC Velocity Magazine as a “2012 Logistics Rainmaker” which annually identifies the top-ten logistics professionals in the Nation; and named a “Pro to Know” by Supply & Demand Executive Magazine in 2014. Siplon was also selected by Georgia Trend Magazine as one of the “Top 100 Most Influential Georgians” for 2013, 2014, and 2015. He also serves various industry leadership roles at both the State and Federal level. Governor Nathan Deal nominated Siplon to represent Georgia on a National Supply Chain Competitiveness Advisory Committee, where he was appointed to a two-year term by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce and was then appointed to serve as its vice-chairman. At the State level, he was selected by then-Governor Sonny Perdue to serve as lead consultant on the Commission for New Georgia’s Freight and Logistics Task Force. In this effort, Siplon led a Private Sector Advisory Committee with invited executives from a range of private sector stakeholders including UPS, Coca-Cola, The Home Depot, Delta Airlines, Georgia Pacific, CSX, and Norfolk Southern. Siplon honorably served a combined 12 years in the United States Marine Corps and the United States Air Force. During this time, he led the integration of encryption techniques and deployed cryptographic devices for tactically secure voice and data platforms in critical ground-to-air communication systems. This service included support for all branches of the Department of Defense, multiple federal security agencies, and aiding NASA with multiple Space Shuttle launches. Originally from New York, Siplon received both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in electrical and computer engineering with a focus on digital signal processing from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He earned an associate’s degree in advanced electronic systems from the Air Force College and completed multiple military leadership academies in both the Marines and Air Force. Siplon currently lives in Cumming, Georgia (north of Atlanta), with his wife Jan, and two children Thomas (19) and Lily (15).
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Kristi Porter is VP of Sales and Marketing at Vector Global Logistics, a company that is changing the world through supply chain. In her role, she oversees all marketing efforts and supports the sales team in doing what they do best. In addition to this role, she is the Chief Do-Gooder at Signify, which assists nonprofits and social impact companies through copywriting and marketing strategy consulting. She has almost 20 years of professional experience, and loves every opportunity to help people do more good.
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.
Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol
Sofia Rivas Herrera is a Mexican Industrial Engineer from Tecnologico de Monterrey class 2019. Upon graduation, she earned a scholarship to study MIT’s Graduate Certificate in Logistics and Supply Chain Management and graduated as one of the Top 3 performers of her class in 2020. She also has a multicultural background due to her international academic experiences at Singapore Management University and Kühne Logistics University in Hamburg. Sofia self-identifies as a Supply Chain enthusiast & ambassador sharing her passion for the field in her daily life.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Jose Manuel Irarrazaval es parte del equipo de Vector Global Logistics Chile. José Manuel es un gerente experimentado con experiencia en finanzas corporativas, fusiones y adquisiciones, financiamiento y reestructuración, inversión directa y financiera, tanto en Chile como en el exterior. José Manuel tiene su MBA de la Universidad de Pennsylvania- The Wharton School. Conéctese con Jose Manuel en LinkedIn.
Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol
Demo Perez started his career in 1997 in the industry by chance when a relative asked him for help for two just weeks putting together an operation for FedEx Express at the Colon Free Zone, an area where he was never been but accepted the challenge. Worked in all roles possible from a truck driver to currier to a sales representative, helped the brand introduction, market share growth and recognition in the Colon Free Zone, at the end of 1999 had the chance to meet and have a chat with Fred Smith ( FedEx CEO), joined another company in 2018 who took over the FedEx operations as Operations and sales manager, in 2004 accepted the challenge from his company to leave the FedEx operations and business to take over the operation and business of DHL Express, his major competitor and rival so couldn’t say no, by changing completely its operation model in the Free Zone. In 2005 started his first entrepreneurial journey by quitting his job and joining two friends to start a Freight Forwarding company. After 8 months was recruited back by his company LSP with the General Manager role with the challenge of growing the company and make it fully capable warehousing 3PL. By 2009 joined CSCMP and WERC and started his journey of learning and growing his international network and high-level learning. In 2012 for the first time joined a local association ( the Panama Maritime Chamber) and worked in the country’s first Logistics Strategy plan, joined and lead other associations ending as president of the Panama Logistics Council in 2017. By finishing his professional mission at LSP with a company that was 8 times the size it was when accepted the role as GM with so many jobs generated and several young professionals coached, having great financial results, took the decision to move forward and start his own business from scratch by the end of 2019. with a friend and colleague co-founded IPL Group a company that started as a boutique 3PL and now is gearing up for the post-Covid era by moving to the big leagues.
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).
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Nick Roemer has had a very diverse and extensive career within design and sales over the last 15 years stretching from China, Dubai, Germany, Holland, UK, and the USA. In the last 5 years, Nick has developed a hawk's eye for sustainable tech and the human-centric marketing and sales procedures that come with it. With his far-reaching and strong network within the logistics industry, Nick has been able to open new avenues and routes to market within major industries in the USA and the UAE. Nick lives by the ethos, “Give more than you take." His professional mission is to make the logistics industry leaner, cleaner and greener.
Sales Support Intern
Alex is pursuing a Marketing degree and a Certificate in Legal Studies at the University of Georgia. As a dual citizen of both the US and UK; Alex has studied abroad at University College London and is passionate about travel and international business. Through her coursework at the Terry College of Business, Alex has gained valuable skills in digital marketing, analytics, and professional selling. She joined Supply Chain Now as a Sales Support Intern where she assists the team by prospecting and qualifying new business partners.