What defines a peacemaker? Preemptive Love CEO and Founder Jeremy Courtney has some thoughts – and he’s sharing them with co-hosts Enrique Alvarez and Kristi Porter. Hear him recount his incredible journey from a religious upbringing in Texas to a spiritual transformation in the Middle East that redefined his view of humanitarianism. In this episode, Jeremy shares his thoughts on empowering refugee communities and the role technology plays, how to bridge seemingly insurmountable political and social divides, and how you can make a difference starting now. Join to learn more about the unforgettable mission behind Preemptive Love – and stay to be inspired by the lessons Jeremy has learned along the way.
Enrique Alvarez (00:18):
Good morning and welcome once again to another episode of logistics with purpose, I’m your host Enrique Alvarez. And I’m super thrilled today because we have an amazing guest and it’s going to be very, very interesting. So before we jump into that Kristi, good morning. How are you doing today?
Kristi Porter (00:34):
I am doing well. I’m excited to be here, excited for this conversation. Um, our guest today is one that has been on my wishlist since I started co-hosting. Um, so I’m really glad that we finally get to talk to him and he’s made time in his schedule because he’s a really busy guy and on the other side of the world. So I know this is going to be a fantastic conversation for people,
Enrique Alvarez (00:55):
I think so do I? And it’s just amazing, right? Because we’re so connected right now, we, as people are worried, connected, more connected than ever, but yet at the same time, we’re a very divided, we’re living in a very divided world. Right. Which is basically something that I quoted from, uh, one of the movies, uh, from this organization. But, uh, but, uh, um, any good news, uh, Kristi one good thing that has been happening to you this week that you can share with our audience.
Kristi Porter (01:20):
Oh, on the spot. Um, one good news. Well, I mean, for us internally, I was able to send around, um, an email a few days ago about just all the things that we’ve been doing to support our communities and worldwide communities and local communities. And that was really fun. And to be able to share with our team, all the good things that they’ve been doing and why the work they do every day matters. And so, um, got some really good response to that, and those are always really exciting and fun, uh, emails to send around. And then I was able to go represent us at a 5k this past weekend with another teammate. So, uh, for a local nonprofit, so some good stuff happening for sure.
Enrique Alvarez (02:00):
Definitely. And again, um, let, let’s introduce our guests today. It’s, uh, an amazing organization. Its main goal is to, uh, eradicate wars to stop all armed conflicts around the world. So I mean, how amazing is that Very, very, uh, yes, ambitious goal. Uh, and I’m pretty sure they’re going to pull it off because they have a great team, a great organization, and hopefully we can all rally around their, uh, costs to, to make this happen.
Kristi Porter (02:29):
Yeah. So we’re thrilled to introduce Jeremy Courtney, who’s the CEO and founder of preemptive love. Welcome. We’re so excited for you to be here. I was telling, um, Enrique and everyone else listening from home since I started co-hosting this podcast within regain a few, I guess, uh, since last January, maybe, um, you were one of the guests at the top of my list to have on, so I’m thrilled that we finally get to welcome you today. So thanks so much for being here
Enrique Alvarez (02:56):
And Jeremy, before we started with a questioning, you are in Iraq right now, right?
Jeremy Courtney (02:59):
Yeah, that’s right. I’m dialing in from home here in Iraq, myself,
Kristi Porter (03:04):
To be an amazing conversation in more ways than one. And I know we’ll get to ask you a little bit more about living there, um, soon and definitely want people to hear about, uh, more about the mission of preemptive love as well. But first let’s start off learning a little bit more about you personally. So can you just tell us a little bit about your childhood, where you grew up and kind of those early years?
Jeremy Courtney (03:23):
Oh gosh. Um, people don’t ask him about that too often. I mean, probably not,
Kristi Porter (03:28):
This is the question because people have the most trouble with,
Enrique Alvarez (03:32):
And that is what I’m actually most interesting about. Right. How did you end up with
Jeremy Courtney (03:37):
Nothing too extreme or different? I don’t think, uh, grew up in, uh, I was born in California, grew up between Denver and then Texas. My family eventually, you know, really settled in Texas or back in Texas for them, which was where a lot of them grew up. Uh, so Texas has kind of been, uh, I think what our family considered home. Um, my wife, Jessica is also a Texan born and raised. I don’t really claim Texas that much. Quite honestly. I prefer to lean into my California roots, although I was only there for a short time. But you know, when I’m in Texas, when I’m speaking in Texas, you know, there’s kind of a standard line of, I wasn’t born in Texas, but I got here as fast as I could. Um,
Enrique Alvarez (04:25):
Are you a Cowboys fan is the real quick,
Jeremy Courtney (04:27):
I was a huge Cowboys fan in the nineties when, when the Cowboys were awesome and I was a high schooler, you know, and that was like, you know, one of the most important things you could do with your life was pay attention to sports. Um, I was a huge Cowboys fan, but you know, I’ve since moved on and uh, don’t pay quite as much attention to anymore. Anyway, uh, my, I come from a long line of preachers as it were. So my grandfather is, uh, is a Baptist minister and my father after him followed in his footsteps and I was, you know, in many ways probably set to be the third generation following in that line. And, uh, I kinda took a veer in a different direction, pursued marketing and, and business, uh, initially in college. And, um, yeah, that kinda, that, that gets us through college right there. And I’ll take a, I’ll take a pause there, but like I said, nothing too extraordinary.
Enrique Alvarez (05:24):
I mean, a family, uh, your grandfather, preacher, your data preacher, is there something in particular that you remember about them that, that kind of stays with you until this day? So is there something in their kind of upbringing and the example I set for you that changed the way you view things and life in general?
Jeremy Courtney (05:42):
I mean, they had a tremendous, tremendous impact on who I was and who I became, um, like, well, so I mean, I’ve inherited a lot from them. Uh, what started out, I think as a, as a very, um, a very clear vision of right and wrong in the world is definitely something that I launched into adulthood with that I, I certainly inherited from, uh, countless Sunday sermons and, and dining room table sermons. On top of that, uh, on the other hand, I think one of the things that, that has also been true on the other side of growing up in a family of, of ministers, uh, particularly the fire and brimstone style ministers, uh, that, that many of us maybe I’ve seen characterized in other places. I think I, that, that simple black and white vision of right and wrong in the world has now come to be, I think, challenged for me and colored in, in so many different ways. I, I launched out in the world and extremely, and, and this is ultimately on me, an extremely self-righteous cocksure person who was extremely clear on what was right, what was wrong, who was in, who was out. And, you know, I think my adulthood has largely been a story of differentiating myself from a lot of that and then learning to reintegrate a lot of what I grew up with only learning to now live it kind of on a higher, a higher plane or, or in a, a different, more mature way.
Kristi Porter (07:17):
So you’ve caught us up a little bit through college. So talk about kind of the years in your career, leading up to preempt a love before we get, we get to what you’re doing right now, which is really incredible. And I’m excited for people to hear more about.
Jeremy Courtney (07:30):
Yeah, I think the growing up in a family of ministers, uh, part of my story really does set the stage for everything that would come next because right as I was leaving a university, we got married and the very, uh, a couple months later it was September 11th. And in that, in that American environments in 2001 where Muslims terrorists had attacked the United States being embedded in that particular kind of a Southern Christian environment made me, uh, very susceptible to a kind of Christian nationalist rhetoric. And I was, I wouldn’t have said this at the time, but I now believe I now look at my life and make meaning out of it all, by saying it like this. I was recruited into the war on terror as a Christian missionary. Um, I wouldn’t have said it that way at the time at the time I would have, I would have seen myself as standing in stark contrast probably to maybe my soldier, friends who were recruited more obviously into the war on terror.
Jeremy Courtney (08:37):
But what I now believe is that they were armed and set out with guns and we were armed and set out with Bibles. And on the other side of the ocean, we had the same mission, which was essentially to eliminate Muslims from the world and to make them into something that looked a lot more, what we were, what we understood ourselves to be Christian, American, democratic, whatever kind of flavor of that. Each one of us, uh, emphasized more. I think we had a very similar mission. I think we wanted to get rid of the Muslims. And, um, it took me a while. It took me a couple of years living among Muslims, trying to make them see the world my way, trying to get them to become Christians or make them Christians like me, that I ultimately had a huge falling out with that way of being in the world that way of living in the world.
Jeremy Courtney (09:29):
And, um, I had a, I had a profound life change, a profound change of mind change of worldview. And I just, I woke up in a, in a, a kind of, apifany honestly a spiritual awakening that just hit me in a moment. And I was the completely transformed person left all that behind, moved into Iraq, uh, to turn over a new leaf, uh, move into a war environment, the humanitarian environment and try something new, try not to live differently among Muslims in a way that was more service-oriented and brotherly and neighborly and less about power. And, um, trying to make people be like me.
Enrique Alvarez (10:10):
Was there something in particular like any, uh, maybe an example or something you can remember that kind of like bridges the gap between, uh, you getting married and graduating from marketing and business to, Hey, I’m going to go live in Iraq. I think that there’s a lot of pieces in between that I believe you kind of described already from like a mental and spiritual awakening, but, uh, but it, was there something in particular or some people that kind of help you go through that or some fundamental questions that you had about the way you were living back in the day in Texas or in the United States in general?
Jeremy Courtney (10:44):
There’s a lot. Um, I mean, it’s, it’s impossible really to talk about the humanitarian work that we’ve ended up doing and the people that we’ve ended up being and the peacemaking community that we’ve ended up forging and being a part of, I can’t talk about that stage of our life, where we are now without passing through those, those war on terror and kind of missionary waters. They were, they were in many ways the, the, the forging ground for who we were and who we would become that kind of missionary work. Um, even though it was full of bigotry, even though I was full of bigotry, I was full of, uh, suspicion, perhaps even contempt. Yeah, I think contempt for my Muslim friends and neighbors. And, and yet I would still describe it as the absolute highest form of love that I knew and that I could give at that stage of my life.
Jeremy Courtney (11:43):
I, I was steeped in a worldview. I was steeped in a religion that called me to love and the ceiling on that love as I was at. And as I knew it at that time was to help people be like me, to help people see what I saw to help people embrace the religion and the beliefs as I did. And so in that way, it was, it was love and it was the highest form of love that I could possibly be or give or live. The thing that I find beautiful and remarkable now, as I look back on it, is that in some ways we were able like a, like a chick cracking out of its egg shell. We were able to kind of emerge out of that embedded world and emerge into a new world and be born again into something that was bigger, something that on which the ceiling of that next stage of life was higher.
Jeremy Courtney (12:42):
And I that’s the most beautiful way to live. And the most beautiful way to understand living I believe is as a constant being reborn, a constant emerging into a life where the ceiling on love just gets higher and higher and higher. And so I, I don’t look back at those years and all those who nurtured me and mentored me and brought me along. I don’t look to get back at them now with contempt. I think those were the highest stages of love that a young person, such as me could live at that time, given, given how I grew up in who I was, and I hope now I’m, I’m living the most full life of love that I can for who I am now. But I also expect that when I look back on this stage in my life, 10, 20, 40 years from now, I will also have emerged from this time where I am and who I am now into something with a higher capacity for love than I’ve even known yet.
Enrique Alvarez (13:43):
It’s a very, very powerful sentiment. And I completely agree what you’re saying. And I think you’re right. You’re just evolving, growing, becoming more aware of the world around you and just trying to be a better person that was back in 2011. When did you, uh, move to, um,
Jeremy Courtney (13:58):
Yeah, so that was 2001 to 2000, well, 2001 to a six. I would kind of describe as our, our, like, uh, those war on terror years, we moved in, I started going to Iraq coming here to Iraq in 2006, and we fully moved our family here in 2007. The very first week of 2007, those years were the height of civil war in Iraq, the height of sectarian conflict. Um, it was from a, from a national perspective. It was the scariest and the worst time to move in to the country. We didn’t move into the scariest place in the country, uh, by a long shot. But, um, you know, but we had our challenges here to be sure from, uh, learning how to live without electricity drive by shootings, suicide, bombings, things like that all within our first, uh, you know, a couple of months. Um, but eventually, you know, you get the lay of the land.
Jeremy Courtney (14:54):
You, you learn how to adapt and you, you just, it becomes part of your, your normal life. And within just the first couple of months of living here, uh, the, the short story is I was working in a hotel cafe and met this family whose child needed a life-saving surgery. And as I began to explore relationship with this family and their network, to see what we could do to provide them with a life saving surgery for their child, a life-saving heart surgery, um, kids just started coming out of the woodwork. They, they told other people that there were some Americans who are now helping kids like theirs and other people started coming along and people started calling my cell phone blindly and showing up at our house and taxis in the city would divert people from going to the hospital. And no, let me not take you to the hospital.
Jeremy Courtney (15:45):
Let me if your child has a heart problem. Let me take you over here to my, you know, my friend, Jeremy, Jeremy. So we just started becoming this kind of outpost of last resort for these Iraqi families whose children were, were languishing with life-threatening birth defects. Uh, the U S had bombed hospitals. Al-Qaeda was killing doctors and nurses, Iraq had experienced a huge brain drain from people just trying to get out and leave the war similar to what we’re seeing in Afghanistan right now. And, um, we played a critical role in that ecosystem of helping save the lives of hundreds and then thousands of kids’ lives. And, and then that we were kind of off to the races as, as a newly forged community of peacemakers called preemptive love.
Enrique Alvarez (16:35):
So when did you officially, uh, form or incorporated, or the right word for preemptive love and what’s it done in the U S and then you brought it to Iraq or something you started in Iraq. Tell us more about, a little bit of, uh, the actual history of now preemptive love and your role as the founder and the CEO.
Jeremy Courtney (16:51):
Yeah, we started in Iraq actually. Um, you know, probably more as a, as a what you might call an initiative or a response to, to a very specific child, a very specific family whose daughter needed a life-saving heart surgery. And, um, I had already been working in the international charity humanitarian space a little bit over those first couple of months. And it was enough to make me disillusioned, like, just those first couple of months in Iraq working as a humanitarian, uh, I was disillusioned with funding with red tape, with bureaucracy, with how slow things were. But I think above all, I was, I was disappointed with how lacking the space was in creativity and entrepreneurial-ism, and thinking outside the box, it felt very cookie cutter. And, you know, I wouldn’t now knowing what I know, I wouldn’t necessarily trust my early read on things cause I’ve seen a lot of people now come through our ranks and, and come to snap conclusions about what they, but whatever it was, I had these snap judgments as a young, you know, upstart entrepreneurial kind of person living in this environment that we were in.
Jeremy Courtney (18:06):
And so we wanted to do things differently. We didn’t want to, we didn’t want to fund this little girl’s heart surgery by, by some of the means that we saw other people doing it. So we partnered with business. Instead, we found a business related solution. We found, uh, some exports, namely, uh, what we’ve thought was a very cool, unique fashionable pair of locally handmade shoes and given the broader cultural environments that was going on in the United States right now, again, this was the height of sectarian conflict. Us trips were surging in, um, at, at an increased rate, which the American population was growing. Very, very fed up with that. We were surging more and more and more troops into the country where this thing was already such a debacle and things were going off the rails. And, uh, we were seeing a lot of Americans die, which was playing out on the news every night.
Jeremy Courtney (19:02):
And so people were very, very frustrated with all things rock and it had become an incredibly politically sensitive, uh, issue. Muslims were seen in a very, very negative light Arabs were seen Iraqis in general, were seen in a narrative, a negative light. And we thought that holding up a, a child who needed a life-saving heart surgery, number one, and an Iraqi made locally made product number two, that you could Marvel at in its intricacy and its quality and its style, a style that we thought was appropriate for American cultural environment. It wasn’t like kitsch. It wasn’t a chotsky. It was something that like as a pair of shoes, you could wear out on the street and completely stand out from the crowd while still being in fashion. And so we called this, this initiative or whatever you want to call it, buy shoes, save lives.
Jeremy Courtney (19:59):
It was, it was more of a slogan to get this one project off the ground than anything. And, uh, you know, compared to our expectations, it took off, I think it hit it just right time. It was, it was positive news about real people that humanized our enemies, that humanize the people that we were fighting to kill the humanize, the people that were thought to be killing our brothers and sisters and cousins and stuns and daughters. And I think it just hit at the right cultural moment. We got press coverage and we got word of mouth coverage and you know, what was kind of early days of e-commerce on the internet. And, um, yeah, one thing led to another, we funded a lot of heart surgeries. We started bringing in doctors and nurses and medical teams across the world to actually build up Iraqi infrastructure.
Jeremy Courtney (20:46):
We pivoted from strictly using the sale of merge and wares to actually partnering with the Iraqi government themselves. So they were paying us out of oil revenue to, to build up their own infrastructure. And oil was really high at that time. So we were, we were working all over the country doing millions of dollars in government contracts, building up their infrastructure, training, doctors, nurses, and then ISIS really grew on the scene. I mean, they had been around for a while, but I say this as we would all come to know them, um, killed the Fallujah mayor when we were headed into Fallujah to do a heart surgery mission. And, um, Fallujah basically stayed under ISIS control for, for the next couple of years, until we would be the very first people to go back into Fallujah again, post ISIS, uh, to deliver the very first humanitarian aid in the world in Fallujah after those years of ISIS rule. So in those years, we really pivoted all of our work to, to economic development and emergency humanitarian relief for people on the front lines of war.
Kristi Porter (21:56):
Incredible. Um, so it all started with one girl in one surgery and certainly has grown from there. Would you, um, just tell you’ve alluded to a little bit, uh, of these things, but again, just continue to hone in on the need for your mission versus what we traditionally known as humanitarian aid now, and kind of how you guys are doing things differently, as well as give us a couple more of those success stories. So we can understand some of these really big concepts that you’re talking about and what they look like in practice.
Jeremy Courtney (22:26):
Yeah. I mean, these are some broad brush statements I’ll make, but I think they, they hold up under quite a bit of scrutiny. I think that the humanitarian industry in general, the sector as a whole has tended to look at what you might call relief or aid development and peacemaking as three stages, successive stages in the life of a country, especially a country going through conflict. So, uh, I mean, let’s just stick with the Iraq. You go to war, you have an insurgency, you end up going door to door and bombing entire cities to put down that insurgency. So now you leave entire cities in, in shambles in a lot of ways, buildings destroyed homes, destroyed infrastructure destroyed, and there’s an armed insurgency. So people are being driven out of their homes by the thousands, maybe the millions in the case of Iraq or Syria.
Jeremy Courtney (23:23):
And they can’t go back home very easily because either they’re still fighting or, and the infrastructure itself home itself may have been destroyed. So what, what often happens in that phase, in that phase or that thinking is the sector typically focuses on how can we get people, what they need emergently today, food, water, shelter, and similar type things that we all want and need to just kind of be minimally comfortable to survive. And no, one’s really thinking about economic development at that time because making economic investments when bombs are still falling is said to be or thought to be, uh, you know, kind of a risky, a risky investment, um, investing in people who are transient, people who are on the move often internally displaced people or refugees, they might get displaced 1, 2, 3, 4 times in the course of their, their journey. So investing in a business is often thought to be a bad investment because maybe they’re just going to pack up and move and leave.
Jeremy Courtney (24:26):
Again. The thinking is starting to shift a little bit, but we’ve been, I think, early on and in the front edge of trying to shift and change the narrative on this, that when we invest cash and capital and resources into people who are transient, who are vulnerable, when we help them start businesses, even out of their tent or, or income streams, even on the run, we can actually change the whole dynamic, maybe shorten timelines on how long it takes to rebuild on how long it takes for people to get back home. It’s not just the big players that rebuild cities, families themselves want to go home and rebuild their own house, rebuild their old store, help rebuild their neighbor’s house, help rebuild their neighbors store. So if we invest capital and resources into real humans and not just go through government means or big sector mechanisms, we are seeing communities come back to life sooner, sooner than, you know, maybe sector trends have, have kind of stipulated or projected otherwise.
Jeremy Courtney (25:30):
So rather than see these as, as successive phases, first emergency, then rebuilding a business. And then the third one that really gets kicked down the road is what you might call peace building or peacemaking or reconciliation or truth and reconciliation. We try to pull that way to the front as well. How you show up on day one, determines the peace or it determines the, the, the ongoing of the conflict. When, when conflicts are sectarian, when they’re religious, when they’re tribal, um, when their ethnic, who shows up to help the vanquish, uh, it, it determines how that side feels about the very help that they’re being provided. So let’s say group, group a is the vanquish, the defeated, the brutalized and group B represents the oppressor and they represent the helper. Well, if you’re the helper and the oppressor, that’s not necessarily building peace, unless you also include some of the vanquished, some of the victimized, some of the oppressed among, and you show, we are here together.
Jeremy Courtney (26:38):
We are already at peace as group a and group B. We are coming here together as group a and group B to serve you. We are demonstrating by showing up together that we are already at peace. We’re not here to Lord it over you. We’re not here to gloat. We’re not here to actually use aid to keep you down. We’re here to lift you up and to partner with you together so that we can continue our peace together into the future and kind of reject this meta narrative that your group and our group are fundamentally against one another. How you recruit, how you build your team, how you show up, whether you’re really friends and you can really hug and kiss and love each other, or whether it’s all just a show that, that, that says a lot when you show up in a military checkpoint or when things get tense, or when you have to show up to a representative from one group or another.
Jeremy Courtney (27:28):
So, so we work to bring that, that peace and reconciliation dynamic all the way to the front of the line, because we believe from that very first bag of aid that you might provide. You’re telling a story about the future of conflict. You’re telling the story about the future of the community, the future of your people and my people. And so we, we really tried to understand ourselves and live as above all else. Not humanitarians, not relief workers, not development professionals, but peacemakers, uh, people who are willing to put our lives on the line, our wellbeing on the line, our reputation’s on the line to, to forge, understanding, to forge mutually reinforcing good for, for all people in all communities, where we live and work.
Kristi Porter (28:18):
Um, thank you for sharing all that makes a lot of sense. And it’s exciting to see the approach that you guys are taking and, uh, really remarkable in so many ways. And so counterculture on so many ways, and hopefully we’ll will, you were on the front lines, you were in early, and hopefully we’ll continue to see, uh, more people follow that example, especially now, as we know, everything can so much can be done online. E-commerce has exploded, everything like that, that makes working out of attendee easier if need be. Um, so hopefully we’ll continue to see those trends. Yeah,
Jeremy Courtney (28:49):
Yeah, you’re absolutely right. Um, you know, in Iraq, even over the last couple of years, we’ve gotten some of the same types of delivery services that you’ve had in the United States for, for years. So we’ve got your equivalent of Uber and your equivalent of door dash. And, uh, it is absolutely changing the game, even for the refugee. A lot of what we’re focused on right now is how to help refugees earn money with nothing but a smartphone. And, um, we’ve got some of our own revenue streams of our own platforms that we’re building out and investing in to help refugees to work on the run, um, as, as various forms of micro workers. So that not as a career, you know, we don’t want people to be working as micro workers as a career, but as a stop gap for, for revenue needs, when your entire village may have been bombed, uh, you’re running to the next village over to have to have the means over the a three or six month period to fill that gap while you figure out what happens next for your family is one of the major innovations that we’re working on.
Jeremy Courtney (29:56):
As we look to a future where there’s going to be a hundred million and then 200 million people displaced because of climate and conflict. We know that we have to be thinking about how to provide jobs for, uh, for a scalable population and really at the end of the day, the only option for that has to be cloud based. And it has to be mobile.
Enrique Alvarez (30:16):
That’s very interesting. And of course, something that can really change the, uh, change a lot of lives, uh, right technology and investing in technology and how you leverage it, all that I’m going to quote from, from the movie that, uh, that you, you have your movie. Um, we are all very, very connected, right? Technology has helped us to bridge that gap and to actually make this amazing connections yet, it still feels like we live in a world that’s very divided, right. So I was wondering if you could tell us a little more about your experience in Iraq when it comes to like the misconceptions that some of the, uh, some of us in the U S and other countries around the world have about, uh, not only Iraq, but it could be, Afghanistan could be the middle east could be Muslims in general. Cause there’s still a lot of division between us, uh, for things like religion or sexual preferences, or just even political parties at this point. And how can you tell us a little bit of that and set straight some of those misperceptions or misconceptions,
Jeremy Courtney (31:11):
You know, I I’ll say this. I never feel more hopeless than when I am engaging a problem through this screen on my phone and thinking in abstract, broad terms. So Republicans are, this Democrats are that Arabs, Muslims, Christians, Americans, Afghans, Taliban, whatever, uh, whenever I’m using those big, proper nouns. And just thinking about masses of people that stand for, you know, millions of people, I tend to feel very hopeless. It doesn’t matter what group we’re talking about. Uh, but it feels like everything is screwed and nothing is ever going to be better. I never feel more hopeful than when I’m sitting with individuals or small groups of people and listening to them tell the story of why they are the way they are, why they believe that things, they believe how they came to be the person they came to be. There is in my experience, no one that I can’t empathize with or understand when they do it, the way you started this podcast.
Jeremy Courtney (32:28):
Tell me about what it was like growing up and how you grew into the person that you are today. There, there is no political belief, no religious belief, no cultural belief that can’t be somewhat empathized with through that lens. How did you get here now? That’s not the same. As, you know, we all grow into adulthood at some point and have responsibility as adults for adult ideas and adult decisions and adult consequences. So, so getting to know how a person came to be the person they are, it doesn’t absolve any of us from making full-blown adult choices and having responsibility for that. But, but I do think that that, that empathy piece is important even in calling for consequences or calling for responsibility or expecting responsibility and consequences for each other and others. It’s the empathy piece. It’s the listening piece, especially in non broad brush settings that I think where we’re missing. It’s just so easy now to get our news and our conclusions through the filter of those big, proper noun, capital letter words, Republican Democrat, American Iraqi, Arab, white, straight Christian, Muslim, whatever it is. And I think the sooner we get out of those capital letter, proper noun categories, and no 5, 10, 15, a hundred people who belong to that category, the better off we’re going to be.
Kristi Porter (34:04):
You’ve done really an amazing job, uh, to telling us about Iraq, telling us about, um, the personal connections you’ve had as somebody, one of the leaders that I follow, I think it was his quote was, um, proximity, changes, perception. Um, so very similar to what you’re saying as well, getting to know people and understand their story and where they come from versus just looking, you know, at an us them type perspective. So, um, thank you for that. And let’s at the time of this recording, it’s nearing the end of September. Um, we’re over a month into the current crisis in Afghanistan and you guys pivoted very quickly, um, to be able to help people on the ground there. Um, can you tell us a little bit more about what you guys are learning, how you were able to pivot so quickly, what’s going on, um, that you guys are actually involved in and, um, just kind of bringing us up to speed with where, where your efforts in Afghanistan came from and what you’re, what you’re doing right now.
Jeremy Courtney (35:02):
And a lot of ways I would say Afghanistan represents for us getting back to our roots, uh, in a lot of ways we have grown tremendously over the last, uh, five years in particular, uh, even to the point of unwieldily growth. Um, we are, we are now paying the taxes on as it were on, on the purchase of getting bigger over the last couple of years. And, and that, that burden, that tax burden, so to speak has been greater than I think we knew it was going to be. Then we expected it to be getting bigger, has been complicated, and it has come with a logistical HR, cultural, interpersonal challenges that, that are, that are really challenging and really difficult to deal with. And we’re still working through some of that Afghanistan. And so in that getting bigger, it meant hiring a lot of staff at meds, uh, taking on a lot of in-house responsibilities.
Jeremy Courtney (36:03):
And when I say Afghanistan is about getting back to our roots, we had determined about a year ago that we really wanted to lean back into some former language that we were using in a former reality that we were living, which is to be a community of peacemakers. Um, what that, what that means is that every, every member of the community, uh, has, has a kind of standing as a stakeholder in the community itself. You may not be on staff, but you’re still a member of the community. And we had members in our community who are Afghan. We had Afghan network, we had foreigners living in Afghanistan that we could draw on. We had Afghans in the United States that we could talk to who were donors and members of our community. And when cobble fell to the Taliban on, uh, August 15th, we had already been in weeks of commerce, REITs, a very active conversations leading up to that because the Taliban was kind of working their way across the country.
Jeremy Courtney (37:10):
So we had already been in conversations, but when August 15th came around and Cabo fully fell, the cries for help were getting a lot more serious and intense and pointed. Like we need preemptive love to jump in and get involved in this. Can you call on, can we call on the community to do something? And because we were in more of a communal mindset, getting back to our roots, thinking about the network that we had and because we weren’t so tied to thinking about, well, we don’t have staff in country. We don’t have infrastructure of our own already in the country. Like we do. In other places, we were able to start mobilizing some thoughts and some resource recruitment, and then some resource deployment faster than we would have if we were still in that, that growth modality that said, well, we have to have an office.
Jeremy Courtney (38:02):
We have to have staff. We have to have all these logistics lined up. No, we had a community. We had a network that we could tap into that was actually asking us for support. And that’s how we, that’s how we got to where we are. Anyway, it was leaning on Iraqi friends, leaning on Syrian friends, leaning on Lebanese friends, leaning on that network and sending resources out across the community and across the network that helped build up others to do what they are best positioned to do. And so, um, that’s, that’s the modality that we’ve largely been in so far inside Afghanistan. We’ve also done some stuff outside of Afghanistan so far that I’m not quite in a position to talk about yet, but, but inside Afghanistan, it’s mostly been about deploying resources across the community to help other members of our Afghan peacemaking community, do what they need to do on the ground to keep people fed and safe and secure in this, this kind of liminal space that we’re in right now.
Enrique Alvarez (39:01):
Well, you moved very, very quickly and fast. And of course the time component of it, I’m guessing saved a lot more lives and also made it more impactful for everyone. So thank you so much, Jeremy, for doing what you’re doing and thank you so much to your organization and everyone that’s living in the same community that preemptive love is developing and fostering. Um, how, what can we do to help you? I mean, you you’ve told us an amazing story. This is very inspiring. What can we do? What can our audience do? What are, what are some of the things that you would kind of, why, what do you need from us? How can we,
Jeremy Courtney (39:38):
Oh, that’s really generous of you to ask and to ask like that in particular, we really have one request, one call to action that we, that we ever want to give. And that is become a member of our peace making community. That’s what we need. And when I say become a member, I mean, if you have a credit card, yes, what we mean is use your credit card. But, but beyond that, what we mean is really sign up, not just for the monthly membership to, to join us and help us wage peace all over the world, but really sign up as fully as you know, how to sign up right now today as an actual peacemaker, meaning someone who, who wants to start keeping an eye out in your own neighborhood, who wants to start keeping an eye out in your own city for opportunities to, to move toward just, just one step, just one step at a time, move toward the things that make you uncomfortable, move toward the things that scare you and move toward that group that kind of alienates you or annoys you.
Jeremy Courtney (40:41):
That’s the work of peacemaking. Sometimes people say, oh, I could never be a peacemaker. Or some, sometimes people even say, I don’t like that. You call us peacemakers. I’m not a peacemaker. I don’t do that. Fabulous work over there in those war torn countries. We want to change the very notion of how a lot of us think about how peace is actually forged and how it’s held together. The piece in your neighborhood, wherever you’re listening to. This is very likely hanging by a thread right now, the piece in your town or your city or your state, or your country is probably as frayed or fractured as it’s been in a long time. It’s us, it’s all of us who hold the piece together. It’s not the blue helmets that come in or some flag-waving humanitarian who comes in and says, now the peacemakers are here.
Jeremy Courtney (41:31):
It’s on us. If we don’t hold it together, there’s no foreign organization or foreign government who can ever step in and fix it for us. We are the peacemakers or we’re not. And the work of preemptive love is to try and grow this community of peacemakers. As, as best we can all over the world, where, where we help you, wage peace, wherever you are, and you help the rest of the peacemakers here, wage peace, wherever they are. And that’s how we responded so quickly in Afghanistan. It’s cause we have peacemakers all over the world who had already been giving monthly and they made it possible for us to pledge that first investment in Afghanistan before we ever went public with it because our community, a peacemakers was already at the ready. So, uh, if you’re interested in helping wage peace, both where you are and around the world, that’s, that’s the simple call to action. Join us, become a member of our community of peacemakers here at preemptive love today. And you can do email@example.com.
Kristi Porter (42:32):
And of course the holidays are coming and they have some beautiful products on their website as well. So, um, you know, get those, uh, while you can too, cause there’s going to be a shortage. I’m sure after not only this episode, but just with the holidays coming, it’s going to be harder to get the things you want. And so why not gifts get gifts that are meaningful. So go to preemptive love.org. And thank you so much, Jeremy, this has been an incredible conversation. I’m so excited that we were able to have you here and talk about anytime we can talk about peacemaking, I think is a good day. So, um, thanks so much for being here. Thank you, Enrique for your leadership in this company and um, for Jeremy, the work that you’re doing and thank you so much for listening to us at home. And if you liked this conversation and want to hear more in the future, then please hit subscribe. Thanks so much.
Jeremy Courtney (43:17):
Have a great day.
Jeremy Courtney is founder and CEO of Preemptive Love, a global organization providing relief, jobs, and community to end war. His newest book, Love Anyway, casts a bold vision for how we can heal all that’s tearing us apart. Jeremy is a sought-after speaker and authority on peacemaking, conflict resolution, and the integration of activism, spirituality, and leadership. He lives with his family in Iraq. Connect with Jeremy on LinkedIn.
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.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Allison Krache Giddens has been with Win-Tech, a veteran-owned small business and aerospace precision machine shop, for 15 years, recently buying the company from her mentor and Win-Tech’s Founder, Dennis Winslow. She and her business partner, John Hudson now serve as Co-Presidents, leading the 33-year old company through the pandemic.
She holds undergraduate degrees in psychology and criminal justice from the University of Georgia, a Masters in Conflict Management from Kennesaw State University, a Masters in Manufacturing from Georgia Institute of Technology, and a Certificate of Finance from the University of Georgia. She also holds certificates in Google Analytics, event planning, and Cybersecurity Risk Management from Harvard online. Allison founded the Georgia Chapter of Women in Manufacturing and currently serves as Treasurer. She serves on the Chattahoochee Technical College Foundation Board as its Secretary, the liveSAFE Resources Board of Directors as Resource Development Co-Chair, and on the Leadership Cobb Alumni Association Board as Membership Chair and is also a member of Cobb Executive Women. She is on the Board for the Cobb Chamber of Commerce’s Northwest Area Councils. Allison runs The Dave Krache Foundation, a non-profit that helps pay sports fees for local kids in need.
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’.
Host, Veteran Voices
Mary Kate Soliva is transitioning from active duty in the US Army. She is currently in the Doctor of Criminal Justice program at Saint Leo University. She is passionate about combating human trafficking and has spent the last decade conducting training for military personnel and the local community.
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 reading.
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.
Host of Dial P for Procurement
Billy Taylor is a Proven Business Excellence Practitioner and Leadership Guru with over 25 years leading operations for a Fortune 500 company, Goodyear. He is also the CEO of LinkedXL (Excellence), a Business Operating Systems Architecting Firm dedicated to implementing sustainable operating systems that drive sustainable results. Taylor’s achievements in the industry have made him a Next Generational Lean pacesetter with significant contributions.
An American business executive, Taylor has made a name for himself as an innovative and energetic industry professional with an indispensable passion for his craft of operational excellence. His journey started many years ago and has worked with renowned corporations such as The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. (GT) leading multi-site operations. With over 3 decades of service leading North America operations, he is experienced in a deeply rooted process driven approach in customer service, process integrity for sustainability.
A disciple of continuous improvement, Taylor’s love for people inspires commitment to helping others achieve their full potential. He is a dynamic speaker and hosts "The Winning Link," a popular podcast centered on business and leadership excellence with the #1 rated Supply Chain Now Network. As a leadership guru, Taylor has earned several invitations to universities, international conferences, global publications, and the U.S. Army to demonstrate how to achieve and sustain effective results through cultural acceptance and employee ownership. Leveraging the wisdom of his business acumen, strong influence as a speaker and podcaster Taylor is set to release "The Winning Link" book under McGraw Hill publishing in 2022. The book is a how-to manual to help readers understand the management of business interactions while teaching them how to Deine, Align, and Execute Winning in Business.
A servant leader, Taylor, was named by The National Diversity Council as one of the Top 100 Diversity Officers in the country in 2021. He features among Oklahoma's Most Admired CEOs and maintains key leadership roles with the Executive Advisory Board for The Shingo Institute "The Nobel Prize of Operations" and The Association of Manufacturing Excellence (AME); two world-leading organizations for operational excellence, business development, and cultural learning. He is also an Independent Director for the M-D Building Products Board, a proud American manufacturer of quality products since 1920.
Social Media Manager
My name is Chantel King and I am the Social Media Specialist at Supply Chain Now. My job is to make sure our audience is engaged and educated on the abundant amount of information the supply chain industry has to offer.
Social Media and Communications has been my niche ever since I graduated from college at The Academy of Art University in San Francisco. No, I am not a West Coast girl. I was born and raised in New Jersey, but my travel experience goes way beyond the garden state. My true passion is in creating editorial and graphic content that influences others to be great in whatever industry they are in. I’ve done this by working with lifestyle, financial, and editorial companies by providing resources to enhance their businesses.
Another passion of mine is trying new things. Whether it’s food, an activity, or a sport. I would like to say that I am an adventurous Taurus that never shies away from a new quest or challenge.
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.
Sales and Marketing Coordinator
Katherine is a marketing professional and MBA candidate who strives to unite her love of people with a passion for positive experiences. Having a diverse background, which includes nonprofit work with digital marketing and start-ups, she serves as a leader who helps people live their most creative lives by cultivating community, order, collaboration, and respect. With equal parts creativity and analytics, she brings a unique skill set which fosters refining, problem solving, and connecting organizations with their true vision. In her free time, you can usually find her looking for her cup of coffee, playing with her puppy Charlie, and dreaming of her next road trip.
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.