A supply chain professional at the top of her game, opening the door for future leaders. That pretty much sums up our latest guest, LeAnne Richards. In the office, she’s leading global supply chain integration while also encouraging young women to pursue their life’s purpose through her organization Reign. In this episode, Scott and Allison chat with LeAnne about her own career trajectory, her work with Reign, the keys to a winning supply chain culture, the evolution of demand planning, and more. P.S. You definitely don’t want to miss her advice for breaking into the industry.
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Scott Luton (00:31):
Hey, good morning, everybody. Scott Luton and special guest host Allison crate Giddens with you here today on supply chain. Now. Welcome to today’s show Allison, how we doing?
Allison Krache Giddens (00:41):
I’m good. I’m good. I’m excited about
Scott Luton (00:42):
Today. We are excited today. We’ve already laughed a good bit on the pre-show. I think we have a lively, passionate and highly professional guest here today and leader, that’s gonna be sharing some of her insights, uh, a leader on the move, I’ll say, uh, within the global supply chain community. So we’re all geeked up, right?
Allison Krache Giddens (01:00):
Yes, absolutely. I’m I’m pumped.
Scott Luton (01:02):
Oh, wonderful. And a little quick aside, we’re gonna have to have Donna crate join us and, and share some of her travel adventures as she went to Europe here
Allison Krache Giddens (01:11):
Recently. Right? I know. Right. Seriously. I mean, everybody has fun. I’m I’m back here working and <laugh>, you know,
Scott Luton (01:18):
We get everybody slides show. We gotta get a slideshow from Don. That’d
Allison Krache Giddens (01:20):
Be good. That’d be good with commentary.
Scott Luton (01:22):
That’s right. One of our favorite people. Okay. Uh, well, let’s dive right into today’s show. And also one of our newest favorite people wanna welcome in lean Richard’s supply chain integration with a major consumer package goods company, Lee Ann. Good morning. Good
Allison Krache Giddens (01:37):
Morning. Good morning. Happy to be here.
Scott Luton (01:40):
It is so great to have. Yeah. You know, we’ve been exchanging emails for quite some time as we’ve been prepping for today, and it’s really neat to finally meet you in person, enjoy the pre-show conversation. And now Allison, we get to, uh, spotlight her journey with all of our, our global listeners. So it’s gonna be fun, right?
Allison Krache Giddens (01:57):
Absolutely. It’s good timing for this because, uh, she’s got some experience.
Scott Luton (02:01):
Yes. And she also led us little, let out a little secret pre-show I’m not sure if I wanna share, you know, cause Alice and I are both big fans of the 2021 world series champs, Atlanta Braves. And we found out perhaps that Leanne grew up as a New York Mets fan, but we’ll
Allison Krache Giddens (02:22):
See now we can’t, but we can’t start, man. I mean that, that really just the poor listeners now have this, these excess expectation set or I, I hope they haven’t shut off the podcast at
Scott Luton (02:33):
The point. I hope not either Leanne, but Hey, you know what? We have plenty of friends that are Mets fans and fellow supply chain geeks that are Mets fans. So you’re, you’re in good company. It’s all. Okay. Your life’s too show worked to throw elbows too often at your sports rivals, but Hey, great to have you here regardless. So speaking of Leanne, you know, where you grew up and how you grew up and what that was like, where did you grow up? Tell us about that.
LeAnne Richards (02:57):
So I grew up in New York. I
LeAnne Richards (02:59):
Actually grew up in the, in the Bronx New York. Um, I’m the youngest of four daughters. Okay. Um, you know, grew up a very meager lifestyle. My mom was a single mom, pretty much our family mantra was God, first family, second education next. And that’s how we grew up and that’s how we moved forward. And you know, that’s how we, we lived our life pretty much.
Scott Luton (03:25):
Mm. So I love that by the way, values come to mind, discipline habits, uh, priorities, all of that. Uh, so when you think of that and you think of your weekly activities, uh, what are some things that, that come to mind of a week in the life of, of lean Richards as a child?
LeAnne Richards (03:42):
Yeah. You know, what’s funny. Um, so, you know, we had cousins all around and everything and my cousins would always say, we’re always at the park and y’all are always at the library, you know, <laugh>. So, I mean, my mother was serious about the education thing. You know, it kept us occupied. Uh, my two older sisters they’re, um, 18 months apart and they both went to, you know, great schools in upstate New York. One of ’em went to Syracuse. One of ’em went to Cornell. Um, then there’s a seven year gap. And my sister that’s 15 months older than me. We went to school in, in Florida. We both went to Florida a and M so that’s how we became Southern girls. And what’s funny is now we all live in Georgia. We all live in Cobb county. We all live in the same general area and it’s like, one of us came and then we followed the other. And my last sister was like, why am I still in New York? I could be, I could be living, you know, down here with a totally different lifestyle. So, you know, I love it. I, I feel like we really, what was ingrained in us as young people, God, first family, second education, you know, next, like we’ve really like taken that to heart and that’s, you know, that’s our
Scott Luton (04:56):
Life. I love it. And, and I bet y’all get together all the time here since you’re all in, in the same in Georgia. Uh, now tell us, you’re talking about all the, those gaggle of cousins you grew up with and I can relate. I’ve got a great, and I love my gaggle of cousins on both sides of the family. That was a blessing for me growing up and still today, mm-hmm <affirmative> do you see your, all of your kids play and have those relationships too?
LeAnne Richards (05:20):
So my, and you know, their kids, like my, my daughter’s cousins. Yes. They’re like brothers and sisters. Um, my daughter’s only child, one of my sisters has one daughter and they’re like sisters. Like you can’t tell them that, you know, they’re not, um, what, what I have found though, that’s kind of unfortunate. I think it’s just, how is, and how life evolves, right. Is my cousins like that? I grew up with our kids are not close, you know, because of distance because of, you know, um, a lot of them are still in New York or have moved to other areas and we’re down here. We try to get together, but it’s just not the same, you know, one thing I noticed and a lot of people notice this in their families. Um, probably I think it was like, so it was like 2000. My grandmother died and that’s kind of when you see, you know, the matriarch and then, you know, the cousins kind of split off a little bit. We don’t get together as much so tough, you know, but, but I do appreciate the fact that my daughter can grow up with her cousins and, you know, they’ll have, I think they’ll have that relationship like forever. You know, I don’t see them growing apart, especially because life is different now with technology. Right. You know, so much so,
Allison Krache Giddens (06:35):
And that’s so cool. That’s so cool that you get to be right around the corner basically from your sisters too. Oh yeah. Oh yeah. And I I’ve got a sister and she’s local and I can’t imagine her not being local. Yeah. So that’s, that’s very cool.
LeAnne Richards (06:48):
That’s really cool away from Georgia for five years. And I didn’t realize that like the little things were like, like Easter, like you like, oh, we’re gonna get together Ethan. But I was like, we’re gonna do we’re all alone. Or like birthday parties, you know, you used to having the whole family own for a birthday party. And it’s like, you know, it wasn’t the same, so right. Um, I’ve been back for a while and I’m happy to be back and, you know,
Allison Krache Giddens (07:13):
Good. Well, we’re, we’re lucky to have you back that’s for sure. So I know you went to for a few years, and then you came back to Georgia, talk us through some of your professional history and that journey coming back or coming to Georgia in the first place. And then a little bit about prior to your current role and things that shaped you.
LeAnne Richards (07:32):
So, um, what I would say shaped me, I had a unconventional first job, right outta college. Um, I worked for AMCO oil company and I worked in operations. So operations meant that I was running their sea stores, their convenience stores. I was opening stores, um, you know, managing them, doing the whole gamut. So I remember one time my mother said you went to college for all these years working a gas, but it was probably the best experience I could have had because it was almost like owning my own business on somebody else’s dime. So I was responsible for the P and L I was responsible for marketing. I was responsible for hiring firing, you know, so I got to experience so much and also enhance my customer service skills. And I don’t care what role you’re in, what job you’re in, what function you do, you have to have customer service skills. Like you always have a customer. It may be an external customer. It may be an internal customer, but you have to know how to take care of your customer. So, um, I actually move from Florida to Georgia with Amoco. They transferred me here. Um, and then that’s how I, um, ended up in Georgia. Hey, what, uh, li what part of Florida were you in? Uh, I was in Tallahassee. Oh, Tallahassee. Oh, FAMU. Tallahassee. So home
Scott Luton (08:55):
Of Florida state, uh, university, right? Yep. Florida
LeAnne Richards (08:58):
State and Florida a and M is right across the railroad tracks from, from Florida
Scott Luton (09:02):
State. Really. Okay. And a and M uh, that’s the Rattlers. Is that right? The Rattlers. You got it. Okay. All right. Um, right, so you moved up and, and Alice, you know, we’re gonna talk sports. The it’s kind of what we do, right. Really, and I should have warned you and we haven’t talked food yet. And, and, and, um, we can talk food. Let’s talk, we’ll talk food in a little bit. I wanna hear about something, a dish from the Bronx, but Hey we’re so you moved to Georgia and mm-hmm <affirmative> to where you are now in Cobb county? Uh,
LeAnne Richards (09:32):
Yeah. Mm-hmm <affirmative> well, I different parts of Cobb county. Um, I lived, uh, more in the south co area when I first came here.
Scott Luton (09:39):
LeAnne Richards (09:44):
So, um, came here, transferred with Amaco, came here, worked for them for probably two more years or so. Um, and then I left there, went to Georgia state, got my master’s in Georgia state, in management with a concentration of organizational development. Okay. So I thought that I was gonna go into the HR world and, you know, make people feel good. Um, while I was,
Scott Luton (10:07):
Uh, hang on a sec, hang on a sec. <laugh> the HR world to make people feel good. Are you talking, are you referring to kind of the, the psych, uh, the psychology aspect of, of those roles? Yeah. You know,
LeAnne Richards (10:21):
You’re the feel good person, you know, <laugh>, you make people feel, you know, comfortable
Scott Luton (10:28):
<laugh> well, you, yes. And you kinda, you kind have to be the adult in room, uh, often. Right. So you chose not to do that. So what did you choose to do?
LeAnne Richards (10:40):
You know, I ended up staying there. I, I stayed there for about three years and that’s when I got into supply chain, you know, they even asked me don’t you wanna go sales? Don’t you wanna go into HR? And it, the way they had their, their business structured, um, supply chain was the best place to learn about the business. And that’s what I wanted to do. I wanted to like, really understand kind of how things worked and how things connected. And I got into supply chain, they had a, it was called like an account management type of position. Yeah. And moved into some demand planning roles. And I, I really, I think grew in the demand planning arena. So, um, stayed there for a few years. And then I went over to my current company where I have been for this will be 17 years. Wow. Wow. So, yeah. That’s awesome. That’s
Allison Krache Giddens (11:35):
So what, when you started at your current company, did, are you doing what you’re doing now or how, how did that kind of evolution look like? And where’d you
LeAnne Richards (11:43):
Spend your time? Oh, man. I’ve had so many experiences that have, you know, really shaped me to end of where I am now. Um, I started here in our Atlanta office working more, um, as an account rep. So doing a little, a lot of like order fulfillment, customer type relations with some of our drug customers. I did that for about probably two years. Then I moved to Bentonville Arkansas. I was there for three years and, um, got back into demand planning. Then I moved to Schaumburg, Illinois for about two years, got deeper into demand planning. I, I think some of my first roles, it was more, it was more just kind of putting numbers in the system, so to speak. And then when I got into some of those later roles, I had the opportunity to be more work closer with our customer development team, understand the ebbs and flows more of the business and what was expected from their customers in terms of like promotions or, um, you know, the time of the year when we would see a spike in the business. Right. Um, things like that and really got more connected with the right. Um, so,
Scott Luton (12:56):
So if I could interject for our listeners a little bit of context, and Allison’s gonna ask you about what you’re up to now, but listeners, we, you know, sometimes we gotta be careful, especially with really big companies. Liam is not spokesperson for her company, but for context, and I, and I can’t wait to hear about what she’s up to now. She is with a global and that, um, 999 people out of a thousand would recognize, and probably the same have used a product today from this company. So I think that’s helpful context as, uh, lean kind of walks us through, uh, her 17 years with this company and what she’s doing now. So you’re gonna say something else, uh, lean or Alice, maybe we ask about, uh, what she’s up to today.
Allison Krache Giddens (13:35):
Yeah. Well, I’m kind of, I’m curious, I’m in my head, I’m looking at a map and I’m like, okay, Bentonville and then Schumer. And then <laugh> during, and I’m, I’m like, your sisters are waiting they’re back in Georgia. What are you doing? Um, so after, after Illinois, where where’d you head? Did you come back here? And I’m, I’m excited to hear too about you, you’re doing now and kind of how the pandemic has really enhanced what you’re doing.
LeAnne Richards (14:00):
I came back here after Illinois and I will say that was probably being in, um, Illinois is probably one of the best experiences for me. I didn’t think I could take the cold again, because I had been away from the cold for so long. I was like, I can’t do that. But you know, I got a big coat and it worked out good. And you wanna talk about food? Like Chicago is a food city. Oh yeah. Good car. I kinda ate there for like probably two more years and not repeated anything that I ate.
Scott Luton (14:29):
Greg white says Chicago is the culinary capital of states. I dispute that a bit. I think I think of new Orleans. Um, I think of how eclectic, frankly, how eclectic Atlanta is, especially Buford highway, one of our favorite places. Uh, it’s where we live for six years, right around the corner from Buford highway. Uh, I think of Charleston. I think all the places in Florida, San Francisco, see, I go down this, we mentioned food. We go down this whole interstate of, uh, but anyway, we’ll keep driving. So Chicago, I I’d agree with you on
LeAnne Richards (14:59):
All of those too. I just haven’t spent time in San Francisco, but all of those east coast, south yet, I’d have to agree with you on all of those. Oh man.
Scott Luton (15:06):
Let let’s, let’s take a trip. Let’s let’s just get ’em all right. Right. Right. So what, when did you get to here in the Atlanta area with your current
LeAnne Richards (15:15):
Company? So I came back here in 2014 and the role that I came back into, it’s almost one of those things that I didn’t even realize. Everything else I had done was preparing me for this. I was, I would say a little apprehensive when I was asked to come back here to do this role. I almost felt and just being transparent, vulnerable. Sure. I almost felt it was too big for me. Wow. I, you know, wasn’t sure that I had the skillset to do it,
Allison Krache Giddens (15:50):
But yeah, but we could go down that rabbit hole on imposter syndrome and especially women in industry like supply chain manufacturing is chances are, you are totally qualified for it, but that’s a great call out. Allison, you feel like you hit every single check mark on that list. You felt you weren’t good enough or weren’t qualified. And that’s a, that’s a tough one. It’s real. It
LeAnne Richards (16:14):
Is. And it took me, it took me, um, a lot of time to make the decision, which, you know, usually I’m, I’m ready to go because I like change. I like, you know, doing different things. And I really had to like sit back, I, you know, talk to different people, you know, really figure it out. And it’s probably, again, one of the best decisions I made, you know, in this role. And I, let me tell you what I do. Um, <laugh> so, um, it’s called supply chain integration. So I say that I’m like the liaison between the business and it, and when I say the business, that’s our whole demand side. So that’s our demand planners, our, um, order fulfillment team, our, um, warehousing team, our transportation team, anything that they need from a systems process, and then having the people to port those systems and processes is basically my job.
LeAnne Richards (17:17):
Like I, I do the project management for, for, for those activities. I do work on a couple of projects on our supply side. So then our supply side is like the plants, the manufacturers, I work on a few projects for them, but really my, I would say my area of expertise is our, you know, demand side. So I’m using the knowledge that I’ve had from being on that side of the business for so long and then bringing into it, like my negotiation skills, my relationship building skills, my communication skills, and then being able to communicate with our it department, which it is a whole nother, they speak a different language. That’s a different, and I don’t mean a different language, like, you know, English, Spanish, I mean a
Scott Luton (18:06):
Different language, like, like a smart, like intelligence it’s like, and not taking. And, and I say that not taking anything away from our supply chain community, but which is, is brilliant as well. But gosh, you’re kinda like the bridge, uh, between if I had to generalize kind of the operational language with the technology and it language and that, that gets lost in translation exactly. On an hourly basis. So to have bridge builders like yourself, that also have been there and done it, given your, um, you know, your journey that is incredibly invaluable.
LeAnne Richards (18:40):
Yeah. And something you just said made, made me think of something is, um, so our sales team, they always say, oh, supply chain, y’all in the brains behind everything. Y’all look brains behind everything. We’ll just, y’all make it happen. We’ll just tell you what you want, what we want and tell you what we need and y’all make it happen. So, you know, I, I think it’s good that, um, other functions in the organization see the value in supply chain, especially when, of course you, you know, all companies are there for profit. So supply chain is not like making the money, but we are basically the ones that save the money.
Scott Luton (19:17):
I, I agree with that. And I also kind of disagree with that. Uh, especially as, as industry has evolved and how, how supply chains become that competitive advantage. Cause to your point, it makes it happen and it enables, you know, returns and set it on your, on your porch, reverse logistics, right. That final mile, which has become incredibly more complex. I would argue while I agree with you, it saves the money. It also is making some money cause it drives sales. Um, definitely. You know what I mean? The, the other thing that you should, you shared there, uh, and we’re, and we’re gonna, um, I wanna get to kind of the cultural side of organization that, that enables it to perform at the incredible level it does. And, uh, and to put incredible people like yourself in big leadership roles, but supply chain does make it happen, you know?
Scott Luton (20:05):
And I love what you said there I’ve been, that’s been a mantra of mine for probably 20 years. Uh, and you know, having spent some time the military, I think one of the reasons why it supply chain manufacturing, you know, into, in supply chain, cause that that really encompasses everything. Mm-hmm <affirmative> is people that rally around a initial, uh, mission to make it happen, right. It’s not, they get it, they get it. And it’s just, it’s something inherent, baked into global supply chain. And to your point, that’s what it’s like a magnet for me, only about you Allison, but it, it really, for a long time it’s been something that’s just dis grounded who I am and why this industry appeals to me so much.
LeAnne Richards (20:45):
Yep. It’s it’s as if the supply, chain’s
Allison Krache Giddens (20:47):
The Maestro of the symphony, so to speak. And ultimately if, if it’s off, then everybody’s off.
Scott Luton (20:54):
So they even have to bring the tuba sometimes, uh, Alice, then Lee
Allison Krache Giddens (20:59):
And don’t playing an instrument or singing. So there’s that.
Scott Luton (21:02):
But you know, certainly there’s a sense of humility at times often and supply chains. Well, where I agree with you, it’s like, it’s the Myro, but it’s also someone who doesn’t mind washing dishes from time to time or bringing the tuba or taking the kids up, whatever it is, right. Whatever analogy you wanna use. Um, anyway, Leanne, there’s so much, I wish we had, I wish we had three more hours to dive into your journey, especially on the demand planning side, which is such, uh, an important element too always has been, but has gotten more important here in these recent years. But for the sake of moving us right along, I do wanna talk about the culture at your organization. Is there anything else you wanna share before I move to that question? No, let’s move
LeAnne Richards (21:42):
On. Let’s talk culture.
Scott Luton (21:44):
All right. So Gartner, which everybody and their brother or, and sister knows ranked your organization. Number two on its annual list of top 25 supply chain companies. Right. And it’s, and it’s, they’re regularly at the top. So when it comes to culture at your organization, right, a global CPG, what aspect or two do you believe helps to fuel supply chain performance in particular?
LeAnne Richards (22:08):
I think the first thing is we look for agile solutions to, um, our issues. You know, we try to stay current on what’s happening out in the industry and when we can be a leader out there, um, we’ve adapted a them learn, um, philosophy, progress over perfection. We move forward,
Scott Luton (22:34):
Progress over perfection. I like that progress over perfection. I think we have our title. Alison, I like that.
Allison Krache Giddens (22:41):
I like that a lot. <laugh>
LeAnne Richards (22:43):
And then, you know, people are empowered to make decisions. We, you know, we’re a corporation, of course you do have to go through some red tape, but you know, our people are empowered to make a decision and make decisions quickly and not be afraid to fail, which goes back to the progress over perfection and that’s encouraged and enhanced and embrace throughout the organization. And, you know, that’s really what we have to live on to move forward. And like you said, to, to consistently be ranked, you know, where we are right with, um, with, with Gartner and you know, other, um, organizations.
Scott Luton (23:27):
So yes, you know, every once in a while we’ll talk culture with someone and it is palpable as they describe it. And that’s what I feel with you lean as you describe different elements of that culture, of that enabling culture that, that allows for world class performance and, you know, Allison I’ll get, I get your favorite part of what she described there. For me, it is empowering decision making, you know, I don’t know about y’all, but I worked in an organization one time in my journey that wanted to get seven signatures on a $25 spend <laugh>. And that is that’s, Ty’s everything, everything, and it’s not a, it, it’s not fun to work in those types of, of, of environments and cultures, but Allison, what out of what, how she described her organization and, and its culture. What do you, what, what would you pick up on?
Allison Krache Giddens (24:13):
I think that, that progress over perfection, for sure. I think what that speaks to is authenticity mm-hmm <affirmative> so it allows the people’s, uh, meaning and, and PA their own passion to kind of shine through and ultimately, you know, your customers they’re gonna see right through things. Right. And if they can tell that the people that they’re working with or the products that they’re receiving, um, you know, if it comes from something real and something they can relate to, then all
Scott Luton (24:39):
The better, well said, love that. Okay. So much more to talk so much. Talk about land us a little time. Let’s talk about, so all three of us are, are consumers probably more so than we were at this time last year, maybe. I don’t know. <laugh> so we’re all customers of a wide variety of organizations. And, and of course, a lot of retailers, Leon, I I’d love to get your take what’s one thing you’ve been tracking, especially when it comes to the retail experience or that can consumer experience these days where it’s like a, a business school study every hour of the day.
LeAnne Richards (25:11):
So it has to be eCommerce. eCommerce has made such a difference in our business and not only talking about like, you know, like the Amazons and the, the CU we foods, but talking about traditional brick and mortar, right. Retailers that now we have to put an eCommerce strategy against. So it it’s, it’s intriguing to look at it from the customer per well, what we call the consumers perspective. Right. And then in our, um, as, as a supplier, look at it from the customer’s perspective, and then make sure as a supplier, we are, you know, meeting the requirements of, um, our customers, because it’s a whole different world. And when you talk about having to be agile, that final mile to the shelf, that final really quick now you’re right.
Scott Luton (26:10):
You know, we have
LeAnne Richards (26:10):
So right products so quickly, we have to make sure that, um, so on the system side, um, I deal a lot with, uh, like making sure that the labeling is correct. The, we have the information that the customer needs so they can, um, have our product flow through with as little touching as possible. You know, um, you know, I don’t know what people envision if they’ve never been in a warehouse or, you know, if they’ve never been in a plant, but you don’t have a million people there doing things like, you know, the olden days, everything’s, you know, technology machinery, we have to make sure that everything’s encoded so that it comes from our system flows through scan into their system.
Scott Luton (26:58):
So it’s not 1982.
LeAnne Richards (27:02):
I was just at, it’s a lot more complex than, you know, people may think if they’ve never kind of like been in that world, you just think, oh, I order something that ends up at my door, Amazon drops it at my door, you know, but it’s a lot that goes, you know, in between there.
Allison Krache Giddens (27:15):
Do you think that like being in your role and Scott, maybe this is a question for you too. Do you think knowing what you know about supply chain? Are you, do you, are you aware of your hyperawareness as a consumer? So do you, like, I remember when Amazon first started the whole two day shipping thing, and I remember one day, like a day went by and I, I didn’t get my item and I was irritated and I was like, oh, it hasn’t been two days. And then I really started thinking about it. I’m like, okay, really? Come on. I mean, even two days. So do, do you start realizing that in the industries that we’re all in, do you notice
LeAnne Richards (27:49):
Those things? I do. And, and sometimes I’m even amazed at what, you know, like an Amazon, cause I’m like, wait, how yes,
Allison Krache Giddens (28:07):
I was, I was up really, really late. And I was ordering something on Amazon last night and it was 1240 and it, they were a pair of socks. It’s a long story. It was a pair of socks. And I, I put it in my cart and it said, same day delivery. Get it by 3:00 AM. I’m like, I don’t need the socks that bad. Please do not send so out to my house. What socks at three o’clock in the
Scott Luton (28:27):
Morning, it’s unbelievable. Somebody has
LeAnne Richards (28:29):
To take that off the shelves and get three o’clock in the morning. <laugh>
Scott Luton (28:34):
It really is unbelievable, you know, to your question, Alison, for years, you know, stopping in a moment, whether I’m putting on de answer or putting on socks and noticing the country of origin and <affirmative>, and, and also catch myself regularly kind of thinking about the product design, why is this extra plastic piece here or what, or packaging packaging is fascinating, you know, and we’re dealing with so much of it because of e-commerce these days a lot more than we ever did as kids growing up. Right. So, yes. Uh, I would say, I think probably all three of us are very hyper aware and the good news he year is that consumers, even that aren’t in supply chain or aren’t manufacturing aren’t in any of these, you know, related industries, they’re becoming more hyper aware and that’s gonna enable us to make progress over perfectional on some of the challenges of our day.
Scott Luton (29:19):
So, uh, that that’s, that is really good news, I think for us, all of us. Okay. I had one more question. And then Allison, we’re gonna, we’re gonna kind of shift gears here. One more question about planning. If, if you, if I may lean, you know, 17 years, a lot of that journey with the current company was, uh, you know, demand planning was, was, was, uh, uh, a big part of what you did, anything when it comes to all the different data that goes into demand planning, anything that might surprise folks that you, that you might can share without having to kill us later. I
LeAnne Richards (29:48):
Just think that, um, something I can share is that, um, it’s an evolution and I’ve seen this evolve. When you talk about data. At one time, we had a lot of data, probably too much, right. To use it effectively. And over the past, I would say two years or so. Um, we’ve, um, implemented new tools and also put like, we, we now have a whole data analytics team that, you know, not only looks at of tools, but they go out into the company and find people that love data. And like, that’s not their job, but they put them on almost like a,
Scott Luton (30:33):
Like a SWAT team,
LeAnne Richards (30:34):
Like a, like a, like a SWAT team, like a catalyst team to, um, to come up with new, new reports, new, new, um, ways to use the tool, train other people, to use the tool. So we’re learning how to use the data that’s out there. Better love it to our, you know, to our advantage.
Scott Luton (30:58):
I love it. Uh, and one final comment there. I think we we’ve talked about this before for Allison and, and if you, and I haven’t, I know I have with about a thousand of people, you know, we’ll call it 10 years ago. Maybe when the term big data became a, a big thing, what lean described every organization that invested in accumulating big data kinda reached to the a point a fork in road where, okay, great. We got all this data that we paid so much money accumulate, but what do we do with it? You know, that was such a, a, um, uh, uh, a critical time for so many. And then as lay describes, eventually, you know, companies figure out a very savvy way of, of really pairing down what they really need, what are signals versus all the noise they can make sound decisions on. So I appreciate you sharing that with us lean. I find it fascinating. Okay. So Allison, where are we going next with the one only lean Richards?
Allison Krache Giddens (31:50):
Yes. So as you can probably imagine she does a lot of other stuff other than supply chain. So lean, you know, you seem a lot very passionate obviously about things, including serving others and, and paying it forward. So can you tell us a little bit, why is this important to you? And, um, I believe that there’s a certain acronym rain that I would love to hear more about. Okay.
LeAnne Richards (32:14):
So I told you about our mantra growing up. So now what I live by, like in our house is so much is given much is required. Mm. I worked hard to have a, you know, good career. We’re, we’re very comfortable, but I have experienced times in life when it was not like that for me. So, you know, I know the needs of people that need, and one thing that’s important to me in raising my child is that she understands the needs of others. You know, she’s grown up with a certain amount of privilege and I don’t want to, um, have her go out into the world, think that everyone, you know, has what she has, some of the opportunities that she’s had, some of the experience that she’s, you know, been able to experience. So, um, you know, serving our community is very important in our house.
LeAnne Richards (33:12):
It’s, you know, one of our foundations and fundamental things that, that, that we do. So, uh, a few years ago, I started an organization called rain and rain stands for realizing excellence in girls. Now I’m very passionate about, um, you know, girls empowerment. And part of it was a little selfish on my part with rain because, uh, my daughter was in middle school and I was scared. I’m like what? What’s coming, you know, you hear middle school stories, you hear high school stories, you know, how can I create a community of girls that are, um, like surrounded by excellence and expect excellent in themselves and also put out excellence into the world. So, um, rain is built on five pillars. One of them is authenticity. The word you used earlier, Allison, uh, entrepreneurship, health and wellness serving our community and then college readiness. So it was really just about, um, having girls and their parents come in and share information, share activities.
LeAnne Richards (34:28):
We were even able to do some things through the pandemic. We did some, um, video classes. We did some public speaking classes and things throughout the pandemic, but really just creating a space for girls to be themselves and, you know, find their passions, follow their passions and, you know, grow on ’em. So it, it, it is been, its it’s been a good journey. I, I, the other part of that is I started selling stationary items that, that are like excellence based. So I have pencils and stickers and just things that remind girls to, to be excellent. And you know, that’s not a bad thing. Right. You can be great. It’s not, it’s
Allison Krache Giddens (35:11):
Great. So, and that’s great because it, it’s true that you need to see those. You need to physically see those things for them to be manifest. Right. I mean, they have to, if you say it enough, loudly enough out loud, then it can happen. But that’s, that’s wonderful to have that sort of to offer those resources to young women because I don’t envy, today’s young girls that have social media that is constantly in the background and I, I just,
LeAnne Richards (35:37):
It was hard enough as a middle schooler.
Scott Luton (35:39):
Right? Exactly. Isn’t that the truth. It was hard enough in 1989 without having social media follow us on. Right.
LeAnne Richards (35:47):
Well, I, what we thought was peer pressure is nothing what they’re experiencing today.
Scott Luton (35:52):
Excellent point. Well, Hey, let’s make sure we include a link to rain and the show note, we, we will make sure we, we do that. And if folks wanna support rain, it sounds like they could purchase stationary, but they could also get involved in the programming any quick advice there. Yeah.
LeAnne Richards (36:08):
What I, I really love to do are, um, the classes. So we had another class that was finding your passion and your purpose. So, um, you know, always, always looking for people to get involved, to share their gifts with girl. Wonderful. So,
Scott Luton (36:24):
Um, you know, so speakers, I,
LeAnne Richards (36:26):
I would love the speakers. Um, you know, what, what, whatever your gift is, I’m a creative. So some of the things that I share, we’ve done cooking classes and you know, we’ve done some of the main hot chocolate bombs last year and, and cookie classes. So really whatever your gift is, because one thing I found out, which was interesting, two girls, they were like, wow, we really like, you know, we really like cooking. And one of them is like she was in middle school, but now her mother said that, you know, she’s thinking about going like the culinary route. Wow. So, you know, you never know what gift that you share with someone else is gonna spark, you know, a, a lifelong, either interest or career agreed,
Scott Luton (37:12):
You know, to that end, I’m gonna botch this quote <laugh>, but you know, Francis Francis of a sissy, right. You know what I’m talking, I’m talking about, I’m sure I probably mispronounce his or her name, but Hey, there’s a, there’s a great quote where they talk about, you never know who is hearing the sermon, you’re preaching in any given day. And, and they’re using that sermon as an analogy because it’s whoever, you know, it it’s, it’s however you present yourself in that day. So to your point, you never know the epiphany that your actions and your messaging and your leadership, whatever it is, how that can impact others and, and awaken something in their blind spots. So I love that component of what you’re doing there and beyond with rain. Uh, so we’ll have to, uh, we’ll have to talk more so, right. So I got just a couple more questions for you.
Scott Luton (37:59):
I will keep neither one of you from what I’m sure a very busy day, but a beautiful day here in the Atlanta area, I’ve got my window open. So if y’all hear a Cardinal or a squirrel, they’re having an epic battle here re recent days. <laugh> all right. So picture this lean picture. This you’re addressing a room full of college students, a big all auditorium. You’re at the, the Ritz Carlton in New York city, Oak big Ole Oak panel room, you know, thousand people sitting there on the edge of their seat, waiting to hear your advice on how they could break into industry and perhaps advance. What would
LeAnne Richards (38:37):
You tell them? So I would give them three tips and I think it’s applicable to any industry, any function applicable to life. I’m gonna go back to authenticity. The first thing, when you walk into a room, be authentic, bring yourself, bring your ideas to the table. Don’t make yourself small. Don’t take up space in the room, you know, everyone’s different and your DNCE will make a difference. So that would be my first, uh, piece of advice. The second advice, the second piece of advice I would say is foster relationship with people. And that’s not just people within your functional area where you’re working, or, you know, your job build relationships with, with people throughout your organization, because when people trust you, they, they help you and you help them. You know, um, I mean, you, you never know where your paths will cross in the future.
LeAnne Richards (39:44):
You never know, um, what the future holds. So, um, and I say this mainly because I’ve grown up over the last 18 years in a relationship company and I’m see the importance of relationships. If I go back to my first job that I talked about was my learning experience with ACO. I didn’t know people call it politics, but I don’t even really like to call it politics. I, but I didn’t know. I, I thought I would just had to go and do my job and do a good job and everything’s gonna be great. It’s so much more than that. Right. You know, it’s really about the relationships. And that’s what I didn’t know then that I know now. And the third piece of advice, I mean, this sounds cliche, but it’s so true. And, you know, I tell my daughter this, and I tell anybody that, you know, young enough to start their path or change a, or I guess it doesn’t matter how old you are, do what you love. Um, you know, do what you want to do every day. And you’re not gonna wake up miserable to have to do it. <laugh>, you know, um, you, you wanna be passionate about what you wanna, do you wanna feel good about pouring yourself into what you do? So all my pieces of advice,
Scott Luton (41:01):
Allison Krache Giddens (41:03):
Authenticity. I love those. I do too. Those go ahead. Those are great. And, and you know, what also reminds me of earlier when Leanne was talking about entering into that position and not knowing if she had everything to get there, I think lean you’re, you’re helping young women and, and the next generation to not have that mentality to go into it with confidence and recognize, Hey, I like this. I think I can do it. I know I can do it, period. That’s that’s a really cool, that’s really neat. Give, give forward
Scott Luton (41:37):
That you do agreed. I, I, I really think what you described there, Allison, you know, you, you, you also mentioned on the front end that we, we should set up a whole, we should set up a panel to discuss that. I think that that appears to be, you know, a really big deal and a big hurdle for folks to get over. And as, and as you said, many women in, especially in the industry. So, uh, I appreciate you both kind of speaking toward that and, and I love those three authenticity relationships and do what you love, do what you love. Okay. So one final question, and then we’re gonna make sure folks know how to connect with you, Leanne. So when it comes to real leadership, not lip service leadership, but real leadership that makes it happen in whether it’s a pandemic or normal times, whatever normal times are, I’ve forgotten what that’s like. <laugh>, but what’s, uh, here, here in recent years, what’s a Eureka moment that you’ve had as it relates to leadership.
LeAnne Richards (42:32):
I think it’s kinda something we touched on a little bit, the best leaders empower their people. You know, people want to feel like they have the opportunity to make decisions. Nobody wants to be micromanaged. Um, people don’t wanna be baby sex, or, you know, and I think the, a pandemic brought out more of people’s abilities because, you know, if you were a manager or a leader that had the, um, propensity to micromanage, you didn’t have that opportunity anymore. You had to trust your people. You know, you had to trust that things were gonna get done. And I think a lot of people have grown through the pandemic of having a little bit more, um, autonomy to get, get things done. And the other thing that, um, I dunno, I just think it’s important. Maybe it’s just me because I’m just like, uh, I don’t technology, like you have to use tech, like you can’t be afraid of technology. You know, there are so many tools out there to make your life easier. And this goes for, because I think everybody’s a leader. I think personal leadership is as important as the person with the leadership title, but you have to use technology in order to not only advance just to keep up. So anybody out there that’s fearful of a system or fearful of, you know, what a system, you know, it’s not like you said, it’s not gonna break anything, you know, just,
Scott Luton (44:04):
You have to try seriously, just do it. And we, we had a, um, uh, a panelist from ACE hardware. Um, it’s been in part about six months ago, but they were comparing, she was comparing decision making prior to the pandemic when everybody was in the office. Mm-hmm <affirmative> to kind of, as you’re, we’re going through the rigors and everybody’s remotely, and it were, it was a decision related to, I think, expense reports, I believe. I can’t remember. And, um, pre pandemic was like, no, we’re not gonna change that. You’re gonna send all the documentation in. You’re gonna fed it, whatever it is. And then in the middle of the pandemic, as you got remote, it’s like, what were we thinking? We just need to do it. It’s not a big deal. It makes things easier on our employees. It is, let’s do it. So anyway, I really appreciate your message here today, Allison and lean. So Allison, we got some good news. I’m gonna ask you about here in a minute, but in how can folks connect with you.
LeAnne Richards (44:53):
So, um, the best way is LinkedIn. Um, you know, I’m on LinkedIn, I’m out there public, just, uh, looking up on LinkedIn and rain. Um, I’ll give you the link rain. So it’s by rain.com and, um, you
Scott Luton (45:08):
Know, connect my rain. Is that B U Y R B B Y B Y by range B
LeAnne Richards (45:15):
Y R E I
Scott Luton (45:17):
LeAnne Richards (45:22):
Our Instagram as well. So I’m all over social media. I love social media, you know, <laugh>, if you do it right, it’s fun. It
Scott Luton (45:31):
Is. Yes. What is the Instagram? The
LeAnne Richards (45:34):
Instagram is by underscore rain.
Scott Luton (45:38):
Gotcha. Okay. Well, you’ve been a delight to talk with and, and frankly learned from, and I am so glad, uh, going back way back to the front end of our conversation, that you didn’t let that hurdle and that, um, inner question, the inner voice that we all have, keep you from from being the best you so li you got an inspiring journey and thanks so much for taking an hour of it and sharing with us here today. All right, fabulous. So lean, we, you and I get to celebrate some good news. Allison has had and her, her company. So Allison speak social media, something hit my social media other day that win tech, which you lead has gotten some big news. Tell us more.
Allison Krache Giddens (46:20):
Yeah. We were very excited to announce yesterday that we were voted best of Georgia, 20, 21 in the aerospace manufacturing category. So that was pretty exciting.
Scott Luton (46:30):
That is wonderful. That is wonderful. It’s especially in light of all the dynamics we’re talking, pre-show, it’s a tough business to be in, right?
Allison Krache Giddens (46:38):
It is, it is lots of unknowns and, you know, supply chain wise, the aerospace manufacturers we’re failing it too. So we’re, we’re really grateful so that the co the Georgia business journal, uh, puts on these awards every year. And they’re to, to see the other names on the list is pretty impressive. I, I suppose, I guess we got the small business side because the other aerospace manufacturer winner is Gulf stream <laugh>. So it’s pretty awesome to be on the list with, with such a great company as
Scott Luton (47:06):
Well. Well, that is great news. Hopefully you and the team have a chance to celebrate it, uh, then these crazy times. And congratulations, uh, it does surprised me one bit, you know, organizations tend to take the persona of who leads them. And so you Wintec and Gulfstream, you know, it makes a lot of sense to me. So congratulations. Thanks. We appreciate it. You bet. Okay, Allison really appreciate and, and enjoy these conversations we’ve had here today. Really appreciate you, uh, facilitating our informative, inspiring, entertaining conversation with lean Richard. So lean again. Thank you for your time today. Thank you for having me appreciate it. This was great. And let’s make sure by the way, and, and thank you for your time Al Allison, how can folks connect with you? Definitely find me on, on LinkedIn. I am all over the place on LinkedIn. Awesome. Well, a Allison really appreciate your time here today.
Scott Luton (47:58):
Lean a joy to get to know you listeners. Hopefully you’ve enjoyed this conversation as much as I have. There’s so much unpack here. We need really need to have like a bonus hour, but maybe we will have Leanne back and dive a little deeper on some of the things that, that, uh, came out in our conversation. Hey, be sure to find email@example.com. Find us wherever you get your podcast from. So you’ll miss conversations like this, but most importantly folks, Hey, be like Leanne Richards, do good. Give forward. Be the change that’s needed. And on that note, we see next time, right back here on supply chain now. Thanks everybody.
Thanks for being a part of our supply chain. Now, community check out all of our firstname.lastname@example.org and make sure you subscribe to supply chain. Now anywhere you listen to podcasts and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. See you next time on supply chain. Now.
LeAnne Richards is a Global Supply Chain Integration Leader at a major Consumer Packaged Goods Company. In this role, she is responsible for managing Supply Chain systems implementation projects in North America and Latin America. With over 20 years of Supply Chain experience, LeAnne attributes her success to the notion of being a lifelong learner.
LeAnne is a true creative with an undying passion for empowering youth. Through the organization she founded, REIGN! (Realizing Excellence In Girls Now!), she works diligently to inspire young ladies to embrace their full potential by developing purpose-driven programs that emphasize personal leadership, creativity, social responsibility, and college readiness. LeAnne holds a BS Degree in Business Administration from Florida A&M University and an MS Degree in Management with a concentration in Organizational Development from Georgia State University. She is a member of Leadership Cobb Class of 2019/20 and an involved community member serving as a Board Director for the Atlanta ToolBank, an instructor for the BUY Cobb Leadership Academy, and Board Member for LiveSafe Resources. In her free time you can find LeAnne cheering on her daughter, a senior at Hillgrove High School, in one of her various athletic events, or engulfed in one of many half completed Home Improvement projects. Connect with LeAnne 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.
Director of Communications and Executive Producer
Donna Krache is a former CNN executive producer who has won several awards in journalism and communication, including three Peabodys. She has 30 years’ experience in broadcast and digital journalism. She led the first production team at CNN to convert its show to a digital platform. She has authored many articles for CNN and other media outlets. She taught digital journalism at Georgia State University and Arizona State University. Krache holds a bachelor’s degree in government from the College of William and Mary and a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from the University of New Orleans. She is a serious sports fan who loves the Braves. She is president of the Dave Krache Foundation. Named in honor of her late husband, this non-profit pays fees for kids who want to play sports but whose parents are facing economic challenges.
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 a veteran of the US Army and cofounder of the Guam Human Rights Initiative. She is currently in the Doctor of Criminal Justice program at Saint Leo University. She is passionate about combating human trafficking and has spent the last decade conducting training for military personnel and the local community.
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.