In this episode of Logistics with Purpose, powered by Vector Global Logistics on Supply Chain Now, hosts Enrique Alvarez and Kristi Porter welcome Alice Brown with GoodSteps to the podcast to discuss their mission of fighting hunger one pair of flip flops at a time.
Enrique Alvarez (00:21):
Once again, to another episode of our series logistics with purpose, this is an incredible time of mind for me. And I wish we would do this a little bit more often because it’s really inspiring and exciting. And today we have an amazing guest, a great organization, 154 children fully nourished, 82,286 meals donated. But before we get into any of that, Kristi., how are you doing today? I’m
Kristi Porter (00:46):
Good in drinking. I’m excited to be here and always excited when we get to talk to one of my friends. So this is going to be a lot of fun. And I think it’s another great example of the creativity that people use to solve big problems in the world. So this is going to be a great conversation. I’m excited for everybody to be here and, um, learn from Alice.
Enrique Alvarez (01:06):
Right. Very, very, um, very timely interview as well as it’s getting hot here in Georgia. And I’m guessing it’s getting hot, uh, in other places as well.
Kristi Porter (01:14):
Yes, it is. Um, definitely for those who are working from home or like to be outside, or just like to be comfortable, today’s episode is going to be a good one for you
Enrique Alvarez (01:26):
Interview. Yes, you’re absolutely right about that. And so before we say hi to our amazing guests today, I just want to say thank you to the team at supply chain now and clay, uh, Natalie and everyone behind the scenes, making this show possible and as well to our audience, Maria, uh, welcome. She’s watching from pH, uh, Rhonda bumping PSAs in Vermont, and also very good morning to you do. She is in hot Arizona. So this interview will be interesting to you as well. So Chiney B daddy joining from Germany. Um, Peter Peter has always good afternoon. Yes. It’s great to have you. And, uh, we’ll look forward to this conversation and your active participation in it as well. Um, a lot of people joining as always, uh, it’s always so incredible to see people from all over the world, kind of coming together to listen to, uh, this amazing guests and organizations that we’re going to hopefully continue featuring here. Kristi, go ahead and let us give us the honor of introducing our guest today.
Kristi Porter (02:28):
So today we’re talking to my friend, Alice Brown, also here with us in Atlanta, but shipping globally. And she is the founder of good steps who use of all things flip-flops to fight hunger. So I’m excited for everybody to hear from her and the creative solution she came up with. And she has a super interesting background that is, um, atypical for a social entrepreneur. So she’s done a lot of really amazing work here on a local level, but also working of course, like many of our guests on a global scale as well, but like said it’s fun to see when people come up with really creative solutions to fighting big problems. And so using flip-flops to fight hunger is certainly I think, in that category. So I’m excited to introduce everybody to Alice Brown of good steps. Hi Alice. Hey guys, I’m good. It’s just going to be so fun and everybody needs flip flops right now. We’re going through a huge heat wave. Um, so it’s going to be really awesome for everybody to learn more about what you do and hear your story and yeah. Um, I’m thrilled to, um, highlight your mission. So thanks so much for being here.
Alice Brown (03:36):
I’m glad to be here and I agree everybody needs to flip flops, your
Kristi Porter (03:40):
Buddy, everybody. And we have them both casually and a little bit dressier for those who are going into the office or having offsite meetings flip-flops are always a welcome site. So we’ll find a pair for them, but yeah, so before we get into good steps and how you stepped out on purpose, um, please start us off and tell us a little bit about where you grew up in, in your childhood and kind of those early years in your life.
Alice Brown (04:05):
Sure. So I grew up in Alabama, um, in Huntsville where it’s facing rocket center is unfortunately I did not know any astronauts, but, um, yeah, grab and then, uh, went away to college in North Carolina to wake forest and then came to ended up in Atlanta because it came to law school here. I went to Emory for law school and then, um, met my husband and they’d put from there.
Kristi Porter (04:31):
Yeah. So what did you study in, um, law school, first of all?
Alice Brown (04:36):
Uh, so in law I was thinking I was going to do litigation, so I was pretty focused on that. And then when I actually, um, chose what job I was going to take, I ended up doing, uh, general corporate law for a financial institution. So I worked for banks and for REITs real estate investment trusts and, um, just big, big companies that were doing either MNA or securities work. Um, and when I first came out, it was the banking crisis. So there was a lot of, uh, failing banks here in Georgia that we were helping out. Um, so yeah, did that for six and a half years.
Kristi Porter (05:11):
All right. And then, hello, we’ve got some other Maria’s joining us. Rhonda is here. Francois’s here. Hi Scott, so many good people. Um, so if you have questions along the way for any, um, for Alice about either good steps or herself, then please put them in the chat and we’ll try and, um, make sure she answers those questions as well. But I know Enrique also had some questions about your background.
Enrique Alvarez (05:35):
I have tons of different questions and I’m just super excited to have Alex here and we’re talking the, uh, backstage before this live stream. And it’s, it’s, it’s a pleasure to get to know you and tell us, cause I feel like there’s a lit of a lot of things to kind of explain from how do you go from legal corporate lawyer, uh, banking and finance into such an amazing organization. Tell us a little bit more about like your story in the earlier years that you always wanted to be an entrepreneur that you always kind of foresee yourself as someone that could turn flip flops and do a purpose driven or yeah,
Alice Brown (06:13):
As you can imagine as a lawyer, we are a fairly risk averse group. So that was sort of, my path was, you know, steady. My parents were both at both worked and worked hard and, um, could I just always was focused on finding that career path that was going to be stable and you know, I could always fall back on. And, um, I worked really hard at it. You know, I worked at a big law firm, which means a lot of hours put in. Um, but as I, as I sort of was growing up, all these companies started popping up that had a social mission and I, as a consumer, I loved it and I sought them out. I, if I heard that a company had some sort of give aspect, I bought it, whatever it was. I mean, I had quite the collection for gifts, nail Polish shoes, shirts, scarves, you know, if I found it, I was all on board.
Alice Brown (07:01):
They, when I sort of throughout Matlock courier, again, you know, you’re just working such long hours and to be putting in that much work, I just slowly started thinking, you know, if I’m going to be working this hard, I kind of want to be working this hard towards like something other than, you know, good work. But it’s just for something bigger. I finally made the leap. Um, when I had my first child, I have three kids when I had my first child. It was like, okay, if there’s ever going to be a time for me to take control of my schedule, first of all, and second of all, spend my work time creating good or feeling like a bigger, there’s a bigger meaning behind my, my work. This is the time. So I sort of came up with the concept of the company first. Like I knew I wanted to create a company that would provide sustainable funding for non-profit partners. And then once I knew I wanted to do that, I sort of came up with flip-flops because everybody has them. It’s sort of universal all genders, all ages. It’s something that everybody does anyway. Um, and then sort of researching the market. It seemed like there was, um, some plasticity there, there, you know, there would still be a demand for another brand and say, then, then it was the learning process of like, okay, I know everything or not everything. I know a lot about law and they’re nothing about manufacturing.
Alice Brown (08:22):
They’ve been just sort of jumping into that, that whole process. The development process took a solid two years before we were able to, to launch. So we launched in August of 16, that’s 2016, which, I mean, it’s not really the best timing again, which I’m sure we’ll talk about later, but just the logistics of getting products from a manufacturer to S you know, we obviously would’ve preferred to launch in early spring, like before the whole football season, but we finally got the shoes and it was I’m launching, even if it’s the end of the end of the season.
Enrique Alvarez (08:59):
That’s great. And, uh, of course, very brave in a very kind of entrepreneurial way. Right. I think that everyone kind of feels similarly, or at least I related to your story when you said, well, maybe we could be doing something different and since we’re working incredibly long hours anyways, why not? So I’m pretty sure that a lot of people there are relating to your story so far. Is there like any particular, uh, story, uh, from your upbringing, either in Alabama or North Carolina that gave you some hints of the entrepreneurial, uh, career path that you were going to choose at some point or something that kind of shaped your, your views of why giving back, why making it possibly impact is important, not only to you, but to the world this day?
Alice Brown (09:41):
We may have. I think from my early childhood, it was really just seeing my parents work really hard. They, my mom was an audiologist and my dad was a psychiatrist and they just, they put in a lot of hours and they were just passionate about what they did cause they felt like they were really helping people. So it was a different sort of helping people, you know, they were, it wasn’t like a gift per se. It was their actual job. Um, so I think I’ve just always had that idea that I would love for what I did to help people like directly. And then sort of realizing that in law, you are helping companies, which is helping people, but it’s not really helping people directly. Um, and then my husband and I took a trip towards the end of my law career. We went to Africa for three weeks and it wasn’t, um, it wasn’t a trip, it was a fun trip.
Alice Brown (10:29):
It wasn’t like meant to change anything, but just seeing we were in, we went and climbed Mount Kilimanjaro. And so we were in Tanzania and just, you couldn’t help, but notice sort of been the need all around, you know, just the, it was, it was, I don’t know, not surprising cause you obviously already know that, but it was just a very large juxtaposition from my day-to-day life of helping these big corporations and then seeing sort of day-to-day life with people who are struggling to have their most basic needs met. And so I think that just the two of those together just sort of engendered in me an interest in like, how can we all do what we’re doing, but like do it in a way that’s better for everybody like actually helping people, um, while still maintaining our normal labs and just always having that in the back of your head, like how can you do your everyday life and also help people?
Kristi Porter (11:26):
Yeah. Like climbing Kilimanjaro, I would assume you feel like you could do basically anything starting a business.
Alice Brown (11:34):
It was definitely, it was definitely a bigger challenge than I understood going in. I think my husband understood it a little bit better, but it was very hard and it took, we, we did it in six days and it was, it was the journey to say the least. Yeah, that’s incredible. Yeah. It was an accomplishment, but everyone I’m like everyone asks, if my kids ask if they, if they should do it, I would say absolutely not. There’s a lot more, it was a lot more dangerous than I anticipated, I guess. Um, but overall a wonderful experience. And like you said, a challenge that you’re certainly glad you did after the fact.
Kristi Porter (12:12):
Yeah, for sure. Um, yeah. Charles made a great comment about, uh, purposeful purchasing feels like a good direction for retailers to take. So yeah, we completely agree with you Charles. So Alice, let’s talk a little bit about, um, I guess first, a little bit more because there’s there probably not a lot of lawyer turned social entrepreneurs, flip-flop stories out there, true movie formulas that we’re familiar with. Um, talk a little bit more about just, I guess you talked a little bit about being, feeling good about what you did, but a little unfulfilled on the purchase side. So besides now as an entrepreneur, especially manufacturing, sourcing, all of that stuff, you’re really great at reading contracts. Um, other like skills, I guess that you, you now maybe looking back didn’t really see how they would translate better now coming in so helpful and how having that law background has really, um, helped you as an entrepreneur.
Alice Brown (13:13):
Well, I think you nailed it like the most helpful part certainly has been like contract negotiation and just making sure that sort of the corporate side is buttoned up creating, creating a corporation, sort of all of the things that go around at trademarking, our name, you know, all of those things certainly felt more natural. And then I think just, um, sort of the mindset of, of corporate America has been helped and hurt. I think because you know, on a big firm side, you respond quick time as many like respond quickly, you get things done quickly, you try to be as efficient as possible. Um, you’re organized, you know, all of those things help when you’ve got, when you’re running a business and you’ve got all the different things that you have to take care of rather than like, if it was just dealing with the manufacturer, that would be easier.
Alice Brown (13:57):
But obviously then you also have to do social media marketing and PR and you know, all of the other buckets, you sort of have to manage all of them and just time management, you know, I feel like you can get sucked in as an entrepreneur. You can get sucked into a 24 hour a day job. And having already done that at a law firm, I feel like I appreciated the ability to not have to do that as an entrepreneur. When you work for yourself, you have to sort of self-regulate and say, you know what, I don’t actually have to stay up all night and do this because it’s, it’s all on me. I think that has been very beneficial. Peter,
Enrique Alvarez (14:34):
Peter joining us from Kenya. Again, we have people from all over the world. I’m pretty sure like the Kilimanjaro story kind of resonated with them. Um, Peter, thank you so much for joining us again, uh, Charles as well and Mohammad, uh Saiful and then probably butchered the way that your name was pronounced. But thank you. Thank you for joining as well. This conversation alleys. So you kind of have to talk to us a little bit about, you already walked us through the first steps of good steps. Um, I guess no pun intended there, but, uh, but uh, you mentioned a little bit about you and, and how caring and kind of how driven by companies that have some kind of purpose and you were a, you’re a consumer, we’re all our consumers and, and you kind of feel that that’s, that’s strength of deciding what to buy and what to do with your money.
Enrique Alvarez (15:28):
It’s important. So now you mentioned that everyone wears flip flops and that’s why you decided on flip-flops. But if you could tell us a bit more about that story, because at the end of the day, I would love to understand a bit more, some of those brainstorming sessions, when you knew that you wanted to leave, you knew that you wanted to start something in the, that would help others more directly. Uh, what other potential projects were you considering and why other than the fact that everyone wears flip flops. And I think it’s a brilliant idea. Um, how do you end up with, uh, with that one in particular and then Tulsa would be more about the, the name, uh, the naming process too.
Alice Brown (16:05):
We’ll say an interesting flip-flops is actually the first idea that I came up with and I sort of, it felt right. It felt good, but then I, you know, I put it aside and I tried to think of like bigger and, you know, is there something else I’m missing? You know, you guys said the typical iterations of, well, everybody has t-shirts or, you know, but there’s just there, there’s a lot of things that a lot of people have that, that are easily easy to replicate. Um, you know, everybody can print the t-shirt or, you know, there’s just a lot of products that I felt like either would get lost in the mix, um, or just weren’t, you know, you only need so many scarves or whatever it was. Um, and so it just felt like she’s for the right fit and they’re not fast fashion, you know, they’re not something that they’re going to go out of style or that I would have to flip over a lot, no restyle over and over.
Alice Brown (16:57):
It’s just sort of like, it’s the consistent product, I guess. Um, so then once I was thinking that that might be a good fit, I’d started talking to just as many people as I could possibly talk to connecting with them through friends of friends, through LinkedIn, through everywhere. I could think of just sort of trying to figure out all the negatives that I didn’t know about. Like just to make sure I was an informed before I just jumped in there. I mean, I didn’t even know how you go to a manufacturer. Do I have this issue and be like, can you make this, like, I have no idea. I don’t know how to make a shoe. Um, so just sort of, it was a bumpy road of just talking to people and then they would say, oh, you should talk to this person and this person.
Alice Brown (17:37):
And eventually I found my way to, um, my shoe designer who is amazing. And, um, that was one of the best decisions I made with hiring him. Um, he’s in Vancouver, but anyway, we just hit it off and he has been super helpful along the way. Um, but once I started that process of like figuring out what I wanted, I actually wanted the shoe to look like again, making it as universal as possible and as versatile as possible, but also stand out on its end. Well that, and that’s another reason I picked cheese actually too, is because I wanted the product to stand on its own. You know, I love a social enterprise, but if your product isn’t good, you really only selling the story and that can only take you so far. Um, so I, one of the products would be, you know, just as good as it could possibly be so that even if the story doesn’t resonate or nobody knows, they don’t even know about the story, they just like this flip-flop on its end state for its own sake.
Alice Brown (18:33):
So, um, so that’s how I sort of honed in on flip flops. And that was my idea about sort of how to make them stand out, not just the story, the story was the reason for them existing, but I wanted them to be good on their end. And then the naming process, actually it was going to do a post about this. I came up with some, I mean, we just had my husband and I, and my friends and I, uh, we just brainstormed constantly. And, you know, it had some hilarious ones that I loved. And then, you know, then the like.com wouldn’t be available and then I’d find another one. And then I thought people like, oh, of course, like make so much. I was able to snag the.com, which was the biggest, you know, the biggest part of the puzzle to me. Um, and then we just went from there, but it took a while to get there. But as soon as, as soon as I heard it, it was like, oh, of course it’s good stuff.
Enrique Alvarez (19:30):
Yeah. Great, great name, do it. And a good story. And a lot of younger, uh, people listened to this, uh, live streams and episodes of logistical purpose. Is there like anything that you would like to kind of, uh, suggest to them if they’re kind of entrepreneurs at heart, looking for a product, looking to launch something, um, given your experience and what you’ve learned throughout this whole process, what, what would you tell those kinds of, uh, young entrepreneurs or even young at heart intrepreneurs that are out there and want to do something
Alice Brown (20:01):
When, you know, find anyone about their experiences? Just say you don’t go into something without really knowing, knowing your market, knowing, you know, sort of everything that you need to know before going in. I feel like that helped me immensely. Just, just fear. I mean, it’s like anything you got to do your research before you buy a car, you research it before you make big life decisions. You resources to just talk to everybody. I mean, even people that might potentially be your future competitors. I just feel like I have, if you go into it with, uh, you know, with a, um, I’m not just taking from you, like, I think you’re like, tell them why you’re reaching out. Like you’re, I’ve always respected your brand. I think you’re doing an amazing job at XYZ. Um, I’d love to have, you know, ask you these three specific questions that I have about the process or something like that. You know, nobody wants to get an email. That’s like, can I pick your brain over coffee? Or like, who are you? Um, I’m busy. I don’t have time for that. But if you’re specific and you explain exactly why you’re reaching out, I feel like nine times out of 10 people are so happy to talk to you about it. So that’s my main advice honestly, is just talking to everyone so that, you know, if it’s a good fit before you dive in.
Kristi Porter (21:13):
Yeah. That’s a really a bold move to, especially to talk to competitors or people, you know, there’s a lot of times we also make assumptions. They’re probably too busy. They won’t reply. I can just Google this. So, um, I think there’s also some of that grit that comes with starting a company that even just comes through that research process of, um, you know, being willing to reach out and ask those hard conversations or have those conversations and ask hard questions. Even if it’s somebody you think could be competing with you on some level and just seeing if they’ll respond. So
Alice Brown (21:47):
At that point there you do. I feel like that was part of my advice is to make sure you, like, if it’s an, a readily available question on Google, like definitely look at that first, you know, come prepared so that they understand why you’re coming to them. Not just like, Hey, I want to network with you or whatever. I feel like that that’s always appreciated, like, oh, I’ve looked and you’ve done this. And I had another question about that, that I couldn’t find or something to that effect. But yeah.
Kristi Porter (22:11):
And then let’s talk about, um, two, I want to hear more, we talked about the flip flops. We talked a little bit about how you came up with those, but there’s so many big issues in the world. So many things to tackle, um, so many causes to choose from. So how did you end up, um, focusing on hunger and then also the two, um, charities that you ultimately decided to go with as well as for your, the social impact piece.
Alice Brown (22:37):
Right? So you’re right. There’s so many, there’s so many ways you can go. And I mean, the very first step is I just wrote down a list of like things that if I had a magic wand that I could fix and they’re huge. So you’re like, okay, cancer water, everyone needs water, food. And ultimately decided on food because to me, food and water, it’s like, if you don’t have that, then you can’t fight disease. You can’t, you know, there’s so many other issues that you can’t even address if somebody doesn’t have their most basic needs, food, water, shelter. Um, and then food just felt particularly like impactful to me, especially as I was having kids. I couldn’t imagine not being able to provide them with basic nutrition. Um, when I started researching all the, you know, mountain, the number of malnourished children in the world, it was just shocking to me, um, that they mean not even basic nutrition, you know, so has ultimately hands in on hunger.
Alice Brown (23:34):
And then from there, there’s a bunch of websites and I have a friend who’s in the nonprofit world who, you know, where you can sort of search out organizations based on how they spend their money, you know, sort of the success rate, if you will, there’s like a metric for how the money is being spent, whether they report how they spend their money, precisely sort of all the, the ways where you can follow your money, basically when you donate. Um, and then there was a, so then it got down to a shorter list. And so then it was, I think we should have a local option where you can see the impact in your local community. And that’s how I ended up on Atlanta community food bank. Um, and they’re also really transparent about how they spend their money and where it goes. And there’s tons of volunteer opportunities, which I really like.
Alice Brown (24:25):
And then manna and nutrition, they primarily are a hundred percent give they’re a little rets packets, nutritional packets, um, are given around the world to directly treat malnourished children. Um, a malnourished child needs three of those a day for four to six weeks, and then they’re fully nourished and they, you know, completely reverses and they can go forth for there. And I think the stat is like once they’re fully nourished and once a Mount or a shadow is fully nourished, it’s like 90% of them don’t become malnourished again. So we really do just sort of change the trajectory of their health and their life. So, um, Amanda is based in North Carolina, but they actually manufacture their packets in Georgia. So, um, there felt like there was a connection there, but then the customer would have the option between, you know, do I want my money to go locally and help food insecure people here in Georgia? Or do I want to focus on, uh, kids abroad say they could sort of, the customer could sort of pick their passion.
Kristi Porter (25:29):
Yeah. And we talked, we were talking before the show, and then of course you and I talked, um, previously just about, I, you know, we’ve, as I said, you can buy sometimes throughout the year a Subaru and choose your charity or where you want to give back to, but to see it on such a, an entrepreneurial solo preneur, um, at such a small company level is really cool to be able to, to put that power back into people’s hands and back to that purchase power that, you know, the power that we each have every day, um, it’s such a special and unique thing. And, um, also just talk a little bit more about sort of you were talking about earlier the profit model and how you choose your percentage on giving back and all of that kind of thing too. Cause that’s also unique
Alice Brown (26:11):
Purpose of the company is to support our non-profit giving partners. We give a hundred percent of our post operational profits to these partners. And so, you know, the way that works out is approximately 20% of the purchase price of every item sold. Um, and to the customer, they, you know, we are only online, um, and say the customer goes online and picks their products. And then after checking out, they decide which giving partner, they won’t donate to you. And then we make a quarterly donation, uh, add up all those purchases and make a quarterly donation to each of our giving, giving partners. Um, which is basically the whole idea. You know, we’re, we’re a for-profit company, but the profits go to charity. So it’s, it’s similar to a nonprofit, but our hope is that it’s a sustainable if basically sustainable source of income for these nonprofits.
Alice Brown (27:01):
So that, you know, it’s just always turning over cash instead of a one-time donation or something like that. So it’s, um, it, it is it’s our whole purpose is to give people the power to do good. I think, like you said, even when you’re doing a purchase, as small as a flip-flop, that adds up, if, you know, 200, a thousand people who were going to buy flip-flops elsewhere, bought flip-flops with us, that’s making a difference. You need every little bit, every decision people can make in their lives can make, it can make a difference depending on how they, how they do it.
Kristi Porter (27:36):
Yeah. And you’re very transparent about highlighting the numbers directly on your website and what, and showing what your impact is and, um, allowing people to see the change that they’re making too. So, um, that’s really important and amazing that you do that.
Alice Brown (27:50):
I was just going to say that that is really important to me personally, just as a person, as we were talking about earlier as a consumer for, you know, as someone who loves facial impact companies, uh, as I’ve gotten more into being on the business side of it, it’s really important to me to be transparent about what, what we do with the money and how, and just being very open about all of the backend part of that. Because when a company says we’re a social enterprise, we give you no money to XYZ that you don’t really know what that means. That could mean they give a penny that could mean they give a lot and you just have no idea. And I don’t want it to ever be unclear what we’re doing, where this is not marketing. This is, this is why we’re here. Absolutely.
Enrique Alvarez (28:34):
You just, um, and, and what you said is very powerful and it kind of, um, stayed with me, uh, give people the power to do good, because on top of everything that you’re saying, you’re also letting the consumers, cause you went through that and you bought and purchased products from companies that you believed in, uh, you’re giving that choice to your consumers. So, um, so that’s, that’s really, really smart. And, uh, that’s something that Charles, uh, Charles salsa seconds, Alice were insightful to have to sell more than just a story. Charles, thanks so much. Uh, Rhonda kind of, uh, doubles down on that as well. Like there, uh, you have not only a great purpose and a great mission, but at the end of the day, as you mentioned it yourself, the, the flip-flops are high quality, great products. If you’re going to buy a flip-flop anyways, why wouldn’t you buy one? That’s not only incredibly comfortable and, uh, and well designed, but, but one that will then give back to people. Um, Francois, thank you so much for your question and Alice’s question for you. So, and you briefly mentioned this before, but in particular to the developing or the sourcing, and I know that, uh, I think you’re sourcing and manufacturing some of these in Brazil as well. How do you learn about the product and Francois? Thank you so much for that question.
Alice Brown (29:51):
Well, it’s definitely a process, as I mentioned that first production, I was very green. So that was initially why we ended up going with a developer here in the U S who had a relationship with the factory in Brazil, um, so that they could sort of help us walk through the process, which was still bumpy even with that experienced person. Um, just because I was very particular about what I was willing to accept and not accept in terms of quality and color and everything. Um, I think, you know, now looking back, having, going through this process again without the U S uh, liaison help, I think the process is always going to be bumpy. Um, that’s, that’s the story of manufacturing and sourcing. Um, but you know, I think basically learned by doing is the right and just basically sticking to my guns. I think, no, it was a long process, which I’m sure was painful as painful for the manufacturer as it was for me, but it was important to me that I got it right. And so I think they eventually got that and we got the product, right. That it is a process. You mentioned
Enrique Alvarez (31:06):
That you launched in 2016,
Alice Brown (31:09):
Correct? That’s right. Yes. They, we’re about to be a five in August. Thank you. And we are in the process of launching kids shoes for the first time, which is exciting, um, which you guys vector actually, I believe it’s going to help us get the shoes to America when they’re ready, if, and when they’re ready, well
Enrique Alvarez (31:32):
Kind of with our support for whatever you might need and Francois, thank you very much for that question as well. And I guess trial and error make a lot of mistakes, be brave, keep pushing it’s, uh, to take their guns, uh, and as Alice has done, and that’s just, there’s no magic bullet, I guess, right. When it comes to this thing, I just have to go on, I just have to go and do it and learn and talk to a lot of people that have done it in the past. Uh, Charles, a lot of comments, Kim as well, Kim winter welcome, uh, to the show as well. Theiss are, uh, from Singapore, welcome as well. And, uh, at this point we have an amazing, um, audience, and I’m not going to be able to read every single comment, but I want to thank the audience for participating. And I’m actually going to call out a couple of you guys, Peter Kim. Uh, if you guys have any questions for Alice Brown, please send them on the, send them on the text. Alice going back to, um, supply chain and logistics for a second. And now I was thinking about like now after the pandemic 2021, um, any big challenges, any big problems that you have kind of faced, and I’m sure you have many, but one in particular they want to share with us. And, and what do you learn from it? How do you solve it?
Alice Brown (32:46):
Well, this year has been obviously interesting for everyone. Luckily, because we are so small, it’s just me. We haven’t had as many, you know, there haven’t been like office or workplace issues related, but we, you know, like I mentioned, we were working on kids shoes and that production has certainly been slower as a result because Brazil was hit hard, um, with COVID as well. And so just sort of trying to navigate when to be patient and when, you know, to sort of push a little bit, because, you know, it’s hard to tell from afar when that is a real factor and when it’s not, when they just aren’t moving ahead. And so I think that’s been a, a big challenge is just to sort of figure out when it’s, when there are real reasonable delays and when there are unreasonable delays being blamed on a totally valid reason.
Alice Brown (33:41):
So, um, I think that, I think that has been the biggest challenge on my end, because as I mentioned, the process manufacturing process is slow to begin with. And then you throw in something as complicated as the global pandemic. Um, you certainly have to adjust expectations, but you also have to make sure things are moving when they can be moving. Um, I think that has been, I mean, it continues to be honestly, they, when are we, when are we sort of moving out of the pandemic related issues when they’re, you know, it’s just, it’s a hard, it’s a hard thing to manage until I guess everybody is vaccinated and we can all go back to normal. It’s just difficult to know when, especially when I can’t be there on, on the ground in person at the factory, seeing firsthand whether, whether this is really affecting XYZ or not. Absolutely.
Enrique Alvarez (34:30):
Especially. Um, and you, you pointed out like we in the U S I think are blessed in so many different ways, but there’s different countries that are, might be trailing behind a little bit on the vaccination from there. Uh, they’re still having new COVID outbreaks. And so you’re absolutely right. It’s been a definitely a challenging year for a lot of companies. I would say it a lot of most companies out there, uh, in particular for, for, I guess, your company trying to bring on a new product, new launch from Brazil when they’re being hit by COVID, that must be, that must be real challenging for sure. Any, anything else from the, uh, supply chain or just in general, like Phyllis will be more about how your company and organization, uh, went through such a difficult year during the pandemic and what you learned from, from your skillsets and some of the things that you think that you’ll need to get better at going forward.
Alice Brown (35:23):
Well, to your first question, um, sourcing, and just generally a, an interesting process, um, when you’re not a big organization, because we do fairly small production runs. Um, luckily they have smaller minimums in Brazil than some other larger manufacturing outfits, but, um, sourcing can become difficult because they basically source the exact amount they need for one production. So if I come back in a year and I’m like, these were really popular, I’d like to make these again, they may have to start over on the sourcing, which is difficult then to have the same product with new materials. So, um, that’s going to be an ongoing challenge until we can just, you know, do bigger runs, I think. But even then, it’s just, um, particularly with leathers, you know, they make a batch and they diet, um, hand diet exactly how you want. And then if you, everyone loves it and you sell it, then it’s like, oh, now we gotta make it again, but it’s never going to be exactly the same.
Alice Brown (36:24):
Um, they just have to sort of know that and just generally try to get close again. Um, but especially on kids shoes, if you can imagine, say that they’re so much smaller, so much less of all of the materials, it’s, it’s a challenge to get suppliers to agree to give you, you know, the amount that you need, or you just have to buy so much and hope that itself so that you can make more of the exact same color and know style. So it is an interesting, um, learning process as to sort of balancing either pay more for less, or you kind of gamble and buy more hoping that it’s the right mixture of color and texture and everything else. Um, but as far as COVID itself say when, um, when everything’s sort of shut down in March of last year, um, the food bank in particular was immediately the demand for their services went up exponentially because people’s jobs were furloughed.
Alice Brown (37:26):
You know, everything schools are shut down. A lot of kids get school meals. So for the first four months of the pandemic, we doubled our gifts so that we were giving 40% of every sale to the, to our ticketing partners, just to try to do our part and making an impact. Um, so it is, I mean the food bank has really stepped up. They, you know, I don’t even know the numbers, but they’ve tripled or quadrupled the number of, uh, food that they distribute, um, around north Georgia. Um, and they’re, and they’re still are, they expect to continue to be in high demand for a little bit longer while everything everyone gets, gets back to work and everything. So, um, you know, we, it, it just affected everybody. It was, it was a no brainer to me if we’re trying to, if we’re trying to help people fight hunger issues and suddenly hunger issues are much bigger issues. Like we’ll just do what we can and give more than
Enrique Alvarez (38:21):
Well, I mean, congratulations, there’s really no other way of saying it. This is amazing. Like when, when everyone else was struggling, when everyone else was kind of trying to shy away from investing in their companies and their futures and whatever, you basically doubled, literally doubled double down the help in the hopefully one of the worst years that we’ve seen in history of humankind. So, uh, so this speaks volumes of the kind of company and the purpose and how committed you are to not only the product itself, but giving back. Um, good question here. Well, we have plenty of good questions. So the one that I I’m going to ask you comes from Charles again, uh, I returned a big issue for your product.
Alice Brown (39:02):
You know, we have been lucky knock on wood. Um, we have had not had many returns, which is, which is great. I don’t know if it’s just a result of my shoe designers, excellent design. Um, but we really haven’t had a big issue with that. You know, the more that we sell, obviously you get more returns, but it’s few and far between, and we have a very, um, detailed fit guide on our website, um, which I always send people to you. If they email a question about fit, you can actually print it out and stand on the printout. And like, it was very clear, like you just put your foot on it and you can see right there, whether it fits or not. Um, the, I think the hardest part about flip-flops is it typically there’s no half sizes so that I would say that accounts for most of the returns, if someone’s half size, they just don’t know whether to go up or down and often if they go up or down and they should have gone up or down, you know, down or up then, um, that might be their problem. But for the most part, we’ve been really lucky on that you
Enrique Alvarez (40:06):
Usually should go up, right? What’s the fashion advise for someone that doesn’t know about how to buy flip-flops?
Alice Brown (40:13):
Yes. Mostly always get bigger. Um, with the exception of, if you have a really skinny foot, I would go down one size because we also have memory foam that will sort of settle a little bit. It doesn’t stretch. It just sort of feel settled in a little bit, um, which feels like it’s giving you a little extra space, it’s really foot length as opposed to anything else, like, again, print out your fit guide.
Enrique Alvarez (40:39):
Um, I have another question from, uh, Kim winter. Um, Hey, Alice joined the show late today, as Enrica knows. I’m CEO of not-for-profit Oasis, Africa, freedom from poverty through education, 8,000 kids educated in 15 years. And, uh, what’s your tip for other folks wanting to start a nonprofit MOAs, asking the question, give advice where I can interest interested in your, your tip. Thank you, Kim, for the question, and also thank you for everything you do in Africa. It is amazing how much impact you’re having as well.
Alice Brown (41:11):
Absolutely. I mean, that’s a hard one. I think again, it goes back to research it’s, it’s sort of, and also think small, say you’re not going to found a nonprofit or a social enterprise and cure cancer tomorrow, um, or give $3 million tomorrow. You need to start with, okay. If I could help one person, if I like in your incentive, I can educate one child. What do I need to do to do that? And then if that’s successful, okay, I want to do two kids and then I want to be three kids. And he sort of, I think you just got to start and think small, well, you can always have huge goals. Like that’s, you know, that’s the dream. Like, I would love to eradicate hunger, but in the inner you need step by step to have like, you know, doable goals. And then also just picking something that you’re passionate about. So it doesn’t, it doesn’t become tiresome or, um, you know, if you’re passionate about it, then you’re going to put in the work and the little bumps in the road aren’t going to deter you. So, um, I think that would be my advice is to think small while dreaming big and also do your research as to whether it’s sort of, uh, something that can, that can help get, you know, carry on and not just be it’s something that’s sustainable, I guess.
Kristi Porter (42:23):
And along those lines, I think, um, you’ve talked a little bit about, um, the term social enterprise and not everyone may be familiar with the term social enterprise. So if you want to speak to that just a little bit, as well as, um, you probably like a lot of people out there, even to Kim’s question, do I go non-profit or for-profit and support a cause. And how did you, um, come to the decision of going for profit to support nonprofits? And I’m just figuring out the social impact company side versus the nonprofit side. Right.
Alice Brown (42:56):
Okay. So the reason we decided not to do a nonprofit is basically because we are not experts in this fight against hunger. Um, there are many people who are, and there are already so many organizations doing such great work, um, with their feet on the ground already in the fight. So I didn’t feel like I could do better than they could coming into this game in 2016. So for me, it just made sense to be a for-profit and, and to just basically make as much, get as much money in these people’s hands, these experts hands as I could, um, to help them do what they do. Um, and as far as the social enterprise, I mean, to me, that’s what official enterprise is. It’s like, it may not, they may not get all of their profits away like we do, but it’s a company that whose main mission, or at least a large part of their mission is to give back whether that gives money to nonprofit, giving partners, whether that’s, um, being sustainable or ethically produced, um, or supporting employees, you know, through this work or whatever. Um, basically just having a cause bigger than making a profit, but they are for-profit and I forgot you had a second part of the question that I made.
Kristi Porter (44:09):
I know you can get great will in case I know some people are still in familiar with the term social enterprise, which we’ve tossed around a little bit. So I wanted to make sure that was clear and then just further understand how you decided to go for profit versus nonprofits, you know, that’s fantastic. And what was the, just in case anybody’s wondering or wanting to start their own project? Um, what was the website you used earlier when were talking about being able to track, um, giving and results and figure out which organizations you wanted to support?
Alice Brown (44:36):
I would have to double check that. I think it was charity tracker, I believe, but there was a, several, and the friend that I have this in that business, she’s in a consulting businesses, a business that specifically advises corporations on how to choose their charity. Um, and she directed me towards the act. I can follow up with you, um, on the notes. Okay, great.
Kristi Porter (45:00):
And then hopefully a question that, uh, more people are asking like, um, Jose here is how do people support your vision do to support you? And if they, um, have some hot feet right now, or where are they supposed to go?
Alice Brown (45:17):
Awesome. Well, you can get our website is www.goodsteps.com. And we’re on Instagram too at good step, but basically getting the word out is huge. Um, obviously we’d love for you to buy flip-flop. We think everybody needs them, but getting the word out. And we’re basically a hundred percent word of mouth at this point. So that is, that is our best method of marketing. And, you know, we, um, we, we love working with companies. We’ve had a couple of customers who have decided they own enough flip flops that have, um, basically bought like, you know, however many flip-flops 50 or whatever, and then ask that we find somewhere to actually donate the flip-flop. So then you get like a double gift sort of situation where we found a, um, a women’s shelter in Atlanta that needed shower shoes basically. And so we, you know, we both, he got to donate a lot of money to Manoj nutrition, and then we got the donate, a lot of fuse as well. That was like a, everybody wins, you know, scenario, which was great. And just for those who don’t love flip flops, which I can’t imagine there’s many, but we have,
Enrique Alvarez (46:30):
Sorry, if that’s you, that
Alice Brown (46:34):
Was right. But we do have cozy shirts. So we have kids start for, you know, while you’re waiting on our kids’ shoes. So we have other items as well, or you can just donate directly to the food bank or manna nutrition. They always would be happy for that as well. Absolutely.
Enrique Alvarez (46:47):
And, uh, Christie, um, thank you so much, Alice, this has been incredible. We’re, uh, wrapping up this amazing show. It’s been really, really nice talking to you. Uh, it sounds like, uh, you have everything, you’ve done everything very in a very smart and caring way. So we were going to be definitely not only supporting you, but cheering for you and good steps as you continue to grow this into, uh, a world brand.
Alice Brown (47:13):
Well, thank you. I appreciate you guys having me and I appreciate what y’all are doing as well. Get the word out. It’s half the battle.
Enrique Alvarez (47:20):
We’ll definitely push for that. And then we’ll have our, um, our audience to thank for that as well. Maria has a, another quick question for you, if we can kind of get it in, um, what is your company’s strength over your competitors?
Alice Brown (47:34):
I think our strength right now is that we are smaller than our competitors. And I mean, how can, you know, they’re focused on the bottom line, which we are as well, but it’s not our bottom line. It’s our non-profit partners bottom line. So I feel like that is more motivating at least to me than, uh, you know, a monetary profit in my pocket. So I think that’s a, you know, a strength that, you know, it’s just more motivating to me, plus I think it resonates with consumers and I think our products at the end of the day are also as good or better than theirs.
Enrique Alvarez (48:08):
Absolutely. Um, and Mohib, uh, thank you once again for joining us, uh, very supportive as well, every good step eradicates hunger, that’s quite a message, uh, for any kind of purpose driven customers out there. Like, uh, we, we all are here. Um, Christie, what was your favorite part of this interview as we can wrap it up? Uh, anything else that I might have been missing?
Kristi Porter (48:30):
I, you know, uh, like I said, at the beginning, my, uh, one of my favorite things in having these conversations with people is just, there’s, there’s so many big issues. Like I always talked about hunger or water, um, health, nutrition, poverty, there’s so many different things to tackle, and we all have different issues that resonates with us. And, um, I just love how Alice was able to hone in on an issue that meant something to her and figure out a very tangible way to solve it. And I, you know, I’m personally a big fan of the social enterprise model because it is an amazing intersection of cause and commerce. And, you know, we can use things that we can sell, things that we buy all the time and wear everyday like flip flops and also use them to fight big problems. So the, the creativity behind that, the messaging is Mohit pointed out. Um, everything is just this, this beautiful, uh, kind of intersection and overlap to where it’s something we need, but it also gives back. And it was terrific to hear how Alice found a way to do that. And the creativity used in solving such a big problem like hunger.
Enrique Alvarez (49:33):
Absolutely. And thank you once again, Alice, thank you very much to the audience. Maria says, great answer since hi to everyone as well. Um, thank you. This has been a really interesting and inspiring conversation with you. We wish you the best and of course I want thank, uh, the team at supply chain. Now, Natalie, Amanda Clay, without you guys, this of course would not be possible. The audience without you guys, none of this would be possible. So please, if you enjoy this conversations and if you like to kind of, uh, continue to dialogue about, uh, purpose driven organizations, like, uh, like good steps and talking to owners like Alice Brown that are really changing the world and making it a better place, please just follow us, uh, join us next time. And this has been a pleasure. Thank you very much to everyone. And I hope you have a great rest of
The week. See you guys.
Alice Brown spent years practicing general finance, banking and corporate law at a big law firm. During that time, she loved the concept of companies that give back and actively sought them out as a consumer. When her first child was born, she felt compelled to start spending her “work time” creating something GOOD. For Alice that turned into a company whose sole reason for existing is to give back. GoodSteps’ mission is simple: to do good in the world and to empower people – our customers – to do good. GoodSteps will turn 5 this August and to date has provided 82,286 meals to food insecure kids, families and seniors via the Atlanta Community Food Bank and has fully nourished back to health more than 154 malnourished via MANA Nutrition. Alice lives in Atlanta with her wonderfully supportive husband, three busy kids 7 and under, and one spoiled puppy. Connect with Alice on 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.
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.
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.
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, 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.
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.
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
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.
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, 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, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Vice President, Production
Amanda is a production and marketing veteran and entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience across a variety of industries and organizations including Von Maur, Anthropologie, AmericasMart Atlanta, and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Amanda currently manages, produces, and develops modern digital content for Supply Chain Now and their clients. Amanda has previously served as the VP of Information Systems and Webmaster on the Board of Directors for APICS Savannah, and founded and managed her own successful digital marketing firm, Magnolia Marketing Group. When she’s not leading the Supply Chain Now production team, you can find Amanda in the kitchen, reading, listening to podcasts, or enjoying time with family.
Constantine Limberakis is a thought leader in the area of procurement and supply management. He has over 20 years of international experience, playing strategic roles in a wide spectrum of organizations related to analyst advisory, consulting, product marketing, product development, and market research. Throughout his career, he's been passionate about engaging global business leaders and the broader analyst and technology community with strategic content, speaking engagements, podcasts, research, webinars, and industry articles.Constantine holds a BA in History from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and an MBA in Finance & Marketing / Masters in Public & International Affairs from the University of Pittsburgh.
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.
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 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 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.
Director of Sales
Tyler Ward serves as Supply Chain Now's Director of Sales. Born and raised in Mid-Atlantic, Tyler is a proud graduate of Shippensburg University where he earned his degree in Communications. After college, he made his way to the beautiful state of Oregon, where he now lives with his wife and daughter.
With over a decade of experience in sales, Tyler has a proven track record of exceeding targets and leading high-performing teams. He credits his success to his ability to communicate effectively with customers and team members alike, as well as his strategic thinking and problem-solving skills.
When he's not closing deals, you can find Tyler on the links or cheering on his favorite football and basketball teams. He also enjoys spending time with his family, playing pick-up basketball, and traveling back to Ocean City, Maryland, his favorite place!
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.
Principal & CMO, 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.
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.