There has been an explosion of new supplier diversity programs created over the last few years. While this is an exciting trend that brings new minds and energy to the movement, in some cases it may overshadow programs that have been in place for decades. These companies were committed to connecting with traditionally underrepresented communities long before it was a common practice.
Colgate-Palmolive is home to one of these longstanding supplier diversity programs. Now led by Director of Supplier Diversity Ayesha Simons, the program has been in place for over two decades. It is tasked with creating diverse community representation among the suppliers that the company does business with.
In this interview, Ayesha joins co-hosts Scott Luton and Kelly Barner to talk about the vision, business drivers, and continued evolution of Colgate-Palmolive’s supplier diversity program:
• How consumer sentiment and expectations provide supplier diversity programs with the incentive to continue challenging themselves
• The relationships that Ayesha and the rest of the Colgate-Palmolive team have to build inside and outside of the company for their supplier diversity vision to become reality
• Some of the challenges that remain for supplier diversity to continue growing – and expanding globally in some cases – despite other pressing corporate initiatives
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Scott Luton (00:32):
Hey, good morning, good afternoon, good evening, wherever you are, Scott Luton and Kelly Barner here with you on Supply Chain. Now, welcome to today’s show, Kelly, how are you doing?
Kelly Barner (00:41):
I am doing great, Scott. I’m always glad to be here.
Scott Luton (00:44):
Well, it’s always a pleasure. I tell you, I always learn a lot more from conversations you’re part of, so thank you for that. And you don’t give me quizzes afterwards, so
Kelly Barner (00:52):
<laugh>, at least not on camera
Scott Luton (00:54):
<laugh>, that’s all right. So, but today, as you know, I’m really excited about this great show, big show we got teed up. We’ll be speaking with a global business leader, doing big things in a really a variety of ways, but especially from a supplier diversity standpoint. Great conversation. We got teed up, right?
Kelly Barner (01:10):
We do. And, and this is a topic, you know, we get the opportunity to cover a lot of procurement and sourcing things as, as part of the supply chain now programs. But supplier diversity is one of those programs just like risk that has really thrust our discipline into the spotlight. So I love getting to hear from practitioners and leaders that are dedicated to these programs.
Scott Luton (01:30):
Well said, well said. Really appreciate the work you’re doing at Dial P for procurement, bys, meeting point, order, procurement, you name it. And this is gonna be a great conversation. So, with no further ado, I wanna welcome in our, our featured guests, rock Roll star, Ayesha, uh, Simons, director of Supplier Diversity with Colgate Palm Mall Company. Ayesha, how are you doing?
Ayesha Simons (01:50):
I’m doing great today. Thank you Scott, and thank you, Kelly.
Scott Luton (01:54):
Well, thank you a, a as busy as you are. I appreciate you carving some time out. Um, and I’m really excited, really enjoyed the pre-show conversation, and I think we’ve got, uh, really an intriguing hour teed up here today.
Ayesha Simons (02:09):
Great. I’m ready.
Scott Luton (02:11):
So, <laugh>. All right. I think ev everybody’s, uh, some folks are born ready, and I think Aisha Kelly is one of those folks. So, uh, with all of that said, I wanna dive in first. Um, and we’d like to get to know our guests, uh, initially here at Supply Chain now. And I wanna start with, Hey, Aisha, where did you grow up? You know, give us, uh, give us little stories about, uh, your upbringing.
Ayesha Simons (02:34):
Okay. I grew up in Queens, New York. I am the middle child of three and, uh, you know, very, uh, wholesome middle class, uh, background. But I actually graduated from high school in Miami, Miami, Florida. So when I was in the ninth grade, we, uh, relocated, uh, to Florida. And, uh, I graduated from high school there, um, in, we lived in Miami, Carroll City. And, uh, from my childhood and, and, you know, finishing high school, I, uh, decided to major in chemical engineering. I was always interested in science and math. That was, you know, kind of a no-brainer for me. And, but I didn’t really know that much about engineering. So, uh, when I was in 11th grade, my chemistry teacher, which was one chemistry, was one of my favorite subjects. He was like, well, what are you gonna do when you graduate? And I said, well, I’m gonna major in chemistry.
Ayesha Simons (03:32):
And he said, well, you know, do you wanna be a high school, uh, teacher? And I said, no, I wanna, like, you know, I wanna work with chemicals. And he said, well, why don’t you go and talk to the guidance council, a guidance counselor, and explore some other opportunities to use a, you know, that focus on chemistry. He said, because I think you can do more than just major in chemistry. So I started, you know, just at that time we didn’t have computers, so I, you know, went to the library, you know, uh, got some books and I stumbled across chemical engineering. And it’s so interesting how I chose my major because it’s kind of summed up my career. I really chose chemical engineering because it was a challenge. There weren’t not many women in that field. There were not many black women in that field.
Ayesha Simons (04:24):
And, you know, it really struck me as something that I was interested in. And also, at that time, in 11th grade, uh, I had the opportunity to go to Washington, DC uh, with our social studies, uh, class. It was, it was called Close Up. And you got to see, you know, tour the government, co tour the capital, see the, all the different branches of our US government at the time. And while I was there, I visited the Howard University campus, fell in love with it. And so when I saw that they were offering the major of chemical engineering, to me, that just kind of cemented the deal. So it was very interesting when I explained to my parents that I wanted to major in chemical engineering, neither one of them, like, what is that? And I tried to explain it as best I could, <laugh>. Um, but you know, they, they, they didn’t quite get it.
Ayesha Simons (05:12):
And, uh, so I started it at, uh, Howard University, majoring in engineering. And, but it was interesting because I was one of the few, uh, folks that actually were able to have an internship after my freshman year, uh, in college. And I was working at a plant, a ba, B a s F plant in Burlington, New Jersey, uh, in the middle of nowhere, <laugh>, I mean, Burlington’s probably more developed now. Uh, and at that time, this is the 1980s, and not really, like, I think I was like probably one of the few female in females in the building. And, you know, the environment was very male dominated, you know, very, um, a little bit rough. And so I came back from that experience, and I remember sitting down with my, um, advisor and I said, I need to change my major. And he is like, why? And I said, I can’t do this.
Ayesha Simons (06:08):
I can’t work in a chemical plan. I can’t be around that environment. And he said, you know, there are so many different options available and open to you as a chemical engineer. You know, you don’t have to work in a chemical plant. You can use your in, you can use your background to go into many different things. And, you know, that discipline and the approach to problem solving is what the advantage of majoring in chemical engineering. So I stuck with it, thankfully, and I, I, I, I, you know, follow through on that advice. And I come back to that many times over the course of my career and how I can take this discipline, problem solving approach to solve many different types of problems, not just problems associated with the manufacturing of, of chemicals.
Scott Luton (06:54):
All right. Aisha, I love what a, what a outstanding story to start off with. So many questions, so little time. Um, I’m wanna go back and Kelly, I wanna get your take on something. She, a couple things she shared there, but I wanna go back cuz when you initially were talking about your, um, high school, uh, teacher, I think it was, yes. Um, I thought you were gonna go to a different direction where he was demotivating and this, uh, discouraging you, but you actually, uh, as I listened little le more, he believed you could do a lot more. And, and what don’t we all need empowering people like that in our, in our lives. Which, what, what was that teacher’s name, do you remember?
Ayesha Simons (07:31):
Oh, I think it was Mr. Spencer. And he was the high school chemistry teacher. And I don’t know if schools still do this, but they have like pep rallies, like before the foot football game. And he was just a really quirky guy. And he would, um, as part of the pep rally, he would, uh, create our colors were orange, black and white. And he would actually in beakers create colors smoke that was orange, black and white <laugh>. And that was the, that, that was the feature of our pep rallies. And he was, you know, he just had a fun, um, just way of talking about science. So, you know, I already love science, but I loved it more. And so coming from him and that advice from him, I think it was a very trusted source and it was a source that I looked up to. So you’re absolutely right. It was great that he empowered me to push myself, uh, further.
Scott Luton (08:27):
Love that. And, and quick shout out, uh, Ms. Bowen, Ms. Woods and Ms. Beckham were three instrumental science teachers. And, you know, uh, my daughter, my kids love their science teachers. So man, these are important people in our journeys. Um, thank you for sharing Aisha. And big thanks to Mr. Spencer. Hey Kelly, really quick, uh, cause I’m gonna a, I’m a, uh, on a lesser important note, I’m gonna a, you know, Queens and Miami. My, my food brain is, is moving. But Kelly, when you heard Aisha discuss the environment, you know, being one of the few women, uh, in programs or in plants or what have you, what, you know, can you relate to that? Any, any thought you wanna share there?
Kelly Barner (09:05):
Well, I can certainly relate to being one of the few women. I mean, I think there are a lot of women in procurement, a lot in supply chain, but still not so many that there aren’t celebrations of women that especially achieve certain executive levels. I will say Mr. Spencer sounds wicked cool. That’s the biggest compliment that I can give to anybody. But the other thing I, Aisha, I have a feeling we’re gonna hear as we go through this conversation and get into the work that you’re doing now, the fact that you have this chemical engineering background to work at a company like Colgate, Palm, olive, the authority and the influence that must give you, even for things not directly related to r and d or engineering. I can’t wait to hear how that part of your background played out over time.
Scott Luton (09:49):
Yeah, well said, Kelly. Okay. So before moving to Colgate, Palm Olive, for the two people that may be unfamiliar across the globe with that organization, uh, two quick questions. So one more, much more serious. You know, Aisha, if you could speak succinctly to our listeners that are really relating to that journey, they’re fighting against odds, they’re doing things outside their comfort zone, they’re may be in rooms or offices or plants with more folks that, you know, that don’t parallel their journey or their walk of life, what’s one short piece of advice that you would offer them?
Ayesha Simons (10:23):
Yeah, I think it’s important that throughout your career that you really push yourself to try new things and to take on, uh, those, you know, take on those things that may be outside your comfort zone and that could help you, you know, expand and, and, and continue to grow throughout your whole career.
Scott Luton (10:45):
Love that. You know, I’ve heard it said time and time again, you know, blessed are the volunteers. Cause, you know, organizations and projects and initiatives le um, benefit so much. Um, charitable initiatives benefit from so much from folks to that. But the folks that raise their hand, to your point, their journey and themselves will benefit from, from, uh, doing more and getting outta your comfort zone and, and learning that way. So thank you so much for sharing Aisha, and I love that story. I th I know Kelly and I probably could spend the next three hours on that, uh, on the front end of your story here. But let’s talk about Colgate, Palm, olive, the organization in a nutshell. I know it’s a really big global enterprise, big brand, uh, and also what you’re doing now. Can you share more?
Ayesha Simons (11:26):
Yes. So Colgate is a 17 billion consumer product, global consumer product company. And our vision is, you know, we are a caring, innovative, growth company, reimagining a healthier future for all people, pets and our planet. And that’s something that each and every Colgate employee feels very strongly about. And that’s also reflected in, you know, other initiatives that are important within the company, whether it’s our global D n I strategy, which supplier diversity is one of the pillars within that strategy or our sustainability strategy. These are all key, uh, um, you know, uh, areas of strategic importance to us as a company and everyone within the organization, you know, is expected to support these and help to drive it forward.
Scott Luton (12:19):
Mm, wonderful. And let’s, um, let’s level sit a little bit, right? Um, you know, as Kelly knows, we’ve had a so many of these conversations and, and in other areas of, of supply chain, you know, these, all these terms and phrases, uh, like supplier diversity, we know so often what they mean, and there’s some common themes to how, uh, organization, organization leader to leader approaches it. And then there’s some really big differences. So can you give us an overview of the, of your supplier diversity program, uh, at Colgate Palm Olive?
Ayesha Simons (12:51):
Sure. So our supplier diversity program at Colgate dates back over, uh, 20 years. And, you know, it, it’s, it’s been primarily a UA space, US based program. And the real purpose behind that program was making sure that we were, um, bringing diversity to our supply chain and that we were providing, um, equal opportunity across our supplier partnerships so that we had good representation, uh, not only just in terms of the people that work for Colgate, but also the the business partners, uh, that we do business with. And, uh, when I came into this role, I’ve been in this role, uh, this is my third year in this role. It was really a reinvigoration of our supplier diversity program because it’s now part of our global de and I strategy, and we wanted to be able to take our program to the next level. So when we look out into the future, you know, into the near future, which is 2025, I can’t believe 2025 is almost, uh, right around the corner. <laugh>, you know, we set aside, you know, some clear goals that we wanted to have for our program, but one of those goals was to take it beyond just the US focus that our program had been, and make it more of a global based program, which we’re not unique in that many other com uh, companies, uh, that similar to Colgate are doing the same thing.
Scott Luton (14:17):
Yeah. Um, Kelly, I wanna get your quick comment before, uh, you move on to the next segment of the interview. I mean, Colgate Palm is not a Johnny come lately. They’ve been, uh, I know part of versus all the rage now, but they’ve been doing this for more than 20 years as, uh, uh, Aisha said that’s really important to have those early movers, huh?
Kelly Barner (14:34):
Oh, it’s incredibly important because in many ways they lead the way. And yet Aisha, I’m sure some of what you’ve seen in your three years in this role, or I guess you’re starting your third year, is that it’s a program that continues to reinvent itself. As objectives change, as strategies change, as consumer expectations change, it’s not like figuring out a framework and then you just sort of march that path forward tracking the same things. It’s, it’s an area that continues to evolve and there’s a lot of innovation within supplier diversity.
Scott Luton (15:06):
That’s a really quick comment, if I could there, uh, you mentioned a consumer that’s a great call out because Aisha and Colgate Palm Olive was doing this before the consumers demanded it in this current environment in many ways. Yes. So what a great, uh, call out there, Kelly. Um, so where are we going next, um, with Aisha?
Kelly Barner (15:25):
So we’re actually gonna talk about a little bit of where the rubber hits the road on supplier diversity, and that’s within procurement and sourcing. So Aisha, I would love to hear a little bit how the teams within Colgate Palm Olive that are making decisions about which suppliers to work with, how they have opportunities to connect with diverse suppliers, and how that works as they walk through the sourcing process.
Ayesha Simons (15:49):
Great. Uh, so, uh, as a leader in supplier diversity, I am actually part of, uh, uh, Colgate’s Global Procurement Leadership team. So I report directly into our chief procurement officer, but, uh, you know, it’s, it first starts with procurement, but we work very closely with our business partners within Colgate to bring sup, uh, diverse suppliers, uh, partnerships and create those diverse supplier partnerships within the organization. So, uh, the responsibility that global procurement, the, the global procurement team has is really in helping to identify those, uh, diverse suppliers. We go to, uh, supplier diversity fairs. We have, uh, partnerships and relationships with third party advocacy agencies, like the National Minority Supplier Development Council, or the Women Business Enterprise National Council. And there’s similar ones for, um, uh, the disability, uh, disability owned businesses, as well as veteran-owned businesses and l lgbtq. So we participate in a lot of those advocacy organizations, and they’re, they’re a great partner because they help give us access to who these, uh, diverse suppliers are.
Ayesha Simons (17:06):
And then we also do individual, um, uh, our own activities within Colgate, where we actually invite, uh, diverse suppliers in. We have through, through, uh, diversity fairs, uh, that, um, bring diverse suppliers in direct, uh, communication with, uh, business partners, stakeholders internally. And then we also, um, you know, our, our meeting with our business partners to understand what their needs are and what sort of suppliers that they’re looking for. Uh, so we, you know, we help make that connection. And so we play a lot of connecting one party with another party, uh, sort of activities. And that’s a, a key key role that, that our, uh, global procurement team, uh, plays.
Kelly Barner (17:54):
And if that sounds like a ton of work, Scott <laugh>, uh, Aisha is sharing exactly what every procurement team and every supplier diversity manager or director is dealing with. It is a lot of work. It’s already a lot of work just funding any suppliers qualified to provide a product or service or material. But then with that additional requirement, it, it does have to be a work of passion because there’s a lot of effort. You have to look in a lot of different places. Um, I show once a
Scott Luton (18:23):
Diverse Kelly, if I could really quick, uh, just despite the football in that point, because, um, when I back in my metal stamping days, I had a former colleague that led supply chain, Alan, aka the Hawk <laugh>. And if he’s listen, he’ll know that he’ll remember that nickname. But to your point, it is so challenging to find, uh, to find good suppliers, veno, build those relationships, and then take, to your point, taking a step further and give all sorts of oppor, um, of, uh, businesses and opportunity to earn, earn business and do good business. So what a great, uh, important point for our listeners to pick up on. Thank you, Kelly.
Kelly Barner (19:00):
Absolutely. And, and let’s actually stay with what you mentioned, Scott, which is relationships. So Asia, once a diverse supplier is selected for contract, what does their journey or partnership or relationship with the procurement team and Colgate, Palm Olive as a company look like from there?
Ayesha Simons (19:18):
Yeah, so I’m glad that you’re talking about relationships, cuz that’s really been a key focus, um, over the last several years within procurement is, you know, really enhancing and nurturing those supplier relationships that we have to really understand the value that, um, you know, our supplier partners bring to the equation and how we can work together not only to, uh, help that business grow, but also their, you know, the value that they offer helps Colgate meet our strategic objectives. Whether it’s for innovation, whether it’s for sustainability, whether it’s for, you know, cost effectiveness, uh, flexibility in our supply chain, risk management. I can keep going down the list of all the different, um, roles that, uh, our different supplier partners, uh, can, can help us play. But, you know, getting back to your original question on, you know, once we have that supplier partner, what, uh, what do we do within Colgate to help nurture that relationship?
Ayesha Simons (20:18):
And when it comes to whether you’re a diverse supplier or or not diverse supplier, that relationship is key and understanding, you know, uh, through we, we have, we hold quarterly business reviews. We hold top to top meetings, we hold other key, uh, type, uh, sort of meetings to make sure we’re understanding not only, uh, how things are operating with the current business that they’re providing, but one of the things that we do in particular for, uh, diverse suppliers is we hold diverse supplier forums. And those diverse supplier forums allow us to again, connect the diverse supplier directly with the business partners so that they understand, okay, this is the business that the diverse supplier is doing with us today, but they also have these additional capabilities. This is additional value that they can offer Colgate, uh, you know, as a business partner, is this something that’s of interest to you? And that, and those sort of conversations has actually led to an increase in business for our diverse suppliers, uh, so that their capabilities that many of our business partners may not be aware of, uh, they’re, we’re now able as a company to tap into that. And so I’m, you know, these diverse supplier forums are something that we have done in the past. We recently reinvigorated them, and it’s something that we’re gonna continue to do in the future because we definitely see some value in that.
Kelly Barner (21:49):
Now, you talked about the business partners, and if I can just ask a follow up on that. You know, we certainly know your role. We know procurement’s role in facilitating these connections. We know the diverse suppliers certainly want the opportunity of working with Colgate Palm Olive, but procurement doesn’t usually get to make the decision about which suppliers are selected. So those decision makers in the business are absolutely essential to the company as a whole, hitting its targets and achieving its vision. Can you talk a little bit about how ownership and responsibility and the, the driving vision behind supplier diversity is distributed in the organization so that everyone plays a role and understands how important that is?
Ayesha Simons (22:33):
Yeah. Uh, that, that is so key, and that’s something that we’ve really been working to ramp up over, uh, these last two years with our business partners so that they understand that we have a supplier diversity program that our supplier diversity program has been around for over, uh, uh, two decades. And that it is part of our new, uh, global D E N I strategy, and that there is a role that our business partners can play with regard to that. And, uh, you know, we do that by meeting with the functional leader, you know, um, you know, whether it’s, you know, say the legal team or it’s, uh, the marketing team, or whether it’s, uh, the finance team or, uh, oth other parts of the organization. And we meet with that team and take them through the strategy, uh, the, you know, our global D N I strategy and how, and our, and also our supplier diversity strategy.
Ayesha Simons (23:25):
We also review their portfolio of suppliers and, uh, like where their supply base is coming from and where, where diverse suppliers fit within that supply base. And then we actually talk through opportunities on how we can expand, uh, uh, the, the inclusion of diverse suppliers within, into their particular mix of suppliers. And in many cases, uh, it’s a learning opportunity for our business leaders and business partners within the organization to realize that there are, there may be already diverse, uh, suppliers that they’re doing business with, or that there are opportunities for them to, uh, consider and include as part of, um, you know, the decision making process, diverse suppliers that they hadn’t, uh, considered before.
Kelly Barner (24:18):
You know, Scott, it makes me think, I think this is from the office, is a, B, C always be closing. Is that from the office?
Scott Luton (24:25):
Kelly Barner (24:26):
Because doesn’t that sound like what Aisha is saying? When, when we’re trying to bring in diverse suppliers, always be closing? Yes. When we’re going through the sourcing process, always be closing. Okay. When we’re winning over distributed decision makers, always be closing <laugh>.
Scott Luton (24:39):
Now, I think that is Glen Gary, Glen Ross, which is one of the best, um, sales movies of all time, perhaps let, let’s say movies where Coffee’s for Closers, put that coffee down, put that coffee down, coffee’s for closures, Aisha and Kelly. Um, but kidding aside, what a great, um, Aisha really appreciate how, I mean, um, I got the impression that you and the Colgate Palm Oil team is very transparent when it comes to, um, these, these initiatives and issues of our time supply chain and otherwise. And I really, this is like a masterclass Kelly in, in how to conduct and, um, uh, and, and there’s no finish line. You know, they’ve been doing it for, for a couple decades. There’s no finish line in improving and optimizing, you know, to really create opportunities for all. But Kelly, I don’t, um, you got me going with the office reference, so thank you,
Kelly Barner (25:28):
<laugh>. Sure. And you know, we talked about the fact that supplier diversity is a philosophy and a program that continues to evolve. And so even for all the successes that you and your team have had at Colgate Palm Mall of Aisha, I’m sure that there’s more you want to do. Are there any challenges that you and your team and the company as a whole are facing now that you can share with other leaders and teams that might find themselves in similar situations?
Ayesha Simons (25:56):
Yeah, I would say our challenges, uh, are in a couple of areas. Uh, you know, we’ve given ourselves, uh, some really stretch goals in terms of how we wanna grow our spend, um, particularly within, you know, um, from a US point of view, we’ve given ourselves goals that I think I mentioned in terms of how we wanna expand our program globally. And, uh, you know, in order to meet those goals, you know, it’s really being able to, um, continue to, uh, build a shared sense of responsibility and accountability across the organization. And, you know, it’s, it’s really about embedding it also within our culture. And so, like, if I put my change management hat on, you know, if you’re, you’re going to embed something in the culture, it’s really about what are those key behavioral changes that you want people to adopt? So there’s a lot of advocating that, um, that advocacy that’s necessary, not only internally, but also externally.
Ayesha Simons (26:58):
Because if we’re able to identify and, and open up our, um, internal business partners to wanting to work with, uh, diverse suppliers, then we also need to be able to identify who those diverse, uh, suppliers are. So, and, and, and that can be a challenge as well. Uh, but that’s where leveraging our partnership with some of the, um, uh, third party advocacy agencies that I mentioned is so critical because those organizations, they’re helping to tackle some of those challenges. So for instance, for diverse suppliers, you know, having access to capital, having access to continue to grow your business and maintain your, um, diverse owned status is, is really critical. And, you know, it’s, it’s a unique challenge that diverse suppliers have because any other business, you know, that’s not diverse, they can go get their capital from wherever. They don’t have to worry about, uh, if I go and, you know, um, um, sell off part of my equity, this could now change my right, you know, this can now change my ownership so that I’m not, no, I’m no longer primarily, um, diverse owned.
Ayesha Simons (28:14):
So these are, these are some of the, the, the challenges externally through our, through, through these organizations that I mentioned that we’re trying to work together to come up with some solutions on, you know, having feeder funds that allow, uh, businesses to continue to grow, uh, you know, diverse on businesses to continue to grow. And, and, and also to be able to not have some of those limitations that we talked about before. And also be able to push into areas where companies like Colgate and other corporations like ours, we need more diverse owned manufacturers. You know, we, we, we need, there, there are, there are several categories and areas where the representation is not high, and we would love to have more diverse owned business partners in those spaces. Uh, so, so when you talk about challenges, there’s those external challenges. And then also from an internal, you know, just, um, tra uh, changing the culture and adopting a new way of shared accountability and responsibility as it relates to supplier diversity across the organization.
Kelly Barner (29:22):
And I think the, the good thing about those challenges, Aisha, is I listened to talk about them. I, I hear a lot of companies talk about those same things, but what an exciting business challenge. I mean, yes, there are challenges that need to be addressed, but there is so much upside associated with each of those incentivizing, uh, new people and communities to get into areas like manufacturing or, oh my goodness, access to capital and the, the unique challenges of moving global. There is so much to be done. It’s almost like we need to deliberately pull in some entrepreneurial minds, right? <laugh>, this is, supplier diversity is a huge opportunity and an exciting business challenge to be able to work towards solving.
Scott Luton (30:02):
Well said, Aisha and Kelly. And, you know, one quick note, y’all, uh, mentioned it and, and, and certainly implied it, uh, throughout your conversation here is the onboarding, right? It’s, it’s, it’s not enough to identify, engage, get ’em, um, uh, introduced into the pla you know, the, the powers that be within organizations. But I’ll tell you from personal experience, um, onboarding can be very challenging, right? Both when I was in manufacturing and, and, and today as the digital media platform. So, um, Kelly, uh, as much as I enjoyed, and we’re gonna have to have, I should come back for more stories on the front end of, of the conversation, we are interested, you and I are interested in, in, in some success stories when it comes to supplier diversity at Colgate Palm. So Aisha, uh, anything come to mind there?
Ayesha Simons (30:53):
Yeah, I mentioned earlier the diverse supplier forums that, um, we, uh, have been holding, and I highlight that as a success story. Uh, at the end of 2021, we had, uh, several, uh, meetings on our indirect procurement side, which is more the services side of the business, as well as on the direct, uh, side, which is both, uh, raw material and packaging material side of the business. And those, uh, di diverse supplier forums that we had with some of our key existing diverse suppliers. When we looked at the spend that we were doing with those businesses in 2022, we actually saw a huge increase in, uh, the, the spend that we were doing with those participants in those supplier forums, you know, where it, it, it could have been a 50% increase, or it could have been a 200% increase. And, you know, I call that a significant win.
Ayesha Simons (31:50):
And so th it’s definitely something that we have, um, you know, continued through 2022, and we kicked off the year in 2023 as part of our, uh, beginning of the year goal setting where we actually invited to, uh, diverse suppliers, uh, to come in and speak directly to our procurement and, and, and, and to our business stakeholders. And so we’re hoping that that also leads to some increased opportunities for those existing diverse suppliers as well. So I ca I count that as a big success that, you know, we are definitely, it’s something that’s working within Colgate, uh, and, and really helping us to facilitate that, those, um, connections as well as leading to, you know, uh, you know, opportunities that we can count, uh, in, in terms of increased partnership and, and increased, uh, spend that we’re doing with those, uh, businesses.
Scott Luton (32:44):
Yep. Kelly, wanna get your quick comment? I, I love that Aisha and Colgate, Palm Olive are investing in those opportunities, those forums, those meetings to connect, help, help folks connect the dots. That is really, again, early movers market leadership. That’s, that’s one of the themes here. Your thoughts, Kelly?
Kelly Barner (33:02):
Well, I think it’s incredibly important to give those diverse suppliers a platform. You know, procurement and companies can learn so much from their supply partners, but usually that’s about the product or service that they sell and how it fits into the operation. Listening to them talk about the program, to your point, Scott, the onboarding or maybe insurance requirements or maybe improve even the sourcing and selection process in a way that can benefit other diverse businesses and help the program grow. What an amazing opportunity. I wish more companies did that.
Scott Luton (33:33):
Yeah, agreed. Completely agreed. So I’m, uh, um, again, uh, Aisha really, uh, appreciate, uh, leaders that, uh, deeds not words is a phrase we talk about a lot here, uh, in a weird way, I guess talk about, but it’s all about action, right? Yeah. Lip service, leadership, man, uh, ever. We’ve all had enough of that. It’s all about action. Um, okay. So on that note, if you can, you know, without, uh, without having to kill us, if anything you can share about your plans for 2023 and beyond, as y’all continue to grow, uh, the supply diversity programming and the, the greater d e I programming at Colgate Palm Olive.
Ayesha Simons (34:12):
Yeah. I think, uh, for this year there’s gonna be a big f focus on, um, how do we evolve and really cement this into our organization from a change management perspective. Uh, we talked about this earlier in just some of the challenges in, in, you know, spreading the responsibility beyond the procurement team and having more, uh, ownership by our business partners. And I see that as part of our journey, and that’s something that we’re gonna continue to push. Uh, we’re going to look to, uh, involve more of our senior executives to act as advocates to help with that push. Uh, which I think is go, you know, gonna be really important. We’re not at the point yet where we have embedded it into individual’s goals, but, you know, we do have de and i goals that, um, we’ve asked each individual to bring into their individual objectives for the year. Uh, and so we’ve, we’ve left it broad in, in terms of that, in, in terms of that standpoint, but we haven’t like, gotten to the point where you said, okay, you know, if you’re part of this team, this is your supplier diversity goal for the year. So we’re gonna continue to, um, as I said, to, to build our advocacy internally, driving awareness and understanding on how our business partners can take the lead and, and move forward, uh, to help, you know, drive to achieving our supplier diversity goals overall.
Scott Luton (35:44):
Hmm. Uh, Kelly, your quick comment there.
Kelly Barner (35:46):
Sure. Uh, and Aisha has actually mentioned this several times, but measurable targets, right? It’s, it’s wonderful to say from a visionary standpoint, we want to do more, we want to do better, we want to go faster. But if you don’t have those numbers and those targets so that people can baseline and then compare their progress, it’s gonna be very hard to actually increase that impact. So, super important approach there.
Scott Luton (36:10):
Love that, uh, kind of inspect what’s you expect, as I’ve heard, put a thousand times <laugh>. Um, all right. So Aisha really have enjoyed your perspective here, and we wanna to have you back. Um, uh, we got, uh, we jumped into supply diversity and thought leadership and some of the great things you’all doing there. There’s so much more to your story. Uh, and we’re gonna bring you back maybe, uh, maybe go through, you’re an agent next time, uh, to dive deeper into that. But, uh, Isha, how can folks learn more about all the cool things y’all doing at Colgate, uh, Palm Olive.
Ayesha Simons (36:39):
Uh, the, the how, how they can learn, uh, is they can go to the Colgate, Colgate Palm Olive website. Uh, there’s information there, uh, that shares our global D E N I strategy. There’s information there that, uh, shares our sustainability story and, and strategy. And as I mentioned earlier, supplier diversity is part of our global de n I strategy, but we also, um, report up through sustainability as well. So you can get information on our reports, uh, on the website, but you can also get information on our supplier diversity program. Diverse suppliers, uh, can, uh, get access to our supplier registration portal that we have set aside just for diverse suppliers that, um, our, all of our procurement team uses and uses that registration portal as an easy way of tapping into diverse suppliers, uh, who may have capabilities that, that, that, that, that we need to tap into.
Scott Luton (37:37):
Love that, uh, and really have enjoyed your perspective here today. Big thanks to Aisha Simons, director of Supply Diversity with Colgate Paul Maloff Company, Aisha. Look forward to reconnecting with you again soon.
Ayesha Simons (37:49):
Same here. Thank you.
Scott Luton (37:51):
You bet. All right, Kelly, uh, I’m gonna give you two questions for you, uh, before we wrap, uh, here. Number one, out of all the insights and perspective and experiences and the, and really the journey, uh, that Asia shared with us here today, what was one of your favorite parts?
Kelly Barner (38:10):
I think my favorite part is actually sort of a sum total observation. The level of sophistication that is required in a company this size and this scale. I mean, Aisha even talked about the fact that it’s not just people, it’s animals. So there are lots of different r and d processes, lots of different types of suppliers and all these moving pieces globally to set these targets and make progress towards them and celebrate achievements and learn from maybe falling short where, where there were some targets. I think there is so much going on in these programs that it’s very easy to gloss over from a consumer standpoint. Um, just an amazing job that they’re doing. There is so much that we can all learn from it.
Scott Luton (38:50):
Agreed. Lots of wonderful benchmarking, best practice sharing. And, and folks, uh, if you wanna work, especially if you’re, uh, you’re leading a, a diverse owned business, hey, check out Colgate, Palm, olive. It sounds like there’s a wealth of information, um, there at the fingertips on the company website. Um, okay, Kelly, um, all the cool things I mentioned on the front end that you’re up to, especially in areas of procurement, uh, and, and other aspects of global business. How can folks connect with you?
Kelly Barner (39:18):
I think the easiest place to find me is LinkedIn. Uh, everything that I’m involved in, everything I’m thinking about, pretty much all gets posted to LinkedIn every day. So please connect, please follow me. Please check out my newsletter. It’s weekly, the Procurement buzz. Um, and let me know that you saw this interview, cuz I love to know how people found me.
Scott Luton (39:35):
Outstanding. Well, Kelly Barner really appreciate that and your perspective and and expertise today.
Kelly Barner (39:41):
Absolutely, Scott, it’s my pleasure to be here.
Scott Luton (39:44):
All right, folks, listeners, watchers, viewers, you name it. Hopefully you enjoyed this conversation as much as I have. I’m ready. Running through that door behind us, uh, between Naisha and all of her expertise and her journey, uh, especially the front end, you know, I think we all can draw inspiration from, um, uh, those that encouraged empowered her to do things and to become the, you know, the global business leader. She is today doing big things for other organizations and other business leaders that I don’t know about you, that inspires me. But, uh, hey, uh, if you enjoy this episode, be sure to find supply chain now. Wherever you get your podcast, click subscribe so you don’t miss any conversation, any of these types of conversations. Check us out on YouTube and most importantly, folks, most importantly, Scott Luton and the whole team here at Supply Chain now, challenging you to do good, to give forward and to be the change that’s needed. And with that said, we’ll see you next time, right back here at Supply Chain now. Thanks everybody.
Thanks for being a part of our supply chain now, community. Check out all of our email@example.com 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.
Ayesha Simons is Director of Supplier Diversity at Colgate-Palmolive, where she leads the Project Management team in the company’s Global Procurement organization. In this role, Ayesha spearheads global initiatives that drive Colgate’s growth and efficiency strategies, and expands project management enterprise capabilities. Ayesha also leads the company’s implementation strategy to enable the success of diverse suppliers, a key pillar of Colgate’s DE&I goals. Connect with Ayesha 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.