Supply Chain Now
Episode 1170

Business is constantly changing. You have to move people around, but what do you do with them after? Are you re-skilling? Are you up-skilling them? Are you providing them with different opportunities so they can thrive somewhere else? Because people are not just resources you use and toss.

-Theodora Lau, Founder of Unconventional Ventures

Episode Summary

The Supply Chain Buzz is Supply Chain Now’s regular Monday livestream, held at 12n ET each week. This show focuses on some of the leading stories from global supply chain and global business, always with special guests – the most important of which is the live audience!

This week’s edition of The Buzz was a Digital Transformers edition. It featured hosts Scott Luton and Kevin L. Jackson as well as special guest Theodora Lau, Founder of Unconventional Ventures. Her monthly column on FinTech Futures explores the intersection of financial services, tech, and humanity, and she has been featured on BBC News, Finovate, American Banker, and Journal of Digital Banking.

Episode Transcript

Intro/Outro (00:00:03):

Welcome to Supply Chain. Now, the voice of global supply chain supply chain now focuses on the best in the business for our worldwide audience, the people, the technologies, the best practices, and today’s critical issues, the challenges and opportunities. Stay tuned to hear from Those Making Global Business happen right here on supply chain Now.

Scott Luton (00:00:31):

Hey, hey. Good morning, good afternoon, good evening, wherever you are, Scott Luton and Kevin L. Jackson with you here on Supply Chain. Now, welcome to today’s live stream, Kevin, how are we doing today?

Kevin L. Jackson (00:00:42):

Good morning. Good morning. Or afternoon, I guess, but, uh, I had a, um, um, shocking event last night. Okay. You know, I was, I was, I was sitting, looking at TV and enjoying myself, and I, uh, all of a sudden I got a chill and I, I went upstairs and I put on a sweat, uh, um, shirt, okay? And, and I said, no, something’s gone. <laugh>.

Scott Luton (00:01:16):

You know what? I am thankful. I am thankful. So I, as I hear that anecdote, I am ready for football, weather, and chilly weather, and, you know, a good, uh, morning 30 degree. Uh, we don’t get those often in Georgia. You get ’em off more often than we do, Kevin, but I love that. And welcome back, Kevin. Always a pleasure to have you on the second Monday, uh, of every month. And so today, well

Kevin L. Jackson (00:01:41):

Before you go, okay, the Washington Commanders 20 to 16 over the Arizona Cardinals,

Scott Luton (00:01:48):

The commanders, <laugh>, the Commanders. I’m getting, I’m still getting used to that one and oh one, and oh, it’s kinda like, uh,

Kevin L. Jackson (00:01:55):

No, we’re undefeated,

Scott Luton (00:01:56):

Kevin. It’s kinda like the Falcons, you know, Falcons won over the weekend, and, uh, you know, uh, the Falcons may go one in 16, but at least we won the first one,

Kevin L. Jackson (00:02:05):

<laugh>, right? You gotta, you gotta grab the opportunity wise there, man.

Scott Luton (00:02:11):

You gotta celebrate every single win, big or small. But folks, hey, today, it is a special edition of the Supply Chain Buzz. It’s the Digital Transformers edition of the Buzz. So, as always, on the second Monday of each month, we’re discussing a variety of news and developments across, uh, global business with an extra helping of all things technology today, as I’m always joined by the one and only Kevin L. Jackson, and Kevin, we’ve got a special guest today, don’t we?

Kevin L. Jackson (00:02:36):

Oh, yeah, absolutely. And I wanna, first of wanna say, I appreciate you, uh, bringing me on the show this second, uh, Monday. I really enjoy, uh, coming with you and, and, yes. Uh, and a old friend of mine is gonna be on his show today, <laugh>.

Scott Luton (00:02:52):

Well, you know what any friend of Kevin’s is, should be a friend of anyone’s. But hey, we’ve got a repeat guest coming back, a mover and shaker, Theodore Lao with Unconventional Ventures. She’s gonna be joining us about 12:25 PM Eastern Time. Uh, so stick around for that. We’re gonna be talking, uh, about generative ai. We’re gonna be talking about, uh, the future of work, and we’re gonna be finding out why she believes Kevin. Mm-hmm. That we’ve got to 86, this word FinTech, <laugh> 86, this word FinTech. But, hey, uh, we want, as always, Kevin and I both want to hear from you. So we see some folks, some, some dear friends already in the comments. We’re gonna be recognizing them, uh, throughout the hour. And hey, if you’re listening to this, uh, via podcast replay, which we usually to publish on Fridays, you ought to consider joining us live on LinkedIn, YouTube, or some other social media channel if you’re choosing when we go live on Mondays, every Monday at 12 noon Eastern time.

Scott Luton (00:03:43):

Okay, Kevin, let’s say hello to a few folks. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And then we’ll hit a few announcements. And then Kevin, we’re gonna start on a, a much more somber note. Of course, today, we remember September 11th, uh, hard to believe, 22 years ago. And I’m gonna pick your brain about where you were on this morning, uh, in just a minute. But, uh, let’s say hello to a few folks on a lighter note. Uh, Annie, great to see you here via LinkedIn. Welcome, welcome, welcome, haem, uh, via Facebook. Uh, good day to you as well. Josh is also giving us a weather report, cloudy and 60 degrees up in Seattle. Kevin <laugh>.

Kevin L. Jackson (00:04:17):

Oh, wow. Say how to my son. He’s over in a federal way.

Scott Luton (00:04:21):

Okay. Alright. Federal way. Uh, let’s see, mom, Leah Luten, uh, the pride of Aiken, South Carolina is with us once again. Hello, mom. Love you. Coro. Coze, the one and only look at that headshot that is Hollywood. Kevin, it’s

Kevin L. Jackson (00:04:35):

Shark Sharp.

Scott Luton (00:04:36):

Uh, and it’s warm and sunny in Germany, where Korah is for a few more weeks, I believe. Uh, Robert Valdez via LinkedIn from Sunny Caribbean, Dominican Republic. Oh,

Kevin L. Jackson (00:04:47):

Right.

Scott Luton (00:04:48):

Tune back in from Wisconsin. Greg, great to see you as always. Annie was in Toronto, Jurgen, uh, via LinkedIn. Great to see you Lu. Hey, T Squared, uh, is back with us, uh, from the Baltimore area. Kevin.

Kevin L. Jackson (00:05:00):

Oh, yeah, right up the road. Hey, um, bring in some more chairs. There’s people still coming in <laugh>. That’s

Scott Luton (00:05:07):

Right. People are still, still coming in <laugh>. Um, alright, so let’s do this, Kevin. Welcome everybody. Nobody didn’t hit anybody. Welcome. Welcome. We’ve got a big show here today between, uh, some of the news we’re gonna be tackling as well as our wonderful guest, uh, Theo, who’s gonna be joining us here in about 20 minutes. Um, okay. So, Kevin, as always, you know, we like to share resources with folks. Uh, it’s a, it’s tough out there trying to get ahead, uh, being individually successful as, as well as leading, you know, success and, uh, the day in and day out for your organization. So we’re gonna start with our popular with that said newsletter, which dropped over the weekend. Now, Kevin, I gotta ask you, did you

Kevin L. Jackson (00:05:45):

Have lunchbox? I, I don’t know. I remember a lot of, uh, brown Paper bags, <laugh>.

Scott Luton (00:05:52):

I had those two. I had those two. But I’ll tell you this. Uh, and y’all check out what that, that said, there’s a lot of, uh, uh, fun fact toys, but also tons of perspectives from around global business and opportunities you wanna, I wanna check out, but I will tell you this night ride at Lunchbox, when I saw this on, on Google somewhere, I’d forgotten I had this same lunchbox in 1983, Kevin. Oh, wow.

Kevin L. Jackson (00:06:14):

Okay.

Scott Luton (00:06:14):

And mom can verify that Mom, I think <laugh> comments, please don’t call me off my memory. She

Kevin L. Jackson (00:06:20):

Did. No, you didn’t have that. You had Bernie <laugh>. Oh,

Scott Luton (00:06:24):

That’s right. That was lit. I wish I was that young, Kevin. Um, also really quick getting resources. We’ve got an outstanding, one of our newest webinars that we just, um, uh, published October 5th, right around the corner, we’re gonna be focused in on five steps of getting proactive with digitization and supply chain data with our friends at Treehouse Foods and Trace Gains. Y’all check that out, and we’d love to have y’all join us for that session. So, Kevin, uh, you know, in the Green Room before we went live here, I was sharing while we were as a team, you know, having a good time and, and, and exchanging pleasantries and whatnot, and what we did over the weekend. I also was talking about how I, I find today, September 11th to be one of the most challenging days to create content, to do anything. But, you know, really reflect back on where we were 22 years ago and where we’ve been since, and, and, you know, all those that lost loved ones on that horrible day and, and all the conflict since. Um, yeah. But Kevin, take us back. Where, where were you that morning? Yeah,

Kevin L. Jackson (00:07:28):

You’re right. It, it really, uh, touched everyone, but it was a, it’s a personal story for everyone and, and, and me as well. I mean, I, on the morning of nine 11, I had just gotten off a flight. I was in San Diego, we just landed, took off from LaGuardia Airport in, in New York, and I, you know, got off. I went and got my rental car. I, uh, went to the hotel, checked in, went up to my room, and I sort of, you know, you sort of sit at the end of the bed and turn on and see what’s going on in the news. And I saw the first plane hit the, um, the tower. Hmm. Um, and it was stunning. Right. You know, you thought, well, wow. Horrible accident. You know, how did that ever happen? So you, you’re sitting there and then the, then the, you know, uh, uh, the second plane and you’re, you’re just stunned.

Kevin L. Jackson (00:08:32):

I sat there for oh, 40, 45 minutes and, and, uh, then it, then it hit me. I had to get back home. Hmm. And I, I spent the next 36 hours just trying to get back home. Wow. Um, drive. I actually had a rental car. So I, um, I jumped in the car and I, uh, I drove <laugh>. I first was on the phone trying to get a flight. Right. You know, no flights or anything. But, uh, surprisingly enough, I got a flight out of Dallas, Texas, and I had 21 hours to get to Dallas to catch that flight. And I, wow. Got in the car, drove all night, got to Dallas, went up to the, uh, the, um, uh, uh, uh, counter there. And they said, oh, sorry, sir. They just canceled your flight, you know? And I just despondent turned around, walked away, and I was walking away and said, yeah, sir, sir, Mr. Jackson, uh, can you, will you mind going through St. Louis? I said, sure. And I got on a flight from, uh, dallas Fort Worth to St. Louis into, uh, Washington, Dallas. One of the last flights, uh, that day, this

Scott Luton (00:09:51):

Before they locked everything down right before

Kevin L. Jackson (00:09:52):

They locked everything down.

Scott Luton (00:09:54):

Wow. Um, and you know, a lot of folks may or may not know, uh, Kevin, uh, is a fellow veteran. He served in the Navy, and he was also a naval, a naval aviator, uh, uh, in the Navy. Um, you know, when I think about that morning, uh, Kevin, now I was in Wichita, Kansas, uh, at McConnell Air Force Base. And, uh, we had, you know, we were an hour behind Eastern Time, and I’d gotten, I’d signed up for these cnn.com email alerts. And much like you were describing when that first plane hit, there was, uh, a C N N email, and the headline was, small plane hits the World Trade Center, or, and I immediately thought it was a Cessna or small, you know, single engine or something, and didn’t really think too much about it. And then, of course, as you point out, and as, as the world knows when, when the second plane hit, you knew this was no accident.

Scott Luton (00:10:40):

And then things went, um, just got more painful, uh, from that, that moment. And, you know, um, last thought, ’cause we get, you know, we wanna, we wanna, uh, change thoughts, and we got a lot of news and a great conversation to get to here today. But, you know, today mm-hmm. <affirmative>, we do all remember, and we will never forget that day. We owe it to all those folks that, uh, experienced tremendous loss on the day of September 11th, 2001. And in all the conflict ever since that day. Tons and tons of families that, um, you know, are mourning, uh, ever since. So, um, but you know what, Kevin, one last thought. You look around the room, and, and maybe you can relate this a a, you know, being a, a fellow veteran Yeah. As, as wonderful as a family we’ve got here today, you know, for two years.

Scott Luton (00:11:24):

I, I spent, uh, a lot of time with that Air Force family of mine. And man, if few things in my entire life brought our mission and clear focus and strengthened those bonds. And we had each other’s back. And, and Bruce Gilland, Troy Boozer, uh, hall and Wong, uh, Ryan Benner, I can remember so many Claude Dway, uh, so many folks that really took care of each other as, as you know, you were talking about the lockdown across the country. Right. Well, base operations changed. They shut down dorms. ’cause they didn’t, they really, there was tons of rumors what may be hit next, and where the, the, the softer, uh, targets were. Yeah. Yeah. And so our lives as airmen, uh, lowly enlisted airmen, uh, changed dramatically. And I, I’m, um, very thankful of that family that got us through those, those those challenging times. Your last word, Kevin, before we, we move along.

Kevin L. Jackson (00:12:14):

Well, I think that’s the word, family. Um, we, we have family far and wide and, and, and close and near and dear. Never underappreciate your family.

Scott Luton (00:12:26):

That’s right. That’s right. And, uh, never again. Hopefully. Never, never again. And of course, never, ever, ever forget. So, um, alright. So moving right along on a much, much lighter note, uh, again, we come at you every Monday, uh, the supply chain buzz, uh, 12 in the Eastern time, where we cover some of the bigger stories and developments across the world of supply chain. And, but today it’s the digital Transformers edition, and we talk of all things technology and then some. And that’s where I wanna go next. Uh, Kevin?

Kevin L. Jackson (00:12:59):

Yes. Sounds good.

Scott Luton (00:13:00):

We’re getting into our, our first development here. I’ll tell you. Um, so, uh, in our first story, it’s really some good news. What does ai, what is artificial intelligence already doing? Well, perhaps in supply chain management from our friends over at C I O, uh, and here we’re mainly referring Kevin to forecasting and inspecting. Right. But tell us more.

Kevin L. Jackson (00:13:21):

So, you know, artificial intelligence is not something for future supply chain executives to leverage. It is out there working hard today. The current generation of AI is already very good at two things you need to do when it comes to supply chain management. Uh, the first is forecasting where AI is used to make predictions about downstream demand or upstream shortages. An example is Amcor a $15 billion packaging company. In fact, it’s the largest packaging company in the world. And they use AI to predict price changes. So it can buy more at lower prices before a hike or less. If it looks like a drop is on the horizon, you know, if it gets hot, people start drinking a lot of Gatorade, you wanna get it out there. So most of their market is in food and healthcare packaging, where knowing the consumer’s mood that day can mean millions of dollars in profit or loss.

Kevin L. Jackson (00:14:36):

Hmm. Uh, the second is inspection. Yeah. Where AI is used to spot problems in manufacturing, these algorithms can also detect one or more events they recognize as precursory to failures, and then warn assembly line operators before production quality falls short. Uh, it can also be used to certify materials and components and, and track them through the entire supply chain. In fact, AI is being used at Intel to improve their microprocessor chip yields. Since several chips are printed on a single wafer using lithography, there is a difference in the power performance profile between those near the center of the wafer and those on the outer edges. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So the company uses a predetermined quality threshold to determine whether a chip should be kept or thrown out. But there’s more to come. The biggest impact is gonna be on supply chain optimization. So, ’cause when supply chains are tailored to specific customer needs, the current generation of AI can optimize these chains and even tailor them to deliver the right product to the right consumer at the right price and the right time. Mm-hmm. But, but doing this requires a level of data sharing that very few companies are ready for today. What’s really missing our techniques that allow organizations to share some part of their data in full confidence that they haven’t given away too much. Mm-hmm. So the technology is here, blockchain or digital ledger technology can do that, but we’re still about five or 10 years away from seeing mass adoption of blockchain in the supply chain industry.

Scott Luton (00:16:47):

Hmm. Okay. Kevin, man, you have, uh, really jumped outta the gate <laugh> a lot of stuff there. I wanna, I wanna go back though, as someone that has led about 15 years ago, led a very manual tracing operation. Yeah.

Scott Luton (00:17:01):

Interacting, yeah. Mainly with paperwork and stuff and trying to separate, you know, what should be, um, uh, confined and from <laugh> from all the other parts, <laugh>. Oh, that was painful. I wish I had AI about 15 years ago. But, um, of course, to your point, AI technology, it’s, it’s nothing new. Right? Right. We’re hearing a lot more about it and CEOs are talking more about it. But, um, generative ai, according to many presents, a new massive opportunity that businesses are tapping into. We’ll touch more on this also when, uh, Theo joins us. But, you know, I saw a, uh, a C N N B C interview not too long ago, uh, Kevin, that quoted nav, neat Kaur Chief Technology and Information Officer at Maersk Uhhuh, um, who said, quote, generative AI in my mind is a once in a lifetime kind of disruption that’s gonna happen. So there are gonna be losses of jobs in the more traditional setting, but also believe, uh, Nadine continued to say mm-hmm. <affirmative> is going to create new jobs that every prior technology disruption Yes. Has in quote, I wholeheartedly believe that. Would, would you agree with that as well, Kevin?

Kevin L. Jackson (00:18:04):

Absolutely. Absolutely. Uh, generative AI is opening the minds of the humans, giving them more vision, more, uh, letting their imaginations, uh, fly, showing the, you know, as they say, the art of the possible. Right. And this is critical.

Scott Luton (00:18:23):

Well, and you know, one other thing before you start to roll your eyes, some of all out there <laugh> at hearing generative ai, I’ll just tell you Greg and I, Greg White who’s on assignment today, maybe, uh, hope, hope you’re doing well, Greg. Uh, he and I spoke with one chief supply chain officer, uh, at a retail giant last week that was leveraging gen AI to find massive freight and sourcing opportunities amongst all of its products. And we’re talking about in a matter of days. Yeah. This project, uh, according to them, that would’ve taken a big consulting firm, an army of consultants, six months, and a lot of big invoices to do so. Folks are, are jumping on this opportunity with big outcomes already. Um, Kevin, your last thought before we move right along to the second, uh, our second article,

Kevin L. Jackson (00:19:07):

Don’t be afraid of ai. AI is a tool that you can use to do your work better and to improve our society. It’s not the Terminator. So <laugh>,

Scott Luton (00:19:19):

It’s not the Terminator. Alright. T-shirt, Terminator. It’s not determinator

Kevin L. Jackson (00:19:24):

<laugh>,

Scott Luton (00:19:25):

Uh, alright. A lot of good stuff there. And that’s, that’s a lot of the good news. Now it, every opportunity comes with challenges, right? Yes. It can’t be easy. So in our second story here, we’re about to get Kevin to, to, to chime in on, from our friends over at Supply Chain Digital, we examine how a poor tech strategy can under undermine supply chain transformation, especially when organizational objectives aren’t aligned. Kevin, tell us more.

Kevin L. Jackson (00:19:51):

Yeah. You know, the reason we have this show every month is because everyone seems to want to do digital transformation <laugh>, but, you know, but a mismatch between the technology initiatives and the business goals often is the main reason why these initiatives fail. According to Deloitte, 70% of digital transformations result in failure. And, and even when organizations succeed, it can take them years before they are ready to compete in the digital market. This is because they don’t really understand the power of data. The first step in any transformation is identifying the specific business challenges and the pain points they want to address. The second step is involving stakeholders from all the different organizational departments in the, in the digital transformation process. And they have to identify what data is required to gain the needed insight into the business process or the business challenge. Only then can a discussion about specific technologies begin. Hmm. 70% of companies don’t have any data strategy in place, which this makes it really difficult, if not impossible to access real-time data and ensure accuracy. Uh, this is, this is why supply chain companies need to set standards and principles regarding how they will collect, manage, and analyze data first if they want the digital transformation initiatives to be successful. Mm-hmm.

Scott Luton (00:21:57):

Well said, Kev, we, we could do six hours, maybe 60 hours of content around this item, because I wanna go back to something that, uh, let’s see here. Mohamed, great to have you here today. Mohamad says, uh, he says, digital transformation is an old topic in supply chain. Now we need to look on AI integration with supply chain. I would argue, I wouldn’t disagree as it’s certainly an old topic, but Kevin Yes. So many organizations per what you’re just sharing, get digital transformation wrong because they start with the technology instead of what we’re trying to do as a business. Your thoughts, Kevin?

Kevin L. Jackson (00:22:30):

Yes, absolutely. It’s all about understanding your business process and applying digitalization to that process. And that means understanding the data, what data you have, how you use the data, why you use the data, and how the data relates to your own organizational goals. That’s what, that’s what AI can do. Hmm. It, it’s power is to, you know, go through all that data and glean from that data insights to improve your business process.

Scott Luton (00:23:07):

Yes. Well said Kevin. And you know, uh, Greg, if I’ve heard him say it once, I’ve heard him say that a million times, uh, you know, for many leaders mm-hmm. <affirmative>, digital transformations, like, it’s like finding that hammer and then running around trying to find a nail <laugh>. You know what

Kevin L. Jackson (00:23:22):

I mean? Yeah, right. Exactly.

Scott Luton (00:23:23):

It’s so apropos Now, Jurgen says, you say it, Kevin <laugh>, it’s infrastructure. Everybody’s talking about digitization, but have they thought about the fitting infrastructure mostly? No. Jurgen well said. Great to have you here today. Um, okay. So, uh, Kevin, a lot of good stuff there. There’s so much, you know, going back to what Mohammed said, I’m, I’m with you. We’ve heard so many, many, so much about so many of these topics. But the prob the reason why they keep coming back is because so many business leaders and organizations are still struggling with them years and years later. So, uh, stay tuned. A lot more to come on that.

Kevin L. Jackson (00:24:00):

Everybody thinks there’s a magic button, right? Right. Press the magic button and it works. There is no magic button

Scott Luton (00:24:06):

<laugh>. We were, we were spoiled. Whomever, I can’t remember the company that had the easy button commercials. Was that?

Kevin L. Jackson (00:24:11):

Oh, yeah. Staples.

Scott Luton (00:24:13):

Staples, yes. Thank you Staples for reinforcing that easy button, uh, thinking there. Um, okay. Again, resources, folks, we’re all about, uh, we’re about to welcome on our outstanding, our incredible, uh, featured guests here in just a minute. So stay tuned. But really quick, wanna share a couple of resources with folks. You know, Kevin, you know that, uh, one of our big missions here is to make life easier for all our, the practitioners and supply chain pros, business pros out there. So folks, we got two events coming up live webinars September 21st. We’re welcoming in Luke, pat, and Bart. We’re talking about unlocking the power, uh, diversification and last mile delivery. Talk about things we’ve heard about for since the beginning of time, but still trying to get right with last mile delivery, right, Kevin? Right?

Kevin L. Jackson (00:25:02):

Absolutely. <laugh>, we got it. It’s that easy button for last mile delivery, <laugh>

Scott Luton (00:25:07):

Man, we’re all looking for that. Uh, September 21st, 12 in Eastern Time, y’all join us for that event. And then on the 26th, uh, we join in, uh, welcoming our friends from Supply Pike. Folks, if you do business with Walmart, you know how challenging it can be. But I would argue you, you find success working with Walmart, you can apply those lessons learned and, and, and techniques, and you name it to across your portfolio of customers. So join us on the 26th for three proven strategies to level up your business with Walmart and Kevin, if you can do business successfully with titans of industry like Walmart, I bet you’re gonna be pretty good at working with everyone else. Wouldn’t you agree? I

Kevin L. Jackson (00:25:47):

Absolutely. If you can make those Walmart aliens happy, you can do anything.

Scott Luton (00:25:52):

<laugh>, I got a new word. New word. Walmart, Walmartians Walmartians,

Kevin L. Jackson (00:25:57):

Walmart.

Scott Luton (00:25:58):

Um, all right. Well, folks, uh, thanks for being with us so far through the first half of the supply chain buzz here. Um, we have a real, uh, special guest as Kevin, uh, called Theo, a longtime friend. Well, it makes two of us, uh, we really enjoyed, uh, Theo being a part of a variety of shows, including a really fun live stream on this week in business history. So I wanna welcome in our special guest today, Theodore Lau, founder of Unconventional Ventures, as well as a public speaker, popular author, advisor, and host of One Vision podcast. Theo, good morning. Good afternoon. How you doing? Hello.

Theodora Lau (00:26:34):

Thank you for having me, guys.

Scott Luton (00:26:36):

Theo, it’s, it’s so neat to have you back. We really enjoyed, um, of course, I’ve got Beyond Good your first book, and then we’ve got your second book we’re gonna talk about here in a minute. You and Kevin, I’ll tell you prolific authors, and that’s just part of all the stuff y’all up to. But, um, Theo, on a, uh, on a poignant note, um, you know, just as we were talking a minute ago before we got into the news, you know, September 11th, 2001, hard to believe is 22 years ago ago. Uh, but Theo, I’d like to ask you where you were, uh, that morning, 22 years ago.

Theodora Lau (00:27:06):

I remember, um, I was traveling just like you, just like you two. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. I was actually in Tulsa, Oklahoma. And, uh, I, I still remember I was a, before my current life, I’ve spent 15 years in Talco. So that, that’s the backdrop. So I was with Williams Communications at Tulsa, and I remember I was in a hotel lobby with my team. And, uh, we came down from breakfast and I saw on, on, on C n n the, the, uh, news, and it showed plane, a plane crashing, and we didn’t think much of it. ’cause the, the volume was mute. We just looked and was like, oh, you know, maybe it’s a new movie or something. We walked into the office across the street, we just sat down and the next thing you know, everyone’s phone was ringing off the hook. Hmm. Um, and that was when we learned the news.

Theodora Lau (00:27:56):

So we all wrapped up and left right away. I was there with another engineer, and we, we took the rental car that we had and drove straight from Tulsa back to dc. It was, wow. The longest 24 hour drive of our lives. I still remember going into the Walmart right there and, uh, getting, you know, some supplies, water and, and whatnot. And, uh, that was the first time in my life that I saw guns. They were selling guns in the store. Of course, I, I, I didn’t know, um, <laugh>. And, um, and people were picking up guns and ammunition. I’m like, it, it just had this sinking feeling. And then my parents were in DC um, at that time. And of course, you know, the, none of the cell phones went through. It was a gruesome drive. And I, the two things I remember was, um, the sky was really blue. You didn’t see trails of anything because all the planes were grounded. Um, the second thing I thought was, I, it was scary. It was scary. The unknown was very scary. Um, but that was also the time. I remember we were rolling out a new platform for, for Williams, and people were genuinely nice and concerned, and we put down a lot of our differences at that time. ’cause the, the project was in a very rocky path, and we saw the human side, um, from this unfortunate incident. So that was that.

Scott Luton (00:29:23):

Well, Theo, thank you for sharing. And I, I really appreciate your reflections there. And, you know, um, Kevin, going back to your, where you were and then, and then hearing from Theo where she was, you know, uh, one of the thing I remembered is just I could not get enough information about what was going on. And I think that’s when the crawler, the, the scroller, uh, you know, all the headline news started rolling those out because as one story was going, you get updates from a, from the thousand other stories, the hunger for real information you could depend on. And, and trust was such, um, that was in the forefront of my mind, Kevin, your quick response to what Theo just shared about where she was,

Kevin L. Jackson (00:29:59):

You know, um, the importance of the information. And unfortunately, maybe we are losing our ability to trust the information we see on tv. And that’s scary because you’re right. At that time, we were dependent upon, you know, what they told us on the news, where to go, what was happening. And we, we had a belief that they were telling us the truth. Um, you know, uh, unfortunately things have changed and we can’t believe everything that comes across the news. Mm-hmm. But, um, you know, that, that information is, is still critical and important, uh, to, to our lives.

Scott Luton (00:30:38):

Yes. Agreed. Uh, trust and trust, trust is gonna be a big theme, I think, throughout, uh, the second, uh, half of today’s show. Uh, so Theo, thanks again for being here and, and taking a break from your world tour, which we’re gonna touch on in just a second. <laugh>, thank you for sharing, uh, your personal journey from 22 years ago. And as Jurgen says, on a much, much lighter note, Jurgen, like the rest of us loves your background, uh, Theodore and I’m, I’m with the, from the Lego sets to the pictures <laugh>. I bet you get comments all the time, Theo. It’s

Theodora Lau (00:31:09):

A, um, that’s how you break the ice, right? <laugh>, do you remember like what, three, three and a half years ago now? Oh my God. Time’s flying. Um, that we were all at home, right? And this, yeah. That was the moment that we were allowed to show our authentic self, our real self. The fact that, oh, you have a pet at home. The fact that, oh wait, you have children at home? Of course we do. Um, so it’s a part of, there’s another side of all of us that we didn’t see when we’re always on the road. And, um, this is the other part. I love F one, I love Legos. I love Star Wars.

Scott Luton (00:31:48):

<laugh>,

Kevin L. Jackson (00:31:49):

You’re real person.

Theodora Lau (00:31:50):

<laugh>. I’m a real person. I dunno. Maybe I’m a digital twin. You didn’t know that, Kevin. I’m a digital

Kevin L. Jackson (00:31:55):

Twin. It’s

Theodora Lau (00:31:56):

Been a few years since we met, so Yes. I need to fix that. You’re down the street. I don’t know what happened Right

Kevin L. Jackson (00:32:01):

Down the, yeah. Right up the street from us. Yeah. Well, we need to, yes.

Scott Luton (00:32:04):

Let’s all meet at Joe’s Seafood. Uh, Kevin, uh, you and me and Theo and have, uh, the meal of our lives like Kevin and I had, uh, a month or two ago. Um, alright, so moving right along. We’re gotta get into a lot with Theo and Kevin on the second half of the show. I wanna start, uh, Theo with what we were talking about, uh, with our first, well, really through the first half mm-hmm. <affirmative> generative ai. Mm-hmm. Gen ai. Man. If folks have heard that, probably a thousand times a day, some folks get it, are are putting it into place. Other folks are on the other side of the spectrum, perhaps are scared to death and don’t know where to start. Uh,

Kevin L. Jackson (00:32:39):

Your thoughts, Theo, when it comes to

Theodora Lau (00:32:40):

Generative ai. Two thoughts. One is I liked optimism, uh, Kevin, that you shared. I i and doubt. I think that it does a lot of things to productivity, but I have a different point of view. Um, and, and what you two just said about trust. It is so true. Um, right before the summit, I did a keynote in London. The whole topic was about generative AI and trust and banking. And when you cannot trust what you see and you know, you can no longer trust what you hear, what does that do to our society? Our society is based on trust. Financial services industry is based on trust. When you have technology that can clone your voice in three seconds, what does that do to not just security, but what else? Just like what you were saying, right? You know, you see something on tv. Is that true?

Theodora Lau (00:33:31):

Is that not true? You see videos that, you know, could showcase politicians saying something, but is that right or is it not Right? When your met where your brain constantly goes through this exercise of doubting, I I do worry. What future do we have? And of course, you know, not to mention in the United States, I think we’re a ta behind from a regulation perspective is like free for all. You have big technology company that’s rolling out all kinds of things. And with the caveat, by the way, it’s not ready. Well, guess what, <laugh>, you let the genie out of the bottle. It’s too late now, isn’t it? Yeah. By saying that disclaimer, you cannot absorb yourself from all the problems and challenges that we have. Of course, we need to innovate, of course we need to use new technology. Of course, we need to find ways to help us do our work better, for many, many reasons. But that does not absorb you from responsibility and accountability. Mm-hmm.

Kevin L. Jackson (00:34:26):

Right? One, one of the things that that kind of hit me as a first time I had, I saw a deep fake of myself. <laugh>, really? It became scary, right? Oh

Theodora Lau (00:34:38):

My God. Became

Kevin L. Jackson (00:34:39):

Real

Theodora Lau (00:34:40):

<laugh>. That’s scary, right, Kevin? I mean, like, because you, we just don’t know what’s out there. Right? And, and you know, right before the show and, and I was chatting with Scott, for those of us who write, we write so much and everything is out on the internet. You have a crawler that’s crawling everything. I don’t know what’s happening to the things I’ve generated or to the artist that’s created so many things, right? Yes. Do they stand? It’s just, it’s a little bit different from the way I used to think about AI growing up. ’cause I grew up in Asia and oftentimes when we think about robots, we think about future. We think of that as being a very collaborative and helpful. We always have helpful robots. Kids loved robots. I loved robots. And then I moved to the states. Ooh, 30 something years ago. I’m dating myself <laugh>. And I see everything is about terminate. I like what you were saying, <laugh>. It’s all about, you know, know the robot’s gonna take over the world. Is it gonna take over humankind? And whoa, wait, what happens with a nice friendly robot? Nice robots. Right? What happens to R two? Gimme R two back

Scott Luton (00:35:48):

<laugh>. Alright, I gotta weigh in here, Kevin, and you and Theo are having too much fun. Um, I, I wanna, Theo, if you could, it’s interesting ’cause we are kind of talking about, as there is with any opportunity, there’s all sorts of different angles and things you gotta consider in dynamics. And what’s good for one person or one organization is not necessarily, you know, a good fit or good for right? Someone else. And Theo, you are talking about in, uh, the green room, I’ll tell you, we’re gonna start, start recording the green room conversations. But you’re talking about those consequential moments when AI gets something wrong. Yeah. And, and how that really ups the Annie and, and the impact, uh, that can have when, you know, if we can’t contain and control that. Your quick thoughts of what you were sharing, Theo.

Theodora Lau (00:36:33):

It’s that, that’s, uh, one thing I think we tend to look at technology with a very broad stroke and we forget the fact that, you know, it can be one thing when, you know, I used Che b t and it brings up some silly hallucination of me. I remember half year ago, and I did that, is that I have a master of economics from Columbia. I’m like, oh, yay, this is cool. I had a master but not economics and definitely not Columbia. That would’ve been nice. I wanna add that to my resume <laugh>. So that’s like silly, silly mistake. Um, but then is and other thing, when you create all kinds of challenges to, from a personal perspective, what we were sharing, um, was about a mental health issue and challenge with a, um, eating disorder website. And what they did was they replaced the human, um, I don’t even know what, what they call them. The, the human being representatives?

Scott Luton (00:37:27):

Yeah,

Theodora Lau (00:37:27):

Yeah. Something like that, that I think that was a technical name for it. The, the human behind the screen, right? Instead of having that person chatting with someone that was submitting curie, they actually have a bot. And that bot recommended that visitor to go on a diet. Now imagine if it’s a person in distress that needs help, that’s going to your sites looking for help with eating disorder challenges, and you tell them to get on the diet, wow. The, the repercussions are, are severe. Or think about it from money perspective, financial services, wealth management. You give the wrong advice that can be much heavier impact to someone’s financial future than just a silly joke or recommending a wrong book or something.

Scott Luton (00:38:16):

So, you know, what you’re illustrating at least part of it to me and Kevin, I’ll give you the final word here in a second before we move on, is, uh, empathy. Empathy. Humans thankfully have cornered to market when it comes to empathy. And so when I hear about that, Theo, that response on that, on that, um, that site eating disorder site, you know, they’re trying to get the, the bot or the automation was trying to give an answer or a solution, but they’re missing that context, they’re missing that empathy. And that is so important in almost any, uh, conversation or situation. Kevin, your thought, your final word here.

Kevin L. Jackson (00:38:49):

So last week into it, launched their new AI powered virtual assistant, and this company invested at least $20 billion Wow. Into creating this, this capability. And you know, your audience may not know Intuit bought MailChimp, right? And Intuit is like one of the largest, if not the largest business financial services companies in the world. They may, uh, really, uh, when it comes to doing your taxes, TurboTax, that’s like number one. So that’s personal tax recommendation. And they’re blending this all together to be, become the leader in both business and, uh, personal finances. Isn’t that scary?

Scott Luton (00:39:51):

Uh, you know what? <laugh>, it is scary. And Kevin and Theo, if I can, uh, for those Star Wars fans out there, if you remember how bad the storm trooper’s accuracy is, <laugh>, you don’t wanna get financial advice from folks with, with the accuracy that bad, right? Of course, we’re having a little bit of fun. But really kidding aside, these poses some, some really big consequential, um, failures and, and outcomes. So we gotta really be careful about, um, picking and choosing our spots here.

Kevin L. Jackson (00:40:20):

And you may not know, are you talking to, is it human or is it ai?

Scott Luton (00:40:25):

Well, you know, Kevin, I I wanna see that video of you that you mentioned earlier. <laugh>, I gotta see that <laugh>. Um, alright, soThe, let’s get back. Uh, the second thing we want to ask you about, um, there’s so much, uh, that, that organizations come to you and and seek your expertise on, but technology’s impact on what, on work and the future of work paint us that vision they own.

Theodora Lau (00:40:48):

Mm. What I like to see versus what companies are doing that’s very different

Kevin L. Jackson (00:40:52):

<laugh>,

Scott Luton (00:40:53):

What should, what should folks know? What should folks here know? Maybe

Theodora Lau (00:40:57):

I’m hearing a lot of executives saying that they wanna use AI to reduce the head count, but of course they don’t say that. They say they use AI to improve efficiency, but because of that, they will stop hiring or they’ll be trimming workforce. Now, I have no problem, again, let me restate, using technology to improve efficiency, but that’s not where the story starts because we know the society is constantly changing. We know how we run. Businesses constantly changing. We know that you need to move people around, but what do you do with them after? Right? That, and that’s the part of the survey. We don’t get to hear are you re-skilling? Are you up-skilling them? Are you providing them with different opportunities so they can thrive somewhere else? Because people are not just resources you use in toss, which sadly it feels like that’s what it is right now. Mm-hmm. So that’s my one feedback. The other one is there’s a lot of pull and tuck in the US about whether or not you need to go back to the office or, you know, you can work remote. Yeah,

Kevin L. Jackson (00:41:58):

Yeah.

Theodora Lau (00:41:59):

I used to do two hour each way commute, Kevin, that from my house is 20 miles to downtown, but it’s two hours each way every day. Four hours round trip. Wow. And it was painful because I miss out a lot of my kids’ times, you know, in the morning they have breakfast, I already had to leave at night. When I come back, they’re already sleeping. And not to mention, I got really, really grumpy every morning when I got to the office. I feel like I just went through a battle. And so there are upside to having people having the flexibility to work where it works for them. But then the flip side of that is, yeah, what about the younger generations? What about people that are just starting to work? They need that water cooler conversations. They need that interaction in person. They need that to build their network, right? To build a network to say, Hey, let’s grab a coffee. And a lot of conversations happening happen over coffee time. So I feel like we’re still swinging right now. Um, I hope that one day we can settle on what would work for both people and companies, but I feel like we have ways to go.

Scott Luton (00:43:02):

Hmm. All right, Theo, uh, uh, swinging and missing, I think a lot of us are doing here lately. It seems, it feels like Kevin comment on that. Uh, first off, I, I’ve, I’ve complained about my Atlanta commute from time to time, but two hours, one way that far beats some of my worst days. So, uh, tha I can, that that gives me a lot of pain. But Kevin, talk about that, uh, technology’s impact on work, the remote, uh, in-office balance what the future of work

Kevin L. Jackson (00:43:29):

May look like. So, I mean, um, I started, uh, working from home, uh, back in, uh, 2008, right? And never looked back. I mean, I, I really enjoyed the, the freedom. I really enjoyed the, um, ability to do what I want to do and what I enjoy doing. But as, uh, Theo was talking about, but you know, I’ve already established my network. I was able to leverage that network. If I’m at the beginning of my career, I need to learn how to work with people, how to build relationships, how to be a human, uh, within a, a business environment. So, um, you, you need to keep both of those. You need to keep that water, water cooler, but you still need to have that flexibility. So, um, just like, just like most things in life, um, it’s, uh, moderation.

Scott Luton (00:44:33):

That’s right. Uh, whether it’s, whether it’s, uh, remote or in-person work or a nice wine that they, uh, <laugh>,

Kevin L. Jackson (00:44:42):

Right? No moderation than wine <laugh>.

Scott Luton (00:44:45):

So if, if anyone, uh, uh, fully leaning into this, but, uh, if anyone’s caught her previous appearances, uh, with us here, uh, Theo, like Kevin and I both are, we love, uh, we love wine. So, uh, but Theo, uh, your quick comment there on what Kevin said, and then I wanna move to this third topic here that I can’t wait to get your take. Hmm.

Theodora Lau (00:45:04):

It’s grape juice, by the way, a don grape juice

Kevin L. Jackson (00:45:07):

<laugh>. Um, yeah, yeah, yeah. That’s what they all say. <laugh>.

Theodora Lau (00:45:13):

That’s my advice. That’s my advice. Um, so I, I, I agree with you Kevin. I, I think what’s been really fascinating to see is the companies that are leaning into, we’ll give the flexibility, we’ll meet you halfway mm-hmm. <affirmative>, for example, establishing a day, um, twice a month that people will actually meet in the office to create that, you know, chance encounter if you will, and interaction, and then allow people to work somewhere else. And then there’s the full swing of the other big company, which we will not name that said, well, you are going to come back to the office. And by the way, these are the only offices that we will allow you to consider as headquarters. Nevermind that we spent millions and millions building out some other headquarters, um, over by Northern Virginia, close by the airport <laugh>.

Kevin L. Jackson (00:46:01):

Yes. Right? I know that company. Well, <laugh>,

Theodora Lau (00:46:05):

I’m not gonna name names here, but, but, so it’s, it’s fascinating to see how different companies are, are, are dealing with that. Um, I think we are still shaking out. Yeah,

Scott Luton (00:46:16):

I, I completely agree and, and will for a long time and, and you know, some of your previous appearances with this Theo, uh, your, um, perspective around making sure we no generation is left behind, right? Because, um, do we have, we have a generational preferences within Gen a gener, any generation, you’ve got individual preferences. And really that’s where we’re kind of going back to what we were talking about earlier, Kevin. Yeah. When it comes to a smart technology strategy, really, what are the objectives and can we bring that down? When, when you think of a workforce, can we bring that down to an individual level so that everyone can have this unique success and experiences they need to, to, um, to do the best work for the organization and to, and to be, you know, personally successful. So, more to come on that, no easy answers here today, but I want to talk about Theo FinTech. Now you are sharing in the green room, we gotta kill that word, <laugh>. But before we do that, before we officially make that a happen, we hit it with the gavel and all, um, just define that. I mean, we have, we’ve got the smartest audience in the world, but just for the handful of folks out there that maybe hadn’t spent time, you know, define what we’re talking about when it comes to FinTech and share some OB observations there. But

Theodora Lau (00:47:25):

That’s precisely the problem. How do we define FinTech? Right? And, and I think that that’s why more and more, I feel like we don’t even know how to define it. You ask, you know, 15 people, they could come up with four or five different definitions. So in the very, very basic level, FinTech is financial technology, which is you’re combining financial and technology. You have businesses that use technology to do what they do and do what they do better. Right? Now, here’s the thing. Do, can you find one company that is not using technology to do what they do? I mean, that, that, that makes no sense. Um, unless you still, I don’t know, writing a check and giving it to a pigeon to deliver somewhere, <laugh>, you’re gonna be using technology and to automate some part of your financial services in your process. So in that context, FinTech has lost the meaning.

Theodora Lau (00:48:21):

Because originally when, when the ecosystem started, a lot of this is about, you know, new innovation that, you know, bringing technology and finance together, new ways of doing things. We had, you know, the PayPals of the world at that time, right? Right. We had the, you know, how about we do, you know, mobile banking, all of these new, new things, but it, it’s not really new anymore. I mean, PayPal, um, loss count, they process $1.4 trillion in gross payment last. Wow. That that’s not the startup. That, that’s right. Or, or chime, right? Chime is huge right now, or into it, Kevin, to your, uh, example earlier right

Kevin L. Jackson (00:49:01):

Into it,

Theodora Lau (00:49:01):

They’re not a startup anymore. So where do you cut off? Do you cut off by how long they’ve been around? Do you cut off by volume of business? Do you cut off by their market? Share it, it, it gets to the point where, well, you know, if it doesn’t really mean anything, if you ask a lot of people means different things, then why are we keeping the word around? Mm-hmm.

Kevin L. Jackson (00:49:20):

Right, right. Exactly. Kevin,

Theodora Lau (00:49:22):

Your

Kevin L. Jackson (00:49:23):

Response to that. So we, we, uh, always, we always wanna jump to the new thing. Um, and, uh, it’s a trend. Um, but many people don’t take the time to really understand the trend. And, and, and that lends to a lot of misunderstanding, um, and misuse. And I, and I think that’s one of the issues that we have with technology. Uh, many people in cloud computing start, you know, they envision a big cloud in the sky where you plugged into <laugh>, you know, no, no, it’s just data centers <laugh>. But, but people don’t really, um, take the time to understand and, and learn. I mean, everyone’s not a technologist, but if it’s means so much, it affects your life so much. You really need to understand what you’re doing. And, and financial services is one of the things that affects everyone’s life. So, you know, Theo, you, you, you’re right. Um, maybe people are misusing FinTech. They, ’cause they don’t really understand how technology can directly affect your finances. They just wanna jump on the bandwagon. Mm.

Scott Luton (00:50:43):

You know, I really wish we had some of these, uh, latest and greatest, uh, financial technology platforms when I was in Air Force, Kevin, because mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I dunno about you, my paycheck and my l e s was never right. Kevin <laugh>, I lived in those offices. Um, that, that, that aside o one final thought here. Um, you know, uh, for the portion and, and the, you’re, you’re very well said for the portion of the word FinTech that talks about successfully onboarding suppliers and making sure they get paid or team members for that matter, making sure they get paid, you know, that is so relevant, uh, in, uh, global supply chain space. And I tell you, I don’t know about y’all, Theo and Kevin, we’ve, we’ve coined a new word here called procurement purgatory from some of the platforms <laugh>, that is not procure purgatory. Right? That’s not efficient and easy to use and doesn’t, you know, for that ux, that user experience, it’s not quite there. So maybe they need part of that 20 B and the Intuit, uh, invested in theirs. Kevin, I don’t know. But <laugh> theo, uh, before I talk about the book, um, your final word on, uh, where, where the space, I’ll just call it the space is headed.

Theodora Lau (00:51:50):

The space is heading in a lot of interesting directions. Um, there’s been a lot of talk about, oh my God, this guy’s falling. And people are not investing in fintechs anymore because everyone is running to ai. Um, but I, I think I always like to look back at what exactly are we doing? Forget the whole funding, forget, you know, all the other hype and distractions out there, right? Why do we exist and what are we doing, right? Mm-hmm. We exist to solve problems. What are the problems we trying to solve? Give you an easy one. The credit card debt for Americans hit a record $1 trillion. That is not a record we wanna be boasting about, but here we are. So what is our industry’s responsibility to try to help consumers out who are so indebted? Is it responsible to go create more payment methods such as buy now, pay later so we can get them in debt further?

Theodora Lau (00:52:50):

Or should we look at how can we help people move money more efficiently? To your point, get people paid faster and help them understand their financial situation better so that they can actually get to a more secure path, perhaps that, and then, you know, with that, then there’s the whole, um, discussion about what is the role of big technology companies and the world of embedded finance. I’ll give you an example. Apple. I love Apple. I’m a big Apple fan. Um, and so I have the Apple credit card when it was launched. I have iPhones obviously, and Mac and all of that. And I, I signed up for Apple Savings Accounts when it came out literally the same day. Hmm. It was so fast. It was so easy. It was so seamless. But what was incredible wasn’t about the onboarding experience. You know, we kind of take it for granted.

Theodora Lau (00:53:39):

It needs to be quick and easy. What was fascinating was how it can help you save without you even thinking about it. My previous example that I love was Acorns. I’ve used Acorns as an example for a long time. You set it, forget it, and you save. With Apple savings, what it does is it takes all of the, um, the money that you have from, you know, the 1%, 2% and what have you, uh, from using your card and it sweeps it into the savings account. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, you get four point half percent. And I didn’t even notice until like last week when I looked. I’m like, oh, I have $400 here. Now. That is cool, especially for people who are cash trapped. Little everything a little bit helps $5, $10. So why are not, why are banks not doing that? And is Apple a FinTech? I dunno.

Kevin L. Jackson (00:54:30):

Well, I have a, I have a question for, okay, you about, about FinTech. Uh, Theo maybe answer me. Uh, why is it that FinTech will let the bank take my money like 30 seconds after I pass something? But when I’m trying to get my pay or get paid, it takes five days. <laugh> no work days, five work days. So why doesn’t FinTech work on both sides of this? Oh,

Theodora Lau (00:55:00):

It’s, it’s a uniquely American problem.

Kevin L. Jackson (00:55:04):

<laugh>. Yeah.

Scott Luton (00:55:07):

We all know the answer.

Kevin L. Jackson (00:55:09):

That’s, that’s one of the issues. I mean, right.

Scott Luton (00:55:11):

We all know

Kevin L. Jackson (00:55:12):

A balance. Uh, if we’re gonna use FinTech, it has to help everyone, right?

Theodora Lau (00:55:17):

That’s right. That’s not because of FinTech, but it’s a much longer conversation. <laugh>,

Scott Luton (00:55:22):

Yes. Yeah. Uh, alright, we’re gonna have to have you back. Athea this hour has gone way too fast. But I wanna talk about, um, so on the heels of your successful book that we all loved and enjoyed Beyond Good, which I’ve got a couple copies, I think Back Behind Me, comes this next book, the Metaverse Economy. Now really quick ’cause our time is, uh, is waning, but I wanna read this, this quote, I love, love the book so far. I’m about halfway through it, uh, from Nelson Mandela. You’ve got the beginning of chapter four says, uh, quote, we often talk about the globalization of our world, referring to our world as a global village. Too often those descriptions refer solely to the free movement of goods and capital across the traditional barriers of national boundaries. Not often enough do we emphasize a globalization of responsibility, quote. Love that from Mr. Mandela. Theo, what’s your why behind this book and where can folks get it?

Theodora Lau (00:56:15):

So, I wrote this book with my co-author, Arun, who’s based in the uk. He’s been the last two plus years in the Metaverse. And, uh, real quick, the story was we met in London <laugh>, uh, shortly after the world, quote, unquote reopened after Covid. And I asked him what he was doing. He told me what he was doing, and I’m like, yeah, funny. Um, I was a non-believer and I saw it was hype. It was a lot of hype. And then next thing you know, I started looking into it and he had such a wealth of knowledge on how and what the metaverse is. And I told him, I said, you know, we need to put this in a book. And so the book is about what is a metaverse, what are the building blocks? And then it’s about, you know, my perception of what it needs to be and what it can do for community.

Theodora Lau (00:57:05):

’cause for me, technology is fun, but for tech to be adopted and for tech to be worthwhile, it needs to serve a purpose. And so every time I wanna see something, my ask will be, why? What does it do and why do we wanna do it? Why do we wanna spend time on it. And what would be interesting, what I always see is the metaverse as the hype exists, is not gonna be how it is going to be. I think it is going to create a very interesting or different future, but it will take time. We’re talking about eight, 10 years plus. It will take people, it take a lot of different people. And the one biggest reason why I wanna write the book and put it out there is because I wanna have more people involved in the book. I wanna include more voices from different corners of the world in the book. And so I spent a lot of time digging into who else is doing interesting things other than people in our backyard in the United States, what are other countries doing? Right? Right. What are other people doing? What are the women doing? Um, and I’ll end it with this, do not ever come to me and tell me that there are no women in Web three Mm.

Theodora Lau (00:58:14):

And that is precisely why I wrote the book.

Scott Luton (00:58:17):

Don’t Do It. Wow. She says, don’t do it. You better not do it. I’ve got a, I’ve got a couple images here, I think this is from the first book signing. Yeah, I love that. I think I saw this across social. Of course, you can get the Metaverse economy probably wherever you get books from. I, I found it, uh, on Amazon. You got a local bookstores, you name it. Uh, Theo. And you know what, uh, Kevin, she, uh, you and her both. I’m glad y’all have agents, so I can stay in touch with you both. <laugh>. Um, Theo, that first book signing was dc. She’s headed of New York next, and then she’s got six more book signings coming up. Wow. Goodness gracious. Um, get My Son Copy before he went out. <laugh>, right?

Theodora Lau (00:58:57):

We

Scott Luton (00:58:57):

Person, or you might be reading the Metaverse version. Yes, let’s do that. <laugh> Theo, last question for you, and then Kevin, I’ll make sure folks, when I connect with you as well, how can folks connect with you, other than the Metaverse Economy and the One Vision podcast? How can folks connect with you?

Theodora Lau (00:59:12):

So find me on LinkedIn. That’s why I spend most of my time nowadays on threats or metaverse economy book.com or beyond good book.com.

Scott Luton (00:59:21):

Either one. Awesome. It’s just that easy. Great to have you here, Theo, but don’t go anywhere just yet. Uh, we’re gonna have to have y’all both back. But Kevin, man, digital Transformers continues to, um, do well. Uh, yes. And you get a lot of feedback. This was, I think, was the latest episode, uh, with Ramiro Fernandez. So tell us how can folks connect with, uh, with all the cool things you’re doing at Digital Transformers and beyond?

Kevin L. Jackson (00:59:46):

Yes. Our most recent was a episode with, uh, um, SS a P and PIM Brands. I mean, you probably, who is PIM Brands? Well, if you ever have the, uh, uh, gummies or the, um, uh, fruit rolls, that’s 10 brands. Okay. Um, and it’s a really, uh, fascinating discussion about, um, how brands have to leverage technology in order to improve their services, uh, to their customer. And, uh, so, but you can always catch me on digital Transformers. Um, uh, hell here, right here on, uh, the, uh, the buzz second week <laugh>, and, uh, on, on LinkedIn, on Twitter or X or whatever, uh, <laugh>, whatever

Scott Luton (01:00:35):

That’s called these days.

Kevin L. Jackson (01:00:37):

<laugh> Kevin, underscore Jackson.

Scott Luton (01:00:40):

Well, one last thought, uh, and then we’re up against time. We’re, we’re gonna sign off, but I, I’ll just tell y’all the power of digital relationships. I’m, I’m pretty sure that I first met both Theo and Kevin first on X, which was formerly Twitter. And from there as we connected, and I, uh, really gotta know their perspective and expertise. Man, we’ve all, we’ve collaborated a number of different ways. So folks, whatever you do, make sure you connect with Theodore Lau and Kevin L. Jackson are doing very special things in industry, far beyond, uh, books and podcasts, but they’re changing the world. And that’s the name of the game, folks. That’s the name of the game. So thanks for everyone, for, for showing out here today. Really appreciate it. Know we couldn’t hit everybody’s comment. Big thanks to Catherine, Amanda, behind the scenes helping to make today happen.

Scott Luton (01:01:22):

Of course, big thanks to Theo and Kevin. But folks, here’s our calling today on this day, more than any other day perhaps, right? First off, never forget. But secondly, now’s the time to help out your neighbor, right? Let’s remember all of those over the last 22 years that, uh, have, have had tremendous loss and grief. And you name it, let’s honor them by helping a neighbor. There’s nothing too small, too big you can do. So all that, these not words. And on behalf of our entire team here at Supply Chain now, Scott Luton challenging you to do good, to give forward and to be the change that’s needed. And we’ll see you next time, right back here at Supply Chain now. Thanks everybody.

Intro/Outro (01:01:59):

Thanks for being a part of our supply chain Now, community. Check out all of our programming@supplychainnow.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.

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Featured Guests

Theodora Lau is the founder of Unconventional Ventures, a public speaker, and an advisor. She is the co-author of The Metaverse Economy (2023) and Beyond Good (2021), and host of One Vision, a podcast on fintech and innovation. Her monthly column on FinTech Futures explores the intersection of financial services, tech, and humanity. She is named one of American Banker’s Most Influential Women in FinTech in 2023. She is also a regular contributor and commentator for top industry events and publications, including BBC News, Finovate, American Banker, and Journal of Digital Banking. Connect with Theo on LinkedIn.

Hosts

Scott W. Luton

Founder, CEO, & Host

Kevin L. Jackson

Host, Digital Transformers

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Demo Perez

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.

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Mary Kate Love

VP, Marketing

Mary Kate Love is currently the VP of marketing at Supply Chain Now focused on brand strategy and audience + revenue growth. Mary Kate’s career is a testament to her versatility and innovative spirit: she has experience in start-ups, venture capital, and building innovation initiatives from the ground up: she previously helped lead the build-out of the Supply Chain Innovation Center at Georgia-Pacific and before that, MxD (Manufacturing times Digital): the Department of Defense’s digital manufacturing innovation center. Mary Kate has a passion for taking complicated ideas and turning them into reality: she was one of the first team members at MxD and the first team member at the Supply Chain Innovation Center at Georgia-Pacific.

Mary Kate dedicates her extra time to education and mentorship: she was one of the founding Board Members for Women Influence Chicago and led an initiative for a city-wide job shadow day for young women across Chicago tech companies and was previously on the Board of Directors at St. Laurence High School in Chicago, Young Irish Fellowship Board and the UN Committee for Women. Mary Kate is the founder of National Supply Chain Day and enjoys co-hosting podcasts at Supply Chain Now. Mary Kate is from the south side of Chicago, a mom of two baby boys, and an avid 16-inch softball player. She holds a BS in Political Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

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Joshua Miranda

Marketing Specialist

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.

Donna Krache

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.

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Vicki White

Controller

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.

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Ben Harris

Host

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.

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Page Siplon

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).

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Kristi Porter

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.

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Sofia Rivas Herrera

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.

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Katherine Hintz

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.

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Kim Winter

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).

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Adrian Purtill

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.

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Kevin Brown

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.

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Jose Miguel Irarrazaval

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.

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Nick Roemer

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.

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Allison Giddens

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.

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Billy Taylor

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.

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Lori Sofian

Marketing Coordinator

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.

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Chantel King

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.

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Trisha Cordes

Administrative Assistant

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.

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Clay Phillips

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.

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Amanda Luton

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.

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Constantine Limberakis

Host

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.

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Mary Kate Soliva

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.

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Kelly Barner

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’.

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Enrique Alvarez

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.

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Kevin L. Jackson

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 CiscoMicrosoft, 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 UniversityO’Reilly MediaLinkedIn Learning, and Pluralsight.  Mr. Jackson retired from the U.S. Navy in 1994, earning specialties in Space Systems EngineeringCarrier 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.

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Tyler Ward

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!

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Chris Barnes

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.

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Greg White

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.

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Scott W. Luton

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.

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