There’s a new generation of female entrepreneurs making their way onto the global stage, and we have Ladé Araba to thank for it. As the co-founder of The Visiola Foundation, she’s helping African girls take the reins of their education and build careers in STEM. In this Supply Chain Now classic episode, join Scott and special co-host Matilda Arhin as they chat with Ladé about her fascinating upbringing in Rome, the genesis of The Visiola Foundation, her supply chain observations, advice for aspiring leaders and more.
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Scott Luton (00:33):
Hey, good morning, everybody. Scott Luton and special guest host. Matilda Arhin with you here on supply chain. Now. Welcome to today’s show Matilda. Hey doing
Matilda Arhin (00:42):
I’m great. Scott, how about yourself?
Scott Luton (00:44):
Doing wonderful. It is so neat to be back. Co-hosting a show with you. It’s been a long time since the last time. I wanna say the last time you’re with us. We were interviewing Jackie Robinson’s family. Do you remember that Matilda?
Matilda Arhin (00:58):
Yes, I do. And I did another one with Enki but we had fun. Yeah,
Scott Luton (01:03):
We did. We know we’ve got an excellent show teed up here. This is gonna be a bit of a special, unique episode, perhaps of logistics with purpose, which is always sponsored by our dear friends at vector global logistics. So this episode we’ve got teed up today. We’re gonna be speaking with a leader of a nonprofit that’s on a mission to fuel the emergence of a new cadre of leaders across Africa. In particular, this organization aims to increase female entrepreneurs across the vibrant continent of Africa. Of course, in entrepreneurship is critical for all industries, especially global supply chain, as we work on solving old and new challenges. So stay tuned for a fascinating discussion. Matilda. I’m gonna welcome in our guests. If you’re ready to go,
Matilda Arhin (01:44):
I’m ready to go. Let’s go.
Scott Luton (01:45):
Wonderful. Let’s do it. So when welcome in Lade Araba co-founder and president of the Viola foundation. Laday how you doing?
Lade Araba (01:54):
I’m doing wonderful. Scott, how are you? Thank you so much for having me
Scott Luton (01:58):
Well, you bet. Well, you know, one of my favorite things to do, it’s great to have you. One of my favorite things to do is rebel BOS with folks are really pushing industry forward, giving forward, uh, building others and cause we all win that way. So I’m really excited to learn more about your journey and, and what you’re doing at the foundation.
Lade Araba (02:15):
Well, there’s a lot going on. Uh, we we’ve worked with, um, over 8,000 girls and young women across about six countries and I Africa wow. Giving them the opportunity to access education and also stem learning. And stem stands for science, technology, engineering, math, and we’ve seen a number of these girls go on to college, get scholarships. Uh, some of them have become tech enabled entrepreneurs. Um, others have been able to access jobs that they previously weren’t qualified for. So there’s just a lot going on and I’m super excited and proud of these girls and the futures that they have
Scott Luton (02:50):
As you should be as we all should be. So I love that work. We’re gonna dive into more of that in, in just a minute, but before we do, let’s get to know LAE a little bit better. Matilda. How’s that sound?
Matilda Arhin (03:02):
That sounds great. Ladi. I’m excited too. I know. Not
Scott Luton (03:06):
So LAE, Matilda, and I would love to know where you grew up and of course you gotta give us the goods on your upbringing.
Lade Araba (03:13):
So it’s a little bit of a complicated story. Um, so I was, I was born in I Nigeria and we moved to Italy when I was three. My father worked for the United nations. Um, so he was a diplomat. So I grew up in Rome, Italy, the beautiful eternal city.
Scott Luton (03:29):
Lade Araba (03:30):
I learned different languages and you know, got to meet a lot of different, uh, people,
Scott Luton (03:36):
What, you know, I’m not sure Matilda I’ve ever met anyone that was able to, to, to grow up in Rome of all places. How about that? Yeah. So what was it? So, so, you know, pardoned my ignorance a little bit. I I’ve never, I’ve never visited Rome. It’s on my list of things to do. Gosh, Ladi. What was it like to have a backdrop of all the, the ancient structures and, and, and the history? What was it? It like?
Lade Araba (04:00):
So before I get into that, I, I wanna tell you one of my earliest childhood memories. I remember the, the flight to Rome and how I kept my poor mother up, cuz she had to make sure I was comfortable the entire time we arrived. And that was the first time that it had snowed in Rome in a very long time. So it’s not, uh, typical at cold. So our first year in Rome we had snow. So I made a snowman. So it was very different. That was my that’s one of my earliest childhood recollections and memories. So, you know, coming in, it was new. It was completely different from where I was coming from. Of course I didn’t speak the language coming in with just eight English, but I don’t remember how I made the transition, but suddenly one day I was fluent in Italian and then I became a native speaker and then, you know, was eating all this incredible Italian food, just learning so much about rich history in Italy, but also across Europe. So I must say I had a really good childhood and all of my memories are very pleasant.
Scott Luton (05:04):
Oh my goodness gracious. All that. So many questions. So little time, Matilda, have you ever been to Rome?
Matilda Arhin (05:10):
Yes. That’s what, that’s what I was gonna say. This is very interesting because my entry into the Western world was through Rome. I came through, I went to Switzerland as a young exchange student. I had to translate through Rome. Yeah. So it was interesting.
Scott Luton (05:25):
Yeah. So I’m the only non world traveler here. Okay. So, so all right, one, one more quick. We’re we’re gonna talk about fluency and languages that you touched on in just a second before we do, you mentioned all this delicious Italian food. What was your favorite dish that you can recall? Well, out of all, all the good food, probably
Lade Araba (05:43):
Hands down, lasagna. Lasagna
Scott Luton (05:47):
Sounds great. Let’s go. Let’s go to Roman. Get some let’s go down. Yeah.
Lade Araba (05:51):
All right. We
Scott Luton (05:52):
Should. So what’s amazing. Uh, one of the amazing things I think about you and your journey and who you are is you are fluent in three languages, English, French, and Italian, and you also speak some Spanish that blows my mind. So, so how did you just, you just mentioned a moment ago, you don’t recall kind of when you became fluent in Italian, but how did you accomplish this trilingual aspect of your journey and, and talk, talk about the impact it had it’s had on your world travels?
Lade Araba (06:21):
Certainly Scott. So I would say that, um, speaking Italian certainly gives me an advantage with the romance languages. So the languages that have a Latin root, so French, Spanish. Um, so it was pretty easy for me to understand these other English, which is, but I never really made an effort to formally learn, you know, how you conjugate verbs. When I was little, as I got older, I realized I needed to be able to actually speak converse in these other languages. So I took formal courses and then I spent, um, two, two semesters, um, in Paris as an exchange through even when I was in college and there, I was really able to deepen my French. And then while I was in the us, I also took Spanish classes, but I would say, you know, Italian and, and French are definitely my, my strongest, uh, of languages. And it’s been a, it’s been a huge advantage for my career because I’ve been able to work in international organizations and qualified for positions in other countries on the merit of being able to speak, um, these other languages, which truly helps with business.
Scott Luton (07:26):
I can only imagine. And I can also only imagine being able to spend time in Paris while in college. I bet you’ve got some stories that you maybe you can share and you can’t share. I don’t know. All right. So, so, but until the, where are we going next with our friend lay day here?
Matilda Arhin (07:42):
Uh, this is, this is really exciting LA day. It is very exciting to see what you’re doing and just wanted to know, you know, apart, you know, about wanted to kinda talk about your vision at a Viola foundation, you know, and I know is going on the right direction and the language, but I think we forgot African language in all this. There’s also an African language. So there’s an African language to that, but kind of wanted to gear off a little bit to prior to the VI foundation, what were couple of key positions that shaped your world view?
Lade Araba (08:16):
Wonderful. And yes, you’re absolutely right. So Europe, which has, you know, my, uh, native language, although my husband claims that I don’t speak it cuz he does not appreciate my, uh, accent and intonation, but I do make an effort. So I think two, two roles in particular really shaped my worldview and influenced the decision and desire to set up the physi found. The first I had the opportunity to return to Rome as an adult in 2005. So I was offered a position with the food and agriculture organization, which is a United nations, um, agency that tries to improve food production and agriculture in the developing world. And while I was there, I had the opportunity to travel within Africa. So to Uganda, to Kenya, uh, countries, I had never visited, uh, before. And I was really struck by how fertile those countries are, wherever you go, you know, screen the soil is fertile.
Lade Araba (09:16):
So I, I really can reconcile the image of these being poor countries, where hunger was still an issue. So that for me was sort of a big, uh, turning point in my life and career. And I wanted to understand why local people couldn’t produce in the, of food to feed themselves and have improved health outcomes. Um, and so that was part of the work that I was doing. The second, you know, I would say big moment was when I was working with the African development bank and I got to travel again across Africa, looking at, uh, financing, infrastructure, electricity, since most of the continent, surprisingly does not have access to stable, reliable electricity, and again, just traveling across countries and just not being able to reconcile the huge need and the poverty and just, you know, the lack of so many basic services. And yet seeing that all these natural resources were available. So that to me felt like a wake up call and it drew me to wanna do something that would contribute directly to development, but also improving the quality of life of people and giving them access to better economic opportunities.
Scott Luton (10:33):
Oh man. Matilda, that is remarkable that that sets of, of, of purpose in those early Eureka moments that, that LA had, right?
Matilda Arhin (10:41):
Yes. That, that is amazing. That means you’ve touch on literally everything that Africa needs to grow to be able to compete on the global level, you know, um, equally. And I think that is what everybody’s striving for. You know, so talking about finance and infrastructure, what do you think, especially now that Africa has this, the largest trading block with Africa, continental free trade area, what does Africa need to do to manage or work, especially the need for infrastructure across the Africa continent? What does Africa have to do to accomplish that?
Lade Araba (11:16):
I always talk about two. Um, so the factors of production and economics, uh, land labor capital. So for me, the two things that are really glaringly absent are human capital. So we don’t have enough technical talent that is actually able to design, develop, construct, manage, and even form the regulatory services that you need for infrastructure. We need more engineers, um, as an example. So one is, you know, huge investments are needed in human capital, but also really in technical skills. And then secondly is actually developing the infrastructure. We still need probably millions of gigawatts of electricity being provided to the continent. Um, I think around 600 million Africans currently do not have access to reliable electricity, which is unfathomable in 2022. We need to build roads highways. We need ports, um, airports, we need telecommunications. Um, there’s just so much that needs to be built. Um, and in order to do that, you need the financing. But I think coupled with that is also the technical skills to be able to do so. Mm
Scott Luton (12:27):
Gosh, a couple thoughts come to my mind, Matilda to get your response to, uh, I’ve been, uh, watching the, a manufacturing centric discussion take place, uh, about a movement to insource more production and build more manufacturing facilities in Africa. And, and that’s, I think that’s a brilliant idea, but it, it seems like that would need some of those things that you’ve you’ve mentioned, right? Cause they consume so much absolutely. Uh, the, that, that, that type of infrastructure. And then the second thing, well, first off, respond to that. LA what, what’s your take there manufacturing, is that high up on your radar?
Lade Araba (13:02):
Absolutely. And we’re already starting to see countries like Ethiopia, for instance, Rwanda, um, really investing in human capital, but also the infrastructure that you need to set up factories, where you have a access to cheaper labor and obviously can reduce the overall cost of production so that your margins then will increase. So we’re starting to see countries, some countries do that, but there’s definitely a need for a lot more investment and across the entire continent.
Scott Luton (13:28):
Right. And, and as I understood it and correct me if I’m wrong while sure some of that will lead to export some of that new manufacturing activity, but there’s also an intense focus to produce locally for local markets across the African continent, which is outstanding. Also update me at last, when I was chatting with, um, a couple of friends, it’s been a few months back about the free trade movement across the continent of Africa. I thought that there were one countries hold out. Uh IRIA did I say that right? Did they, are they still holding out or do they sign on and, and
Lade Araba (14:04):
We don’t yet have full ratification of the African free continents with free trade area. I believe a couple of years ago, about 24 countries that actually signed up to it. There’s 55 African countries, 50 for, depending on, you know, how you, if you count right. New countries that have come on board, but basically only about just under half of the countries have actually signed up. So there’s still a bit of work to do to ensure that everybody comes on board.
Scott Luton (14:28):
Gotcha. So it’s not just Ari, maybe it was a, maybe it was a subsection of, uh, that free trade work that I was reading about. Or regardless that that’s a wonderful development, hopefully we’ll get more ratification and really open up, reduce the barriers, uh, to success, uh, and trade across, uh, the robust continent of Africa Matilda. Before I ask Laday about other Eureka moments, she’s already shared a couple. What else comes to your mind? Matilda based on some of what she’s, she’s talking about business across Africa.
Matilda Arhin (14:58):
So it’s very interesting where Ladi has been all these, like I said, all these three focus. If Africa can focus on these three areas definitely will be able to make an impact for me. Also, the creative industry is also up and coming because when you look at the Africa continent, almost everybody owns a minimum of one cell phone and then going into the technology and digitization and everything creative industry. So what do you think the creative industry can be used, uh, you, you know, to do or catapult Africa into a whole new, um, direction? Right? That’s a question I would love to hear your point of view.
Lade Araba (15:40):
I, I think you’re absolutely right and it’s already happening. Um, I can, you know, I travel in the us, I travel to different countries and I hear music from various African countries, uh, very popular and people dance, they know the lyrics. Um, they know the artists, we’re seeing a lot of, uh, collaboration as well between artists and different countries. We’re also seeing that local, um, Hollywood versions are emerging. So Netflix is making it possible to watch movies from Nigeria, gone Kenya, India, as well as, you know, us movies produced in Hollywood. So there are a number of other streaming media that make this possible. So I think we’re already starting to see that. And there’s definitely a huge investment opportunity within the creative industry and the continent, but everybody doesn’t necessarily need to go into that one industry. I think that there is many there opportunities in other sector and industries as well.
Scott Luton (16:37):
Agreed. You know, unfortunately I’m not getting offered a recording contract anytime soon, Matilda and LA day. I’m very disappointed about that, but, uh, I,
Lade Araba (16:45):
I would, I would buy your a Scott. I would totally,
Scott Luton (16:48):
I’m gonna hold you to it. I’m gonna hold you to it.
Matilda Arhin (16:51):
Scott Luton (16:52):
Gosh. So much to talk fascinating, all, all the different things that you’re involved in. And, and, um, let’s talk about Eureka moments though, because if anything, the last couple years has been so tough for all of us, uh, across the globe, what’s been a Eureka moment that that really taught you something here recently.
Lade Araba (17:12):
Goodness, there’s a number obvious say the last couple of years have been really difficult for many people as you’ve mentioned, and I’ve also had my own, uh, challenges. But when I think about, you know, the girls that, um, I’ve had the pleasure of working with through the foundation, I’m reminded of the purpose and the why of why we create a, at the organization to begin with. I have seen girls who literally had no future and today they are working in tech. They have jobs with healthcare companies. They are earning decent salaries that have effectively changed the trajectory of their lives, but also of their family’s lives. So that to me just reminds me that what we’re doing is important and it’s necessary,
Scott Luton (17:58):
Oh man, I’m a, we need to replay that last 40 seconds for everybody Matilda to, to have to live a life of that degree of purpose and impact and, you know, paying it forward and giving forward as we called around here, I love that. So let’s, let’s talk more about for our listeners, uh, the Viola foundation. So let’s start with let’s, let’s go all the way back, cuz you’re a co-founder uh, why did you start the Viola foundation?
Lade Araba (18:26):
It, it is my purpose. It’s it’s my life. Um, the story really starts in Rome. So I grew up with a privilege of being born into a family where my parents were able to send me to school. Education was never anything I worried about healthcare was never anything I thought about, you know, I had a pretty good childhood, but while I was in Rome growing up, I noticed that we were in the minority as African immigrants. So there’s probably only a handful of us who came from working professional families. I was the only black child in my preschool. There was only a handful of us in elementary and middle schools and everybody else I saw had a struggle of some sort. Unfortunately, I also noticed from a very young age that there were a number of girls and women who were trafficked. And it’s very easy to see if you drive at night or at least at the time, this is, you know, 40 odd years ago.
Lade Araba (19:25):
If you drive at night, you see these girls on the street, you know, barely clad even in the winter. And I knew there was something wrong. I think my young mind didn’t fully comprehend what was going on, but I knew there was something wrong. And so I remember having a conversation with my mom in the car, as I’m bundled up saying, can’t we pick them up and take them somewhere and teach them a job so they can get off the street. Right? So they, that for me, you know, was the, the starting point of, I knew that there was something different about the life that some people led and that I was privileged and fortunate, um, to not, not be in that position. When I came back to Italy as an adult to work difficult for me, because here I am a young, you know, African woman who’s professional who earns a decent salary, but I could see so many people, um, struggling.
Lade Araba (20:17):
And I started meeting with these, um, young women through my church. And I realized that many of them did not understand the importance of education. The reason why I had so many opportunities was because I had gone to college, I, I had done an MBA. I had access to jobs. If they would have, you know, pursued education, they could also have, um, access these types of opportunities. So I basically started inviting them to my apartment. We would do Bible study, but then we would also do what I like to call, you know, life workshops and talk about education, how to get jobs and you know, that sort of started it. And so, you know, several years later I felt it was time. I didn’t, I didn’t have all the answers. Didn’t really know how you started a foundation or nonprofit it, but just got to work, you know, putting together some sort of business plan. Like I would, if I was starting a company right through the, the mission a and also just, you know, creating a structure and we have been operating now for eight years. And as I said, we’ve worked with over 8,000 girls.
Scott Luton (21:24):
Okay, man. So much, so much good stuff to there. You know, Matilda, we, we talked a lot around here. Yes. Around, uh, deed’s not words, right. It’s one of our favorite phrases, right? Cause it’s about taking action. It’s not about lip service and lip service leadership. And that is what I heard shouting in my ears, LA, they saw problems. She saw an issue. She wanted to do something about it and that’s exact what she did and she didn’t let, she didn’t let what we, what all of us don’t know, you know, all of us, I don’t know how to start a nonprofit. You know, when we started supply chain now, I didn’t know how, you know, all the ins and outs there, but she didn’t let that those knowledge gaps get in away. Matilda, what else did you hear there?
Matilda Arhin (22:05):
Yes. I mean, what she LA doing, I think cannot even be put into, um, into contest in the impact she’s having. I had a lesson of judging one of the competitions. That’s how I got to meet her. And what she’s glad has been able to do with these girls is nothing short of phenomen. And so LA uh, let us know what it is that we can, and also do. This is amazing. And we applaud you for that. Yeah.
Scott Luton (22:32):
Agreed. All right. So let’s talk. So Matilda mentioned competitions a couple times. Let’s talk about those, but also what else, what, what all does the foundation do? Tell, talk to us about that LA.
Lade Araba (22:43):
Absolutely. Um, so we currently run three programs and these are primarily in, but we’ve also had students come in from Kenya, Uganda, Zambia, South Africa, Sierra, Leon, and Liberia. So the first program that we run is after school stem clubs for girls in junior and senior high, who attend public schools. So these are government institutions, poorly resourced, you know, lacking in infrastructure, lacking in materials, lacking in a lot of things. So what we do is we fill the knowledge gaps in the public educational system. We teach them the theoretical concepts in especially science. So in physics, biology, general science, chemistry, computer science, we introduce them to electronic, to robotics and, uh, topics in engineering. But importantly, we provide them with exponential learning. So the labs, you know, all the practical work that you typically do where you’re able to tinker carry out experiments, build prototypes, apply the, the science, um, to actually see how it works.
Lade Araba (23:48):
So that way they’re learning and not just memorizing formulas and theories that they don’t understand. The second program that we run is, uh, a residential, uh, stem camp, which happens typically over the summer. But, uh, we also do over the holidays. So we had one in December in across Ghana and Matilda had the benefit of being a judge at that. So what happens is we have a theme. So for instance, in Ghana, the theme was robotics for sustainable development, renewable energy and robotics for sustainable development. So they learned about renewable energy, the importance of, you know, climate change and how you can create prototypes that improve the quality of life for people in an environmentally sustainable manner. And then they were tasked with developing prototypes that worked. And these were the prototypes that they presented to the panel of judges who, um, interrogated them and basically, um, asked them to explain the science behind what they had built.
Lade Araba (24:45):
And then the third program is coding boot camps for young women. So this is a slightly older crowd. So we’re typically working with girls between 17 to 25, sometimes going up to 30. So they spend five weeks learning, basic computer programming. So they learn how to code. They are introduced to web development, graphic design, Al of data, triathlon building mobile apps at the end of the bootcamp. Again, it’s a competitive process. So we only give certificates to those who fulfill all the requirements, but at the end of the bootcamps, we’ve seen girls then go on to get jobs in tech that they previously were not qualified for. Uh, some have gotten competitive internships so they can continue learning. And others have even become freelancers doing web development, basically creating websites or even becoming, uh, graphic designers. Um, but it gives them opportunities and access to jobs and higher incomes that, that they would never have, have been able to access without this training.
Scott Luton (25:45):
I love that. So eight years over 8,000 students or, or participants that have benefited from these three programs that y’all do at the Viola foundation, just remarkable the impact, the impact. And, you know, when you can help people get good paying jobs, they wouldn’t have otherwise. And, and then they can, they can start paying bills and, and affording things that they, you know, they and their families need. I mean, the sense of fulfillment that you must, you and your team must have, must be off the charts, LA
Lade Araba (26:19):
It, it is it’s, it’s very humbling, but I don’t know how to explain it. There’s just a joy that comes every time I see this happen, or I get, you know, a testimonial from a student even after they’ve left our programs.
Scott Luton (26:33):
So how can, uh, I wanna make sure we, we, until the alluded to this a moment ago, to any of our listeners companies, wherever they are that wanna maybe support, uh, what you’re doing and help you continue to serve more and more, what are some of the ways that that companies or individuals can, can help support the Viola foundation
Lade Araba (26:51):
There? We, we love that question. Um, you can become a friend or partner to the foundation. Um, so we’ve had companies where their staff have volunteered their time to give career talk. So what does it mean to be an engineer? What does it mean to work in supply chain? You know, what types of jobs are available? What do I need to study to get there? So just talking to them about, you know, your personal journeys and being real is, is always very helpful. Being a mentor, um, to the students, obviously having that guidance and somebody who believes in you, who cheers you on who can share from their own life’s journeys. It’s also very empowering for the students. Um, we’ve had companies provide internship opportunities, uh, for the students. It’s always important to actually have some work experience that makes you a better Canada going forward. Obviously, you know, companies have also provide, provided corporate sponsorship for some of the programs. That’s another opportunity. So there are many different ways in which you can support what we’re doing. And we have a website. Uh, we also have, um, a us fiscal sponsor. So if anybody wanted to make tax deductible donations, those are also possible. Um, so there are many different ways in which you can support what we’re doing.
Scott Luton (28:05):
I love that. I love that, uh, Ladi. So Matilda, she mentioned earlier in her response, one of our favorite things, we’re big supply chain nerds around here. Uh, and we have a question for her about that, right? Matilda.
Matilda Arhin (28:17):
Yes, we do. And, uh, Ladi, I think, uh, for the social impact, you’ll be a great, great partner for vex of global logistics, but look at supply chain, everything is supply chain. So when it comes to supply chain now, any observations for our listeners?
Lade Araba (28:32):
Absolutely. So what we do is targeted at girls and young women who come from underserved communities. And I think what you can gather from that is gender equality and equity, so access to opportunities for women. Um, so when you think about supply chain, are you applying a gender lens within your supply chain? So are you looking to bring in women owned companies within the supply chain? Are you looking at the presence of women in the leadership teams, in the, you know, on the boards, um, in executive positions, within the companies that you work with, are you looking to ensure that there is no pay gap between men and women doing similar types of jobs and, you know, with, um, similar, uh, types of qualifications, um, are you thinking about how your products and services are being designed? Do they think about the perspective of women, um, and how women use those products? Um, maybe they need to be designed differently. Are you thinking about, you know, your distribution channels are your products and services, reaching women who are formidable consumer group and who typically are influential in decision making at the household level. So there are many different ways in which you can create a more gendered, um, supply chain. And I think a lot more companies that do this recognize it’s not just a social impact, right engagement. It actually contributes to the bottom line as well. Diverse inclusion does make, make good business sense.
Scott Luton (30:03):
Agreed, completely agreed. It’s it’s it is a business case, even so folks, if, if you don’t, if you don’t wanna just do it, cause it’s the right thing to do. It’s, there’s a business case to do it. So Matilda. Absolutely. We’ve got a new thing around here. It’s gonna be called a lots checklist. She just write it off about 15 questions. That business figures should be asking themselves, right?
Matilda Arhin (30:24):
Yes. That’s a good one.
Scott Luton (30:26):
All right. So let’s, um, I wanna shift gears here as we kind of come down to home stretch and, uh, in our time with, uh, Laday ABA co-founder and president of the Viola foundation, let’s paint a visual here. So, uh, I know you travel quite a bit. Let’s, let’s say you, you to New York city or Rome, or one of, any of your other favorite cities around the globe and you’re, you’re at the, uh, Waldorf Astoria. I don’t know if that’s still around or not, but it’s a big room full you’re giving a keynote to thousands of young people that are on the edge of their seat and they all wanna do what you’re doing. Right? Do big things have impact, be presence and CEOs, you name it and you’ve got their captive attention. So LAE, what, what’s a piece or two of, of advice that you give them?
Lade Araba (31:12):
I can probably think of three or four things off the top of my head. Um, the fir the first thing, the first thing, which I think we all need to be reminded of is believe in yourself. You can do you, anything you set your mind to, and if you visualize it and you work towards it, you can achieve it. So you have to believe in yourself and be your own biggest cheerleader. Mm. Secondly, integrity is supremely important. Ethics. Your name is your most important asset. And I always tell people that when people hear my name, when people see my name, do they think I have confidence in this product or this service, because I know that she has ensured that it meets a certain standard of qual, certain quality that she’s not cut corners and so on. So it’s supremely important, always conduct yourself in an ethical manner and let your name be known for integrity.
Lade Araba (32:11):
Cutting corner is just never pays off. And then the third thing, it, it just doesn’t and the long run, it just doesn’t. And then the, the third thing that I would say is, you know, you can learn and even if you don’t have access to, and obviously you’re not gonna become an expert in everything, learn as much as you can, and then find technical experts in the fields or the areas where you are lacking and work together. We can’t ever achieve anything on our own. So it’s important for us to identify our strengths and weaknesses, but then identify other people who can compliment those areas so that we have a stronger chance for success. Or as I like to call it optimizing for success,
Scott Luton (32:55):
Optimizing for success, you know, what you just shared there not only would benefit that, uh, thousands of young people in that, uh, hypothetical, everyone needs to hear that. And I love cutting. What’d you say cutting corners never pays off. Thing is what you just said a moment ago is so true in the,
Lade Araba (33:11):
Scott Luton (33:11):
It is so true. It, it may, it may seem like, like you’re, you’re getting an immediate payback, but as you say in the big picture, you lose, you lose one of my favorite pieces of advice. And I cannot remember her name right this second. She is a PhD she’s work with NASA. We interviewed here, uh, her here on supply chain now. And she was, it was a live stream. And she was being asked by a couple of our folks in the comments about how they can advance and, and, and feed and, and, you know, get promoted, all that stuff. And her simple response was do the work, do the work, absolutely do the work, you know, and that, it’s such a simple thing, but it’s so powerful. Uh, and if you do it, you know, that, that, that’s, that’s the key. So Matilda, I’m gonna bring you in on what you just heard there. It was like a mini masterclass from LA day here on leadership. And, and then some, what was your favorite part of what LA just shared?
Matilda Arhin (34:08):
I mean, I took, I’ve got two girls, so this was very important for me that you have confidence. That’s the number one, uh, integrity and mentorship. Yeah. You know, when you have that, these are three most important pieces are, that’s what I got from the, so thank you. It’s phenomenal. Thank you.
Scott Luton (34:25):
Uh, thank you so much, uh, LAE, let’s make sure folks know how the, how to connect with you and the Viola foundation. I’m hoping that there might be some potential supporters or speakers or, or sponsors you name it. How can folks connect with you?
Lade Araba (34:41):
Uh, the Viola foundation has a website. It’s Viola foundation.org. And Viola is spelled V I S I O L a foundation.org. And you can find a lot of information on there.
Scott Luton (34:54):
Wonderful, wonderful. Uh, we look forward to sharing that with our, uh, global ecosystem, love the work you’re doing. Gosh, just the, the practical, the practicality of it all. Uh, I’m a big fan of practicality. In fact, my wife, Amanda, we talk about it a lot, but our first Valentine’s together, I, uh, I had noticed in the weeks prior that she was running in the rain with no umbrella. So I was like, problem meet solution. I’m gonna, I gave her umbrella on that first Valentine’s day. She was not, not happy, but
Lade Araba (35:26):
Very romantic, not right.
Scott Luton (35:29):
We’ve all had a good laugh about that ever since she cried on that first Valentine’s day. But, uh, kidding aside, I love this story, this, at this, this story of your journey, where you saw folks that were missing out on opportunities that were, um, struggling in their walk of life, and you just went to work, rolled up, the sleeves, went to work and, and creating these programs that enabled them to do so much more. And, and to, to live a fuller life, like we all should have the opportunity to do so. Thank you very much LA for what you do and, and Matilda man, what a great story. I’m so glad that you, you and the vector team connected us here at supply chain now with LA a Arba.
Matilda Arhin (36:11):
Yes, I, I, I was excited. I couldn’t wait for Ladi to get on here because I see what she on and I do know the impact. So I think you also, Scott, you know, supply chain now for creating the platform possible for these stories to be told
Scott Luton (36:26):
You bet they’re important stories. So, uh, we know how to connect with LA and the Viola foundation, and we’d encourage our listeners to just that. But Matilda, you know, we’re big fans as well of, uh, actor, global logistics. You know, I was just talking the other day when I first met Enrique Alvarez and he tells me that, uh, his plan is to change the world. You know, a lot of folks might, might snicker at that and might, might kinda laugh at that. But in the years, since I’ve seen you, you and the team do just that, right. You’re doing such great work. So how can folks connect with you and vector?
Matilda Arhin (36:57):
Thank you. I think the best platform is to go to the vector global logistics, it vector gl.com website. And there’s more information there. My name is too long for me to even put it out there, but you’ll find me over there. So it’s vector gl.com and I’m also very honored to be working with vector global logistics. And I thank you. Yeah.
Scott Luton (37:20):
Well, big, thanks to both, to what all, both of you and all that you’re doing, your respective teams. It certainly takes a village. Uh, I know that’s a cliche phrase, but really a lot of you spoke about the power of collaboration and I really just admire what y’all doing. We look to have you back. We have to have an update with LA era and the Viola foundation, because I gotta, I don’t know, we’re talking about how Matilda might be psychic before you join us here today, LA day, but I got a hunch. There’s gonna be thousands and thousands and thousands of more folks that, uh, Viola foundation is helping this year alone. So you’re, you’re certainly leading and a vitally important journey. Thanks for your time here today. LA a Arba.
Lade Araba (38:03):
Thank you so much, Scott. And thank you Matilda for inviting me. It’s been an absolute pleasure speaking with you.
Scott Luton (38:08):
Well, you know, uh, thanks for your time to our listeners, man. How could you, how could you listen to this story and not be ready to run through walls? Cause that’s, I mean, and, and do good and have impact can lift others up. That’s that’s what we heard a lot about here today from LA ABA, make sure you check out the Viola foundation. We’ll make that real easy. We’ll put those links in the show notes. So you wanna click away from, from learning a lot more and maybe even supporting what they’re doing at the Viola foundation. Big thanks to Matilda and our friends at the vector global logistics team. They’re doing great work vector gl.com, but whatever you do, uh, as, as we start to sign off here, uh, wish all of our listeners nothing but the best, but if you take one thing away, Hey, be light LA day. Do good. Give forward, be the change that’s needed. And on that note, we see next time, right back here on supply chain now. Thanks everybody.
Thanks for being a part of our supply chain. Now community check out all of our email@example.com and make sure you subscribe to supply chain. Now anywhere you listen to podcasts and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. See you next time on supply chain. Now.
Lade Araba is a senior development finance executive and Board Member with over 18 years of experience. She is the Executive Director at the AlphaMundi Foundation. Ms. Araba was previously the Managing Director for Africa at Convergence Finance. She sits on the Equality Fund’s Investment Advisory Council, is an Advisory Committee Member at the Green Outcomes Fund, serves as a Non-Executive Director on the Board of African Risk Capacity (ARC) Ltd, and is the Co-Founder/President of the Visiola Foundation. She previously served as Technical Adviser to the former Minister of Finance of Nigeria and was the Head of the Strategic Monitoring Unit. She was also an Adviser in the Power Sector Team at the Nigeria Infrastructure Advisory Facility (NIAF). She was previously a Senior Investment Officer in Infrastructure Finance at the African Development Bank and served as Technical Adviser to the Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa. In addition to her native English, she is fluent in French and Italian, and has basic knowledge of Spanish and Yoruba. Connect with Lade on LinkedIn.
A negotiator for multilateral trade agreements, Matilda Arhin has consulted for SMEs and start-ups from a diverse range of industries in Switzerland, the United States, and Africa, including eCommerce, transportation, manufacturing and technology, energy, consumer goods, housing infrastructure, healthcare and agriculture. She has also consulted for the public sector and government organizations in Africa, Switzerland and the United States. She was the prime influence behind a series of initiatives to enhance trade, investment, and economic cooperation with African countries and is recognized as one of the foremost experts on African trade, investment and education. She recently joined Vector Global Logistics as a business developer.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Adrian Purtill serves as Business Development Manager at Vector Global Logistics, where he consults with importers and exporters in various industries to match their specific shipping requirements with the most effective supply chain solutions. Vector Global Logistics is an asset-free, multi-modal logistics company that provides exceptional sea freight, air freight, truck, rail, general logistic services and consulting for our clients. Our highly trained and professional team is committed to providing creative and effective solutions, always exceeding our customer’s expectations and fostering long-term relationships. With more than 20+ years of experience in both strategy consulting and logistics, Vector Global Logistics is your best choice to proactively minimize costs while having an exceptional service level.
Joshua is a student from Institute of Technology and Higher Education of Monterrey Campus Guadalajara in Communication and Digital Media. His experience ranges from Plug and Play México, DearDoc, and Nissan México creating unique social media marketing campaigns and graphics design. Joshua helps to amplify the voice of supply chain here at Supply Chain Now by assisting in graphic design, content creation, asset logistics, and more. In his free time he likes to read and write short stories as well as watch movies and television series.
Director of Communications and Executive Producer
Donna Krache is a former CNN executive producer who has won several awards in journalism and communication, including three Peabodys. She has 30 years’ experience in broadcast and digital journalism. She led the first production team at CNN to convert its show to a digital platform. She has authored many articles for CNN and other media outlets. She taught digital journalism at Georgia State University and Arizona State University. Krache holds a bachelor’s degree in government from the College of William and Mary and a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from the University of New Orleans. She is a serious sports fan who loves the Braves. She is president of the Dave Krache Foundation. Named in honor of her late husband, this non-profit pays fees for kids who want to play sports but whose parents are facing economic challenges.
Vicki has a long history of rising to challenges and keeping things up and running. First, she supported her family’s multi-million dollar business as controller for 12 years, beginning at the age of 17. Then, she worked as an office manager and controller for a wholesale food broker. But her biggest feat? Serving as the chief executive officer of her household, while her entrepreneur husband travelled the world extensively. She fed, nurtured, chaperoned, and chauffeured three daughters all while running a newsletter publishing business and remaining active in her community as a Stephen’s Minister, Sunday school teacher, school volunteer, licensed realtor and POA Board president (a title she holds to this day). A force to be reckoned with in the office, you might think twice before you meet Vicki on the tennis court! When she’s not keeping the books balanced at Supply Chain Now or playing tennis matches, you can find Vicki spending time with her husband Greg, her 4 fur babies, gardening, cleaning (yes, she loves to clean!) and learning new things.
Founder, CEO, & Host
As the founder and CEO of Supply Chain Now, you might say Scott is the voice of supply chain – but he’s too much of a team player to ever claim such a title. One thing’s for sure: he’s a tried and true supply chain expert. With over 15 years of experience in the end-to-end supply chain, Scott’s insights have appeared in major publications including The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and CNN. He has also been named a top industry influencer by Thinkers360, ISCEA and more.
From 2009-2011, Scott was president of APICS Atlanta, and he continues to lead initiatives that support both the local business community and global industry. A United States Air Force Veteran, Scott has also regularly led efforts to give back to his fellow veteran community since his departure from active duty in 2002.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Allison Krache Giddens has been with Win-Tech, a veteran-owned small business and aerospace precision machine shop, for 15 years, recently buying the company from her mentor and Win-Tech’s Founder, Dennis Winslow. She and her business partner, John Hudson now serve as Co-Presidents, leading the 33-year old company through the pandemic.
She holds undergraduate degrees in psychology and criminal justice from the University of Georgia, a Masters in Conflict Management from Kennesaw State University, a Masters in Manufacturing from Georgia Institute of Technology, and a Certificate of Finance from the University of Georgia. She also holds certificates in Google Analytics, event planning, and Cybersecurity Risk Management from Harvard online. Allison founded the Georgia Chapter of Women in Manufacturing and currently serves as Treasurer. She serves on the Chattahoochee Technical College Foundation Board as its Secretary, the liveSAFE Resources Board of Directors as Resource Development Co-Chair, and on the Leadership Cobb Alumni Association Board as Membership Chair and is also a member of Cobb Executive Women. She is on the Board for the Cobb Chamber of Commerce’s Northwest Area Councils. Allison runs The Dave Krache Foundation, a non-profit that helps pay sports fees for local kids in need.
Principal, Supply Chain Now
Host of Supply Chain Now and TECHquila Sunrise
When rapid-growth technology companies, venture capital and private equity firms are looking for advisory, they call Greg – a founder, board director, advisor and catalyst of disruptive B2B technology and supply chain. An insightful visionary, Greg guides founders, investors and leadership teams in creating breakthroughs to gain market exposure and momentum – increasing overall company esteem and valuation.
Greg is a founder himself, creating Blue Ridge Solutions, a Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader in cloud-native supply chain applications, and bringing to market Curo, a field service management solution. He has also held leadership roles with Servigistics (PTC) and E3 Corporation (JDA/Blue Yonder). As a principal and host at Supply Chain Now, Greg helps guide the company’s strategic direction, hosts industry leader discussions, community livestreams, and all in addition to executive producing and hosting his original YouTube channel and podcast, TEChquila Sunrise.
Principal, Supply Chain Now
Host of Supply Chain is Boring
Talk about world-class: Chris is one of the few professionals in the world to hold CPIM-F, CLTD-F and CSCP-F designations from ASCM/APICS. He’s also the APICS coach – and our resident Supply Chain Doctor. When he’s not hosting programs with Supply Chain Now, he’s sharing supply chain knowledge on the APICS Coach Youtube channel or serving as a professional education instructor for the Georgia Tech Supply Chain & Logistic Institute’s Supply Chain Management (SCM) program and University of Tennessee-Chattanooga Center for Professional Education courses.
Chris earned a BS in Industrial Engineering from Bradley University, an MBA with emphasis in Industrial Psychology from the University of West Florida, and is a Doctoral in Supply Chain Management candidate.
Host of TEKTOK
If there’s one Supply Chain ‘Pro to Know,’ it’s Karin. She’s earned the title for three years and counting – culminating in her designation as the “2020 Supply Chain Pro to Know of the Year.” Karin is also an award-winning digital supply chain, business strategy and technology marketing executive. A sought-after speaker at industry conferences, you will find her quoted in a variety of supply chain publications – and active in forums like ASCM/APICS and CSCMP.
With more than 25 years of supply chain experience, Karin spearheaded strategy and marketing for Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader and IDC MarketScape Leader, Logility. Karin has the heart of a teacher and has helped nearly 1,000 customers transform their businesses and tell their success stories. Today, she is a sought-after advisor helping high-growth B2B technology companies with everything from defining their unique value propositions to introducing new products and capturing customer success. No matter their goals, she makes sure her clients have actionable marketing strategies that help grow global revenue, market share and profitability.
Host of Digital Transformers
Kevin L. Jackson is a globally recognized Thought Leader, Industry Influencer and Founder/Author of the award winning “Cloud Musings” blog. He has also been recognized as a “Top 5G Influencer” (Onalytica 2019, Radar 2020), a “Top 50 Global Digital Transformation Thought Leader” (Thinkers 360 2019) and provides strategic consulting and integrated social media services to AT&T, Intel, Broadcom, Ericsson and other leading companies. Mr. Jackson’s commercial experience includes Vice President J.P. Morgan Chase, Worldwide Sales Executive for IBM and SAIC (Engility) Director Cloud Solutions. He has served on teams that have supported digital transformation projects for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the US Intelligence Community. Kevin’s formal education includes a MS Computer Engineering from Naval Postgraduate School; MA National Security & Strategic Studies from Naval War College; and a BS Aerospace Engineering from the United States Naval Academy. Internationally recognizable firms that have sponsored articles authored by him include Cisco, Microsoft, Citrix and IBM. Books include “Click to Transform” (Leaders Press, 2020), “Architecting Cloud Computing Solutions” (Packt, 2018), and “Practical Cloud Security: A Cross Industry View” (Taylor & Francis, 2016). He also delivers online training through Tulane University, O’Reilly Media, LinkedIn Learning, and Pluralsight. Mr. Jackson retired from the U.S. Navy in 1994, earning specialties in Space Systems Engineering, Carrier Onboard Delivery Logistics and carrier-based Airborne Early Warning and Control. While active, he also served with the National Reconnaissance Office, Operational Support Office, providing tactical support to Navy and Marine Corps forces worldwide.
Host of Logistics with Purpose and Supply Chain Now en Español
Enrique serves as Managing Director at Vector Global Logistics and believes we all have a personal responsibility to change the world. He is hard working, relationship minded and pro-active. Enrique trusts that the key to logistics is having a good and responsible team that truly partners with the clients and does whatever is necessary to see them succeed. He is a proud sponsor of Vector’s unique results-based work environment and before venturing into logistics he worked for the Boston Consulting Group (BCG). During his time at BCG, he worked in different industries such as Telecommunications, Energy, Industrial Goods, Building Materials, and Private Banking. His main focus was always on the operations, sales, and supply chain processes, with case focus on, logistics, growth strategy, and cost reduction. Prior to joining BCG, Enrique worked for Grupo Vitro, a Mexican glass manufacturer, for five years holding different positions from sales and logistics manager to supply chain project leader in charge of five warehouses in Colombia.
He has an MBA from The Wharton School of Business and a BS, in Mechanical Engineer from the Technologico de Monterrey in Mexico. Enrique’s passions are soccer and the ocean, and he also enjoys traveling, getting to know new people, and spending time with his wife and two kids, Emma and Enrique.
Host of Dial P for Procurement
Kelly is the Owner and Managing Director of Buyers Meeting Point and MyPurchasingCenter. She has been in procurement since 2003, starting as a practitioner and then as the Associate Director of Consulting at Emptoris. She has covered procurement news, events, publications, solutions, trends, and relevant economics at Buyers Meeting Point since 2009. Kelly is also the General Manager at Art of Procurement and Business Survey Chair for the ISM-New York Report on Business. Kelly has her MBA from Babson College as well as an MS in Library and Information Science from Simmons College and she has co-authored three books: ‘Supply Market Intelligence for Procurement Professionals’, ‘Procurement at a Crossroads’, and ‘Finance Unleashed’.
Host, Veteran Voices
Mary Kate Soliva is a veteran of the US Army and cofounder of the Guam Human Rights Initiative. She is currently in the Doctor of Criminal Justice program at Saint Leo University. She is passionate about combating human trafficking and has spent the last decade conducting training for military personnel and the local community.
Jeff Miller is the host of Supply Chain Now’s Supply Chain is the Business. Jeff is a digital business transformation and supply chain advisor with deep expertise in Industry 4.0, ERP, PLM, SCM, IoT, AR and related technologies. Through more than 25 years of industry and consulting experience, he has worked with many of the world’s leading product and service companies to achieve their strategic business and supply chain goals, creating durable business value for organizations at the forefront of technology and business practices. Jeff is the managing director for North America at Transition Technologies PSC, a global solution integrator, and the founder and managing principal of BTV Advisors, a firm that helps companies secure business transformation value from digital supply chain technologies and their breakthrough capabilities.
Chief Marketing Officer
Amanda is a marketing veteran and entrepreneur with over 15 years of experience across a variety of industries and organizations including Von Maur, Anthropologie, AmericasMart Atlanta, and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. In 2016, Amanda founded and grew the Magnolia Marketing Group into a successful digital media firm, and now she develops modern marketing strategies, social campaigns, innovative operational processes, and implements creative content initiatives for Supply Chain Now. But that’s just the beginning of her supply chain impact. Amanda also served as the VP of Information Systems and Webmaster on the Board of Directors for APICS Savannah for several years, and is the face behind the scenes welcoming you to every Supply Chain Now livestream! She was also recently selected as one of the Top 100 Women in Supply Chain by Supply Chain Digest and IBM. When she’s not leading the Supply Chain Now marketing team, you can find Amanda with her and her husband Scott’s three kids, in the kitchen cooking, or reading.
Business Development Manager
Clay is passionate about two things: supply chain and the marketing that goes into it. Recently graduated with a degree in marketing at the University of Georgia, Clay got his start as a journalism major and inaugural member of the Owl’s football team at Kennesaw State University – but quickly saw tremendous opportunity in the Terry College of Business. He’s already putting his education to great use at Supply Chain Now, assisting with everything from sales and brand strategy to media production. Clay has contributed to initiatives such as our leap into video production, the guest blog series, and boosting social media presence, and after nearly two years in Supply Chain Now’s Marketing Department, Clay now heads up partnership and sales initiatives with the help of the rest of the Supply Chain Now sales team.
Trisha is new to the supply chain industry – but not to podcasting. She’s an experienced podcast manager and virtual assistant who also happens to have 20 years of experience as an elementary school teacher. It’s safe to say, she’s passionate about helping people, and she lives out that passion every day with the Supply Chain Now team, contributing to scheduling and podcast production.
Host of Dial P for Procurement
Billy Taylor is a Proven Business Excellence Practitioner and Leadership Guru with over 25 years leading operations for a Fortune 500 company, Goodyear. He is also the CEO of LinkedXL (Excellence), a Business Operating Systems Architecting Firm dedicated to implementing sustainable operating systems that drive sustainable results. Taylor’s achievements in the industry have made him a Next Generational Lean pacesetter with significant contributions.
An American business executive, Taylor has made a name for himself as an innovative and energetic industry professional with an indispensable passion for his craft of operational excellence. His journey started many years ago and has worked with renowned corporations such as The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. (GT) leading multi-site operations. With over 3 decades of service leading North America operations, he is experienced in a deeply rooted process driven approach in customer service, process integrity for sustainability.
A disciple of continuous improvement, Taylor’s love for people inspires commitment to helping others achieve their full potential. He is a dynamic speaker and hosts "The Winning Link," a popular podcast centered on business and leadership excellence with the #1 rated Supply Chain Now Network. As a leadership guru, Taylor has earned several invitations to universities, international conferences, global publications, and the U.S. Army to demonstrate how to achieve and sustain effective results through cultural acceptance and employee ownership. Leveraging the wisdom of his business acumen, strong influence as a speaker and podcaster Taylor is set to release "The Winning Link" book under McGraw Hill publishing in 2022. The book is a how-to manual to help readers understand the management of business interactions while teaching them how to Deine, Align, and Execute Winning in Business.
A servant leader, Taylor, was named by The National Diversity Council as one of the Top 100 Diversity Officers in the country in 2021. He features among Oklahoma's Most Admired CEOs and maintains key leadership roles with the Executive Advisory Board for The Shingo Institute "The Nobel Prize of Operations" and The Association of Manufacturing Excellence (AME); two world-leading organizations for operational excellence, business development, and cultural learning. He is also an Independent Director for the M-D Building Products Board, a proud American manufacturer of quality products since 1920.
Social Media Manager
My name is Chantel King and I am the Social Media Specialist at Supply Chain Now. My job is to make sure our audience is engaged and educated on the abundant amount of information the supply chain industry has to offer.
Social Media and Communications has been my niche ever since I graduated from college at The Academy of Art University in San Francisco. No, I am not a West Coast girl. I was born and raised in New Jersey, but my travel experience goes way beyond the garden state. My true passion is in creating editorial and graphic content that influences others to be great in whatever industry they are in. I’ve done this by working with lifestyle, financial, and editorial companies by providing resources to enhance their businesses.
Another passion of mine is trying new things. Whether it’s food, an activity, or a sport. I would like to say that I am an adventurous Taurus that never shies away from a new quest or challenge.
Lori is currently completing a degree in marketing with an emphasis in digital marketing at the University of Georgia. When she’s not supporting the marketing efforts at Supply Chain Now, you can find her at music festivals – or working toward her dream goal of a fashion career. Lori is involved in many extracurricular activities and appreciates all the learning experiences UGA has brought her.
Sales and Marketing Coordinator
Katherine is a marketing professional and MBA candidate who strives to unite her love of people with a passion for positive experiences. Having a diverse background, which includes nonprofit work with digital marketing and start-ups, she serves as a leader who helps people live their most creative lives by cultivating community, order, collaboration, and respect. With equal parts creativity and analytics, she brings a unique skill set which fosters refining, problem solving, and connecting organizations with their true vision. In her free time, you can usually find her looking for her cup of coffee, playing with her puppy Charlie, and dreaming of her next road trip.
Ben Harris is the Director of Supply Chain Ecosystem Expansion for the Metro Atlanta Chamber. Ben comes to the Metro Atlanta Chamber after serving as Senior Manager, Market Development for Manhattan Associates. There, Ben was responsible for developing Manhattan’s sales pipeline and overall Americas supply chain marketing strategy. Ben oversaw market positioning, messaging and campaign execution to build awareness and drive new pipeline growth. Prior to joining Manhattan, Ben spent four years with the Georgia Department of Economic Development’s Center of Innovation for Logistics where he played a key role in establishing the Center as a go-to industry resource for information, support, partnership building, and investment development. Additionally, he became a key SME for all logistics and supply chain-focused projects. Ben began his career at Page International, Inc. where he drove continuous improvement in complex global supply chain operations for a wide variety of businesses and Fortune 500 companies. An APICS Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP), Ben holds an Executive Master’s degree in Business Administration (EMBA) and bachelor’s degree in International Business (BBA) from the Terry College at the University of Georgia.
Host, The Freight Insider
Prior to joining TeamOne Logistics, Page Siplon served as the Executive Director of the Georgia Center of Innovation for Logistics, the State’s leading consulting resource for fueling logistics industry growth and global competitiveness. For over a decade, he directly assisted hundreds of companies to overcome challenges and capitalize on opportunities related to the movement of freight. During this time, Siplon was also appointed to concurrently serve the State of Georgia as Director of the larger Centers of Innovation Program, in which he provided executive leadership and vision for all six strategic industry-focused Centers. As a frequently requested keynote speaker, Siplon is called upon to address a range of audiences on unique aspects of technology, workforce, and logistics. This often includes topics of global and domestic logistics trends, supply chain visibility, collaboration, and strategic planning. He has also been quoted as an industry expert in publications such as Forbes, Journal of Commerce, Fortune, NPR, Wall Street Journal, Reuters, American Express, DC Velocity, Area Development Magazine, Site Selection Magazine, Inbound Logistics, Modern Material Handling, and is frequently a live special guest on SiriusXM’s Road Dog Radio Show. Siplon is an active industry participant, recognized by DC Velocity Magazine as a “2012 Logistics Rainmaker” which annually identifies the top-ten logistics professionals in the Nation; and named a “Pro to Know” by Supply & Demand Executive Magazine in 2014. Siplon was also selected by Georgia Trend Magazine as one of the “Top 100 Most Influential Georgians” for 2013, 2014, and 2015. He also serves various industry leadership roles at both the State and Federal level. Governor Nathan Deal nominated Siplon to represent Georgia on a National Supply Chain Competitiveness Advisory Committee, where he was appointed to a two-year term by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce and was then appointed to serve as its vice-chairman. At the State level, he was selected by then-Governor Sonny Perdue to serve as lead consultant on the Commission for New Georgia’s Freight and Logistics Task Force. In this effort, Siplon led a Private Sector Advisory Committee with invited executives from a range of private sector stakeholders including UPS, Coca-Cola, The Home Depot, Delta Airlines, Georgia Pacific, CSX, and Norfolk Southern. Siplon honorably served a combined 12 years in the United States Marine Corps and the United States Air Force. During this time, he led the integration of encryption techniques and deployed cryptographic devices for tactically secure voice and data platforms in critical ground-to-air communication systems. This service included support for all branches of the Department of Defense, multiple federal security agencies, and aiding NASA with multiple Space Shuttle launches. Originally from New York, Siplon received both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in electrical and computer engineering with a focus on digital signal processing from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He earned an associate’s degree in advanced electronic systems from the Air Force College and completed multiple military leadership academies in both the Marines and Air Force. Siplon currently lives in Cumming, Georgia (north of Atlanta), with his wife Jan, and two children Thomas (19) and Lily (15).
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Kristi Porter is VP of Sales and Marketing at Vector Global Logistics, a company that is changing the world through supply chain. In her role, she oversees all marketing efforts and supports the sales team in doing what they do best. In addition to this role, she is the Chief Do-Gooder at Signify, which assists nonprofits and social impact companies through copywriting and marketing strategy consulting. She has almost 20 years of professional experience, and loves every opportunity to help people do more good.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Kevin Brown is the Director of Business Development for Vector Global Logistics. He has a dedicated interest in Major Account Management, Enterprise Sales, and Corporate Leadership. He offers 25 years of exceptional experience and superior performance in the sales of Logistics, Supply Chain, and Transportation Management. Kevin is a dynamic, high-impact, sales executive and corporate leader who has consistently exceeded corporate goals. He effectively coordinates multiple resources to solution sell large complex opportunities while focusing on corporate level contacts across the enterprise. His specialties include targeting and securing key accounts by analyzing customer’s current business processes and developing solutions to meet their corporate goals. Connect with Kevin on LinkedIn.
Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol
Sofia Rivas Herrera is a Mexican Industrial Engineer from Tecnologico de Monterrey class 2019. Upon graduation, she earned a scholarship to study MIT’s Graduate Certificate in Logistics and Supply Chain Management and graduated as one of the Top 3 performers of her class in 2020. She also has a multicultural background due to her international academic experiences at Singapore Management University and Kühne Logistics University in Hamburg. Sofia self-identifies as a Supply Chain enthusiast & ambassador sharing her passion for the field in her daily life.
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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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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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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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Nick Roemer has had a very diverse and extensive career within design and sales over the last 15 years stretching from China, Dubai, Germany, Holland, UK, and the USA. In the last 5 years, Nick has developed a hawk's eye for sustainable tech and the human-centric marketing and sales procedures that come with it. With his far-reaching and strong network within the logistics industry, Nick has been able to open new avenues and routes to market within major industries in the USA and the UAE. Nick lives by the ethos, “Give more than you take." His professional mission is to make the logistics industry leaner, cleaner and greener.
Sales Support Intern
Alex is pursuing a Marketing degree and a Certificate in Legal Studies at the University of Georgia. As a dual citizen of both the US and UK; Alex has studied abroad at University College London and is passionate about travel and international business. Through her coursework at the Terry College of Business, Alex has gained valuable skills in digital marketing, analytics, and professional selling. She joined Supply Chain Now as a Sales Support Intern where she assists the team by prospecting and qualifying new business partners.