Sure, Sherrika Sanders can whip up a new proprietary stabilizer for her company using her skills as a PhD in chemistry. But she’s also got a deeper purpose to fulfill when it comes to opening doors to greater diversity in STEM. In this Supply Chain Now classic episode, Scott and special cohost Allison Giddens chat with Sherrika about her work founding and managing the SPE Lion’s Den STEM Club, which connects students from a variety of backgrounds to hands-on STEM projects and immersive experiences. Tune in to learn more about what students are up to in the club and hear her thoughts on how companies can up their DEI game.
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Scott Luton (00:30):
Hey, good morning, everybody. Scott Luton and Allison Krache Giddens GIS with you here on supply chain. Now, welcome to today’s show Allison, how you doing?
Allison Krache Giddens (00:38):
I am good. And I’m excited. How are you?
Scott Luton (00:40):
What same, same, uh, you know, we’ve got, I love working with you. Uh, I love all your, your, uh, special co-host spots here. Atcha. Now
Allison Krache Giddens (00:48):
I love being included.
Scott Luton (00:50):
We love our featured guests and our repeat guests. Uh, and we’ve got a great one here. Our guests has enjoyed quite a career thus far in the technical fields, uh, currently in the manufacturing industry and one of our favorite parts. She’s helping lots of others, especially kids learn all about the opportunities that the stem fields pose. We just love her. Do good, give forward mentality. So stay tuned for a wonderful conversation and with no further ado, wanna welcome in Sherrika Sanders, PhD and senior technical engineer with man polymers. Sheika how you doing?
Sherrika Sanders (01:25):
Hey, how you guys doing? I’m great.
Scott Luton (01:28):
We are doing wonderful. Uh, I really have enjoyed, uh, I think this is your fourth appearance with us, uh, here at supply chain now, and each one has been a home run and Alex,
Allison Krache Giddens (01:38):
It really been four times.
Scott Luton (01:39):
Yeah. Can you believe that?
Sherrika Sanders (01:40):
Oh my goodness. I didn’t even remember that.
Scott Luton (01:42):
<laugh> yes. And on your fifth appearance, you get 10% off a, a BMT at subway. How about that?
Sherrika Sanders (01:47):
Wow, that’s terrific. Love it. <laugh>
Scott Luton (01:49):
No, we would upscale. It would be, um, it would be Pat’s sub shop at Aiken, South Carolina. If we, if we had to, if we really had to, um, hook you up with a, a really good sandwich, but I digress see Allison’s
Allison Krache Giddens (02:03):
Must be lunchtime or something. Cause
Scott Luton (02:04):
I always go to food. You always go to food. Um, but Allison kidding aside, food aside for a moment. Where are we starting with our dear friend Sheika today?
Allison Krache Giddens (02:14):
Well, you know, I mean, if we’re talking food, we might as well stay there. Um, so Sheika, let’s talk a little bit about where you grew up your upbringing. If you’ve got a favorite food dish maybe from set upbringing, you know, bring that up for sure. But tell us a little bit about that.
Sherrika Sanders (02:29):
So I was born and raised in Shreveport Louisiana. So Allison and I are both Louisiana girls trying to make it in these Texas and Georgia streets. Uh <laugh> but, um, yeah, that’s one thing that, that we do have in common and, and I just love it. You know, it’s always great to meet other folks from, from your hometown. And, um, one of my, oh, I, I don’t know if I have one favorite dish, but I would say the whole Louisiana cuisine is my favorite food. Um, all the seafood dishes, the jam Belia the gumbo, the it Toothface, you know, those type of things, stub shrimp, crawfish. I love it all.
Allison Krache Giddens (03:09):
So let’s just do the whole, let’s just do the whole podcast on this.
Sherrika Sanders (03:12):
Yeah, let’s just right, right.
Allison Krache Giddens (03:13):
Let’s just talk, let’s talk Asian food. Well,
Scott Luton (03:15):
Uh, so let me follow up with a quick question. Um, Sheika is there one dish out of outta the Louisiana cuisine that you could rattle it off? Just there, that, that we all love? Is there one that you’re really good at preparing?
Sherrika Sanders (03:28):
So I actually make a good shrimp Creole, um, that, that my fam my family likes make request it often. Um, and I got the recipe from my, um, grandmother, um, my dad’s mother and, you know, she was just really good at cooking a lot of, um, this Cajun dishes. And so that’s one that I kind of just hung onto and, you know, it’s like, it’s like a comfort food almost, cuz it’s, you know, warm, you serve it over rice. Um, you can have you a nice little side salad on the side or some garlic bread or something like that. And it just, it’s a home run every time.
Allison Krache Giddens (04:05):
Oh, I’m gonna have to share a, a book with you. I, I just got, and it’s all about the lost recipes that, that we’re losing in Cajun country. Yeah. Um, and fascinating. I, I kind of stumbled across it on Amazon, so I bought it, but I gotta, I gotta send you a copy cuz it’s really
Sherrika Sanders (04:21):
Good. Please do. Cuz I’m always looking for new recipes, um, like, you know, once a week or so I try to mix it up because you know, you’re, you get into a routine with your family and you just tend to cook the same things over and over and over. So throwing a new recipe in every now and then. Oh, it just works wonders
Scott Luton (04:38):
Shrimp Creole. Hey, speaking of cuz it sounds like you got that recipe from your grandmother. Uh, and good goodness knows. We gotta bless our teachers cooking or otherwise. And Allison, I think that’s where we’re going next with Shera,
Allison Krache Giddens (04:51):
Right? Yes. So I know, I know how we, you know, we talk food and stuff, but can you tell us a little bit about your upbringing when you were a kid? Was there a teacher that inspired you to be doing what you’re doing now or kind of walk us through that?
Sherrika Sanders (05:04):
It was two, two teachers actually. It’s always hard to narrow down. Just that one person who was extremely influential in your life and you know, kind of guided you towards, um, stem careers or any career in general. But I remember, um, so in, in, in elementary school, so we had the same science teacher, um, I would say third, fourth and fifth grade and his name is David Lamar and, and he was my science teacher all three years and he would have these huge science bowls and I lived for them. I mean I would spend weeks preparing for the science bowl and it was so funny after I got my PhD. Um, I ran into him at one of my favorite seafood restaurants in Louisiana, uh, framing and Harris, Pete Harris. Um, and I told him, he was like, so, you know, what are you doing these days?
Sherrika Sanders (05:55):
You know, I was like, do you know, I actually got a PhD in chemistry. Wow. Both of us just started to tear up like, and I was like, if you had a, you know, huge part in me going in that direction, just, you know, honing that skill and you know, helping me be competitive, um, in the field and all those things. And then fast forward to high school, my biology one and two teacher, uh, Kathy Williamson. Um, I just loved the way that she showed her passion for science and how she helped us to kind of, um, craft our skill and um, you know, it was just, it was just fun, you know, and she also cared about us as students. Um, so it, wasn’t just, I’m coming in here to teach you science and then you go home, she would ask about our home life. She would talk to us about her home life and you know, just to make sure that everybody was doing well, not just in school, but just in general and the, in these days and times that’s super important. Right? Cause we’re hearing about all these children, especially college students who are committing suicide and those types of things, you know, so it’s always good to have that teacher or someone outside of your home, um, that can connect with you and make sure that you’re well mentally, physically out of the above <laugh>, you know?
Allison Krache Giddens (07:17):
Oh yeah. And it’s crazy to think that I, I think as kids, we take a lot of that for granted, you know, we don’t, we don’t have a concept of, oh, Ms. Williamson is, you know, is being like this and she’s a good teacher because of it. Mm-hmm, <affirmative>, it’s just, she’s a good teacher because of who she is.
Sherrika Sanders (07:33):
Right. Right. Exactly. Exactly. So well
Scott Luton (07:36):
Sherrika Sanders (07:36):
Another funny thing about, uh, high school is that, uh, my, my, actually my chemistry, uh, teacher, he had a PhD in chemistry and he would always try to convince me to go to medical school. And I mean, I, I can tell you guys this cuz you’re family, but I always tell him, I don’t like people like that, you know, <laugh>, I’m just, I mean, you know, and especially sick ones <laugh> so I think it would be best for me to, you know, pursue sciences as opposed to, um, the medical field. Cause oh, I think you’ll make a great doctor. Da da, da, da go to medical school. No, I don’t think that I’m
Scott Luton (08:13):
Be good. I’m good.
Sherrika Sanders (08:15):
Scott Luton (08:15):
Yeah. Um, all right, so let’s get this right. So, uh, Dave Lamar and Kathy Williamson mm-hmm <affirmative> right. Yes. Um, you know, teachers and, and both of y’all making so many great points, uh, Allison you’re right. We don’t get it as young people. We don’t get it Sheika may have gotten, you know, cause, um, sounds like they, uh, they had, uh, a really deep relationship that clearly impacted her and encouraged your God PhD in chemistry. Allison that makes my head hurt because there’s so many pay grades above my ability for chemistry. What about yours? Alison? Were
Allison Krache Giddens (08:48):
You oh yeah. No, I mean, I like, let’s just put it this way when that category on jeopardy comes up. <laugh> I’m gonna go. I’m gonna go so neat. I’m good.
Scott Luton (08:57):
All right. So, alright, so let’s, let’s start connecting some of the dots here. So list starts, Hey, we are gonna talk supply chain, but y’all know our belief. Uh, we take a very holistic, uh, view of supply chain. It’s not just as valuable as logistics and transportation is. That’s a backbone, right? Manufacturing I’ve always believed is a big part of, of the global supply chain community. I’ll call it. So on that note, she, Erica, we love manufacturing around here. Of course, Allison leads, uh, uh, manufacturing, uh, uh, company here in the Atlanta area. Doing great work. Tell us what you do. Um, Shea professionally.
Sherrika Sanders (09:32):
Um, I, I mentioned earlier, so I have a PhD in inorganic chemistry, um, that led me to the codings industry and then to plastics. So I spent 10 years at the Dow chemical company first as a catalyst chemist. Um, and then I moved into tech services and development, so more customer facing, um, R and D group. Uh, and, and now I am a senior technical engineer for a man of polymers. And what, what that really means is product development. Um, any new product that needs to be developed any, uh, long term projects. Um, I, I work on those and I I’d help develop the product portfolio for the company. And then if any of our customers have issues, I travel to them, um, to make sure that they can run our product smoothly, or I make adjustments, um, here at home to their formulas so that it runs smoothly at their plant.
Scott Luton (10:25):
Wow. Um, I bet those, uh, Allison in my brain, when I was in metal stamping, uh, I leaned heavily on our engineers and our tool builders and, and they were the, the technical SMS. Right. It’s amazing what they could do because the problems were so complex, especially when we got into metallurgy and the different types of metals involved, Allison I’m getting the impression that Sheika is deep into these complex, uh, you know, product development and problem solving conversations. How about you
Allison Krache Giddens (10:53):
Definitely. And I think that there’s a whole nother level of creativity that we take for granted that has to be required of somebody like you. She, I mean, what, what, even if you could look back a few years into what you’re doing now, do you find that you’re having to tap into a lot of different kind of creative problem solving skills? Or how does that look different now?
Sherrika Sanders (11:13):
Yeah. Oh yeah. Um, I can just give you guys an example of a, a problem we had last year and it’ll, you know, it actually made me, um, it was, it was a Eureka moment, but it also made me think back and say, this is why I do what I do. Mm. So we had a customer, um, that had major issues with a sheet product, meaning it was blooming. It was, and then on top of that, it was also causing us problems to make it so we were having problems making it, and then they were having problems in the fields. And so I had to just kind of dig into that thing here at home and at the customer. And I ended up developing a new stabilizer for our company that only is available to our company.
Scott Luton (12:06):
Sherrika Sanders (12:07):
Wow. That’s cool. And so it solved the problems here and our plant and it also solved the problems there at the customer. And so I had had to lean heavily not on the engineering side, but on the chemistry side and find out, okay. So if we have a formula that has, you know, 13 different components, which of these components is causing the problem, and then how do I fix that one component? So it doesn’t cause a problem. Wow. Uh, yeah. And so it was just a, just a aha moment, a Eureka moment, a, you know, all of the above until yeah. You had to have had like a little dance when we figure that out. I mean, yeah. And, and, and I, I tease our CEO sometimes because now that we’re having a lot of, you know, just in the industry, supply chain disruptions and all those things, and he goes, you know, we are, we’re actually doing pretty good in the midst of having all these supply chain disruptions. And I kind of teased him and said it. I was like, because, um, everybody else doesn’t have a chemist that can develop their own stabilizer. <laugh> heck yeah.
Scott Luton (13:06):
Well, so I’m gonna simplify this, right. Uh, to my level of understanding, but it’s like the problem hits she’s radar. Right. And then, uh, Dr. Sanders goes into a lab, right. A lab on steroids, I bet. And yes. You know, mixes, whatever you do in, in the lab, again, that’s above my pay grade and then you come out with a stabilizer. I can, I can see it now in one of those, uh, uh, narrow and then it widens out what, what are those two class class? Thank you very much. <laugh> and here y’all go here. Here’s the magic stabilizer. And, and it changes, especially that customer’s, uh, their problems evaporate. Mm-hmm <affirmative> so that is so cool. Last time you were with us, if, if I can move forward, um, last time you were with us and Allison, I’m not sure if you were there.
Scott Luton (13:51):
I wanna say Donna crate, you was with us in the comments. It was a live stream mm-hmm <affirmative> and it was, you know, Sheika lives in, in Texas. And it was around the time that, um, all the ice and the winter storms in Texas, and, and we were fortunate to get Sher tune in with us. Um, but out of all the goodness you shared with us Sher the couple things that really stick out, we still talk about as a team here today. Number one is all of your great work, uh, on the, unfortunately the Columbia disaster with NASA, right. And how meaningful that was to NASA, the family. I will never forget you telling that story. And then secondly, when folks were asking you, and we’re gonna ask you again here towards the end end of today’s episode, about, Hey, what do you do break in? And what do you do to advance? And your response was simple. Allison, it was do the work, do the work. And it was a mantra. You remember, we referenced it throughout the episode. Uh, she, so let’s do this. The question is since that was probably a year or so ago, and you’ve already shared one of clearly, you’re one of your favorite days of work. What else, what else, what else has been one of your favorite days at work since last time you were with us? She,
Sherrika Sanders (14:56):
I would say it’s the day that I got the email from the society of plastics engineers that said, Hey, we are looking to, um, develop a diversity equity and inclusion advisory board. And I literally paced the floor. I paced the floor because I was trying to figure out, do I even have capacity and time to devote and commit to this? Um, so it was funny because my boss actually saw a, um, a advertisement on LinkedIn as well. And he sent it to me. He was like, Hey, this is right up your alley. And I’m thinking, okay, so do I have your support? If I decide to do this, <laugh>
Scott Luton (15:36):
Turnaround, turnabouts fair play. Right,
Sherrika Sanders (15:38):
Right, right. He said, you absolutely have my support to do that. Um, and so, um, I responded back to the email that I got and I said, um, Hey, yeah, I can do this. And you know, I can spend, you know, maybe four to six hours a month, um, on this with you guys. And this has turned into, I don’t know, one of the most rewarding decisions that I’ve made, because I mean, so much has come of me being appointed to that board, um, in the industry. And some of the things that, you know, I never would’ve imagined that I would’ve been, been able to impact as far as like kids and students and educational programs for stem. So I would say in the last year, that’s probably one been one of my most favorite days.
Scott Luton (16:25):
Well, um, Alison I’d love to get both of y’all’s take here. What’s one thing that we can do along those lines to diversify the, the, uh, talent pipeline and coming into, uh, supply chain manufacturing, but also, uh, the stem, uh, positions and jobs out there. What’s one thing that you would suggest Allison,
Allison Krache Giddens (16:44):
I think you’d look at your rock stars. And it naturally happens. I was with a, a group not too long ago. We were trying to put together a team of a handful of professionals. And we were trying to make sure it was diverse and not only ethnicity and, and geography and industry and age and, and, and political thought. And we were trying to come up with this group and we spent a lot of time ahead of time coming up with this. Okay, well, we’ll pick this. And then the spreadsheet will automatically show where we are in the diversity. And somebody in the group said, well, hold on, time out. Why don’t we just go through the applications and pick the best rock stars out of them and see what happens? Mm-hmm <affirmative> and it naturally came into place. Wow. I mean, the group was naturally diverse and I, I think, and it’s, it’s tough cuz as, as I’m a, a woman in a male dominated industry, I’m not a woman of color in a male dominated industry. So she’s got another level of challenge that she works with. So I hope I’m not overstepping my boundaries here. When I say that, I think I’ve got it pretty dang good because I don’t have, I don’t have the additional layers to push through and I almost wonder what would happen if we all just said, okay, time out. Let’s, let’s really, let’s elevate the rock stars in general and see what happens because I think there’s a lot out there.
Scott Luton (18:03):
Well, so same question you Sheika, uh, whether you’re, you’re following up on, uh, one of Allison’s comments there or just in general, what’s one thing you’d point to that maybe more companies could do.
Sherrika Sanders (18:13):
Um, you know, I think that when we get interview candidates, you know, it’s always the same people who are applying because like Alison said, we’re not filling the pipeline with enough diversity. And like she said, in diversity, it’s more than just race. Right. Um, diversity could be an, um, uh, a disability, you know? Right. Um, one example I can give in that area is that most manufacturing plants don’t even think about hiring someone who’s deaf, but you can set up your plant to where you have, um, sirens or visible things or things that like a, a buzzer that you can put on the person, um, to use their other senses so that they can be successful in stem careers. So you asked what we could do. We could, um, I think I’ve talked about this before we craft the, the, the job description such that it would, um, attract other people because right now job descriptions tend to be extremely sterile, right? They don’t contain purpose and most people want a job. Um, your rock stars want a job where they’re gonna feel like they have purpose. And so if those job descriptions are written that way, and then you set up your stem job, um, specifically manufacturing, plants, and different things like that to accommodate that diversity, then you’ll get more people.
Scott Luton (19:43):
Excellent point. She can, I’m go back to the front end of your answer there. And Allison, you touched on this a little bit. Uh, you know, I think companies and it’s changed a little bit at a necessity, but I think we get into our recruiting Ru and you recruit the same pipeline, the same applicants mm-hmm <affirmative> and naturally you’re, you’re gonna be limited to, to, um, the different candidates from all the different walks of life and all those different ver uh, uh, definitions of diversity. And we’ve slowly, certainly seen, especially as a labor market has changed companies getting more creative in terms of how to broaden the tent, to bring more folks and more qualified candidates from all sorts of different, uh, walks of life into the, the, the, uh, pipeline for consideration. So that’s, I think that’s a critical part of the equation as well.
Allison Krache Giddens (20:27):
Yeah. And I, I think too, that we’ve gotta start younger and we have to make sure that those that are diverse in industry are accessible to the younger generation so that they can see themselves. And I know we’ll talk about it in shortly, but what shark is doing right now at stem club is amazing. Yes. Because people who look like her and look like her peers are getting in front of young adults and, and kids who can say, oh, I wanna be Shea one day. I wanna be like
Scott Luton (20:55):
That. Right. AB dream it or see
Allison Krache Giddens (20:57):
It can’t be what you can’t
Scott Luton (20:58):
See. Right. Thank you house. And I was, I was, I was searching for it. I couldn’t quite find it. You found. Um, so we’re gonna touch on that in just a second cause that really, I love that, um, you know, that give forward, you know, once you’re up the ladder, you gotta put the ladder back down for other folks, and that’s some of the great work you’re doing, but before we get there, let’s step up. Let’s step back for a second. And, and it’s an amazing time. It’s really a amazing, fascinating, challenging, but innovative time to be in supply chain or manufacturing, or really all different segments of global supply chain. Sheika when you look at global business right now, mm-hmm, <affirmative>, what’s one topic that really, um, has got your attention more than others right now.
Sherrika Sanders (21:36):
Um, right now, just because of the, the, the climate and the state of our nation, um, gender and, and, and race disparities, um, especially in our, in our industry. Um, and so Allison has spoke about, you know, the fact that, you know, we are in a white male dominated industry, and that’s just, those are just the facts that that’s just, it is what it is. Um, however, you know, if you track this thing, there was a big push early nineties to get more women into manufacturing. Um, and we had an, uh, a uptick, but it’s since leveled off. Mm. Um, quite frankly, it’s since leveled off and it’s leveled off. Um, and we still have, um, different things going on for, in terms of the race disparity. So one of the ways that I look at it is that you’re dealing with, uh, and I, and I talked about this book, um, the last time where I hear co I was here called get your shift in order.
Sherrika Sanders (22:34):
Yes. Yes. Um, and so one of the ways that I look at it is that, okay, you have different generations dealing with different things in our industry based on the stance of our nation. So the, in the generation, before me, they were dealing with Jim Crow laws and, um, segregation and different things like that. So they only had a little bit of access stem careers, as it was, you look at your NASA computers, right? Those were black women who were called computers, right. Who had a little bit of access into the R and D group, but not all the way there was that one, Katherine Johnson who made her way through accidentally. Right. Um, it, and, and had to fight the whole time to be accepted because she was the only black female in there with all white men. Mm. So that’s one generation. Then you have our generation.
Sherrika Sanders (23:25):
So now Jim pro PAC, you know, is done. Segregation is done. We’re supposed to be included. We’re supposed to not be viewed as three fits human anymore. You know, we’re allowed to vote, you know, and all those things. But this is the generation who has parents and grandparents, who, who felt that way, who felt that, you know, okay, black people are not welcome. You know, we should still be segregated. And those things like that. And so oftentimes microaggressions and different biases trickle down into the workplace that say, for example, myself, as African American woman would have to deal with. Then I look at the generation after me, that’s coming on board. And I have to think about, well, what’s their stance on it. Their stance is, if I’m not welcome, I will leave. It’s just that simple to them. They, that this next generation, they will come in, they will give you their all, they will give you their best. But as soon as they feel like, Hey, I don’t like this anymore. I’ll just go find me another job. And so you find that they have multiple jobs on their resumes. And so that’s one thing that I continue to track and I continue to learn. And like I said before, do the work and grow so that I can be a good leader. And so I can be a good influencer because if you don’t realize what you’re dealing with, there’s no way that, you know, you can be successful at it.
Scott Luton (24:47):
Okay. Alison Sheika dropped a ton of truths in that last four minutes or so. Um, I’ve got a couple thoughts, but I wanna give you a chance to, to weigh in on, on, on something that resonated with you.
Allison Krache Giddens (25:00):
So I, I have noticed, uh, really post COVID that just exactly what you said about resumes with lots of, lots of jobs, you know, six months here, a year here, and I’m having a hard time getting out of my old school way of thinking of yes. Oh, well, gosh, you can’t, you can’t hold a job or you what’s matter. You just, you keep bailing on somebody investing time in you. And there’s a lot of assumptions. I sit here and I make as a business owner of mm-hmm <affirmative>, you know, well, do I even wanna give this person my time of day? Right. And I, I think it’s crazy. I think it’s an interesting perspective that, um, in a way I’m almost jealous of the younger generation freedom, be able to, you know, it
Sherrika Sanders (25:38):
Allison Krache Giddens (25:39):
Exactly. To be able to say, you know what, I’m not gonna stick it out for 10 years, somewhere that I’m unhappy. Life is short, right. Mm-hmm <affirmative> and to, you know, to a degree, well, actually do wanna hire those people.
Scott Luton (25:51):
So I think one of the things you’re saying, uh, from these candidates that are, have, have multiple, uh, jobs is they’re saying what I’m hearing both of y’all allude to is I’m not putting up with your bull shift anymore. Mm-hmm um, Sheika right. Mm-hmm, <affirmative> using play a play on that title. Secondly,
Allison Krache Giddens (26:08):
Don’t leap him out. Don’t break him out.
Scott Luton (26:10):
<laugh> Sheika I think from the last, what you just shared a minute ago, we could dedicate a series two to dive in deep and into so many things you mentioned, but, uh, for the sake of time, I’m I mentioned two other things, um, you know, Allison moment ago was talking about kind of that, that conscious bias that, that she’s trying to retrain herself when you see a candidate with lots of jobs, right. Mm-hmm <affirmative>, I think all of us, uh, are challenged with that. And I would say, and, and arguably, unfortunately, as I’ve learned on social, uh, Elba, pre Gallagher really helped me better understand subconscious bias, right. Things that are in your blind spot that you do, and you do it just because it’s like baked into your DNA and you don’t even know you’re doing it. Right. Um, and that’s some of the things I think you were kind of alluding to that all of us need to really look in the mirror and, and, and, and try to put a big old spotlight in that blind spot. We have to uncover what we’re doing cause of that subconscious bias. Um, your comment there, she Erica.
Sherrika Sanders (27:10):
Oh yeah. Um, unconscious bias, subconscious bias. Um, those things are super, super important. I mean, because I mean, people, I would say that, uh, a lot of folks would tend to see other people’s biases before they see their own. Um, and it is really important to survey yourself mm. Um, and figure out, okay, why do I feel this way? So sometimes if something happens, um, and I <affirmative>, um, and I, I feel some kind of way about it and I’m not quite sure that I actually know why I feel what I’m feeling. I stop and I pause and I try to dissect it and say, okay, so why might I be feeling this way? Right. And oftentimes we feel a certain way because of history and prior things that have happened in our lives, you know, everybody has their own filter that they’re looking through.
Sherrika Sanders (28:02):
So I take a look back at, you know, my filter and say, well, I probably feel this way because X, Y, Z happened. And I’m attaching this current situation to that past situation. And I try to deconvolute it to make it make sense for today’s time. So, yeah, those are all the biases. And I mean, you know, um, we had a, uh, a conference, a diversity conference, and there was one speaker from Dow that said, Hey, if you have a brand, you have bias. Everybody needs to know if you have a brand, you have bias. Cause like, oh, I’m not biased. I’m not biased. You know, or I’m not this, I’m not that if you have a brain, you have bias. <laugh> agreed.
Scott Luton (28:39):
Absolutely. You know, it’s interesting. Um, I put a take out there on LinkedIn one time, um, on SUBC, uh, unconscious, subconscious bias, whatever word I’m supposed to be using there. And man, there are some folks that don’t believe in that one. I Iotta. And you know, I gave up, uh, I’ll playfully call it Facebook fighting social media fighting a long time ago. Cause you just don’t win. Right, man, you would’ve thought I kicked people’s dogs. There’s some, lots of passion on both sides here, but nevertheless, um, so Allison, uh, so much good stuff here. Where are we going next? I think we’re getting into the stem stuff and to give forward stuff that she is doing, right?
Allison Krache Giddens (29:19):
Yes. Yes. I would love for you to tell us more about SPE lions, den stem club, what it is and why you’re involved. And I mean, it’s just been so much fun watching on social media. So I want the world to know about it.
Sherrika Sanders (29:32):
Oh yeah. Oh man. This, I mean, this has been near and dear to my heart. Uh, this actually started with the appointment to the, uh, SPE D E I advisory board. We were just kind of talking about, you know, what’s, what’s gonna be our impact. What’s gonna be, what are we gonna do? How are we going to make a difference? And one of the ways that we’re making a difference is to tap into, uh, the school systems. So we actually have, um, a SPE club going on in Detroit and as well as, uh, lake Wells, Florida, uh, McKinney is just so happens to be, um, the one that, that, that I’ve been heavily involved in. And, um, when I first got on the board, it was just, uh, Detroit and lake Wells. And we said, okay, what, where do we wanna go next? And everybody was saying, I think we should go Texas, but we don’t know exactly where Texas.
Sherrika Sanders (30:22):
And we tossed around a couple of ideas. We talked to a few school district leaders in Houston and Frisco and all these kind of places. And I mean, strange things happen in the shower. One day, I’m showering. I’m like, why don’t we do it right in my backyard in McKinney? Why are we looking all these other places when we can do it right here? So I get on the phone, I call CEO of SPE foundation. I’m like, our name is Eve vital. And I’m like, Eve, why are we doing in McKinney? I already have. We have the, the business connections. We have everything right here in McKinney. And she was like, let’s do it. And within a month, you know, she was down here. We met with all the, um, the schools and the, the business partner liaisons and all that kind of stuff. And they were like, they, they, they looked at the proposal and were, they were immediately on board.
Sherrika Sanders (31:10):
This could help our kids. This is gonna be great. We’re and you know, we are targeting, um, underrepresented minorities for this group, but everyone is welcome. And we have a nice mix of, uh, diversity and, uh, different childrens from all walks of life and, um, backgrounds in, in the club. And so how we started it is we had a big kickoff day where we touched every single sixth grader in that middle school. And we did polymer science. We did all types of hands on stem projects. They had a blast, but what we were really doing is we were trying to feed see which one of those students had that light, that man, I wish I can do this. You know, I love I’m loving this. And from that, we got, uh, 28 kids, um, who are now part of the SPE lions stand stem club and they name themselves.
Sherrika Sanders (32:04):
<laugh> really <laugh>. Yeah. So, um, of course, society of plastics, engineers, fab, middle school, they are the Fabian middle school lions. And so they were like, let us be the lions then. And I’m like, I love it. You can be the lions then. Uh, and I mean, we had a white coat ceremony, so we gave them a lab coats as part of their initial PPE learning about personal protective equipment. Um, and they spent the day here with me at work. Um, and they did every single thing that you can do, um, in this company. Wow. We had them make sales calls. So I had a little script for ’em and they made sales calls to customers to find out what their customer needed and how manner polymers could help them. I mean, they had a blast, they went out on the manufacturing floor. They did qu the quality job for a couple of hours.
Sherrika Sanders (32:54):
They did a R and D job for a couple of hours. I mean, they, they just did everything. Um, and, and they had such a good time. We’ve done lots of things with them. We had them bring a picture of themselves and we had, um, um, them make, uh, a 3d avatar of themselves and so that they can use themselves, um, as a figure in the metaverse. Um, and they learned how to do that. And man, I mean, they, they have gotten a lot of exposure in such a short period of time. And our next thing is that we’ll do a 10 day intensive right before the beginning of the school year starts where they hun down and get ready for the next school year. And I’ll share with you guys, um, that’s just a small sport, small part of the overall vision of, uh, the stem club.
Sherrika Sanders (33:40):
We’ll have science fairs, they’ll do participate in an essay contest. Um, and then they will also walk. We will walk with them now, sixth grade, all the way through 12th grade. My vision is that by the time they’re sophomores and juniors, we will have a lab built, um, that they can come and do research. We will give them grant money so that they can learn how to manage their own research projects. Um, we just did this in Detroit and we had some students present for the UN um, their research projects. Exactly. Yeah. That they they’re doing. So we’ll replicate that same thing here, um, in McKinney. So that by the time that in their juniors we’ll do, I’ll do the, a C T S a T prep for them. I don’t got know if you guys know that’s in my background as well. So I used to do a C T S a T prep. So I’ll do that for them as well. Um, and then we’ll take them on college tours and get them ready for college. Oh,
Allison Krache Giddens (34:32):
Cow. I’m always impressed when someone dedicates an afternoon to kids. Yeah. This is your life. This is you’re dedicating six plus years. This is awesome.
Scott Luton (34:44):
It really is. I can only imagine the impact, the outcomes I can. We imagine the PhDs in inorga chemistry or other simulated fields that, that you’re definitely going to, um, help them, uh, fulfill their potential. And I think for the, I should have shared this at the front end, but for the three people maybe listening that aren’t familiar with stem, science, technology, engineering, and math. Right. Mm-hmm <affirmative> right. Is that right? Okay. I’m gonna make sure I got it right. Um, sometimes I forget my vows and, and other things, but wanna make sure I nailed the acronym. Um, okay. So I meant ask you earlier. And, um, I, I think it’s, apropo here, you know, that movie hidden figures, you mentioned Cathy Johnson earlier, uh, the movie hidden figures is such a great film. Have you ever shared, and, and, and maybe do you think there’s value in these, in these, uh, wonderful group of kids that are now learning and, and, um, uh, uncovering all the potential that it’s in stem field to understand what, what other professionals had to fight to wave through? Do you see any value in that Sher?
Sherrika Sanders (35:50):
Absolutely. Absolutely. Um, it’s funny at the, I think the first time that I was on your, on your show, um, I actually got a few calls, uh, from science teachers that said, Hey, we saw your, um, your podcast and we had our students watch your podcast, but not only that we had, we went back and we watched hidden figures. <laugh> wow.
Scott Luton (36:11):
I love it.
Sherrika Sanders (36:11):
I know. Right. And I, I thought that was so great, um, that they, that they went back and they watched a movie. Uh, I think I had shared with you guys, like I had that actual experience of when she was walking through the wind tunnel and her heel got stuck in the grading on the floor that actually happened to be now, I wasn’t in a wind tunnel, but I was on a manufacturing floor and I’m thinking I will never wear heels again to a manufacturing plant. What was I thinking? <laugh>
Scott Luton (36:38):
That, you know, that is so awesome. You never know when that, that, um, that ripple effect will happen to something you mentioned, you kind of speak it to the universe and you never know who’s gonna hear that. And then take action because of something that, uh, she or Allison has said. So
Allison Krache Giddens (36:53):
I love Allison. Yeah, please. They, uh, I think this would be the appropriate time then for a little chemistry pun. Ah, and that is if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the precipitant.
Scott Luton (37:07):
I don’t know what a precipitant is, but it sounds funny. Alison <laugh> so, so,
Sherrika Sanders (37:13):
Um, yeah, I think I posted that on Facebook. Oh,
Allison Krache Giddens (37:15):
Did you? You probably did. And that’s probably where I got it.
Scott Luton (37:19):
Some Googling tonight. Um, thank y’all, uh, smart people for making me feel inadequate on your dad jokes, Alison, um, uh, one quick follow up. Uh, we were talking hidden figures. Uh, we were talking high heels. I had one thing I was gonna ask you about, oh, you actually received an award. Cause the first time we met mm-hmm <affirmative> I think you had gotten to 2018 hidden figures award of, uh, of one of the cities in Dallas. That’s right. Mm-hmm <affirmative> um, and, and, you know, it’s important that we remind folks, uh, I bet you had lots of interesting conversations related to, uh, you getting that recognition, huh?
Sherrika Sanders (37:57):
Yeah, it was, uh, it was 2017. Um, it was through the national society of black engineers, NSBE and our Congress, Roman Eddie, Bernice Johnson set out to find, uh, 10 women in the Dallas area who could they, they could name hidden figures of Dallas based on their contributions to science and technology. Wow. Um, and so we got, you know, plaques from the president certificates. I mean the whole nine, it was a, a, a great experience, but you’re right. Um, that spawned a lot because I mean, it was in the newspaper. And so it was just like, okay, which one of you can I get to speak at my conference? And so we would kind of huddle and say, okay, you go to this one, you go to this one. Or if five of us could make it to one, you know, that would be cool, but it was good that it was 10 of us and not just one person spread then love it. Um, but yeah, and I mean, I still get calls, Hey, I saw this article, are you available to come and speak to my students? Or, you know, um, sit on this panel or, you know, whatever it is. But yeah, it was a great experience.
Scott Luton (39:01):
I I’ll tell you, it’s just te it’s testimony to the impact you’re having. Um, and, and, you know, Allison, I thought to you, and I know we got another question or two with she, but can you, do you pick up like me, do you pick up on the passion and just a thrill that share, you can see it, it exudes as she’s talking about what the stem stem club’s up to, you know? Oh yeah. How cool is that?
Allison Krache Giddens (39:23):
Oh yeah, you could definitely tell. So I guess from when, when it comes to the lions stand, when it comes to the stem club and really over the past, I guess, year or so, was there ever a moment, some aha moment that you had along the way that, um, maybe you had something in mind, the way things were gonna go and you had this grandiose idea about, you know, these kids, they’re gonna plug into this, you’re gonna love it. They I’m betting, they exceeded your expectations. Cause that’s just typically how it works. Mm-hmm <affirmative> um, but were there any aha moments that you could share with us?
Sherrika Sanders (39:54):
Yeah. Uh, there actually been, been quite a few <laugh> uh, so, so one that, that, um, oh, actually a couple that, that stay with me and have stayed with me throughout this is that, um, I always, when I make a post, I’ll say hashtag on assignment, and the reason that I say that is because I feel that I am called to do this, you know, this is, this is a gift, you know? And so, um, after the white co ceremony, and I don’t wanna start crying here, but after the white co center ceremony, I had a parent come to me and she said, you know, I’ve been looking for stem clubs for my son for years. Um, and she said that, uh, I have four children. I would’ve had to send him to private school to get what he’s getting from you. And I cannot afford that.
Sherrika Sanders (40:45):
And so she was like, God bless you, um, for doing this because otherwise my son would not have had this opportunity. And so I go, you know, I’m glad I paced the floor that day. I’m glad I made the decision to go and ask my boss if he would support me, um, and be appointed to the advisory board because had I not, you know, stopped to read that email and to answer the call, you know, um, then I could have been off doing something else, you know, not even been being in place and in position to make this happen for, um, a lot of kids who would not have otherwise had had the opportunity. And so that was just an aha moment for me, um, that, Hey, I’m on the right path and I’m doing the right thing.
Scott Luton (41:36):
Mm, okay, man. Um, I do too. And I want to give hugs. I love, I really love what you’re, what you both do. Cause you both Sheika and Alice both y’all do so much in the industry and Sheika, I love how, how important that, that cause you are called to do this undoubtedly and the impact you’re having, when you hear that anecdotally from, in this case, the parents, uh, that you’re providing opportunities that they would’ve gone without mm-hmm <affirmative>, you know, you don’t want any kid to go without. Right. So let me ask you two quick follow up questions. Uh, um, I’m going off, off, off road here a little bit, but are, would you be open to benchmarking kind of how your SIM club works, if any, our listeners in, in any, any other part of the world would wanna form something similar? Would you be open to that?
Sherrika Sanders (42:22):
Oh yeah, absolutely. Benchmarking. Yes. Yes.
Scott Luton (42:25):
And then second. Absolutely. Uh, and then secondly, if, if, is there any way that, um, any of our listeners or companies you name it, um, could support what you’re doing? Is there any, anything you’d be looking for?
Sherrika Sanders (42:37):
Yes. Um, so that, that’s the other thing, I mean, uh, to make this happen, obviously we need funding. Um, and you know, I’m always, um, on the lookout for people who want to support, um, our efforts, um, because it, it, this, these things don’t happen for free. I mean, it’s just, it is just, is what it is. Um, uh, one way you can connect with me on LinkedIn, uh, share Cassandra PhD, and I will, um, direct you to support directly to the McKinney is D um, stem program. Um, as we continue to grow, because one thing that I didn’t notice that there are five middle schools in McKinney and we’re adding E one each year to all five, have a stem club, right? So that’s a minimum of 300 kids that will be impacting per year. Wow. Um, and you know, to, to, to make sure that we stay on target with that goal, we’ll need funding to make that happen.
Sherrika Sanders (43:34):
And so if any, company’s out there, um, want to support us in any way, no amount of money is too small, um, to make this happen for us or other ways that you can support our, uh, provision of supplies, lab supplies, um, or another way that you can support is provision of PPE. So the lab codes, those things aren’t free. Um, you know, and, you know, we, every kid gets their own lab code and, and, and these are things that they need. I mean, you can’t walk, uh, perform an experiment in a lab and not, you know, be protected from all the things that you’re come into contact with. So those are different ways. And then the other way outside of contacting me is through the, um, society of plastics engineer’s website. There’s a way you can donate directly to society of plastics, engineers, foundation, it’s for spe.org, the number four. Um, and you can donate through that, through that website as well. And it will get distributed across all of the, um, stem, stem programs.
Scott Luton (44:33):
Love it. Um, love it. All right. One final question, Allison, I wanna make sure folks know I connect with you and the Dave Che foundation. Um, folks, if you can help, if you can help out these efforts, clearly they’re making a massive impact, or if you wanna, you know, be a, a, she Sanders PhD in your own neck of the woods, you know, there’s a great benchmarking opportunity here, and goodness knows we need it. We need folks like Sheika and Allison to, to, to roll up the sleeves and really make, you know, get involved and frankly, change these kids’ trajectories. Right. Uh, one final question is if, if any of our listeners or students then wanna break into manufacturing and we’re breaking into stem or supply chain, whatever your last appearance with us, it was your advice to them was do the work. As you’ve mentioned, I’ve mentioned here, anything else, stick out, any one other thing that you’d like to, uh, equip them with. And when it comes to advice,
Sherrika Sanders (45:22):
Know your why know your why and the reason. And I, and I tell this to my stem club kids now, um, it will give you staying power in our industry when you know why you’re doing what you’re doing. Mm. So initially, um, I had someone tell me when I was getting my PhD. Um, you know, Sheika, I really don’t believe that you’ll really use this PhD, but I think this PhD will give you a platform to do something greater, and I didn’t get it at the time. Right. You know? Um, and while I do love science and I do love what I do, um, it con it’s the gift that keeps on giving it’s the gift that, um, keeps on continuing to place me in places that I would not have otherwise been. Um, I wouldn’t have been in that program where Allison and I met had I not gotten that PhD and became the director of R and D at authentics. Um, and so it, it, it knowing your why, and knowing that, Hey, I chose this stem career because of something that’s larger than myself. Um, and, and, and it is to change the life of a child, um, which then changes the lives of their families, which then changes the lives of their communities. Um, and that’s bigger than me. And that’s the reason that I will never walk away because I wanna continue to make that impact.
Scott Luton (46:51):
So well said, and even more importantly, so well done, you know, Steve’s not words, that’s how we try to operate around here. And you’re both of y’all are the epitome of that. And, um, thank you so much. Uh, Sheika for joining us once again, Dr. Sanders, um, folks you can connect with Sheika, uh, via LinkedIn, as she mentioned. And she mentioned a few other ways, but, uh, Hey connect, have her have her speak, uh, help support what they’re doing, benchmark, what they’re doing. You know, there’s so many great opportunities here and she will have you back again so soon. Um, alright, Allison man, I’m with you. I got chills throughout, uh, the last hour or so. Um, let’s make sure she, I don’t know if you know about this. Um, I know that y’all known each other and collaborated, but, uh, Allison, uh, founded co-founded what have you, the Dave CCHE foundation mm-hmm <affirmative> and they’re also making a massive impact on, on kids here. Um, Allison, tell us little about that and then, uh, how folks can support it and then how can folks connect with you?
Allison Krache Giddens (47:50):
Sure. Thank you. So the Dave crche foundation helps kids play sports outside inside of a Metro Atlanta area. Primarily, uh, we help kids play sports when their families can’t afford it. Mm-hmm <affirmative>. And so kind of to the, the same, same line of thinking is that if these kids can do something that they love and it helps to give them a, a purpose, and it helps their families to be able to breathe a little bit easier and, and, you know, continue to do what they need for their family, then the community is better for it. And then maybe one day that kid will pay it forward him or herself as well. So, yeah, definitely check it out. Dave creche.com, D a V E K R a C H e.com. Um, and we’re just, uh, we’re grateful for our, our local supporters and those that help to spread the word
Scott Luton (48:36):
Outstanding. So check out the website and Allison, the folks wanna connect with you, uh, LinkedIn, is that what you suggest to?
Allison Krache Giddens (48:44):
Yes, they can find me definitely on LinkedIn. I’m Alison Giddens. Uh, I’m at win tech here in, in Kennesaw, Georgia. So would love to connect
Scott Luton (48:52):
Outstanding, man. Both of y’all again, I, I love connecting. I love collaborating with, with you both. I think you, um, you challenge what leaders should do and, and impact they’re making far beyond their, their own four walls, you know, um, you know, beyond inventing stabilizers and solving customers’ issues, uh, those highly technical stuff, or, you know, building, um, some of the, uh, very complex parts for the aviation industry and beyond, I mean, beyond that, the value there’s so much value and impact there. So big thanks to our featured guest, uh, Sheika centers PhD again with Manor polymers, and let’s get, we get this in SPE lions den stem club. Yes. Right. Thank you so much for joining us. JICA
Sherrika Sanders (49:39):
Thank you for having me. I always have a good time with you guys.
Scott Luton (49:43):
And of course my fearless co-host, uh, Alice Giddens, always a pleasure, um, be, be sure to check out that Dave crche foundation they’ve helped over a thousand kids now play sports that they otherwise wouldn’t have had the resources do. They would’ve gone without. Uh, so Allison always a pleasure to knock out conversations like this with you.
Allison Krache Giddens (50:01):
Scott Luton (50:02):
Having me. You bet. Okay. Folks, uh, man, the bar has been set by, by uh, she and Allison. Um, hopefully you enjoy this conversation as much as I have. I am so glad we were able to carve out time with, with our guests here. Um, but whatever you do, there’s so much that that Allison and Sheika has challenged you with right? Whatever you do, Hey, choose to do good, lean into giving forward and acting so you can be the change that’s needed. And with all that said, we’ll 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.
Sherrika Sanders After receiving a PhD in Inorganic Chemistry and completing postdoctoral research, Sherrika enjoyed a 9 year career as a Senior Scientist, Technical Services Scientist, and Group Leader for The Dow Chemical Company. Following her tenure at Dow, Sherrika became the R&D Director at Authentix, Inc. located in Dallas, TX. In this role, she managed development, formulation, scale-up, quality and commercialization of markers for authentication solutions while also leading the Environmental, Health and Safety function for the Company. In 2018, during Women’s History Month”, Sherrika was listed as 1 of 20 “Most Influential Women in Manufacturing”. Currently, Sherrika has returned to the plastics industry as the Senior Technical Engineer for Manner Polymers in McKinney, TX. She was most recently named as one of “The Top 50 Advanced Manufacturing, Supply Chain & Logistics Influencers” by Warner Communications. Given the breadth of her role, no two days are the same. Each day is exciting and provides a unique opportunity to make a difference within the company and the customers they serve. Connect with Sherrika on LinkedIn.
Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol
Demo Perez started his career in 1997 in the industry by chance when a relative asked him for help for two just weeks putting together an operation for FedEx Express at the Colon Free Zone, an area where he was never been but accepted the challenge. Worked in all roles possible from a truck driver to currier to a sales representative, helped the brand introduction, market share growth and recognition in the Colon Free Zone, at the end of 1999 had the chance to meet and have a chat with Fred Smith ( FedEx CEO), joined another company in 2018 who took over the FedEx operations as Operations and sales manager, in 2004 accepted the challenge from his company to leave the FedEx operations and business to take over the operation and business of DHL Express, his major competitor and rival so couldn’t say no, by changing completely its operation model in the Free Zone. In 2005 started his first entrepreneurial journey by quitting his job and joining two friends to start a Freight Forwarding company. After 8 months was recruited back by his company LSP with the General Manager role with the challenge of growing the company and make it fully capable warehousing 3PL. By 2009 joined CSCMP and WERC and started his journey of learning and growing his international network and high-level learning. In 2012 for the first time joined a local association ( the Panama Maritime Chamber) and worked in the country’s first Logistics Strategy plan, joined and lead other associations ending as president of the Panama Logistics Council in 2017. By finishing his professional mission at LSP with a company that was 8 times the size it was when accepted the role as GM with so many jobs generated and several young professionals coached, having great financial results, took the decision to move forward and start his own business from scratch by the end of 2019. with a friend and colleague co-founded IPL Group a company that started as a boutique 3PL and now is gearing up for the post-Covid era by moving to the big leagues.
Sales Support Intern
Alex is pursuing a Marketing degree and a Certificate in Legal Studies at the University of Georgia. As a dual citizen of both the US and UK; Alex has studied abroad at University College London and is passionate about travel and international business. Through her coursework at the Terry College of Business, Alex has gained valuable skills in digital marketing, analytics, and professional selling. She joined Supply Chain Now as a Sales Support Intern where she assists the team by prospecting and qualifying new business partners.
Joshua is a student from Institute of Technology and Higher Education of Monterrey Campus Guadalajara in Communication and Digital Media. His experience ranges from Plug and Play México, DearDoc, and Nissan México creating unique social media marketing campaigns and graphics design. Joshua helps to amplify the voice of supply chain here at Supply Chain Now by assisting in graphic design, content creation, asset logistics, and more. In his free time he likes to read and write short stories as well as watch movies and television series.
Director of Communications and Executive Producer
Donna Krache is a former CNN executive producer who has won several awards in journalism and communication, including three Peabodys. She has 30 years’ experience in broadcast and digital journalism. She led the first production team at CNN to convert its show to a digital platform. She has authored many articles for CNN and other media outlets. She taught digital journalism at Georgia State University and Arizona State University. Krache holds a bachelor’s degree in government from the College of William and Mary and a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from the University of New Orleans. She is a serious sports fan who loves the Braves. She is president of the Dave Krache Foundation. Named in honor of her late husband, this non-profit pays fees for kids who want to play sports but whose parents are facing economic challenges.
Vicki has a long history of rising to challenges and keeping things up and running. First, she supported her family’s multi-million dollar business as controller for 12 years, beginning at the age of 17. Then, she worked as an office manager and controller for a wholesale food broker. But her biggest feat? Serving as the chief executive officer of her household, while her entrepreneur husband travelled the world extensively. She fed, nurtured, chaperoned, and chauffeured three daughters all while running a newsletter publishing business and remaining active in her community as a Stephen’s Minister, Sunday school teacher, school volunteer, licensed realtor and POA Board president (a title she holds to this day). A force to be reckoned with in the office, you might think twice before you meet Vicki on the tennis court! When she’s not keeping the books balanced at Supply Chain Now or playing tennis matches, you can find Vicki spending time with her husband Greg, her 4 fur babies, gardening, cleaning (yes, she loves to clean!) and learning new things.
Ben Harris is the Director of Supply Chain Ecosystem Expansion for the Metro Atlanta Chamber. Ben comes to the Metro Atlanta Chamber after serving as Senior Manager, Market Development for Manhattan Associates. There, Ben was responsible for developing Manhattan’s sales pipeline and overall Americas supply chain marketing strategy. Ben oversaw market positioning, messaging and campaign execution to build awareness and drive new pipeline growth. Prior to joining Manhattan, Ben spent four years with the Georgia Department of Economic Development’s Center of Innovation for Logistics where he played a key role in establishing the Center as a go-to industry resource for information, support, partnership building, and investment development. Additionally, he became a key SME for all logistics and supply chain-focused projects. Ben began his career at Page International, Inc. where he drove continuous improvement in complex global supply chain operations for a wide variety of businesses and Fortune 500 companies. An APICS Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP), Ben holds an Executive Master’s degree in Business Administration (EMBA) and bachelor’s degree in International Business (BBA) from the Terry College at the University of Georgia.
Host, The Freight Insider
Prior to joining TeamOne Logistics, Page Siplon served as the Executive Director of the Georgia Center of Innovation for Logistics, the State’s leading consulting resource for fueling logistics industry growth and global competitiveness. For over a decade, he directly assisted hundreds of companies to overcome challenges and capitalize on opportunities related to the movement of freight. During this time, Siplon was also appointed to concurrently serve the State of Georgia as Director of the larger Centers of Innovation Program, in which he provided executive leadership and vision for all six strategic industry-focused Centers. As a frequently requested keynote speaker, Siplon is called upon to address a range of audiences on unique aspects of technology, workforce, and logistics. This often includes topics of global and domestic logistics trends, supply chain visibility, collaboration, and strategic planning. He has also been quoted as an industry expert in publications such as Forbes, Journal of Commerce, Fortune, NPR, Wall Street Journal, Reuters, American Express, DC Velocity, Area Development Magazine, Site Selection Magazine, Inbound Logistics, Modern Material Handling, and is frequently a live special guest on SiriusXM’s Road Dog Radio Show. Siplon is an active industry participant, recognized by DC Velocity Magazine as a “2012 Logistics Rainmaker” which annually identifies the top-ten logistics professionals in the Nation; and named a “Pro to Know” by Supply & Demand Executive Magazine in 2014. Siplon was also selected by Georgia Trend Magazine as one of the “Top 100 Most Influential Georgians” for 2013, 2014, and 2015. He also serves various industry leadership roles at both the State and Federal level. Governor Nathan Deal nominated Siplon to represent Georgia on a National Supply Chain Competitiveness Advisory Committee, where he was appointed to a two-year term by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce and was then appointed to serve as its vice-chairman. At the State level, he was selected by then-Governor Sonny Perdue to serve as lead consultant on the Commission for New Georgia’s Freight and Logistics Task Force. In this effort, Siplon led a Private Sector Advisory Committee with invited executives from a range of private sector stakeholders including UPS, Coca-Cola, The Home Depot, Delta Airlines, Georgia Pacific, CSX, and Norfolk Southern. Siplon honorably served a combined 12 years in the United States Marine Corps and the United States Air Force. During this time, he led the integration of encryption techniques and deployed cryptographic devices for tactically secure voice and data platforms in critical ground-to-air communication systems. This service included support for all branches of the Department of Defense, multiple federal security agencies, and aiding NASA with multiple Space Shuttle launches. Originally from New York, Siplon received both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in electrical and computer engineering with a focus on digital signal processing from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He earned an associate’s degree in advanced electronic systems from the Air Force College and completed multiple military leadership academies in both the Marines and Air Force. Siplon currently lives in Cumming, Georgia (north of Atlanta), with his wife Jan, and two children Thomas (19) and Lily (15).
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Kristi Porter is VP of Sales and Marketing at Vector Global Logistics, a company that is changing the world through supply chain. In her role, she oversees all marketing efforts and supports the sales team in doing what they do best. In addition to this role, she is the Chief Do-Gooder at Signify, which assists nonprofits and social impact companies through copywriting and marketing strategy consulting. She has almost 20 years of professional experience, and loves every opportunity to help people do more good.
Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol
Sofia Rivas Herrera is a Mexican Industrial Engineer from Tecnologico de Monterrey class 2019. Upon graduation, she earned a scholarship to study MIT’s Graduate Certificate in Logistics and Supply Chain Management and graduated as one of the Top 3 performers of her class in 2020. She also has a multicultural background due to her international academic experiences at Singapore Management University and Kühne Logistics University in Hamburg. Sofia self-identifies as a Supply Chain enthusiast & ambassador sharing her passion for the field in her daily life.
Sales and Marketing Coordinator
Katherine is a marketing professional and MBA candidate who strives to unite her love of people with a passion for positive experiences. Having a diverse background, which includes nonprofit work with digital marketing and start-ups, she serves as a leader who helps people live their most creative lives by cultivating community, order, collaboration, and respect. With equal parts creativity and analytics, she brings a unique skill set which fosters refining, problem solving, and connecting organizations with their true vision. In her free time, you can usually find her looking for her cup of coffee, playing with her puppy Charlie, and dreaming of her next road trip.
Host, Supply Chain Now
The founder of Logistics Executive Group, Kim Winter delivers 40 years of executive leadership experience spanning Executive Search & Recruitment, Leadership Development, Executive Coaching, Corporate Advisory, Motivational Speaking, Trade Facilitation and across the Supply Chain, Logistics, 3PL, E-commerce, Life Science, Cold Chain, FMCG, Retail, Maritime, Defence, Aviation, Resources, and Industrial sectors. Operating from the company’s global offices, he is a regular contributor of thought leadership to industry and media, is a professional Master of Ceremonies, and is frequently invited to chair international events.
He is a Board member of over a dozen companies throughout APAC, India, and the Middle East, a New Zealand citizen, he holds formal resident status in Australia and the UAE, and is the Australia & New Zealand representative for the UAE Government-owned Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZA), the Middle East’s largest Economic Free Zone.
A triathlete and ex-professional rugby player, Kim is a qualified (IECL Sydney) executive coach and the Founder / Chairman of the successful not for profit humanitarian organization, Oasis Africa (www. oasisafrica.org.au), which has provided freedom from poverty through education to over 8000 mainly orphaned children in East Africa’s slums. Kim holds an MBA and BA from Massey & Victoria Universities (NZ).
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Adrian Purtill serves as Business Development Manager at Vector Global Logistics, where he consults with importers and exporters in various industries to match their specific shipping requirements with the most effective supply chain solutions. Vector Global Logistics is an asset-free, multi-modal logistics company that provides exceptional sea freight, air freight, truck, rail, general logistic services and consulting for our clients. Our highly trained and professional team is committed to providing creative and effective solutions, always exceeding our customer’s expectations and fostering long-term relationships. With more than 20+ years of experience in both strategy consulting and logistics, Vector Global Logistics is your best choice to proactively minimize costs while having an exceptional service level.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Kevin Brown is the Director of Business Development for Vector Global Logistics. He has a dedicated interest in Major Account Management, Enterprise Sales, and Corporate Leadership. He offers 25 years of exceptional experience and superior performance in the sales of Logistics, Supply Chain, and Transportation Management. Kevin is a dynamic, high-impact, sales executive and corporate leader who has consistently exceeded corporate goals. He effectively coordinates multiple resources to solution sell large complex opportunities while focusing on corporate level contacts across the enterprise. His specialties include targeting and securing key accounts by analyzing customer’s current business processes and developing solutions to meet their corporate goals. Connect with Kevin on LinkedIn.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Jose Manuel Irarrazaval es parte del equipo de Vector Global Logistics Chile. José Manuel es un gerente experimentado con experiencia en finanzas corporativas, fusiones y adquisiciones, financiamiento y reestructuración, inversión directa y financiera, tanto en Chile como en el exterior. José Manuel tiene su MBA de la Universidad de Pennsylvania- The Wharton School. Conéctese con Jose Manuel en LinkedIn.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Nick Roemer has had a very diverse and extensive career within design and sales over the last 15 years stretching from China, Dubai, Germany, Holland, UK, and the USA. In the last 5 years, Nick has developed a hawk's eye for sustainable tech and the human-centric marketing and sales procedures that come with it. With his far-reaching and strong network within the logistics industry, Nick has been able to open new avenues and routes to market within major industries in the USA and the UAE. Nick lives by the ethos, “Give more than you take." His professional mission is to make the logistics industry leaner, cleaner and greener.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Allison Krache Giddens has been with Win-Tech, a veteran-owned small business and aerospace precision machine shop, for 15 years, recently buying the company from her mentor and Win-Tech’s Founder, Dennis Winslow. She and her business partner, John Hudson now serve as Co-Presidents, leading the 33-year old company through the pandemic.
She holds undergraduate degrees in psychology and criminal justice from the University of Georgia, a Masters in Conflict Management from Kennesaw State University, a Masters in Manufacturing from Georgia Institute of Technology, and a Certificate of Finance from the University of Georgia. She also holds certificates in Google Analytics, event planning, and Cybersecurity Risk Management from Harvard online. Allison founded the Georgia Chapter of Women in Manufacturing and currently serves as Treasurer. She serves on the Chattahoochee Technical College Foundation Board as its Secretary, the liveSAFE Resources Board of Directors as Resource Development Co-Chair, and on the Leadership Cobb Alumni Association Board as Membership Chair and is also a member of Cobb Executive Women. She is on the Board for the Cobb Chamber of Commerce’s Northwest Area Councils. Allison runs The Dave Krache Foundation, a non-profit that helps pay sports fees for local kids in need.
Host of Dial P for Procurement
Billy Taylor is a Proven Business Excellence Practitioner and Leadership Guru with over 25 years leading operations for a Fortune 500 company, Goodyear. He is also the CEO of LinkedXL (Excellence), a Business Operating Systems Architecting Firm dedicated to implementing sustainable operating systems that drive sustainable results. Taylor’s achievements in the industry have made him a Next Generational Lean pacesetter with significant contributions.
An American business executive, Taylor has made a name for himself as an innovative and energetic industry professional with an indispensable passion for his craft of operational excellence. His journey started many years ago and has worked with renowned corporations such as The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. (GT) leading multi-site operations. With over 3 decades of service leading North America operations, he is experienced in a deeply rooted process driven approach in customer service, process integrity for sustainability.
A disciple of continuous improvement, Taylor’s love for people inspires commitment to helping others achieve their full potential. He is a dynamic speaker and hosts "The Winning Link," a popular podcast centered on business and leadership excellence with the #1 rated Supply Chain Now Network. As a leadership guru, Taylor has earned several invitations to universities, international conferences, global publications, and the U.S. Army to demonstrate how to achieve and sustain effective results through cultural acceptance and employee ownership. Leveraging the wisdom of his business acumen, strong influence as a speaker and podcaster Taylor is set to release "The Winning Link" book under McGraw Hill publishing in 2022. The book is a how-to manual to help readers understand the management of business interactions while teaching them how to Deine, Align, and Execute Winning in Business.
A servant leader, Taylor, was named by The National Diversity Council as one of the Top 100 Diversity Officers in the country in 2021. He features among Oklahoma's Most Admired CEOs and maintains key leadership roles with the Executive Advisory Board for The Shingo Institute "The Nobel Prize of Operations" and The Association of Manufacturing Excellence (AME); two world-leading organizations for operational excellence, business development, and cultural learning. He is also an Independent Director for the M-D Building Products Board, a proud American manufacturer of quality products since 1920.
Lori is currently completing a degree in marketing with an emphasis in digital marketing at the University of Georgia. When she’s not supporting the marketing efforts at Supply Chain Now, you can find her at music festivals – or working toward her dream goal of a fashion career. Lori is involved in many extracurricular activities and appreciates all the learning experiences UGA has brought her.
Social Media Manager
My name is Chantel King and I am the Social Media Specialist at Supply Chain Now. My job is to make sure our audience is engaged and educated on the abundant amount of information the supply chain industry has to offer.
Social Media and Communications has been my niche ever since I graduated from college at The Academy of Art University in San Francisco. No, I am not a West Coast girl. I was born and raised in New Jersey, but my travel experience goes way beyond the garden state. My true passion is in creating editorial and graphic content that influences others to be great in whatever industry they are in. I’ve done this by working with lifestyle, financial, and editorial companies by providing resources to enhance their businesses.
Another passion of mine is trying new things. Whether it’s food, an activity, or a sport. I would like to say that I am an adventurous Taurus that never shies away from a new quest or challenge.
Trisha is new to the supply chain industry – but not to podcasting. She’s an experienced podcast manager and virtual assistant who also happens to have 20 years of experience as an elementary school teacher. It’s safe to say, she’s passionate about helping people, and she lives out that passion every day with the Supply Chain Now team, contributing to scheduling and podcast production.
Business Development Manager
Clay is passionate about two things: supply chain and the marketing that goes into it. Recently graduated with a degree in marketing at the University of Georgia, Clay got his start as a journalism major and inaugural member of the Owl’s football team at Kennesaw State University – but quickly saw tremendous opportunity in the Terry College of Business. He’s already putting his education to great use at Supply Chain Now, assisting with everything from sales and brand strategy to media production. Clay has contributed to initiatives such as our leap into video production, the guest blog series, and boosting social media presence, and after nearly two years in Supply Chain Now’s Marketing Department, Clay now heads up partnership and sales initiatives with the help of the rest of the Supply Chain Now sales team.
Vice President, Production
Amanda is a production and marketing veteran and entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience across a variety of industries and organizations including Von Maur, Anthropologie, AmericasMart Atlanta, and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Amanda currently manages, produces, and develops modern digital content for Supply Chain Now and their clients. Amanda has previously served as the VP of Information Systems and Webmaster on the Board of Directors for APICS Savannah, and founded and managed her own successful digital marketing firm, Magnolia Marketing Group. When she’s not leading the Supply Chain Now production team, you can find Amanda in the kitchen, reading, listening to podcasts, or enjoying time with family.
Constantine Limberakis is a thought leader in the area of procurement and supply management. He has over 20 years of international experience, playing strategic roles in a wide spectrum of organizations related to analyst advisory, consulting, product marketing, product development, and market research. Throughout his career, he's been passionate about engaging global business leaders and the broader analyst and technology community with strategic content, speaking engagements, podcasts, research, webinars, and industry articles.Constantine holds a BA in History from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and an MBA in Finance & Marketing / Masters in Public & International Affairs from the University of Pittsburgh.
Host, Veteran Voices
Mary Kate Soliva is a veteran of the US Army and cofounder of the Guam Human Rights Initiative. She is currently in the Doctor of Criminal Justice program at Saint Leo University. She is passionate about combating human trafficking and has spent the last decade conducting training for military personnel and the local community.
Host of Dial P for Procurement
Kelly is the Owner and Managing Director of Buyers Meeting Point and MyPurchasingCenter. She has been in procurement since 2003, starting as a practitioner and then as the Associate Director of Consulting at Emptoris. She has covered procurement news, events, publications, solutions, trends, and relevant economics at Buyers Meeting Point since 2009. Kelly is also the General Manager at Art of Procurement and Business Survey Chair for the ISM-New York Report on Business. Kelly has her MBA from Babson College as well as an MS in Library and Information Science from Simmons College and she has co-authored three books: ‘Supply Market Intelligence for Procurement Professionals’, ‘Procurement at a Crossroads’, and ‘Finance Unleashed’.
Host of Logistics with Purpose and Supply Chain Now en Español
Enrique serves as Managing Director at Vector Global Logistics and believes we all have a personal responsibility to change the world. He is hard working, relationship minded and pro-active. Enrique trusts that the key to logistics is having a good and responsible team that truly partners with the clients and does whatever is necessary to see them succeed. He is a proud sponsor of Vector’s unique results-based work environment and before venturing into logistics he worked for the Boston Consulting Group (BCG). During his time at BCG, he worked in different industries such as Telecommunications, Energy, Industrial Goods, Building Materials, and Private Banking. His main focus was always on the operations, sales, and supply chain processes, with case focus on, logistics, growth strategy, and cost reduction. Prior to joining BCG, Enrique worked for Grupo Vitro, a Mexican glass manufacturer, for five years holding different positions from sales and logistics manager to supply chain project leader in charge of five warehouses in Colombia.
He has an MBA from The Wharton School of Business and a BS, in Mechanical Engineer from the Technologico de Monterrey in Mexico. Enrique’s passions are soccer and the ocean, and he also enjoys traveling, getting to know new people, and spending time with his wife and two kids, Emma and Enrique.
Host of Digital Transformers
Kevin L. Jackson is a globally recognized Thought Leader, Industry Influencer and Founder/Author of the award winning “Cloud Musings” blog. He has also been recognized as a “Top 5G Influencer” (Onalytica 2019, Radar 2020), a “Top 50 Global Digital Transformation Thought Leader” (Thinkers 360 2019) and provides strategic consulting and integrated social media services to AT&T, Intel, Broadcom, Ericsson and other leading companies. Mr. Jackson’s commercial experience includes Vice President J.P. Morgan Chase, Worldwide Sales Executive for IBM and SAIC (Engility) Director Cloud Solutions. He has served on teams that have supported digital transformation projects for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the US Intelligence Community. Kevin’s formal education includes a MS Computer Engineering from Naval Postgraduate School; MA National Security & Strategic Studies from Naval War College; and a BS Aerospace Engineering from the United States Naval Academy. Internationally recognizable firms that have sponsored articles authored by him include Cisco, Microsoft, Citrix and IBM. Books include “Click to Transform” (Leaders Press, 2020), “Architecting Cloud Computing Solutions” (Packt, 2018), and “Practical Cloud Security: A Cross Industry View” (Taylor & Francis, 2016). He also delivers online training through Tulane University, O’Reilly Media, LinkedIn Learning, and Pluralsight. Mr. Jackson retired from the U.S. Navy in 1994, earning specialties in Space Systems Engineering, Carrier Onboard Delivery Logistics and carrier-based Airborne Early Warning and Control. While active, he also served with the National Reconnaissance Office, Operational Support Office, providing tactical support to Navy and Marine Corps forces worldwide.
Director of Sales
Tyler Ward serves as Supply Chain Now's Director of Sales. Born and raised in Mid-Atlantic, Tyler is a proud graduate of Shippensburg University where he earned his degree in Communications. After college, he made his way to the beautiful state of Oregon, where he now lives with his wife and daughter.
With over a decade of experience in sales, Tyler has a proven track record of exceeding targets and leading high-performing teams. He credits his success to his ability to communicate effectively with customers and team members alike, as well as his strategic thinking and problem-solving skills.
When he's not closing deals, you can find Tyler on the links or cheering on his favorite football and basketball teams. He also enjoys spending time with his family, playing pick-up basketball, and traveling back to Ocean City, Maryland, his favorite place!
Principal, Supply Chain Now
Host of Supply Chain is Boring
Talk about world-class: Chris is one of the few professionals in the world to hold CPIM-F, CLTD-F and CSCP-F designations from ASCM/APICS. He’s also the APICS coach – and our resident Supply Chain Doctor. When he’s not hosting programs with Supply Chain Now, he’s sharing supply chain knowledge on the APICS Coach Youtube channel or serving as a professional education instructor for the Georgia Tech Supply Chain & Logistic Institute’s Supply Chain Management (SCM) program and University of Tennessee-Chattanooga Center for Professional Education courses.
Chris earned a BS in Industrial Engineering from Bradley University, an MBA with emphasis in Industrial Psychology from the University of West Florida, and is a Doctoral in Supply Chain Management candidate.
Principal & CMO, Supply Chain Now
Host of Supply Chain Now and TECHquila Sunrise
When rapid-growth technology companies, venture capital and private equity firms are looking for advisory, they call Greg – a founder, board director, advisor and catalyst of disruptive B2B technology and supply chain. An insightful visionary, Greg guides founders, investors and leadership teams in creating breakthroughs to gain market exposure and momentum – increasing overall company esteem and valuation.
Greg is a founder himself, creating Blue Ridge Solutions, a Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader in cloud-native supply chain applications, and bringing to market Curo, a field service management solution. He has also held leadership roles with Servigistics (PTC) and E3 Corporation (JDA/Blue Yonder). As a principal and host at Supply Chain Now, Greg helps guide the company’s strategic direction, hosts industry leader discussions, community livestreams, and all in addition to executive producing and hosting his original YouTube channel and podcast, TEChquila Sunrise.
Founder, CEO, & Host
As the founder and CEO of Supply Chain Now, you might say Scott is the voice of supply chain – but he’s too much of a team player to ever claim such a title. One thing’s for sure: he’s a tried and true supply chain expert. With over 15 years of experience in the end-to-end supply chain, Scott’s insights have appeared in major publications including The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and CNN. He has also been named a top industry influencer by Thinkers360, ISCEA and more.
From 2009-2011, Scott was president of APICS Atlanta, and he continues to lead initiatives that support both the local business community and global industry. A United States Air Force Veteran, Scott has also regularly led efforts to give back to his fellow veteran community since his departure from active duty in 2002.