“One thing we look at in Kubera is always like, is there any differentiating technology? And I wanted to say like how difficult it’s been, to really identify companies who are building something proprietary. Like so much code is repurposed. So many algorithms are available on, open-source software. It’s expensive to build something proprietary and it’s becoming very rare as well.”
-Sena Zorlu, Kubera Venture Capital
Greg and Sena Zorlu, Venture Partner at Kubea Venture Capital & founder of her own stealth startup give you another shot at understanding how investors think about your startup. Are you communicating what investors need to hear? Do they “get” your pitch? How do you make sure what you’re saying is what they are hearing? So many founders may think they’re communicating one thing, when actually it’s another, and it may not be at all what’s in the pitch deck, or conversation!
Sena and Greg reveal to founders what investors see, think & discern. Founders not only learn about this fascinating founder, investor & new stealth startup leader, they’ll gain insights into how investors tick, and also what founders can do to be more clear communicating with investors, and understanding why investor’s perceptions land where they do.
Sena Zorlu is diving headlong into the startup world again. She has helped me improve my knowledge as a venture capital investor. She’s especially effective at evaluating companies in our work together at Kubera. She’s amazingly insightful, a powerful communicator & a force to be reckoned with. So you need to hear from her.
Listen, imbibe & enjoy the vibe.
What’s up, guys? Editor for Greg White here, and I am filling in this week. Basically, Greg, he’s on the road. He’s traveling and he’s getting a lot of things ready for future episodes. So, I’m just kind of filling in just to kind of let you guys know that this episode, we’re picking up where we left off last week with Greg’s guest, Sena Zorlu, founder and investor. And they are going to be talking more about decoding the messages between founders and investors. And, yeah, hope you enjoy.
Greg White (00:53):
I think a lot of people, a lot of founders, think of their problem as if it’s as complex as getting to space and solving navigation problems in space. One of the companies that I’m talking to, right? But it’s not all that difficult. But those are the ones that make headlines and it sort of sets the tone for, “Oh, that’s what it takes to be a tech entrepreneur or a unicorn”, which somebody who had never used that word.
Sena Zorlu (01:30):
But you are absolutely right. Like, a lot of startups today, they don’t have technology. They may have some codes, but agricultural companies have code today. Having code doesn’t qualify you to be a technology company.
Greg White (01:47):
That’s a good point. That’s a really good point. So –
Sena Zorlu (01:51):
But I think – yeah.
Greg White (01:53):
Well, no, no. Finish your thought. Definitely. Please finish that thought.
Sena Zorlu (01:53):
No. I was thinking, like, one thing we look at in Kubera is always, is there any differentiating technology? And I wanted to say how difficult it’s been to really identify companies who are building something proprietary. So much code is repurposed. So many algorithms are available on open source software. It is expensive to build something proprietary and it’s becoming very rare as well.
Greg White (02:36):
Yeah. A lot of people are using open source or cloud-based shared technologies to build what they’re doing.
Sena Zorlu (02:44):
No code, low code, and they can still deliver the end value. But especially for funds like us where that proprietary technology is a differentiator for investments, it becomes difficult.
Greg White (03:04):
Well, apology, I have to ask the question, is this solving a today problem or is it solving a tomorrow problem? And that is really what defines one big aspect of the investability of a company is, does it solve a tomorrow problem? Because if it can be solved with low code, it’s much like if it can be solved with an accumulation of open source. What have you really built that somebody else couldn’t build? This whole concept of a moat, right? Something that helps you avoid attack and being over [inaudible].
Sena Zorlu (03:42):
Absolutely. Especially, as you know, I look at a lot of future work stuff and it’s like 99 percent of future work deals are today work. They’re not necessary looking at the future.
Greg White (03:57):
The future. RPA strikes me as one of those types of things is, it’s automating things like invoice, reconciliation, that sort of thing. That’s not the future. That is the now. Hell, that should have been the 15 years ago.
Sena Zorlu (03:57):
That is a now. Absolutely. It’s wonderful that there’s more access to it. So, when you look at that phase of technology going to mainstream, I think it’s wonderful that AI, ML, all of these technologies are going more mainstream and there’s more welcoming towards these technologies from the enterprise. But we use the term human assisted AI a lot when we’re looking at AI, where we want AI to help decision makers make the best decisions. So, I think that’s the sweet spot of what we can do for tomorrow where let’s get rid of all mundane tasks that we’re doing today. Instead of building the exact same productivity software over and over and over again, and then all of us go back to Trello.
Greg White (05:06):
Right. It’s true. Yeah. It’s true. I mean, you know, to me, it feels like so much of what’s being done, some of it doesn’t even necessarily require AI. For instance, Siri, not AI.
Sena Zorlu (05:21):
A lot of AI companies are not AI anyways. Yeah. It’s mostly RPAs and workflows.
Greg White (05:30):
Yes. Exactly. Lots of linear programming. So, I have to ask you this, how did you acquire these skills? I mean, I know you’ve been a founder. And I know you’ve been involved in investing. But how did you acquire this ability to kind of break all this down to understand the investor and founder perspective and apply it so effectively? And I’m asking not for our community here. I’m asking for me because I want to figure out how you did it, so I can too.
Sena Zorlu (06:10):
I think two things. One is, I’m a generalist and there has been many points in my life where that has been very discouraging to me. And I haven’t enhanced and sort of owned up to being a generalist. Because if you’re ever searching for a job or if you want to be labeled as something, it’s very difficult when you’re a generalist. But that’s who I am.
Greg White (06:43):
Is that what we would call a jack of all trades in the States? You know a little bit about everything.
Sena Zorlu (06:48):
I don’t have a lot of traits. I don’t have a lot of traits in that – you know what I mean? But it’s like I can talk about many things, let’s say, if that’s a trait. So, it’s like, one side of that is, up to a couple of years ago, I always saw that as a disadvantage where I saw a lot of people as like being experts in something, and I was never an expert in anything. But then, I have learned to own up to it and benefit from it. And I think venture capital has helped that a lot because it helped me understand where I can put all of that to good use.
Sena Zorlu (07:29):
So, I would say one is that, I think, it’s okay to be a generalist and there are career paths that come from that. Especially in my early 20s, being a generalist was very confusing to me because everybody was like, “You were amazing in math. Why don’t you become an investment banker?” And like, “I don’t want to become an investment -” And like, “Why don’t you do this? Why don’t you -” it was all very confusing. Like, “Why don’t you become a lawyer?” And I didn’t want to do all of that. And it took me a while to own up to it and a lot of depression. But I would say that’s the first thing of, like, understanding where your strengths are and trying to replay the game with those strengths.
Sena Zorlu (08:18):
And the second thing is, I think I have a sponge-ish at the title learning. And then, not just learning, but re-digesting and structuring in a consumable way. Which could have made me like a good teacher or something. I think it’s mostly that. Like, I try to take knowledge and then for me to remember it well, I have to partition it and it has to fit into a box. That’s how I always took notes when I was in class. So, my notes were always very popular because I had, like, little diagrams. I took notes all over. It wasn’t one paper. And it was bullet-pointed because that’s how my mind was. So, I think that helps because when I learn something new, I try to position it in a way that can serve with everything else that I have. So, it’s not just life experiences. So, I think those are the two things that worked for me. But I would say, it took a long time for me to turn that into an asset.
Greg White (09:37):
That’s really interesting. I hear a lot of familiarity in that discussion. I think you’re much more aware and mindful of it than I ever was though. You kind of analyzed it and were thoughtful about it. I guess, I just thought I was too lazy to learn anything at any real depth and just accepted that.
Sena Zorlu (09:58):
I went to a doctor and I was like, “I think I have ADD.” I actually went to a professional. So, we got a worksheet and I was checking all of the points. And so, I went to the doctor and I was like, “Here’s the worksheet.” It was like 17 out of 20 or something. And it was a very short conversation where she took my life history and she said, “If you did well in school, you don’t have ADD. That’s the norm.” So, for me to tackle through what was wrong with me and how can I make sure that I can succeed in the future, because some of this is advantage and some of it is disadvantage. Having so many interests creates lack of focus, lack of prioritization.
Sena Zorlu (10:51):
And to do a startup, if you want to become a VC, you can have your ADD and become a VC. But if you don’t tackle through your productivity issues, you can’t be a good founder. So, for me to transition back into founder build, I had to sort how I can take this and put it into good use. So, for me, it was a process. Because I went through the process to actually solve a problem, I had to focus time to think about it. Because as you said, I just got a baby so it has given me new perspective on time. Because if I don’t get things done, when I can, I can not get them done. And I think pre-motherhood, time was a more fluid concept. So, I was forced into going through all of these changes to be a successful founder this time around. And, also, balance everything out that needs to be balanced.
Greg White (10:51):
Wow. Can I tell you that aside from sharing that, you know, the thing that you’ve really effectively communicated is why people who are known by other people get funded, get an advantageous position. Because you have just communicated effectively why and what you’ve gone through to be fit to be a founder. And it’s that interaction, that engagement that we have that I go, “I totally get her. I get how she’s turned that into a gift.” And I think that’s a good lesson for people, is, to communicate who you are and be comfortable with it. As so many people say, find your tribe, find those people who get you, who can help you to turn that into something great. Because even as disjointed as we are or have been in the past, Sena, we can make things great. And other people can too. And they just need somebody that gets that and that can help bring it out of them.
Greg White (13:20):
All right. But here’s the thing, you leaked something. And that is that you are a founder yet again. And I know your company is in Stealth. So, first, I would love for you to describe what the heck Stealth is for anyone out there who doesn’t know. And then, anything that you could share with us. Could we get an exclusive here at TECHquila Sunrise?
Sena Zorlu (13:45):
Yes and yes. So, Stealth, funny enough, there’s this trend that I’ve been loving – I don’t know if you’ve heard of it – Building in Public. I follow a couple of companies where they’re completely transparent with their revenues, with all of their processes, and everything. And it’s usually on Twitter, that’s where I’ve been finding them. But I’ve been following a couple of companies where they are building in public. So, Stealth is the complete opposite of that, where Stealth is like if you have a conviction of where your product is going in the markets and you think there’s a significant advantage to building behind doors a bit, you take the time to reveal to the public so that you can use the launch time to more of your advantage. So, for the first time, I’m building a consumer company, which is why we have chosen to build in Stealth.
Sena Zorlu (14:44):
But I would say with enterprise, it would be very stupid to do that. Whenever you can have customers, have them. Let people break your products. Do not care at all that it looks ugly. Like, enterprise is a completely different mindset. Whereas, consumer is like, you go to market once and, especially our product has a hardware component to it. We’re not building hardware, but we are, I say, hardware enabled, where we’re using off the shelf hardware to repurpose for different application. So, there isn’t that much room for a mistake when you’re going to consumer. So, for those reasons, we have chosen to stay aback a bit and we have built a group of product testers for us that are using the product. And, hopefully, they will evolve with the product and become our evangelist.
Sena Zorlu (15:42):
I’ll summarize what we do in a little bit. We are a mission-driven company. Our goal is to create an entertainment platform for children so that they can stay active indoors. And we are learning a lot doing that, so it will be a combination of physical activity and gaming and other things. But I want to say it’s an entertainment company. It’s not an education company. Because everything that’s built for the kids these days, they’re like, “This is education.” And I feel like kids are the biggest sponges in the world and they learn from anything as long as we build –
Greg White (15:42):
Everything is education. Yeah. Right.
Sena Zorlu (16:24):
Yes. Like, there’s education in everything. So, in that sense, I think we are first in entertainment and contents company. But with children, you never know where it goes. We are looking at those under six. We’re looking at kids under six. It’s a very tough market to crack. They’re very honest. They’re brutally honest, which is [inaudible]. So, we’ve actually built a little board of advisors with kids –
Greg White (16:59):
That is going to look good on some kid’s resume in the next 10 or 15 years, “I was on the board of advisers of a major consumer company.”
Sena Zorlu (17:07):
And it’s a lot of our social circle kids. But it is for the parents as well. I want to say parents, but we know this is going mostly for moms. Moms need a guilt-free break to do things for themselves. Whatever happens with COVID, work-from-home is here to stay. And a lot of outdoor activities that we’ve been going to, you know, going to movie theater, going to the gym, and a lot of activities, they’ve been pushed indoors in our lives with like Peloton and Netflix and all of it. So, I think this is going to be a venue where, if mom has a Peloton, hopefully, we’re going to be the platform for the kids. So, that’s what we’re working on.
Greg White (18:03):
Very cool. Well, that’s going to be a big market. Let me tell you, when all of those Pelotons finally gets shipped over here by air, that will be a big, big market.
Sena Zorlu (18:14):
Yeah. And it’s interesting, we’ve been doing a lot of potential customer calls, understanding of what people need, and the feedback has been wonderful. It’s an interesting market. First of all, as you said, very large markets and very large consumer spending. The millennial parent is spending above $1,000 more per child than Gen-X parents. So, there’s appetite. And most of it is digital products and, like, smart toys. So, there’s good appetite. There’s about 7 million kids that come into your market every year, so there’s fresh opportunity. So, it’s a good market, but at the same time, we have to discover how much it will be to acquire those newcomers into the market. So, it has its challenges as well, but I think it will be fun to figure it out.
Greg White (19:13):
I can’t wait. I know you can’t tell us right now, but I can’t wait to see it. Anything that keeps these poor kids who are heads down in their iPad while their parents eat dinner, anything that gets those kids active, I just feel has to be powerful. Maybe that’s a good thing. But, to me, it just seems a little unnatural for a kid to be isolated at dinner with headphones and their iPad in front of them. So, get these kids active. Get them engaged with mom and dad, with other kids, whatever. I think that is powerful, powerful stuff. And it will be for a good long time to come. It’s interesting. Some of the trends that we’ve seen evolving, like millennials buying homes, right? Remember, it wasn’t that long ago that we were talking about that millennials would never own their homes. And, now, they’re the largest purchasers of homes at least in the States.
Sena Zorlu (19:13):
And they’re relocating. That’s also been an insane trend where I think it’s going to be incredible where you have these technologists and high earners going into these traditional U.S. towns, bringing that consumer dynamic into these towns, bringing different service businesses along with them and different requirements. I think, it’s, again, a democratizer of small versus large cities. It’s going to be incredible.
Greg White (20:49):
Yeah. So, do you think that maybe Blue Ridge, Georgia will have a metropolitan museum?
Sena Zorlu (20:57):
Greg White (20:58):
Maybe not. But you never know. Of course, if you’ve ever been to Blue Ridge, Georgia, it’s basically an outdoor museum. I mean, it has its own gifts if you’re looking for the wilderness, or lakes, or mountains, or trees, or parks, or paths.
Sena Zorlu (21:17):
I think we are going to digitize a lot of these experiences such as going into a museum. And I think as we add more space in our houses, I think we will have one spare room for the crazy digital activities of, like, the VR room, maybe something like that.
Greg White (21:37):
Yeah. The home theater of the past will become the VR room. Right. Yeah.
Sena Zorlu (21:43):
I think so. Also, I don’t know, with COVID we’ve learned, yes, the world is large. But we’ve learned also how small it is and how we are all tied to one another. So, I don’t know, everybody talks about roaring 20s, I don’t know how explosive travel – international travel specifically – and being more adventurous and all of that. I don’t know how those will pan out.
Greg White (22:17):
There’s a lot at the consumer level that’s going to be really difficult to predict, and that is going to continue to be a challenge for us. Because I think you’ll see a lot of trends start and then the current infrastructure, whatever, dynamics, won’t allow that trend to get to an explosive stage. Who knows? It’s just a thought. Not that I know anything. Okay. Well, first of all, thank you. And thank you for contributing something purpose-driven. I really, really appreciate that. I know you’re going to have to take this on as a full-time job, but I’m still going to call you for advice, so you have to answer the phone.
Sena Zorlu (23:04):
I think I will keep some sort of a honorary advisory something title with the phone. That’s what I’ve been –
Greg White (23:08):
Yes. That’s right. You’ll be our advisor, that’s right. So, that’ll be great. All right. So, before we wrap here, any single or a couple few takeaways that you just think if someone left this without getting this, they would really have missed out on the last – Lord, have mercy – few minutes.
Sena Zorlu (23:37)
I think two things that we talked about, one was build with purpose, change an industry, change a lifestyle, change something core, change navigation of space shuttles. Change something, but have that sort of daring vision to execute something big, I think that’s one. And the second is, understand how you grow and race for things that need money. I think those have been the two points where we’ve talked about the most.
Greg White (24:29):
Yeah. I agree. Those are fantastic. I think a couple of really down to earth aspects of both of those things are, build where the problem is. You basically opened with that, build where the problem is. And, also, funding doesn’t buy runway. Funding buys milestones, accomplishments, outcomes.
Sena Zorlu (24:54):
Talent. Talent. Yes.
Greg White (24:58):
Yeah. That’s right.
Sena Zorlu (24:59):
But having said that, I think I may need to go to LA because I think most of my talents for my company is based out of LA.
Greg White (25:09):
Perfect. I know some people. Well, you know some people. What am I saying?
Sena Zorlu (25:10):
That’s what I’ve been finding. So, my co-founder is actually based off of Toronto. So, we are complete remote first company. And we have someone in Latin America, one person in Turkey, and one person in Atlanta, and one contract person in Austin. So, we are all over.
Greg White (25:33):
Yeah. Very cool. I mean, I guess I’ve been doing that a long time, so that has been sort of my norm for over 20 years. But just over 20. But it is becoming more and more common for companies to be founded remotely. And it will probably be a year more for you to meet some of your teammates.
Sena Zorlu (26:04):
Kubera has been like that. Kubera was remote first from day one.
Greg White (26:09):
I keep forgetting, we’ve never met in person, right?
Sena Zorlu (26:13):
We’ve never met in person.
Greg White (26:15):
I totally forgot that. Yeah. It does feel so natural.
Sena Zorlu (26:20):
Greg White (26:22):
Well, thank you. Those are outstanding takeaways. This has been a great discussion, so much insight. I think people get what I get from you. So, I really appreciate you sharing that. Big thanks to you, Sena.
Sena Zorlu (26:36):
Greg White (26:38):
Sena Zorlu, Venture Partner at Kubera Venture Capital and Co-Founder at Stealth Startup, yet to be named. So, Sena, how can our community connect with you?
Sena Zorlu (26:59):
We can share my email. I’m happy to share –
Greg White (27:02):
Yeah. That’s fine. LinkedIn, Twitter –
Sena Zorlu (27:03):
LinkedIn is good. Twitter DMs are open. I would say –
Greg White (27:12):
What’s your handle on Twitter?
Sena Zorlu (27:14):
Greg White (27:16):
Sena Zorlu (27:18):
I would say Twitter and LinkedIn are better than email. I’m not the best email communicator.
Greg White (27:22):
Okay. And it’s Sena, S-E-N-A Z-O-R-L-U.
Sena Zorlu (27:26):
S-E-N-A Z-O-R-L-U. That is me.
Greg White (27:31):
Like, what could be easier to spell than that?
Sena Zorlu (27:33):
Greg White (27:36):
All right. Thank you, Sena.
Sena Zorlu (27:38):
Greg White (27:40):
And thanks to everyone for joining me and Sena. And remember, acknowledge reality of refuse to be bound by it.
How can I help you improve your shot at Supply Chain Tech success? Four ways. One, subscribe to TECHquila Sunrise and click the notification bell to make sure you get our new video every week. Two, follow me on LinkedIn and see my Supply Chain Summaries every weekday. Three, if you’re a startup founder or a growth stage leader, and you need an active advisor to help you propel you through your Supply Chain Tech journey, I’m currently considering select strategic advisory roles. Or four, if you need an incubator or investment for your Supply Chain Tech, find me and reach out on LinkedIn and let’s talk.
Sena Zorlu is a company builder, and an early stage investor at Kubera Venture Capital. She built three companies and is currently working on a stealth startup. She is based out of San Francisco Bay Area. Connect with Sena on LinkedIn.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Adrian Purtill serves as Business Development Manager at Vector Global Logistics, where he consults with importers and exporters in various industries to match their specific shipping requirements with the most effective supply chain solutions. Vector Global Logistics is an asset-free, multi-modal logistics company that provides exceptional sea freight, air freight, truck, rail, general logistic services and consulting for our clients. Our highly trained and professional team is committed to providing creative and effective solutions, always exceeding our customer’s expectations and fostering long-term relationships. With more than 20+ years of experience in both strategy consulting and logistics, Vector Global Logistics is your best choice to proactively minimize costs while having an exceptional service level.
Joshua is a student from Institute of Technology and Higher Education of Monterrey Campus Guadalajara in Communication and Digital Media. His experience ranges from Plug and Play México, DearDoc, and Nissan México creating unique social media marketing campaigns and graphics design. Joshua helps to amplify the voice of supply chain here at Supply Chain Now by assisting in graphic design, content creation, asset logistics, and more. In his free time he likes to read and write short stories as well as watch movies and television series.
Director of Communications and Executive Producer
Donna Krache is a former CNN executive producer who has won several awards in journalism and communication, including three Peabodys. She has 30 years’ experience in broadcast and digital journalism. She led the first production team at CNN to convert its show to a digital platform. She has authored many articles for CNN and other media outlets. She taught digital journalism at Georgia State University and Arizona State University. Krache holds a bachelor’s degree in government from the College of William and Mary and a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from the University of New Orleans. She is a serious sports fan who loves the Braves. She is president of the Dave Krache Foundation. Named in honor of her late husband, this non-profit pays fees for kids who want to play sports but whose parents are facing economic challenges.
Vicki has a long history of rising to challenges and keeping things up and running. First, she supported her family’s multi-million dollar business as controller for 12 years, beginning at the age of 17. Then, she worked as an office manager and controller for a wholesale food broker. But her biggest feat? Serving as the chief executive officer of her household, while her entrepreneur husband travelled the world extensively. She fed, nurtured, chaperoned, and chauffeured three daughters all while running a newsletter publishing business and remaining active in her community as a Stephen’s Minister, Sunday school teacher, school volunteer, licensed realtor and POA Board president (a title she holds to this day). A force to be reckoned with in the office, you might think twice before you meet Vicki on the tennis court! When she’s not keeping the books balanced at Supply Chain Now or playing tennis matches, you can find Vicki spending time with her husband Greg, her 4 fur babies, gardening, cleaning (yes, she loves to clean!) and learning new things.
Founder, CEO, & Host
As the founder and CEO of Supply Chain Now, you might say Scott is the voice of supply chain – but he’s too much of a team player to ever claim such a title. One thing’s for sure: he’s a tried and true supply chain expert. With over 15 years of experience in the end-to-end supply chain, Scott’s insights have appeared in major publications including The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and CNN. He has also been named a top industry influencer by Thinkers360, ISCEA and more.
From 2009-2011, Scott was president of APICS Atlanta, and he continues to lead initiatives that support both the local business community and global industry. A United States Air Force Veteran, Scott has also regularly led efforts to give back to his fellow veteran community since his departure from active duty in 2002.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Allison Krache Giddens has been with Win-Tech, a veteran-owned small business and aerospace precision machine shop, for 15 years, recently buying the company from her mentor and Win-Tech’s Founder, Dennis Winslow. She and her business partner, John Hudson now serve as Co-Presidents, leading the 33-year old company through the pandemic.
She holds undergraduate degrees in psychology and criminal justice from the University of Georgia, a Masters in Conflict Management from Kennesaw State University, a Masters in Manufacturing from Georgia Institute of Technology, and a Certificate of Finance from the University of Georgia. She also holds certificates in Google Analytics, event planning, and Cybersecurity Risk Management from Harvard online. Allison founded the Georgia Chapter of Women in Manufacturing and currently serves as Treasurer. She serves on the Chattahoochee Technical College Foundation Board as its Secretary, the liveSAFE Resources Board of Directors as Resource Development Co-Chair, and on the Leadership Cobb Alumni Association Board as Membership Chair and is also a member of Cobb Executive Women. She is on the Board for the Cobb Chamber of Commerce’s Northwest Area Councils. Allison runs The Dave Krache Foundation, a non-profit that helps pay sports fees for local kids in need.
Principal, Supply Chain Now
Host of Supply Chain Now and TECHquila Sunrise
When rapid-growth technology companies, venture capital and private equity firms are looking for advisory, they call Greg – a founder, board director, advisor and catalyst of disruptive B2B technology and supply chain. An insightful visionary, Greg guides founders, investors and leadership teams in creating breakthroughs to gain market exposure and momentum – increasing overall company esteem and valuation.
Greg is a founder himself, creating Blue Ridge Solutions, a Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader in cloud-native supply chain applications, and bringing to market Curo, a field service management solution. He has also held leadership roles with Servigistics (PTC) and E3 Corporation (JDA/Blue Yonder). As a principal and host at Supply Chain Now, Greg helps guide the company’s strategic direction, hosts industry leader discussions, community livestreams, and all in addition to executive producing and hosting his original YouTube channel and podcast, TEChquila Sunrise.
Principal, Supply Chain Now
Host of Supply Chain is Boring
Talk about world-class: Chris is one of the few professionals in the world to hold CPIM-F, CLTD-F and CSCP-F designations from ASCM/APICS. He’s also the APICS coach – and our resident Supply Chain Doctor. When he’s not hosting programs with Supply Chain Now, he’s sharing supply chain knowledge on the APICS Coach Youtube channel or serving as a professional education instructor for the Georgia Tech Supply Chain & Logistic Institute’s Supply Chain Management (SCM) program and University of Tennessee-Chattanooga Center for Professional Education courses.
Chris earned a BS in Industrial Engineering from Bradley University, an MBA with emphasis in Industrial Psychology from the University of West Florida, and is a Doctoral in Supply Chain Management candidate.
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!
Host of Digital Transformers
Kevin L. Jackson is a globally recognized Thought Leader, Industry Influencer and Founder/Author of the award winning “Cloud Musings” blog. He has also been recognized as a “Top 5G Influencer” (Onalytica 2019, Radar 2020), a “Top 50 Global Digital Transformation Thought Leader” (Thinkers 360 2019) and provides strategic consulting and integrated social media services to AT&T, Intel, Broadcom, Ericsson and other leading companies. Mr. Jackson’s commercial experience includes Vice President J.P. Morgan Chase, Worldwide Sales Executive for IBM and SAIC (Engility) Director Cloud Solutions. He has served on teams that have supported digital transformation projects for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the US Intelligence Community. Kevin’s formal education includes a MS Computer Engineering from Naval Postgraduate School; MA National Security & Strategic Studies from Naval War College; and a BS Aerospace Engineering from the United States Naval Academy. Internationally recognizable firms that have sponsored articles authored by him include Cisco, Microsoft, Citrix and IBM. Books include “Click to Transform” (Leaders Press, 2020), “Architecting Cloud Computing Solutions” (Packt, 2018), and “Practical Cloud Security: A Cross Industry View” (Taylor & Francis, 2016). He also delivers online training through Tulane University, O’Reilly Media, LinkedIn Learning, and Pluralsight. Mr. Jackson retired from the U.S. Navy in 1994, earning specialties in Space Systems Engineering, Carrier Onboard Delivery Logistics and carrier-based Airborne Early Warning and Control. While active, he also served with the National Reconnaissance Office, Operational Support Office, providing tactical support to Navy and Marine Corps forces worldwide.
Host of Logistics with Purpose and Supply Chain Now en Español
Enrique serves as Managing Director at Vector Global Logistics and believes we all have a personal responsibility to change the world. He is hard working, relationship minded and pro-active. Enrique trusts that the key to logistics is having a good and responsible team that truly partners with the clients and does whatever is necessary to see them succeed. He is a proud sponsor of Vector’s unique results-based work environment and before venturing into logistics he worked for the Boston Consulting Group (BCG). During his time at BCG, he worked in different industries such as Telecommunications, Energy, Industrial Goods, Building Materials, and Private Banking. His main focus was always on the operations, sales, and supply chain processes, with case focus on, logistics, growth strategy, and cost reduction. Prior to joining BCG, Enrique worked for Grupo Vitro, a Mexican glass manufacturer, for five years holding different positions from sales and logistics manager to supply chain project leader in charge of five warehouses in Colombia.
He has an MBA from The Wharton School of Business and a BS, in Mechanical Engineer from the Technologico de Monterrey in Mexico. Enrique’s passions are soccer and the ocean, and he also enjoys traveling, getting to know new people, and spending time with his wife and two kids, Emma and Enrique.
Host of Dial P for Procurement
Kelly is the Owner and Managing Director of Buyers Meeting Point and MyPurchasingCenter. She has been in procurement since 2003, starting as a practitioner and then as the Associate Director of Consulting at Emptoris. She has covered procurement news, events, publications, solutions, trends, and relevant economics at Buyers Meeting Point since 2009. Kelly is also the General Manager at Art of Procurement and Business Survey Chair for the ISM-New York Report on Business. Kelly has her MBA from Babson College as well as an MS in Library and Information Science from Simmons College and she has co-authored three books: ‘Supply Market Intelligence for Procurement Professionals’, ‘Procurement at a Crossroads’, and ‘Finance Unleashed’.
Host, Veteran Voices
Mary Kate Soliva is a veteran of the US Army and cofounder of the Guam Human Rights Initiative. She is currently in the Doctor of Criminal Justice program at Saint Leo University. She is passionate about combating human trafficking and has spent the last decade conducting training for military personnel and the local community.
Jeff Miller is the host of Supply Chain Now’s Supply Chain is the Business. Jeff is a digital business transformation and supply chain advisor with deep expertise in Industry 4.0, ERP, PLM, SCM, IoT, AR and related technologies. Through more than 25 years of industry and consulting experience, he has worked with many of the world’s leading product and service companies to achieve their strategic business and supply chain goals, creating durable business value for organizations at the forefront of technology and business practices. Jeff is the managing director for North America at Transition Technologies PSC, a global solution integrator, and the founder and managing principal of BTV Advisors, a firm that helps companies secure business transformation value from digital supply chain technologies and their breakthrough capabilities.
Chief Marketing Officer
Amanda is a marketing veteran and entrepreneur with over 15 years of experience across a variety of industries and organizations including Von Maur, Anthropologie, AmericasMart Atlanta, and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. In 2016, Amanda founded and grew the Magnolia Marketing Group into a successful digital media firm, and now she develops modern marketing strategies, social campaigns, innovative operational processes, and implements creative content initiatives for Supply Chain Now. But that’s just the beginning of her supply chain impact. Amanda also served as the VP of Information Systems and Webmaster on the Board of Directors for APICS Savannah for several years, and is the face behind the scenes welcoming you to every Supply Chain Now livestream! She was also recently selected as one of the Top 100 Women in Supply Chain by Supply Chain Digest and IBM. When she’s not leading the Supply Chain Now marketing team, you can find Amanda with her and her husband Scott’s three kids, in the kitchen cooking, or reading.
Business Development Manager
Clay is passionate about two things: supply chain and the marketing that goes into it. Recently graduated with a degree in marketing at the University of Georgia, Clay got his start as a journalism major and inaugural member of the Owl’s football team at Kennesaw State University – but quickly saw tremendous opportunity in the Terry College of Business. He’s already putting his education to great use at Supply Chain Now, assisting with everything from sales and brand strategy to media production. Clay has contributed to initiatives such as our leap into video production, the guest blog series, and boosting social media presence, and after nearly two years in Supply Chain Now’s Marketing Department, Clay now heads up partnership and sales initiatives with the help of the rest of the Supply Chain Now sales team.
Trisha is new to the supply chain industry – but not to podcasting. She’s an experienced podcast manager and virtual assistant who also happens to have 20 years of experience as an elementary school teacher. It’s safe to say, she’s passionate about helping people, and she lives out that passion every day with the Supply Chain Now team, contributing to scheduling and podcast production.
Host of Dial P for Procurement
Billy Taylor is a Proven Business Excellence Practitioner and Leadership Guru with over 25 years leading operations for a Fortune 500 company, Goodyear. He is also the CEO of LinkedXL (Excellence), a Business Operating Systems Architecting Firm dedicated to implementing sustainable operating systems that drive sustainable results. Taylor’s achievements in the industry have made him a Next Generational Lean pacesetter with significant contributions.
An American business executive, Taylor has made a name for himself as an innovative and energetic industry professional with an indispensable passion for his craft of operational excellence. His journey started many years ago and has worked with renowned corporations such as The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. (GT) leading multi-site operations. With over 3 decades of service leading North America operations, he is experienced in a deeply rooted process driven approach in customer service, process integrity for sustainability.
A disciple of continuous improvement, Taylor’s love for people inspires commitment to helping others achieve their full potential. He is a dynamic speaker and hosts "The Winning Link," a popular podcast centered on business and leadership excellence with the #1 rated Supply Chain Now Network. As a leadership guru, Taylor has earned several invitations to universities, international conferences, global publications, and the U.S. Army to demonstrate how to achieve and sustain effective results through cultural acceptance and employee ownership. Leveraging the wisdom of his business acumen, strong influence as a speaker and podcaster Taylor is set to release "The Winning Link" book under McGraw Hill publishing in 2022. The book is a how-to manual to help readers understand the management of business interactions while teaching them how to Deine, Align, and Execute Winning in Business.
A servant leader, Taylor, was named by The National Diversity Council as one of the Top 100 Diversity Officers in the country in 2021. He features among Oklahoma's Most Admired CEOs and maintains key leadership roles with the Executive Advisory Board for The Shingo Institute "The Nobel Prize of Operations" and The Association of Manufacturing Excellence (AME); two world-leading organizations for operational excellence, business development, and cultural learning. He is also an Independent Director for the M-D Building Products Board, a proud American manufacturer of quality products since 1920.
Social Media Manager
My name is Chantel King and I am the Social Media Specialist at Supply Chain Now. My job is to make sure our audience is engaged and educated on the abundant amount of information the supply chain industry has to offer.
Social Media and Communications has been my niche ever since I graduated from college at The Academy of Art University in San Francisco. No, I am not a West Coast girl. I was born and raised in New Jersey, but my travel experience goes way beyond the garden state. My true passion is in creating editorial and graphic content that influences others to be great in whatever industry they are in. I’ve done this by working with lifestyle, financial, and editorial companies by providing resources to enhance their businesses.
Another passion of mine is trying new things. Whether it’s food, an activity, or a sport. I would like to say that I am an adventurous Taurus that never shies away from a new quest or challenge.
Lori is currently completing a degree in marketing with an emphasis in digital marketing at the University of Georgia. When she’s not supporting the marketing efforts at Supply Chain Now, you can find her at music festivals – or working toward her dream goal of a fashion career. Lori is involved in many extracurricular activities and appreciates all the learning experiences UGA has brought her.
Sales and Marketing Coordinator
Katherine is a marketing professional and MBA candidate who strives to unite her love of people with a passion for positive experiences. Having a diverse background, which includes nonprofit work with digital marketing and start-ups, she serves as a leader who helps people live their most creative lives by cultivating community, order, collaboration, and respect. With equal parts creativity and analytics, she brings a unique skill set which fosters refining, problem solving, and connecting organizations with their true vision. In her free time, you can usually find her looking for her cup of coffee, playing with her puppy Charlie, and dreaming of her next road trip.
Ben Harris is the Director of Supply Chain Ecosystem Expansion for the Metro Atlanta Chamber. Ben comes to the Metro Atlanta Chamber after serving as Senior Manager, Market Development for Manhattan Associates. There, Ben was responsible for developing Manhattan’s sales pipeline and overall Americas supply chain marketing strategy. Ben oversaw market positioning, messaging and campaign execution to build awareness and drive new pipeline growth. Prior to joining Manhattan, Ben spent four years with the Georgia Department of Economic Development’s Center of Innovation for Logistics where he played a key role in establishing the Center as a go-to industry resource for information, support, partnership building, and investment development. Additionally, he became a key SME for all logistics and supply chain-focused projects. Ben began his career at Page International, Inc. where he drove continuous improvement in complex global supply chain operations for a wide variety of businesses and Fortune 500 companies. An APICS Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP), Ben holds an Executive Master’s degree in Business Administration (EMBA) and bachelor’s degree in International Business (BBA) from the Terry College at the University of Georgia.
Host, The Freight Insider
Prior to joining TeamOne Logistics, Page Siplon served as the Executive Director of the Georgia Center of Innovation for Logistics, the State’s leading consulting resource for fueling logistics industry growth and global competitiveness. For over a decade, he directly assisted hundreds of companies to overcome challenges and capitalize on opportunities related to the movement of freight. During this time, Siplon was also appointed to concurrently serve the State of Georgia as Director of the larger Centers of Innovation Program, in which he provided executive leadership and vision for all six strategic industry-focused Centers. As a frequently requested keynote speaker, Siplon is called upon to address a range of audiences on unique aspects of technology, workforce, and logistics. This often includes topics of global and domestic logistics trends, supply chain visibility, collaboration, and strategic planning. He has also been quoted as an industry expert in publications such as Forbes, Journal of Commerce, Fortune, NPR, Wall Street Journal, Reuters, American Express, DC Velocity, Area Development Magazine, Site Selection Magazine, Inbound Logistics, Modern Material Handling, and is frequently a live special guest on SiriusXM’s Road Dog Radio Show. Siplon is an active industry participant, recognized by DC Velocity Magazine as a “2012 Logistics Rainmaker” which annually identifies the top-ten logistics professionals in the Nation; and named a “Pro to Know” by Supply & Demand Executive Magazine in 2014. Siplon was also selected by Georgia Trend Magazine as one of the “Top 100 Most Influential Georgians” for 2013, 2014, and 2015. He also serves various industry leadership roles at both the State and Federal level. Governor Nathan Deal nominated Siplon to represent Georgia on a National Supply Chain Competitiveness Advisory Committee, where he was appointed to a two-year term by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce and was then appointed to serve as its vice-chairman. At the State level, he was selected by then-Governor Sonny Perdue to serve as lead consultant on the Commission for New Georgia’s Freight and Logistics Task Force. In this effort, Siplon led a Private Sector Advisory Committee with invited executives from a range of private sector stakeholders including UPS, Coca-Cola, The Home Depot, Delta Airlines, Georgia Pacific, CSX, and Norfolk Southern. Siplon honorably served a combined 12 years in the United States Marine Corps and the United States Air Force. During this time, he led the integration of encryption techniques and deployed cryptographic devices for tactically secure voice and data platforms in critical ground-to-air communication systems. This service included support for all branches of the Department of Defense, multiple federal security agencies, and aiding NASA with multiple Space Shuttle launches. Originally from New York, Siplon received both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in electrical and computer engineering with a focus on digital signal processing from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He earned an associate’s degree in advanced electronic systems from the Air Force College and completed multiple military leadership academies in both the Marines and Air Force. Siplon currently lives in Cumming, Georgia (north of Atlanta), with his wife Jan, and two children Thomas (19) and Lily (15).
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Kristi Porter is VP of Sales and Marketing at Vector Global Logistics, a company that is changing the world through supply chain. In her role, she oversees all marketing efforts and supports the sales team in doing what they do best. In addition to this role, she is the Chief Do-Gooder at Signify, which assists nonprofits and social impact companies through copywriting and marketing strategy consulting. She has almost 20 years of professional experience, and loves every opportunity to help people do more good.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Kevin Brown is the Director of Business Development for Vector Global Logistics. He has a dedicated interest in Major Account Management, Enterprise Sales, and Corporate Leadership. He offers 25 years of exceptional experience and superior performance in the sales of Logistics, Supply Chain, and Transportation Management. Kevin is a dynamic, high-impact, sales executive and corporate leader who has consistently exceeded corporate goals. He effectively coordinates multiple resources to solution sell large complex opportunities while focusing on corporate level contacts across the enterprise. His specialties include targeting and securing key accounts by analyzing customer’s current business processes and developing solutions to meet their corporate goals. Connect with Kevin on LinkedIn.
Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol
Sofia Rivas Herrera is a Mexican Industrial Engineer from Tecnologico de Monterrey class 2019. Upon graduation, she earned a scholarship to study MIT’s Graduate Certificate in Logistics and Supply Chain Management and graduated as one of the Top 3 performers of her class in 2020. She also has a multicultural background due to her international academic experiences at Singapore Management University and Kühne Logistics University in Hamburg. Sofia self-identifies as a Supply Chain enthusiast & ambassador sharing her passion for the field in her daily life.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Jose Manuel Irarrazaval es parte del equipo de Vector Global Logistics Chile. José Manuel es un gerente experimentado con experiencia en finanzas corporativas, fusiones y adquisiciones, financiamiento y reestructuración, inversión directa y financiera, tanto en Chile como en el exterior. José Manuel tiene su MBA de la Universidad de Pennsylvania- The Wharton School. Conéctese con Jose Manuel en LinkedIn.
Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol
Demo Perez started his career in 1997 in the industry by chance when a relative asked him for help for two just weeks putting together an operation for FedEx Express at the Colon Free Zone, an area where he was never been but accepted the challenge. Worked in all roles possible from a truck driver to currier to a sales representative, helped the brand introduction, market share growth and recognition in the Colon Free Zone, at the end of 1999 had the chance to meet and have a chat with Fred Smith ( FedEx CEO), joined another company in 2018 who took over the FedEx operations as Operations and sales manager, in 2004 accepted the challenge from his company to leave the FedEx operations and business to take over the operation and business of DHL Express, his major competitor and rival so couldn’t say no, by changing completely its operation model in the Free Zone. In 2005 started his first entrepreneurial journey by quitting his job and joining two friends to start a Freight Forwarding company. After 8 months was recruited back by his company LSP with the General Manager role with the challenge of growing the company and make it fully capable warehousing 3PL. By 2009 joined CSCMP and WERC and started his journey of learning and growing his international network and high-level learning. In 2012 for the first time joined a local association ( the Panama Maritime Chamber) and worked in the country’s first Logistics Strategy plan, joined and lead other associations ending as president of the Panama Logistics Council in 2017. By finishing his professional mission at LSP with a company that was 8 times the size it was when accepted the role as GM with so many jobs generated and several young professionals coached, having great financial results, took the decision to move forward and start his own business from scratch by the end of 2019. with a friend and colleague co-founded IPL Group a company that started as a boutique 3PL and now is gearing up for the post-Covid era by moving to the big leagues.
Host, Supply Chain Now
The founder of Logistics Executive Group, Kim Winter delivers 40 years of executive leadership experience spanning Executive Search & Recruitment, Leadership Development, Executive Coaching, Corporate Advisory, Motivational Speaking, Trade Facilitation and across the Supply Chain, Logistics, 3PL, E-commerce, Life Science, Cold Chain, FMCG, Retail, Maritime, Defence, Aviation, Resources, and Industrial sectors. Operating from the company’s global offices, he is a regular contributor of thought leadership to industry and media, is a professional Master of Ceremonies, and is frequently invited to chair international events.
He is a Board member of over a dozen companies throughout APAC, India, and the Middle East, a New Zealand citizen, he holds formal resident status in Australia and the UAE, and is the Australia & New Zealand representative for the UAE Government-owned Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZA), the Middle East’s largest Economic Free Zone.
A triathlete and ex-professional rugby player, Kim is a qualified (IECL Sydney) executive coach and the Founder / Chairman of the successful not for profit humanitarian organization, Oasis Africa (www. oasisafrica.org.au), which has provided freedom from poverty through education to over 8000 mainly orphaned children in East Africa’s slums. Kim holds an MBA and BA from Massey & Victoria Universities (NZ).
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Nick Roemer has had a very diverse and extensive career within design and sales over the last 15 years stretching from China, Dubai, Germany, Holland, UK, and the USA. In the last 5 years, Nick has developed a hawk's eye for sustainable tech and the human-centric marketing and sales procedures that come with it. With his far-reaching and strong network within the logistics industry, Nick has been able to open new avenues and routes to market within major industries in the USA and the UAE. Nick lives by the ethos, “Give more than you take." His professional mission is to make the logistics industry leaner, cleaner and greener.
Sales Support Intern
Alex is pursuing a Marketing degree and a Certificate in Legal Studies at the University of Georgia. As a dual citizen of both the US and UK; Alex has studied abroad at University College London and is passionate about travel and international business. Through her coursework at the Terry College of Business, Alex has gained valuable skills in digital marketing, analytics, and professional selling. She joined Supply Chain Now as a Sales Support Intern where she assists the team by prospecting and qualifying new business partners.