Veteran Voices
Episode 92

Think the language choice that we use really matters. A lot of people feel like imposters like, well, I didn't deploy, so am I a veteran? Well, I wasn't in combat. Am I a veteran? So long as you did that thing- you took the oath, you went to bootcamp, you served. You're a veteran.

-Ryan Pavel

Episode Summary

In this new episode of Veteran Voices, host Mary Kate Saliva welcomes Marine Corps veteran Ryan Pavel to the show.

Listen in as Pavel shares his journey from an apathetic high schooler to a dedicated serviceman and advocate for veterans. Pavel discusses the importance of understanding different perspectives, the value of thinking critically about one’s service and identity, and the work he does with the Warrior-Scholar Project, a national nonprofit that prepares enlisted service members for higher education.

Episode Transcript

Intro/Outro (00:00:02):

Welcome to Veteran Voices where we amplify the stories of those who’ve served in the US Armed Forces. Presented by Supply chain now and the Guam Human Rights Initiative, we dive deep into the journeys of veterans and their advocates, exploring their insights, challenges, impact, and the vital issues facing veterans and their families. Here’s your host, US Army veteran, Mary Kate Saliva.

Mary Kate Soliva (00:00:33):

Hello everyone. I am Mary Kate Saliva, your host for Veteran Voices. Super excited and we have an incredible guest here on the show today. Just a quick programming note before we get started. And again, welcome to all to Veteran Voices. Veteran Voices you can get wherever you get your podcast from. And we are proudly part of the supply chain Now family. We are also proud partnership with the Guam Human Rights Initiative, a nonprofit that’s near and dear to my heart and can learn more about this incredible organization and the work that they’re doing@guamhri.org. And again, veteran Voices is all about interviewing veterans who are serving beyond the uniform. And I’m super excited about our guest Marine Corps veteran, Ryan Pave. Thank you, Ryan. And I almost said that nomenclature you just told me 10 seconds ago and I was like, grandma Sue might be listening, pave go to hell. Okay, I said it, I couldn’t help myself.

Ryan Pavel (00:01:26):

There you go. Yeah, look, I mean, so I was mocked as a kid. That was like a kid used that against me, like pave and go to hell or something like that in third grade. And so later in life I was like, you know what? I’m going to own that. Right? That’s how you say the last name. That’s a good mnemonic. So it’s owning something which was initially used against me. So use it freely.

Mary Kate Soliva (00:01:44):

Be proud of your name. Like I said, if you don’t like or saliva or saliva me alone, literally. So we can both relate there. But I’d love to kick off the show with some motivation and I’d love to hear your favorite motivational quote. And as I offer to each guest, you can be my first one to sing it like a cadence.

Ryan Pavel (00:02:06):

Cadence.

(00:02:09):

That’s exciting. Alright, well let me say it and lemme see if I can call Cadence with it. I haven’t called Cadence in a hot minute. So the quote is maybe a little bit, when you talk about motivational, this might not fall into the typical category. I consider it to be deeply motivational. And so I came across this quote years ago and I think about it often. So it’s a John Stewart Mill quote, and it’s he who knows only his side of the case knows little of that. And that to me is this really interesting framing device of if you only know your side of any particular issue, then you really don’t know your own side of it. And so it’s this forcing function for me, if I come, I have strong opinions, or it might come across some of them in this over the course of this podcast interview.

(00:02:49):

But I think that there is a temptation to only ever drill down on your own side and really get deeply entrenched. But in order to really know how to defend your position, you have to explore the other possibilities. And so to me, that’s this continual motivation to explore, to think, to read, to be uncomfortable, to put yourself in uncomfortable positions, and then to be able to come back and say, okay, now my original position, yes, I still believe that. Or you know what? I no longer so that in the fiber of what we do at Warrior Scholar Project and just in my life. So it’s an odd motivational quote, but it works for me. No, where it comes from.

Mary Kate Soliva (00:03:26):

I don’t think it’s odd at all. And I love what you said about getting uncomfortable because you are a Marine, and I know we are going to be talking about Warrior Scholar projects in a bit, but I was like, oh gosh, knowing how the Marines are, and again, the whole once a Marine, always a Marine. And to me, I feel like Marines always put themselves in uncomfortable situations. It’s just like you guys are glutton for punishment, but you all feed off of that. So

Ryan Pavel (00:03:52):

We do.

Mary Kate Soliva (00:03:53):

We do, right. We’re going to definitely dive into that in a moment, but I am going to take our guests back to where you grew up. I think this is such an important aspect about learning about veterans and I love that you kicked off with that motivational quote, but going back to where you grew up and some of the golden nuggets that you learned from that time, I think really just shows where you launched and where you came from. So if you could tell us a bit about that.

Ryan Pavel (00:04:25):

Sure, sure. Well, first of all, thank you for so much for having me on here. I’m excited. I had a chance to be able to listen to a couple of the things that you’ve recorded before. Marina Roback, I’m a huge fan of Marina, she’s the Ws P alum, so I was listening to some of her quotes and also it was very endearing because in that one you were both doing Arnold Schwarzenegger impressions. I dunno if you remember that. And anybody who’s down to doing Arnold Schwarzenegger impression, I’m immediately I want to spend time with, so

Mary Kate Soliva (00:04:49):

Oh, fantastic. Well, marina, I mean, I just mentioned about Mission continues and us being in Chicago where you’re at, and Marina was there with me and I literally just surprised her. I didn’t tell her I got into the program and it was just one of those things where we had never met in person except for one other time. So I love that. Love that you listened to that episode. So let’s be blunt, I know Arnold Schwarzenegger impersonation go.

Ryan Pavel (00:05:15):

That’s right. I mean, yeah, you were doing the Good Deja Diner that was,

Mary Kate Soliva (00:05:21):

Oh gosh, okay. I know we were not that good. That was

Ryan Pavel (00:05:24):

Pretty, it was. I had to pause, right? I had to say, oh my goodness. Is that Arnold on the podcast? No. Yeah, but look, marinas actually, we’ll come to that again, but I do think whenever I do a show or something like that, I like to understand where it’s coming from. I like to understand the background for it, who else has been on it? Because one of the big lessons flashing forward, not just from where I grew up, but that so much of life is relationships. Basically everything distills down, not only just into who in a transactional sense, but finding people that have some sort of energy, which really is meaningful. I think that my life’s work right now is really focused in a broader sense on civic impact. And to me, civic impact really distills down into people that are willing to be able to work together and roll up their sleeves and get the thing done. And I have found that the best allies in that are people like Marina that are willing to be able to put themselves out there, that are willing to be able to try things as opposed to taking the easier, easier path, the things that are maybe more linear. And so I’m a big fan of that. And so yeah, it always demonstrates a lot to me when people have already, you’ve interviewed folks like her that says a lot about you and the intent of the show.

Mary Kate Soliva (00:06:41):

Thank you, I appreciate that a lot.

Ryan Pavel (00:06:44):

Yeah, I grew up in Barrington, Illinois and I live here again. I live like 50 and I, again, 50 feet, 50 yards, I was going to say 50 meters, but who speaks in meters, 50 yards from my high school, which is super weird. I never thought that. I enlisted at 17 and I was like, get me out of here. And now I live back here, but life and family finds a way. So I grew up upper middle class, very privileged. I’m a straight white guy and I am very aware of that in my day-to-Day life right now, there is this Gen Z leader, Z Ahmed who I met last year who recently had had this co consulting company and he got it bought out. And when he was doing that, his announcement about that was that, look, this only matters insofar as I can help bring other people to the table.

(00:07:38):

And he said the quote was, he wants to spend his privilege. And that really struck a chord with me because I feel like that’s a lot of how I view my own life. I’m very privileged. I had a very privileged upbringing, even just what I naturally, how people approach me now again as a straight white male in terms of these privileges that I have, I want to be able to spend that privilege. I want to be able to help other people and lift other people up and be very, very aware of that. And so there’s something about moving back to my hometown, which actually reinforces that there are people that know Chicago and when they hear Barrington, they think I live in an state. There are different, there’s literal, there’s tracks right now they’re on the side of the tracks that are like is affordable, right? You

Mary Kate Soliva (00:08:17):

Mow your own lawn. That’s what I always say.

Ryan Pavel (00:08:20):

That’s right. There you go.

Mary Kate Soliva (00:08:21):

Where the golf course and the mansions are, it’s like I’m on the other side. I’m on my own grass.

Ryan Pavel (00:08:25):

Exactly right. I own no horses, right? I will never own a horse. There are distinctions here, but really I think that that is an important lesson for me and it was actually really fed into my reasons to enlist in the Marine Corps as well. My father’s an immigrant, he had to escape communist Romania and then live in France for a little bit before he came here. He’s a physician and so then he transferred his doctor’s license from Romania French license into the US license, just like overcoming adversity, all of these things. And then my mother was born here right after her parents immigrated and they were refugees and living in a refugee camp and then they came here and she was born and then I’m just a kid. I’m an only child living in this upper middle class area wanting for nothing. And my parents both had high aspirations for me.

(00:09:13):

My father’s a physician. As I said, my mother has her master’s in counseling and I was just this deeply apathetic high schooler. I wasn’t getting arrested, but I also wasn’t doing a lot with my life. And so one of the biggest takeaways for me is just like I’m kind of on a path right now to not really do something positive with all of these incredible assets that I have laid before me. And then I got rejected from the school I wanted to go to at 17, which was University of Illinois Marine Corps recruiter called it’s 2004. There’s some things going on in the world and I thought, all right, this is my chance. Let’s make something on myself here.

Mary Kate Soliva (00:09:48):

Wow, that’s so fascinating to me because I mean that term even first gen American, even sometimes people don’t necessarily identify with that. It’s just like that’s just how it was. We just happened to come over here and I just happened to be born. Do you resonate with that at all saying being a first generation American, how was that for you? Because probably at home your parents still had some of the traditions that they brought with them.

Ryan Pavel (00:10:17):

Yeah. Well it’s so funny. So I would say three quarters of a first generation American, so technically I’m not, because my mom was born right after my grandparents immigrated from their refugee camp Indy here. So my grandma was pregnant with my mom on the boat over here. They got Elli Island and then my mom was born. So it’s just like I’m just over the

(00:10:41):

American, and so my mother was raised here, her siblings were raised, they were born and were part of the red. So there’s very much still a cultural aspect of what from both sides of my family that looked like, and it is very much a part of me, but it took me a lot of time to be able to really figure out how to, again, acknowledging when you are privileged and taking things for granted. It’s so easy, particularly as a kid when you don’t really have a frame of reference for those things about the things that you’re taking for granted. But I had some sort of sense of, again, my apathy,

(00:11:16):

 

(00:11:16):

I could not do much. I was not going to be top of the class, but that’s fine. I didn’t need to be. But there was something about the work ethic that my parents both brought to the table that was really inspiring. My mom went back to school when I was starting in middle school and then in high school and she got her master’s in counseling and was working as a counselor. My father was retired as a physician and then three days later opened up a private practice again as a physician, excuse me, in this really niche area, very service oriented in terms of the work he was doing. So I think that work ethic from both of them really filtered down into me, and that is in active conflict with being an, I’m really, really, really thankful that University of Illinois rejected me had I been accepted there, that was the natural path. That’s where most of the people from my high school were going. That’s the flagship state school. They were absolutely right to reject me. I would’ve rejected me as well if I was on the admissions council back in 2004, but that was, it’s not the only reason I joined, but for that I probably wouldn’t have enlisted in the Marine Corps. So it was really this important event in my life.

Mary Kate Soliva (00:12:22):

It was such an incredible moment. I tend to get the stories about folks trying to, they had an influence whether their father or mother served or grandparents served, and they grew up knowing about the military, understanding it or just in that environment. But you’re coming from a no military background. You didn’t have all of that type of influence. It wasn’t a billboard, it wasn’t be all you computer. I don’t even, I know the army, but I don’t know what the Marines saying was back then. You were right. Turning on the tv, seeing that we’re at a time of war and we’re still in the early days and especially you’re talking about oh four, so it was still ramped up even then. And for you to knowingly choose of all branches, the Marine Corps, and I know you said it was that a recruiter had called you, but was there a thought in there at all about, let me check out the other branches, or was it just because he just happened to call and there was that eureka moment? Look,

Ryan Pavel (00:13:24):

Yeah, it’s such an interesting question. So the short answer is no, and I think the Marine Corps one, I will say, so the Marine Corps’s, one of their longtime motto has been the few of the proud the Marines, one of the best Onion articles, the headlines I’ve ever read was there was a recruitment crisis, not quite to the same depths of what we have now, but around 2006, 2007, there was a recruitment crisis and the Onion said that in light of that, the Marine Corps was changing their slogan to just the Marines, the few, and I really liked that. I thought that was clever, just cut to the core of it. That’s it. The marines, there’s just a few of us. That’s it. I have since learned a lot about how much pride Marines take in being Marines, but as a high schooler, again, you just sort of have this dim awareness.

(00:14:09):

You think like, oh, Marine Corps, like, oh, there’s something there. And I think that that tapped into this. I wanted to prove myself, and so I don’t know if another recruiter, say a Navy recruiter, army recruiter, air Force Coast, whatever, if they had called me, I don’t know if I would’ve just gone down that path because I was an easy sell. So it took three calls from the Marine Corps recruiter. So there’s some value there for me in terms of just when we think about market, sometimes it takes a third time and you have to find somebody at the right time. By the time he got the third voicemail, I had just been rejected from U of I, and so I was like,

(00:14:44):

Alright, staff Sergeant Als, right, I’ll come meet you. And he didn’t have to sell me by the time that I picked up the phone and talked to him, yeah, I wanted to learn a little bit more about the process, but I was in right, it felt right, not only because I wanted to take action to kind of not cover up, but to deal with being rejected from U of I, where again, most of my friends, my wife got accepted there and she’s from the same area around here and they rightly accepted her and they rightly rejected me, but I think part of it was wanting to be able to take action over this. I can make this decision, but also because it’s like, okay, if I’m going to do this, let’s do this with the Marine Corps, whatever the hell that means, I didn’t know, but there’s all this bluster around it, and so I was an easy sell.

(00:15:32):

I was 17. I’m an only child, and so my parents had to sign the waiver because I wasn’t 18 and because I’m an only child, that was an interesting conversation. I still don’t think I present a Marine, but back then I really, nobody was like, oh yeah, Ryan’s going to be joining the military, let alone the Marine Corps. Nobody would’ve thought that. My parents and I was like, Hey, I want to join, I want to do this. And they had a great approach. They said if I still felt as strongly a month from them that they would sign the papers, and that was great. That really forced me to spend some time to think about it. So it’s not just this knee jerk reaction. A month later, I still felt as strongly and they signed, I initially signed as a public affairs specialist and I didn’t care what they were to sign me up for.

(00:16:18):

That’s fine. Then they found out while I was in the delayed entry program that they were looking for Arabic translators, and so I took the D lab, the defense language, aptitude, battery, and had no idea what test. I had no idea what was going on in that test, but they said, yeah, you have the aptitude to be a linguist. So I signed the paperwork. Sure, it’s an extra year on my contract, five years instead of four. Who cares, right? I don’t know. I’m 17. I don’t care what’s a year. It doesn’t make a difference. So then I was on track to become a linguist.

Mary Kate Soliva (00:16:44):

That’s incredible. I literally just, I am still in their reserves now, so we just had to funnel our soldiers through to take the D lab, and they’re like, what just happened? They’re calling me and they’re like, I have no idea. It, they’re literally just a caveman made up language. Being able to test nuts, whether you know where things go in the sentence,

Ryan Pavel (00:17:05):

It’s nuts. So I’m glad it hasn’t changed that it still is this bewildering thing where you come out of it and you’re like, I have never had less confidence in my test results than when I left that test of just like I’m, if you tell me I have the aptitude, sure. I don’t know.

Mary Kate Soliva (00:17:23):

It’s one of those tests where usually when you test, there’s at least one question that you’re like, I got that. I know I got that right? But that’s not what the D, that’s not the case. Oh gosh, that’s so funny. It takes me back. I just took my language refresher last week. So that’s something that I think is incredible because again, had you at that fork in the road, gone, public affairs been definitely a different path for you, but going as a linguist, and I’m sure that’s opened up so many doors after that, but would love to hear about, okay, now you’re in the Marine Corps, you’re standing on the famous yellow footsteps, right? Or the foot’s not foot. Yeah, right. The yellow painted feet footprints. Sorry, footstep. Footstep footprints. Yeah. And so, okay, walk me through that, that you were standing there. What was that experience like for you? Were you call mom and dad right away? Tell them, take me back. I made a mistake.

Ryan Pavel (00:18:22):

No, I was really in,

(00:18:25):

Yeah, I was ready. I mean, I think that embracing the mentality of that, I was in the late entry program for months, and so it was enough for me to make sure that I was really, this is what I wanted to do, and I talked to a lot of Marines. I kept having people who came out of bootcamp that would come back to the depth for a little bit, and so I got to talk to them. So I knew, I mean, I even asked them to bump up my ship date. I was supposed to ship out in mid-September after I graduated from high school, and then there was an opportunity to go in mid August, and I wanted that because that gave me the opportunity to leave before all my friends went to college, which actually felt a lot more, again like agency like, okay, let’s do this as soon as possible. I don’t want to just sit here and watch all my friends go off to school and then I’m here for another few weeks. No, send me, right? I want to do this. Let’s go bootcamp. It’s not enjoyable, but there is something about it that really did track with what I was looking for.

(00:19:17):

 

(00:19:17):

One benefits of the military is that you are around people, every single person, no matter what branch, but every single person in the modern military has taken the oath of enlistment or the oath to commission as an officer and has subjugated voluntarily a portion of their freedom. And that changes people. And there’s something about that that’s really powerful. There is no conscription right now. There’s no draft. And even though sometimes go to jail or enlist, that doesn’t really exist in the way that it used to. So everybody’s there voluntarily, and that’s not to say that everybody had the same reasons, but it also doesn’t much matter because everybody raised their right hand and took that oath. I was speaking to a group of attorneys for Veterans Day last year, and I was reflecting on this and I was thinking about, I actually was rereading, and I’m very fascinated in the oath of enlistment. There’s some key differences between the oath that enlisted take versus commissioned officers. And those words, actually the few word changes really actually matter, but I had no idea what I was actually swearing to uphold and defend. I had,

(00:20:26):

Again, very apathetic high schooler here, and so I’m swearing to uphold and defend the constitution and obey the orders of the president and all of these things, but I never read the underlying document, and so that’s pretty fascinating. But for whatever reason, I wanted to do that. All the people to my left and my right and my bootcamp platoon, all of them did the same thing. And it’s pure in the sense that it is at the very junior levels, a pure meritocracy. It doesn’t matter where you came from, it doesn’t matter what privilege you have, it doesn’t matter anything like that. It’s like, can you do the tasks that are required of you in bootcamp and you will be the extent that you can do those things and you’ll be punished if you can’t or you will be part of collective punishment if you can’t do those things. And I love that level setting. That’s exactly what I needed. That was one of the most foundational aspects for anything for me from the Marine Corps was just like, start fresh. Doesn’t matter where anybody came from, we’re all here and we all got to be able to carry this stupid log from here to here. Right? That’s it. That’s what matters.

Mary Kate Soliva (00:21:21):

Yes, the log, oh, goodness. No, that’s so true. And I didn’t even think you’re the first one. I think guest on this show that has brought up that the difference between that and it’s such an important key aspect of what we swore up, and it does change the dynamic. I was just having conversation with a buddy of mine last night about, and he actually retired as an officer and I’m on the enlisted side of the house, but we were talking about us, the generation that served during the 20 year war and combat veterans, and now you have this next generation that was born after nine 11 that doesn’t kind of fuzzy, they’re not really relating to that aspect of why they joined and what those words mean. Being in a time of, I guess we quote peace here. So it is different and we’re getting a new wave coming in, and it is interesting to see that dynamic.

(00:22:19):

Even for me as I’m starting to near on the downward slope of my career in the army, just seeing these new young bucks coming in. I literally had one come up to me recently was I was trying to ask him different questions about getting his military email set up and he’s like, Sergeant, I just graduated from high school. I was like, oh, lordy, I don’t even know the last time. That was his response for everything. I graduate from high school, I dunno, anything. It’s like you can only use that excuse for so long. But it’s just blowing my mind that I was just like, oh, lordy. I’ve officially become one of the older ones. It’s different dynamic now as you said.

Ryan Pavel (00:22:58):

We even see, I mean again, just to flash forward a little bit to just a very brief description, the work that I do now is leading an organization called Warrior Scholar Project, which is a national nonprofit that takes enlisted service members and prepares them to through a series of academic bootcamps primarily. And then there’s a bunch of workshops and alumni services. It’s not a scholarship program, but the idea is that the education benefits the GI Bill, VRNE, other institutional provided benefits. The education benefits are wildly favorable to transitioning enlisted service members and we want them to make informed choices. And so it’s about providing them with, it’s really lighting them up and saying, okay, you have these benefits, make informed choices. You can go anywhere you want. Let’s help you build that confidence and then spend your benefits somewhere wisely. Don’t just go to University of Munichs, something that rhymes with that. Let’s think about other institutions no matter how aggressively they marketed to you. But one of the things that we’ve realized, I’ve been doing Warrior Scholar Project, I got out in 2010 from the Marine Corps. I got involved in student veteran affairs much earlier than I anticipated, which again, we can talk about around what my transition,

Mary Kate Soliva (00:24:08):

Could you remind me how many years it was that you were in the Marine Corps? Five

Ryan Pavel (00:24:10):

Years. So 2005 to 2010 did a couple of deployments back and forth as an Arabic translator, got out, went to school, which again, I’m happy to chat more about, but for purposes of this point, one of the things that’s really interesting is within the Marine Corps group of students that we serve each year we’ve had 2300 people go through the program. We’ll have about 390 go through this year. The changing nature of the military and the separating cohort of transitioning veterans, if you will, it’s different. There was a period of time that just about everybody had deployed and now that’s different. There was a period of time that more, a higher percentage had combat experience and now they don’t. And so for us, one of the interesting questions is, does that change anything about how we do what we do? And one answer is no.

(00:24:54):

Right? The exact same principles for how you propel somebody to success in the transition, the same structure is what you need no matter where you serve, no matter when you serve, no matter what you did. But on the other hand, there is a difference if you have those late night conversations around things like post-traumatic stress, there’s a bunch of different reasons that people can have post-traumatic stress, but that can look a little bit different what the triggers are for that. Another example is that there is now a lot more, thankfully there’s finally a lot more attention on military sexual trauma in a way that for a while that just wasn’t something which was really actually talked about. It was just sort of swept under the rug. And so now, because this is more something people are aware of, that actually that makes it more of a topic of conversation within our bootcamps, and I’m thankful for that. But we also as a service provider have to be equipped to say, okay, people are going to come in, they want to talk about these things. How do we support people with whatever the current crop of military veterans that are transitioning out? How do we best make sure that they’re successful in that transition to higher education? And that changes a little bit.

Mary Kate Soliva (00:25:56):

It absolutely changes. And I think even just the crux of does my service, I’ve spoken to veterans, they don’t really identify being a veteran because they feel like because they didn’t go to combat, because they didn’t shoot at that guy. They’re like, oh, I’m not really a veteran. Those benefits for me. Or if I take those benefits, I’m taking away from those guys and gals who really did do the combat missions. And there’s a struggle with that, and I don’t know if you feel that at five years, I’m not fully at the 20, but I think that there was a point where I struggled with that too because even for the deployment I went on, it wasn’t considered a combat deployment even though I did deploy. And so then you are, you’re standing in front of these soldiers that you’re like, oh gosh, everybody’s got a fuzzy shoulder. And unlike with the branches, the army, we have that slick sleeve. We actually show whether we have that patch on or not. And so right away, if they’ve gone or not,

Ryan Pavel (00:26:52):

It’s out there. Yeah, I think that that’s such, the visual representation of it is such a fascinating point that I haven’t thought enough about. Sometimes it is not even a matter of whether or not somebody decides to disclose that it’s just, it’s there, right? You see it. It is right there. I mean in dress uniforms too, the combat action ribbon, and sometimes we have people comparing like, okay, well how many stars do you got?

Mary Kate Soliva (00:27:14):

Exactly right. Okay,

Ryan Pavel (00:27:15):

Well if that’s where we’re at, let’s take a few steps back. So a couple comments to this. One is that I go back to that point of everybody in the modern military voluntarily subjugated a portion of their freedom and their liberty to be able to serve a cause bigger than themselves. To my mind that you are a veteran. So long as you did that, we Warrior scholar product doesn’t use the VA’s definition of veteran. It still is not as inclusive as it should be. I understand theoretically why? Because they’re trying to be able to, in terms of benefit usage, you have your reservist, you have to deploy it or be activated for a certain amount of time in order to qualify for it. For us, if you went through bootcamp, you’re a veteran and I think that that matters because nobody is forced to make that decision as a side. There’s a whole rabbit hole you can go down about whether or not we should take that for granted and the all volunteer part of it that isn’t actually something that is a guarantee moving forward. There’s a great article, co-authored by Jason Dempsey in the Atlantic last year, which was about celebrate the 50th anniversary of the all volunteer force

(00:28:23):

Recruitment crisis on our hands. And there are real big things happening in this country, sorry, in this world. So we should be thoughtful about that. But I think that it really matters that everybody did that same oath. And I think service changes you now, my five years compared to your almost 20, you have learned invariably a lot more by virtue of having served almost 20 years versus five. And a lot of what we’re talking about here is this notion of imposter phenomenon. And this happens everywhere. Most people call this imposter syndrome. There’s somebody named, he’s RJ Jenkins, brilliant guy. He’s the director of education for the Columbia Center for Veterans Transition and integration, real mouthful. I keep telling they need to shorten their name, but they don’t listen to me. But he has this whole theory and he does some incredible presentations on it about the fact that we should be referring to this as a phenomenon instead of a syndrome. It’s not like a diagnosis, okay, you are diagnosed as an imposter, but the phenomenon,

Mary Kate Soliva (00:29:19):

I noticed you said that too. I caught on that, that you didn’t say disorder either when you said post-traumatic stress. So I caught on that. You said that as well, but it’s important. I

Ryan Pavel (00:29:27):

Think the language choice that we use really matters. It really matters. And so to this one, a lot of people feel like imposters like, well, I didn’t deploy, so am I a veteran? Well, I wasn’t in combat. Am I a veteran? So long as you did that thing, the threshold to do that is to take the oath, go to bootcamp, serve. You’re a veteran. And part of what RJ talks about with this theory, not to belabor the point too much, but I think it is really important, is that when you are an imposter, when you feel like an imposter that actually comes from, it can come from a really health of saying, well, why do you feel like an imposter? It’s because you want to belong, right? You’re approaching it with a dose of humility. You’re not coming in and saying, well, of course I am this thing.

(00:30:13):

Of course I belong in this group. Rather you’re approaching it through this critical lens and you’re saying, well, I kind of feel like an outsider, or maybe I really feel like an outsider. And that’s because you want to earn your place there. And so reframing it in terms of just like, well, there’s a healthy aspect to approaching something as an imposter. And when you think about it in that way, it can actually really become a strength. You are more hungry to be able to earn your seat at the table if you are approaching something as an imposter to a lot of veterans as well. I am very upfront about the fact that I’m a non-combat veteran. It’s in my public bio for a reason. Some people don’t think it should be, but I think it serves an important purpose. I deployed, I deployed in some interesting circumstances, but I never actually saw combat.

(00:30:57):

And so that is an important part where if I say to a civilian, if I say I was a Marine and then I deployed to a Iraq in 2008, and I just leave it at that, they’re absolutely going to assume rounds are coming down range and that type of thing. Exactly. And there’s this fill in the gaps model, and that’s true. And that tracks with the veteran culture as well where we kind of want to prove ourselves, and there’s this hierarchy of just like, oh yeah, how many stars on your combat action? And it’s just like, well, I don’t have one. Right? But if you want to compare two versus three stars, that’s a problem. So there’s an aspect of both helping people who feel like imposters ensure that they feel like they’re part of the community, and also for those of us that are in a position that can make others feel ostracized, to really come down to size and say, Hey, we all actually served, and that really matters, and let’s find those commonalities and leverage that as a strength instead of really trying to find the divisions and build this hierarchy and have that track deeply into veteran culture.

Mary Kate Soliva (00:31:52):

I think it’s interesting what you brought, literally this happened the other day. I saw a post that a veteran had made about asking about the SAR major of the army, right? Like the SMA and does anyone know if the SMA has to be combat arms, has to be a combat veteran? And then it got all of a sudden dozens and dozens of people commenting being like, well, the warfighter, so whoever’s leading the war fighter should also be war fighter, so it should be a combat. Other people are arguing, oh, well what about the support support jobs, the support moss? They still matter too. How come they don’t get a fair shot to take the reins of the senior enlisted leader? So it was an interesting conversation scene happen that I didn’t even think about, but those that make it up to the higher echelons, having that combat experience and then everybody else, okay, sit down, chumps, yelled and see combat, so you’re not going to be up here leading the war fighters.

(00:32:49):

So it is an interesting dynamic, but then also for those who did see combat, maybe perhaps the survivor’s guilt or feeling like they still don’t want anything to do, I mean, you come across combat veterans that still don’t want to have anything to do with the veteran community, and they are trying to separate themselves from that. And I heard that with a lot of the women veterans that I told you I spoke with recently and just hearing that whether we serve back in the eighties or we serve now, it’s an important conversation to having, like you said, the wording matters. I’d love to go back what you said about saying non-combat veteran. You said you did two deployments in the Marine Corps, and I was wondering at that time, did you end up having anybody take you under your wing? I love sort of hearing the little anecdotes from people’s time in service or were you just kind of thrown to the wolves and said, figure it out?

Ryan Pavel (00:33:43):

Yeah, well

Mary Kate Soliva (00:33:44):

Look, it’s interesting, right? Young linguists joining at 17, so yeah,

Ryan Pavel (00:33:48):

Yeah, good luck, right? Go figure it out, kid. I mean, I think that there’s a lot of that, right? And I think that’s also partly what I needed going back to my apathetic high school self to be given the raw materials and then you have to go to a particular, I am very cognizant of language that I used to describe the entire veteran community. I think that it is actively destructive If we refer to all veterans as heroes, I think that that diminishes what it means to be a hero. I also don’t think that we should describe all veterans as leaders. I think all veterans have experience with authority, right? Many on both sides of that, both in terms of having to listen to somebody else’s authority and also to have an opportunity to exert authority. I think veterans have the components to be really good leaders, but not every veteran comes out and is a really strong leader. I’m

Mary Kate Soliva (00:34:40):

Like, get out of my head, Ryan, you keep coming up with these things that I’m like, I literally was just having these conversations. Let’s

Ryan Pavel (00:34:45):

Go. All right, well, Mary Kate, we’ve got more to talk about.

Mary Kate Soliva (00:34:49):

Right? There used to be the different levels of E four. Somebody could stay as a specialist and there are very good doers. You tell them where to be, when to be how to do it, and they’ll do it. But now we’re in this culture because we’re not at the time of war where it’s like if you don’t promote to E five, if you don’t pit on Sergeant, you need to get out, get out. We teach you in our army. But it’s like why? They’re so good. They’re still good soldiers, they’re good doers, but they’re not meant to be leaders. Not all of us are meant to be leaders. We had that conversation. Why did they take that away? Should we bring that back kind of thing?

Ryan Pavel (00:35:20):

Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I think that there’s one of my favorite things about the Marine Corps, and this is going a bit down a rabbit hole now, but I love that the Marine Corps has that split at E eight, you become a First Sergeant and the quintessential rank in the Marine Corps, everybody’s had some experience with a First Sergeant. Everybody’s been brought talking about authority. Everybody has fallen under the authority of a First Sergeant. If you were a nurse

Mary Kate Soliva (00:35:45):

Person, eye contact we’re like, don’t make eye contact as it,

Ryan Pavel (00:35:49):

And I had great First Sergeant. I also had what I would describe as a very ineffective First Sergeant, a couple different deployments, and then you also have the route to go on the master side, like the master gun side and the master sergeant. And I think that that matters, that distinction in terms of I’m either going to put aside the M os and the specifics of any specific duty to be able to embrace the leader of Marines, the first Sergeant track all the way up to Sergeant Major, or I’m going to really double, triple, quadruple down on my specialty. I’m going to be a master of this field and master sergeant get promoted to the master.

Mary Kate Soliva (00:36:22):

Yes.

Ryan Pavel (00:36:23):

It isn’t to say master sergeants, master gunnery sergeants are still very much leaders. It’s not as if they aren’t doing that. So it’s a little bit different than what you’re saying at the E four level, which I think is important that people should, I believe with that very strongly as well, you should be able at an earlier rank, not everybody needs to be on that same track. Sometimes you just really need people that are subject matter experts who can execute the hell out of a particular mission and they’re

Mary Kate Soliva (00:36:46):

Happy there. They’re like, we don’t want to be people. Sounds awful.

Ryan Pavel (00:36:52):

So again, so to flash forward a little bit, I’ll go back to your question on deployments in a sec, but right now, warrior Scholar Project has 23 people and we hire about 32 alumni fellows for every summer. So our headcount over the summer is about 55. A huge part of our model is about hiring alumni who went through our programs who are currently in school to come back as mentors for our bootcamps, which happened primarily during the summer. That alumni fellow model, the fellowship has been really interesting to devise, but really the one I think a ton about is the 23 people that I have working full time at Warrior Scholar Project, and this has, there’s been a lot of growth

(00:37:32):

Funders that were willing to allow us to build capacity and allow us to innovate and try things. But one of the things that I’m trying to be able to help our team understand is that if somebody wants promotion in the nonprofit space, a lot of these are, some of them are veterans, some are middle spouses, some just are connected to the military communities. So this is a broad spectrum of people. If somebody wants to be promoted within Warrior Scholar Project, that doesn’t necessarily have to mean you’re developing and you are primarily focused on personnel management. I want some people at Warrior Scholar Project that are just absolute specialists in the thing that they do, and it

(00:38:05):

Necessary for them to also have to allocate a portion of their time on personnel management in order to be promoted. And I think that that’s just a general misconception in society that management and growth means personnel management. Some people are cut out for that, some people are not. My background is also, I’m an attorney by trade. I was at the law firm for a minute, and one of the most absurd parts of how law firms function is that in order to get promoted from a junior associate to a mid-level to senior associate is you are necessarily managing junior attorneys. And some people are just awful managers. They’re great lawyers, but they’re awful.

(00:38:40):

This really wide array of experiences when you’re a junior associate because sometimes you get the luck of the draw and you’re dealing with somebody who happens to be a good manager and sometimes you’re not. And so I think that this is at every institution I’ve been a part of, this can be a problem where there’s an assumption that everybody has the capacity, the interest, the training to effectively manage people. So that tracks actually, back to the question around deployments. I had some stellar leaders and I had some leaders in air quotes who had no business. I wouldn’t trust them with a ham sandwich, but I have to listen.

(00:39:15):

That’s a problem, right? Because you don’t actually have the choice. That’s actually one of the assets that I think when I talk about the entire community. So they’re not all heroes, they’re not all leaders. They’ve all had to be able to deal with authority in some way. They’ve all had to accomplish a mission. They’ve all had to be able to work with a team, likely actually in an under-resourced environment in a time constrained thing to hit a deadline and get a mission done. Those are the sorts of things that build resiliency. Those are the sorts of things that build this teamwork mentality. So those are the sorts of words I’m comfortable describing.

Mary Kate Soliva (00:39:43):

What about even identifying as a disabled veteran, even that even for businesses where they’re like, oh, not only are you small business or small women owned business, you can also put a disabled veteran business, not just a veteran-owned business, but now you get those where it’s like where you do it for seeing dollar signs or it’s kind of like the reason behind that title as well, and some people don’t want to identify as that.

Ryan Pavel (00:40:09):

Some people don’t. I mean, there’s interesting, there’s a few different firms. So disabled owned PE and investment firms, they actually by virtue of being disabled, by virtue of being owned veterans, informed by disabled veterans, they are part of a group of what can be referred to as these minority investors that then large banks have to partner with a certain number of them. So there’s this marketing reason to

Mary Kate Soliva (00:40:32):

Able, it’s incentive. Exactly. That changes things too, but do we actually want to, that crux of being I’m a disabled veteran, I think is interesting. And going back with your deployments too, because again, whether we deployed or not, but just because you deployed doesn’t mean that you saw combat or that you’re a combat. Just because you deploy also doesn’t make you a hero per se. And some of the eyes, you’ll talk to some of the mothers and say, by virtue of us raising our right hand and the sacrifices that we made, of course defining hero differently, but in the terms that we’re speaking of it, then like you said, it sort of dilutes those who actually are wearing the medal of honor, those who’ve actually saved people’s lives. So I’d love to hear more about that, about your deployment experience and coming home from that.

Ryan Pavel (00:41:23):

Yeah, I don’t know. It’s interesting. I don’t think I’ve ever been asked the question about whether or not I really had somebody to show me the ropes. I think the answer is no. Right.

Mary Kate Soliva (00:41:32):

That’s interesting. The Marines.

Ryan Pavel (00:41:34):

Yeah, yeah, yeah. It’s

Mary Kate Soliva (00:41:38):

Because it’s the few, right? Because there wasn’t that many of these,

Ryan Pavel (00:41:40):

The few, right, exactly right. Yeah, yeah, exactly. Just the Marines, the few, no, so my two deployments are very different in a lot of ways. So they’re both to Iraq, they’re both to Anbar province as an Arabic translator, some of the Arabic translators were sent to Afghanistan and told to translate, which they don’t speak Arabic in Afghanistan, so I don’t really know what the Marine Corps was thinking, but that’s Marine Corps logic. So fortunately I was at least sent to a country that ostensibly spoke the language I was trained in. The challenge of course is that you learn what’s called modern standard Arabic, so it’s the version which they speak on BBC, Arabic or Al Jazeera and universities, but on the streets, nobody’s speaking that. And so you have this lag period. You go through an Iraqi course before you deploy, but you really take some time for you to ramp up to the specific dialect of what you’re going to be translating and what you’re going to be interpreting.

(00:42:27):

So I was useless for, I don’t know, probably the first six weeks in country at least, and we only had a week or two. We were in a bunker in a Saddam era bunker on the outskirts of Alta Kada, which is a large base in Anbar province about 90 miles west of Fallujah. But because we were signals intelligence where they had all the antennas and everything positioned, we just lived in this bunker and there were five of us. I had a team leader, another translator, a couple other guys in the sig side to actually process a lot of the stuff, and then three contractors, and we were just kind of left alone to be in our bunker and to do our job, which was really interesting. The culture of that bunker is one that I think about frequently. When I think about my deployments, I flashback mostly to just shenanigans in that bunker.

(00:43:20):

I worked the night shift, so there was one other linguist there, one of the Marine Corps linguists, and so he was on for 12 hours a day. We’d do a high five and do a quick debrief, and then I would hop on and get in the skiff and I would do my job, and I didn’t really see much of the sun for a while because I was sleeping when it was daylight, and so that was it. And so I went into a very deep introspective space. There was actually a lot of isolation on my deployment. Technically, I was around a small group of people, but if you’re with them all day every day, sometimes we would for a while, we played Monopoly every day for 30 days, and that was miserable, right? Because then everybody knows who’s going to trade what. It was just became this routine.

(00:43:59):

Nobody was having fun. So we stopped that, played poker, but that got really, I learned a lot about myself just being introspective and improving my language skills. When you’re a translator, at least in the role that I was at, most of it is interpreting, I’m sorry, most of it is just translating. Whatever comes in, you’re translating and you’re parsing those things out. You occasions. We were attached to an infantry unit and a human unit, and so we got to go and do actual live translation, and that’s where you really learn whether you know language. That’s really cool. And so those ones, I also think about lot. I’ve written about some of those things that I was on those missions, and again, I was fortunate that those were safe. The only time that we really know that we were in harm’s way is we were frankly being idiots, and we were reenacting Iwo Jima with a flagpole on top of our bunker, and then somebody started taking pop shots at us from outside the wire.

(00:44:52):

So that was the closest thing I came to a combat experience. Nobody deserves a combat action ribbon for that, but it was isolating. I learned a lot from my team leader. He had previously deployed, but he wasn’t a linguist. I learned some things from the humid folks and infantry folks, but it was pretty isolating. My second deployment was in 2009 to 2010, and that was right when the status of forces agreement had been signed. And so all Marines had to be out of country by February of 2010. Then of course, we were back a year later, but everybody was consolidated onto ADE and Anbar one giant base. So it was a different experience because I wasn’t isolated. I was working part of a larger team, and it was actually, I enjoyed being around people, but I did miss, I learned a lot about myself, just like being alone for a lot of hours, translating in country and those things in the first appointment. So I had some mentors, but there really wasn’t anybody that was there that was just showing me the ropes who had done the whole thing before.

Mary Kate Soliva (00:45:59):

No, I think that’s important to highlight as well, because it’s not this rainbow and sunshine story that some service members had on deployment. And I’m actually curious too, from the family side of the house, whether since your parents, no military affiliation whatsoever, did you even get the care packages and the regular mail from them? Because I think when you’re legacy children, as I call them from a long lineage of military families, you get a bunch of stuff in the mail because they’re like, we know what it’s like, and so they send you all your favorites, but did you have that from your family at that time?

Ryan Pavel (00:46:37):

Yeah. It’s be an interesting analysis if you could actually get enough data to show whether or not people are more or less likely to get care packages and those things. I will say that part of my mom’s love languages is giving, and so I got a lot of care packages. I was very well, okay,

Mary Kate Soliva (00:46:51):

You did

Ryan Pavel (00:46:51):

Taken care of in that way. That’s good. And one of the things that was really meaningful to me is I knew that my father was very proud of me for what I was doing, and he as somebody, I mean, my father was incredibly smart. He passed away a few years ago, and so I think about him often and about the conversations we would have now around the state of our country and the state of our world, and we would, as I went through the Marine Corps and as I started to really grow up, we had more of these sort of intellectual conversations, and he and I had very different belief structures on a lot of things, religion, politics, but that quote that I shared at the beginning, he who knows only his side of the case knows little of that. So much of that is part of the reason why I came across that quote five or six years ago that it stuck with me is because I feel like that’s a lot of my patrimony. That’s where I was raised. It’s just like, okay, if I express an opinion to my dad, I better be able to back the thing. But

Mary Kate Soliva (00:47:45):

This is the lawyer in you, Ryan, that’s coming out too ly, the marine side side of you, but this is the marine side. Maybe the competitiveness, but the lawyer in you too is thinking logically. Yep.

Ryan Pavel (00:47:56):

Empower. I think so, and I think that that’s why I was drawn. Part of the reason I was drawn to law school and I also, that did turn up to the nth degree. I already had this innate desire to really think around different perspectives, and then in law school, that’s all the law school is thinking about other perspectives and trying to understand other perspectives from people and judges and all of these things, and so it is very much, I think that that is one of the things that I bring to the table is my default is to interrogate my own opinions and to be able to try and understand where somebody else is coming from, in particular, if somebody has a very different walk of life. Again, I’m very upfront around what I believe to be my identity. I think about my identity a lot.

(00:48:38):

We talk about that a lot at Warrior Scholar Project, about the necessity to reflect on one’s identity. That’s part of a successful transition, and part of reflecting on your identity also means thinking about what you don’t have the experiences I don’t have. I will never know what it’s actually like to be you, Mary Kate, and to have your experiences. Right. I could learn a lot, right? I can learn a ton throughout all of this. I’ll give you one example. I was reading up on Guam a little bit before this just because I know an embarrassingly small amount of the history of Guam, but it is such an interesting aspect of our country and around that became a territory and trying to put my mindset in a place of, if there are people who are citizens, but you can’t vote, and you have this non-voting member of a congressional delegation, right? That imbalance of power. That’s the sort of thing that I’m so fascinated by, right? But it’s like the forcing function

Mary Kate Soliva (00:49:38):

Is We can talk. Yeah, we can talk more.

Ryan Pavel (00:49:41):

I would love to, but that’s the good stuff. Right. I guess that’s my point for all of this is I think that that is one of the biggest parts of any successful transition, but also just a successful life is finding somebody that has an experience that resonates so deeply in an area that you are not familiar with and learning from that it doesn’t, it could feel uncomfortable, but that’s the good stuff. That’s where you learn. But we should talk at some point. I want to learn a lot more about Guam.

Mary Kate Soliva (00:50:07):

No, I was like, oh my gosh. To not segue since we’re still on episode, but I would love to talk about that have what we call it virtual cup of coffee and gosh, if I had known you were in Chicago and had known done this a couple of weeks ago, I would’ve tried to sneak away from Mary Beth and try to go meet up with you. Where are you?

Ryan Pavel (00:50:24):

I know we’re still recording, but whatever. Where are you based?

Mary Kate Soliva (00:50:27):

Oh, I out of Maryland? Yeah, I’m here in,

Ryan Pavel (00:50:29):

I’m back and forth to DC from

Mary Kate Soliva (00:50:30):

Time to time. Oh, fantastic. See, here we go. I’ll find the time

Ryan Pavel (00:50:33):

Listeners, whoever’s listening, you can join us, right? We can have a conversation about leadership and Yeah,

Mary Kate Soliva (00:50:38):

That’s right. Well, the listeners probably don’t know. This is literally Ryan and I’s first time meeting you probably wouldn’t even know it because we’re just having two chums just having a conversation here. But no, this is fantastic and this is what it is all about and this is why I love that I’ve, as far as that identity piece really resonate with being in the military community, veteran community. But I do also struggle with that dual identity of Guam and having my family there who can’t vote and vote for the commander in chief, the very person who’s in charge of where we go in service. And the fact that third of the islands own and operated by the US military and if the president wanted to make us a military base or a parking lot, he could. And it’s interesting. And the transition piece, the work that you are doing beyond the uniform, as I say, is incredible.

(00:51:27):

And I think I definitely don’t want us to overlook your transition because everybody’s transition is different. And it’s interesting that you didn’t have anybody that took you under your wing that you’d like to give a shout out. People tend to want to list a dozen people and you’re like, sorry, Marine Corps out of the few that I had to choose from. There wasn’t anybody there, but I think it’s important because it wasn’t this rainbow sunshine hunky go. So I’d love to hear about your transition. What was the moment for you? You’re like, I’m done. Done my time. I five years. I’m still young guy. And were you married at that time? Cause I think the family dynamic is interesting too, going through the transition with or without family. Well,

Ryan Pavel (00:52:07):

It’s interesting. So also backing up to that other part of people to shout out, I should say that there are, when I talk about I feel like I even back then was a very observer of leadership. And I mean that in the sense of who do people respect and who do they not respect? And the Lance Corporal Underground is just, it’s everything. All that matters is the reputation. That’s the only thing that matters. If you’re going to be going somewhere, you rely on the people to your left and your right that are the same rank of you or maybe plus or minus one rank, right? And so if the group of people, if the Lance Corporal underground really trusted a leader, to me that was like, and so I should say that in terms of my deployments, I don’t feel like I had a clear mentor for my specific job.

(00:53:00):

But on my second deployment, one of the biggest benefits was I had a gunny sergeant, gunny Sergeant Monroe. So if he happens to be listening, shout out. And then also first Lieutenant Zvi who then Captain Zvi and stayed in for a little bit, but they were an incredible team. To me it was a really shining example of Gunnie Monroe had been in for 15 years. Lieutenant Z had been in for two and then she’s the boss, she’s the CE. And then we had an XO who had been in for half a year, really interesting circumstance, but they really worked well together. They really had a strong relationship. And it was a good example again of just sometimes you listen to authority, but the way in which Gunnie Monroe could command the respect of people he had deployed. He had been part of this unit, but he could also follow orders.

(00:53:47):

So I’m sure that Monroe and Ze had some very tense conversations behind closed doors, but then when they were presented a uniform front to us, they were on the same page and I think that really mattered. So I did get some really positive examples of leadership when I was, in terms of my own transition in terms of what that led to in terms of how that shapes everything Here again, I think that being mindful of who you are and the things that you take away from your military experience really matters. And so when I got out, I knew I wanted to go to school. That was something that I was fortunate that I had that I described myself as emphatically not a first generation college student, which again is a privilege. Two thirds of enlisted veterans are first gen college students. For me, it was a non-negotiable thing that I was going to go to school that was just sort of, I mean non-negotiable in my own sense.

(00:54:43):

I knew that I was going to do that as part of, again, my patrimony and just sort of how I was raised that this is what one does. But even with that, my parents, their experience didn’t translate to my experience of being a 22-year-old applying to school as a non-traditional student. And so I had one challenge of being a non-traditional student. Most enlisted veterans have that plus being first gen. So I had my own and I applied to Michigan. They have a strong Arabic program and I wanted to continue to do that. I got rejected again. So I got rejected at 17. I got rejected when I was 22, and that again was just like a, oh, well what was all that for? I thought now I’d be accepted to school, but Michigan said, Hey, you still haven’t proven you can be a good college student.

(00:55:33):

You need to do some community college. Great advice. So I went on base and enrolled in community college classes. I had a few months left in my contract and it was after deployment and our command was too lazy to set up a skiff on base at home, so we just didn’t have any work to do. And so I was just able to go and take a couple of community college classes and I called back the admissions office at Michigan and I said, Hey, alright, I’m enrolled. And they did a weird thing where in that same cycle that they had rejected me, they conditionally admitted me. So conditional on me getting A’s in those two community college courses that I was enrolled in, they would admit me for that cycle to matriculate as a student in fall of 2010. So if ever there was an incentive to actually do my job as a community college student, that was it fantastic.

(00:56:18):

And it turns out that by then I could be a student if I had the proper motivation, I knew how to read, I knew how to to discuss to an extent, particularly at the on-base community college level. One of the things we talk a lot about at Warrior Scholar Project is there’s an enormous jump in rigor from a on-base community college or community college general generally to a four year institution. And so I then experienced that in the fall of 2010, I came out of the Marine Corps with some really hot opinions about engagements abroad. I don’t think we should have been in Iraq, right? I am not sure if my service was a net benefit to humanity. You talked about once a marine, always a marine. I sometimes describe myself as once a marine, always a cognitively dissonant skeptic, right?

Mary Kate Soliva (00:57:04):

Is that on a sticker somewhere? I think you should work.

Ryan Pavel (00:57:08):

I don’t think the Marine Corps is going to adopt that one, but I think that this actually taps again into one of the benefits of people that have served in the military. I will wrestle with this until my dying breath. I think right around the value of my service, I am fiercely proud of my service. I’m fiercely proud that I was enlisted, but also in terms of, again, I think that it mattered that I was part of something much bigger than myself in terms of service and at the same time the work that I did when I was actually in country and particularly in the intel side, and really thinking about what’s actually happening in the culture of this province where we’re at and are we actually moving the needle forward? And now we’re looking at it in hindsight, particularly in 2024, did that actually move the needle in a positive way?

(00:57:52):

That’s a dicey proposition that that’s a dicey argument, but wrestling with those things was a huge part of my college experience was then viewing all of those things through the academic lens and reading about these things and writing a thesis on Saddam and about the bath party and the ification and all of those things. So it was sort of a moral injury. I think I do suffer from moral injury, but college was a really important way for me to be able to evaluate that from a lens that I was just here, I was safe. I was in Ann Arbor, and I’m able to read these things and discuss and learn.

Mary Kate Soliva (00:58:34):

That’s such a powerful thing to be able to remove yourself from the accolades from the uniform itself and what it symbolizes or even the patch on our shoulder and to really think about that sort of challenge. There’s nothing wrong with that. Having that critical thinking and sort of thinking about your identity, your service, because I think it just helps. We don’t take that time to process any of those at all. We’re just like, we need a job. We need to get the basic basos hierarchy of needs and we don’t think about that. We’re just like, I want to a paycheck and I should be getting six figures. I have a TS clearance. But I would love to hear about, because I’m sure you’ve spoken to numerous folks, service members, and we have some listeners who are transitioning from active duty or from their time in service. What would your advice be to them now? And then we can segue right into the work that you’re doing. I know it’s part of this process.

Ryan Pavel (00:59:31):

Yeah, it’s one word. My advice is think really take the time to think and sit with the discomfort of what it’s like to actually really carve out time to reflect and think and plan. There’s this book called Tom Cabot’s by James Clear, wildly popular book. He sells a copy every 15 seconds To give you some sense of how popular this book is, one of the things that I like about it the most, he has some really important building blocks in terms of what it takes to form habits, but the most valuable take about how habits relate to our identity. And he has this, the thing which it does kind of fit nicely in a bumper sticker that every action you take is a vote for the type of person you want to become. And so the idea there is that if you want to build a certain identity, you have to first know what you are trying to become and then you take the actions to get there.

(01:00:40):

It doesn’t really happen the other way if you don’t have a thought about what identity you’re trying to be able to actually build. The actions you take are still helping create, but you’re not necessarily in control of that. It’s not planned. So this is again, track to, he thinks about this in terms of habits. That’s the whole premise of the book. This is sort of how you end up eating junk food. Well, if you’re not moving towards the identity of somebody who eats healthy food, you’re just not naturally going to start eating healthy food that it takes work to be able to do that. And that principle to me is so important. I think that TAP was useless in 2010 when I got out the transition.

Mary Kate Soliva (01:01:17):

Literally

Ryan Pavel (01:01:17):

Nothing for me. Transit. Yeah, exactly. I think it’s marginally less useless now in 2024

Mary Kate Soliva (01:01:25):

Only because they’re sharing the other resources like yours. That’s the only reason why, because I went through

Ryan Pavel (01:01:33):

More of that, but it’s not that I’m, look, I mean I will always fight for tap to be better. I think that we have some interesting inroads. Warrior Scholar Project has a strong partnership with the va, which I’m very thankful for some of the directions that the VA is going in right now, and the VA’s portion of TAP is part of where WSP can help influence that curriculum challenge. One of the challenges within TAP is that the DA is really thinking about active war fighters and DOL is thinking about employment and then the VA is thinking about healthcare and education. It is bizarre that the GI Bill is administered by the va, I should say, as opposed to the Department of Education. But again, I told you I have some strong opinions about these things, but there are some interesting challenges. I think the VA has had to overcome a lot of, or they’ve had to build a lot of institutional knowledge in an area that they previously didn’t actually really have to have a ton of expertise in, and particularly when the post nine 11 GI bill came out in the 2008, 2009 timeframe.

(01:02:31):

So that has come a long way. Those are the sorts of things that I see real improvement in. But in terms of the experience of somebody who’s getting out, I think about the person who did one enlistment or two enlistments, which is the primary in the military, is doing one enlistment or two enlistments and then getting out the Transition Assistance program that they’re going to go through is not automatically going to pull them to a place of really thinking critically about what comes next. What it’s going to do is it’s going to put you through, unfortunately, a lot of click-through courses. It’s supposed to start 18 months before you transition. That requires your command to allow you to really be able to incentivize that and to really be able to do that, which mileage really varies, but then the thought process is really about your next paycheck, and that’s fine, right?

(01:03:19):

Veteran unemployment should be low. It’s great that veteran unemployment is lower than national unemployment, but if we are only thinking about the next paycheck and we aren’t thinking around the role of education or what we should be doing, again, bridge I think on balance is that’s, I’m a fan of Skill Bridge, but mileage really varies. Again, I know a lot of people that have gone through Skill Bridge. We’ve been monitoring it as an organization for a long time, plays this critical role. And again, for me, I track back to so much of my own experience. I grew up so much when I was a student because I’m suddenly one of 28,000 undergrads and I needed to be exposed. I needed to be uncomfortable. I needed to be able to try and find my community. I needed to think about my identity, and it took me longer than it should have to really be able to find my people. That’s part of what Warrior Scholar Project is After our bootcamps are ungraded, they’re unaccredited. Students don’t have to spend a dime to be there because we want them to come to us and to be able to feel free to fail, to make the mistake

(01:04:18):

When they’re where they want to be, they’re ready to go.

Mary Kate Soliva (01:04:20):

I have to ask about, and I know we’re already coming close to the hour, but I was like, gosh, talking to you, I know I am going to end up talking to you after I stop recording this episode, but I really want to hear about what led you to start this, because I find that you seem, not that there is a type, but the very untypical what I would think of after five years in the Marine Corps identifying as a non-combat veteran being the critic and the civic that you are, that you’re like, let me devote my life to starting an organization that helps veterans in the community that I’m so critical about. I would love to see, hear what that origin story is. I want to make time for it on this episode. I think it’s support it.

Ryan Pavel (01:05:09):

Yeah. Well, I appreciate it. So first of all, point of clarification, I am not a founder of Warrior Scholar Project. I wish that could take that credit. I got involved in its second year, so a group of three enterprises

(01:05:26):

Veteran. There was somebody who was on his way to OCS and then had a tragic accident, and so couldn’t do that. And then just a strong supporter, three classmates came together and said, what if we did this? What if we had something like a Yale experience and we could condense this and we could convince our professors to do it and we could find veterans who are enlisted, right to come and do this thing and experience Yale and we could change hearts and minds at Yale and we could do all of these things. And they did it in 2012, like beg borrowing and stealing for dorm rooms and every penny they had and the thing worked. And so the next year in 2013, they were like, all right, well, let’s start.

(01:06:00):

That’s when I got involved. I had gotten involved with student veteran advocacy. A guy from my old unit was volunteering at the Yale program and he said, Hey, come check this out. So I flew out and saw the thing in action in 2013, and it was like something I had never experienced in my own college life where it was, it was this group of tatted up enlisted veterans. They have Alexis et Tocqueville’s. For those of you, you can’t see me, but I’m holding up Alexis et Tocqueville’s democracy in America. I had this thick book. They have it in front of them. It’s highlighted. They’re going toe to toe with this professor, professor, and it’s just like, what universe? Where am I? Right?

Mary Kate Soliva (01:06:37):

It sounds like your universe. That’s what I’m so fascinated with it. Yeah. I love it. You’re talking about year two and it’s what year for you right now that you’ve been with this organization? How many years is this

Ryan Pavel (01:06:47):

Going on? 11 years now, which is pretty wild. Incredible. Incredible. So this is in a long story, medium. I guess that aspect of it to me tapped into something of what can I do to foster whatever that experience is that I visited in that classroom. In 2013, they gave us license to be able to expand it, so we did our own version of Beg Bar, stealing for all these things. In 2014, we did a version of it at Ali Mater at Michigan. Had some great supporters, some great colleagues that helped make that happen, great professors. And for five years, that was my involvement. While I was going to law school and working as an attorney, I would carve out a couple of weeks each year to come back and do this. And then in 2018, I had an opportunity to come on board full time as the COO.

(01:07:28):

I said, yes, let’s go. Right? I love this thing, whatever I can do. And then in 2019 stepped into the CEO role. To go back to your question though, I wanted nothing to do with the veteran community in 2010, right? I wanted nothing to do with it. I wanted to pretend and act like I was just a college student. I just wanted to do the thing. I was, so as I said, I came out of the Marine Corps hot and I came out of just like, what is this institution? What was my role? Why are we over there? I just want to be a college student. And the thing that I learned pretty darn quickly is that the people that I had a natural connection to of these now Michigan has like 32,000 undergrads. They have 104 veterans, so 0.3% of their undergraduate population is enlisted veterans, which is abysmal.

(01:08:17):

So come on now, not uncommon for a lot of these flagship schools, they need to do a lot more and it’s in their best interest to recruit veterans. There’s upcoming demographic cliff where there’s about to be a glut of 18 year olds that they can, there’s a whole bunch of reasons. We could have a whole podcast on this model around, and this is part of the work WSP does is advocating for these changes, but there were 28,000 undergrads I transferred in. Everybody already has their cliques, everybody has their groups. So who do I have a natural connection with? It’s the veterans. It’s the people that are already there that can say,

(01:08:51):

Hey you should probably take this class, or you should probably not take this class or come to these meetings. Let’s go out and let’s get a beer. Let’s get pizza. And that was my initial group like bonding with student veterans. Even though I had this resistance to the veteran community, even though initially I wanted to pretend I was just going to be a regular college student, that was inauthentic. Had I gone through something like WSP had, I had somebody that sat me down and said, my one piece of advice, think, don’t just act, don’t just do the thing. Think about what you want to do.

(01:09:25):

Realized that a huge part of being successful in college would’ve been both building bridges to traditional college student communities and also maintaining my connection to the veteran community. That is a huge part of my identity. That is like I can’t help it. The Marine Corps changed me in many, many ways. Again, until my dying breath, there will be things like this fierce pride about being a marine that matters and the things that I learned. And so that process for me was really transformative. And so then a couple months in, there’s a treasurer position at the local vets group, right? No, fine, this has been helpful for me. Sure, I’ll be the treasurer. And then a couple months later, then there’s a president. Nobody wants it. Lead the veterans group. It’s like, all right, well, I guess I’ll lead the veterans group.

(01:10:12):

I have a decent head on my shoulders. I could figure out how to get engagement up, how to secure some support, how to get free pizza, work with the university administrators to get free pizza. If you put food in a room, veterans will show up. Okay, I can crack that and I can figure it out. And so I just started to get involved. I just said yes to some of those opportunities much in the same way that I said yes to the recruiter when I was 17. It took him three calls. But let’s do this and then, okay, let’s do outgoings. Do veteran leaders. Sure, I’ll do this thing with Warrior your Scholar project. I graduated in 2012. I was teaching high school for a couple years in Detroit, and this was 2013 when I went and saw this thing, and it was just saying yes to going out and visiting it. And then I said, well, that

Mary Kate Soliva (01:10:53):

Sounds like a different battlefield. Being in Detroit as a teacher, that sounds like a different

Ryan Pavel (01:10:58):

Battlefield. The hardest, hardest job I’ve ever had was teaching high school. Hardest job I’ve ever had by a notable margin. But it’s saying yes to those opportunities. And I think that I am unique in the sense that I’m so outspoken around the things that I think can make people uncomfortable in the sense of, again, this cognitive dissonance. But I think it is important to do that because more of us carry that cognitive dissonance than we are public about. That is part of the veteran experience, and that’s part of what makes veterans so well equipped for civic impact and civic engagement. So Warrior Scholar Project is about maximizing your college experience, but it’s also about a lot more than that, right? The thing, this book, I know I’m running talk about

(01:11:45):

This, so this book, if you imagine people that are in the Warrior Scholar Project bootcamp model or anywhere, and so you have democracy in America, you have the Constitution, you have the Federalist Papers, and you have veterans from across the political spectrum, and they’re having an appropriate respectful discussion around the constitutional framework, and they’re able to do this with the lens of their own service where they have the shared bond, all of whom subjugated a portion of their freedom, but they’re able to talk about things from the rep, the left, from the right, from center, and they’re able to really have discuss.

(01:12:19):

That’s where people, going back to that quote of hes only a side of his case knows little of that. They’re learning what the other person’s evidence is. They’re evaluating their own opinions. They’re making these informed choices, excuse me. That is what makes them so well equipped for civic impact to be corporate leaders, to be government leaders, to run for office, to start nonprofits. That’s the good stuff.

Mary Kate Soliva (01:12:39):

No, that’s absolutely the good stuff, and I love that you bring them together to actually ask their opinion because on the spectrum of like you said, enlisted, you do have those that got out as an E four and they didn’t end up leading anybody, and they’re just kind of like, nobody asked me what my opinion is. I gave up my ability to have free agency. This is a dictatorship, not a democracy. Nobody asked me my opinion before. I don’t know if I have an opinion, and I know that sometimes I still get starstruck, as I mentioned, even working with Top Brass or one two stars, and they asked me for my opinion. I was like, me, you want my opinion? I was just going to ask you, sir, what do think? I’ll just rephrase that, but just having that piece, that critical thinking, I think it’s so important.

(01:13:25):

I was like, gosh, you’re making me want to ask you about what you thought with the veterans in January 6th, but we’ll save that for another day. Open up a whole can of worms. Oh boy. Yeah, yeah. But these conversations that need to happen, and I love that you, you’re broadening that and you’re spreading that out, and I would love, as we start to wrap up here, how can our listeners get ahold of you? Because your wealth of knowledge, how can they learn more about the work that you’re doing get involved, and where can we help?

Ryan Pavel (01:13:54):

Yeah, no, I appreciate that. I appreciate the specific question. Look, so we’re Scholar Project, I’ll be very clear. There’s two eligibility criteria. If you are an enlisted veteran that does not yet have your undergraduate degree and you are interested in higher education, you should come to WSP. You should to one of our bootcamps. You should apply. Our website is warrior scholar.org. You can fill out a quick interest form and then you will have a live conversation with a member of our outreach team who can really walk you through, can learn more about, you, can tell you about what we do. We can try and find a match. Then you can apply for the full program. It’s completely free. Big part of my job is raising 5 billion a year to make sure that this is free for every veteran that wants to go through it.

(01:14:35):

That’s incredible. Any enlisted veteran that meets those criteria, we want to serve you. We want to be able to support you. If you know somebody that could benefit from that, again, think about this rigorous intensive experience that can help somebody unlock their potential and maximize their GI bill. Send this to them warrior scholar.org. Send them that. If you want to get ahold of me, there’s a Contact Us form. You can look up my bio on the website. You can find me there. You can also find me on LinkedIn. Pro tip, if you connect with somebody on LinkedIn, send a little message with your Connect request, right? Don’t just do the click connect and then it goes into the ether, right? Say like, Hey, I heard you on this thing. Let’s chat. Let’s connect. Okay. I’m much more likely to accept that, right than I am. It’s just we could have a whole podcast on LinkedIn too, right? LinkedIn is absolutely very useful tool, but also some things

Mary Kate Soliva (01:15:29):

Say we don’t all have our sanity either. I say in the veteran community, some of us are a little bit off our rockers, so doesn’t mean we’re going to be besties, but no, I love that you add that a little note there. Important.

Ryan Pavel (01:15:46):

The great irony of my life’s work right now is that it’s all about veterans all day. Every day, I’m either talking to veterans or I’m thinking about veterans or building programs to be able to help support veterans working with this remarkable team, and I lean into that, right? Acknowledging that, again, that cognitive dissonance of the fact that it doesn’t necessarily make sense on paper, but that’s part of what makes it feel so right. I love what I do. I’m very fortunate to have a job that there’s no job I’d rather have, but it’s a deeply non-linear path from the Marine Corps to teaching to being an attorney, to being in this role. I love it. And so I also like to be able to help support people that are at earlier stages of their career paths and sort of trying to fill out how do you build out where you want to be? And again, think that is my biggest piece of advice. No matter where you are, spend the time, stop, reflect, and think, and be intentional about your path forward.

Mary Kate Soliva (01:16:39):

Oh, thank you so much, Ryan. That’s incredible. You shared so many golden nuggets of wisdom, and I also just want to add for our listeners that Ryan, you served five years. Don’t discount to our listeners that whether your rank, how long you served, that you have so much value to add to those coming behind you. Share these resources, share that knowledge. You don’t have to be an officer from an Ivy League or a Service Academy to be the one who knows all of it. Sometimes they’re the ones that are knocking on our door for help too, so it’s just important. Just take heed what Ryan said. I love that aspect. Think stop for a moment. Think and again, connect with Ryan and as we say on Veteran Voices, do good. Pay it forward, and be the change that’s needed. I’m Mary Kate Saliva, your host of Veteran Voices, and we will see you all here next time where you can get your podcast from the supply chain now, family of podcasts, and wherever you get your podcasts from. And again, a shout out to the Guam Human Rights Initiative nonprofit. Near and dear to our heart, the Guam hr i.org, and again, check out Warrior Scholar Project. We will see you here next time. Take care. Thank you again, Ryan. Thanks, Mary.

 

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Featured Guests

Ryan Pavel, As a Marine Corps veteran, advocate, educator, and attorney, Ryan Pavel is passionate about helping veterans learn to leverage military service into civic impact. Ryan led student veteran chapters at the University of Michigan and the University of Virginia, where he earned his bachelor of arts and Juris Doctor, respectively. He is a cohort member of Obama Foundation Leaders USA and a former member of the Teach for America Military Veteran Council, Bush Institute’s Veteran Higher Education Task Force, and Veterans Leadership Council. Connect with Ryan on LinkedIn.

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Mary Kate Soliva

Host, Veteran Voices

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Billy Taylor

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Billy Taylor is a Proven Business Excellence Practitioner and Leadership Guru with over 25 years leading operations for a Fortune 500 company, Goodyear. He is also the CEO of LinkedXL (Excellence), a Business Operating Systems Architecting Firm dedicated to implementing sustainable operating systems that drive sustainable results. Taylor’s achievements in the industry have made him a Next Generational Lean pacesetter with significant contributions.

An American business executive, Taylor has made a name for himself as an innovative and energetic industry professional with an indispensable passion for his craft of operational excellence. His journey started many years ago and has worked with renowned corporations such as The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. (GT) leading multi-site operations. With over 3 decades of service leading North America operations, he is experienced in a deeply rooted process driven approach in customer service, process integrity for sustainability.

A disciple of continuous improvement, Taylor’s love for people inspires commitment to helping others achieve their full potential. He is a dynamic speaker and hosts "The Winning Link," a popular podcast centered on business and leadership excellence with the #1 rated Supply Chain Now Network. As a leadership guru, Taylor has earned several invitations to universities, international conferences, global publications, and the U.S. Army to demonstrate how to achieve and sustain effective results through cultural acceptance and employee ownership. Leveraging the wisdom of his business acumen, strong influence as a speaker and podcaster Taylor is set to release "The Winning Link" book under McGraw Hill publishing in 2022. The book is a how-to manual to help readers understand the management of business interactions while teaching them how to Deine, Align, and Execute Winning in Business.

A servant leader, Taylor, was named by The National Diversity Council as one of the Top 100 Diversity Officers in the country in 2021. He features among Oklahoma's Most Admired CEOs and maintains key leadership roles with the Executive Advisory Board for The Shingo Institute "The Nobel Prize of Operations" and The Association of Manufacturing Excellence (AME); two world-leading organizations for operational excellence, business development, and cultural learning.  He is also an Independent Director for the M-D Building Products Board, a proud American manufacturer of quality products since 1920.

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Kim Reuter

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From humble beginnings working the import docks, representing Fortune 500 giants, Ford, Michelin Tire, and Black & Decker; to Amazon technology patent holder and Nordstrom Change Leader, Kimberly Reuter has designed, implemented, and optimized best-in-class, highly scalable global logistics and retail operations all over the world. Kimberly’s ability to set strategic vision supported by bomb-proof processes, built on decades of hands-on experience, has elevated her to legendary status. Sought after by her peers and executives for her intellectual capital and keen insights, Kimberly is a thought leader in the retail logistics industry.

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Kristi Porter

Host, Logistics with Purpose

Kristi Porter is VP of Sales and Marketing at Vector Global Logistics, a company that is changing the world through supply chain. In her role, she oversees all marketing efforts and supports the sales team in doing what they do best. In addition to this role, she is the Chief Do-Gooder at Signify, which assists nonprofits and social impact companies through copywriting and marketing strategy consulting. She has almost 20 years of professional experience, and loves every opportunity to help people do more good.

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Sofia Rivas Herrera

Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol

Sofia Rivas Herrera is a Mexican Industrial Engineer from Tecnologico de Monterrey class 2019. Upon graduation, she earned a scholarship to study MIT’s Graduate Certificate in Logistics and Supply Chain Management and graduated as one of the Top 3 performers of her class in 2020. She also has a multicultural background due to her international academic experiences at Singapore Management University and Kühne Logistics University in Hamburg. Sofia self-identifies as a Supply Chain enthusiast & ambassador sharing her passion for the field in her daily life.

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Demo Perez

Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol

Demo Perez started his career in 1997 in the industry by chance when a relative asked him for help for two just weeks putting together an operation for FedEx Express at the Colon Free Zone, an area where he was never been but accepted the challenge. Worked in all roles possible from a truck driver to currier to a sales representative, helped the brand introduction, market share growth and recognition in the Colon Free Zone, at the end of 1999 had the chance to meet and have a chat with Fred Smith ( FedEx CEO), joined another company in 2018 who took over the FedEx operations as Operations and sales manager, in 2004 accepted the challenge from his company to leave the FedEx operations and business to take over the operation and business of DHL Express, his major competitor and rival so couldn’t say no, by changing completely its operation model in the Free Zone. In 2005 started his first entrepreneurial journey by quitting his job and joining two friends to start a Freight Forwarding company. After 8 months was recruited back by his company LSP with the General Manager role with the challenge of growing the company and make it fully capable warehousing 3PL. By 2009 joined CSCMP and WERC and started his journey of learning and growing his international network and high-level learning. In 2012 for the first time joined a local association ( the Panama Maritime Chamber) and worked in the country’s first Logistics Strategy plan, joined and lead other associations ending as president of the Panama Logistics Council in 2017. By finishing his professional mission at LSP with a company that was 8 times the size it was when accepted the role as GM with so many jobs generated and several young professionals coached, having great financial results, took the decision to move forward and start his own business from scratch by the end of 2019. with a friend and colleague co-founded IPL Group a company that started as a boutique 3PL and now is gearing up for the post-Covid era by moving to the big leagues.

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Kim Winter

Host, Supply Chain Now

The founder of Logistics Executive Group, Kim Winter delivers 40 years of executive leadership experience spanning Executive Search & Recruitment, Leadership Development, Executive Coaching, Corporate Advisory, Motivational Speaking, Trade Facilitation and across the Supply Chain, Logistics, 3PL, E-commerce, Life Science, Cold Chain, FMCG, Retail, Maritime, Defence, Aviation, Resources, and Industrial sectors. Operating from the company’s global offices, he is a regular contributor of thought leadership to industry and media, is a professional Master of Ceremonies, and is frequently invited to chair international events.

He is a Board member of over a dozen companies throughout APAC, India, and the Middle East, a New Zealand citizen, he holds formal resident status in Australia and the UAE, and is the Australia & New Zealand representative for the UAE Government-owned Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZA), the Middle East’s largest Economic Free Zone.

A triathlete and ex-professional rugby player, Kim is a qualified (IECL Sydney) executive coach and the Founder / Chairman of the successful not for profit humanitarian organization, Oasis Africa (www. oasisafrica.org.au), which has provided freedom from poverty through education to over 8000 mainly orphaned children in East Africa’s slums. Kim holds an MBA and BA from Massey & Victoria Universities (NZ).

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Adrian Purtill

Host, Logistics with Purpose

Adrian Purtill serves as Business Development Manager at Vector Global Logistics, where he consults with importers and exporters in various industries to match their specific shipping requirements with the most effective supply chain solutions. Vector Global Logistics is an asset-free, multi-modal logistics company that provides exceptional sea freight, air freight, truck, rail, general logistic services and consulting for our clients. Our highly trained and professional team is committed to providing creative and effective solutions, always exceeding our customer’s expectations and fostering long-term relationships. With more than 20+ years of experience in both strategy consulting and logistics, Vector Global Logistics is your best choice to proactively minimize costs while having an exceptional service level.

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Kevin Brown

Host, Logistics with Purpose

Kevin Brown is the Director of Business Development for Vector Global Logistics.  He has a dedicated interest in Major Account Management, Enterprise Sales, and Corporate Leadership. He offers 25 years of exceptional experience and superior performance in the sales of Logistics, Supply Chain, and Transportation Management. Kevin is a dynamic, high-impact, sales executive and corporate leader who has consistently exceeded corporate goals. He effectively coordinates multiple resources to solution sell large complex opportunities while focusing on corporate level contacts across the enterprise. His specialties include targeting and securing key accounts by analyzing customer’s current business processes and developing solutions to meet their corporate goals. Connect with Kevin on LinkedIn.

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Jose Miguel Irarrazaval

Host, Logistics with Purpose

Jose Manuel Irarrazaval es parte del equipo de Vector Global Logistics Chile. José Manuel es un gerente experimentado con experiencia en finanzas corporativas, fusiones y adquisiciones, financiamiento y reestructuración, inversión directa y financiera, tanto en Chile como en el exterior. José Manuel tiene su MBA de la Universidad de Pennsylvania- The Wharton School. Conéctese con Jose Manuel en LinkedIn.

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Nick Roemer

Host, Logistics with Purpose

Nick Roemer has had a very diverse and extensive career within design and sales over the last 15 years stretching from China, Dubai, Germany, Holland, UK, and the USA. In the last 5 years, Nick has developed a hawk's eye for sustainable tech and the human-centric marketing and sales procedures that come with it. With his far-reaching and strong network within the logistics industry, Nick has been able to open new avenues and routes to market within major industries in the USA and the UAE. Nick lives by the ethos, “Give more than you take." His professional mission is to make the logistics industry leaner, cleaner and greener.

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Allison Giddens

Host

Allison Krache Giddens has been with Win-Tech, a veteran-owned small business and aerospace precision machine shop, for 15 years, recently buying the company from her mentor and Win-Tech’s Founder, Dennis Winslow. She and her business partner, John Hudson now serve as Co-Presidents, leading the 33-year old company through the pandemic.

She holds undergraduate degrees in psychology and criminal justice from the University of Georgia, a Masters in Conflict Management from Kennesaw State University, a Masters in Manufacturing from Georgia Institute of Technology, and a Certificate of Finance from the University of Georgia. She also holds certificates in Google Analytics, event planning, and Cybersecurity Risk Management from Harvard online. Allison founded the Georgia Chapter of Women in Manufacturing and currently serves as Treasurer. She serves on the Chattahoochee Technical College Foundation Board as its Secretary, the liveSAFE Resources Board of Directors as Resource Development Co-Chair, and on the Leadership Cobb Alumni Association Board as Membership Chair and is also a member of Cobb Executive Women. She is on the Board for the Cobb Chamber of Commerce’s Northwest Area Councils. Allison runs The Dave Krache Foundation, a non-profit that helps pay sports fees for local kids in need.

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Katherine Hintz

Creative Director, Producer, Host

Katherine Hintz, MBA is a marketing professional who strives to unite her love of people with a passion for positive experiences. Having a diverse background, which includes nonprofit work with digital marketing and start-ups, she serves as a leader who helps people live their most creative lives by cultivating community, order, collaboration, and respect. With equal parts creativity and analytics, she brings a unique skill set which fosters refining, problem solving, and connecting organizations with their true vision. In her free time, you can usually find her looking for her cup of coffee, playing with her puppy Charlie, and dreaming of her next road trip.

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Tandreia Bellamy

Host

Tandreia Bellamy retired as the Vice President of Industrial Engineering for UPS Supply Chain Solutions which included the Global Logistics, Global Freight Forwarding and UPS Freight business units. She was responsible for operations strategy and planning, asset management, forecasting, and technology tool development to optimize sustainable efficiency while driving world class service.

Tandreia held similar positions at the business unit level for Global Logistics and Global Freight forwarding. As the leader of the Global Logistics engineering function, she directed all industrial engineering activies related to distribution, service parts logistics (post-sales support), and mail innovations (low cost, light weight shipping partnership with the USPS). Between these roles Tandreia helped to establish the Advanced Technology Group which was formed to research and develop cutting edge solutions focused on reducing reliance on manual labor.

Tandreia began her career in 1986 as a part-time hourly manual package handling employee. She spent the great majority of her career in the small package business unit which is responsible for the pick-up, sort, transport and delivery of packages domestically. She held various positions in Industrial Engineering, Marketing, Inside and On-road operations in Central Florida before transferring to Atlanta for a position in Corporate Product Development and Corporate Industrial Engineering. Tandreia later held IE leadership roles in Nebraska, Minnesota and Chicago. In her final role in small package she was an IE VP responsible for all aspects of IE, technology support and quality for the 25 states on the western half of the country.
Tandreia is currently a Director for the University of Central Florida (UCF) Foundation Board and also serves on their Dean’s Advisory Board for the College of Engineering and Computer Science. Previously Tandreia served on the Executive Advisory Board for Virginia Tech’s IE Department and the Association for Supply Chain Management. She served on the Board of Trustees for ChildServ (a Chicago child and family services non-profit) and also served on the Texas A&M and Tuskegee Engineering Advisory Boards. In 2006 she was named Business Advisor of the Year by INROADS, in 2009 she was recognized as a Technology All-Star at the Women of Color in STEM conference and in 2019 she honored as a UCF Distinguished Aluma by the Department of Industrial Engineering and Management Systems.

Tandreia holds a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering from Stanford University and a master’s degree in Industrial Engineering and Management Systems from UCF. Her greatest accomplishment, however, is being the proud mother of two college students, Ruby (24) and Anthony (22).

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Marty Parker

Host

Marty Parker serves as both the CEO & Founder of Adæpt Advising and an award-winning Senior Lecturer (Teaching Professor) in Supply Chain and Operations Management at the University of Georgia. He has 30 years of experience as a COO, CMO, CSO (Chief Strategy Officer), VP of Operations, VP of Marketing and Process Engineer. He founded and leads UGA’s Supply Chain Advisory Board, serves as the Academic Director of UGA’s Leaders Academy, and serves on multiple company advisory boards including the Trucking Profitability Strategies Conference, Zion Solutions Group and Carlton Creative Company.

Marty enjoys helping people and companies be successful. Through UGA, Marty is passionate about his students, helping them network and find internships and jobs. He does this through several hundred one-on-one zoom meetings each year with his students and former students. Through Adæpt Advising, Marty has organized an excellent team of affiliates that he works with to help companies grow and succeed. He does this by helping c-suite executives improve their skills, develop better leaders, engage their workforce, improve processes, and develop strategic plans with detailed action steps and financial targets. Marty believes that excellence in supply chain management comes from the understanding the intersection of leadership, culture, and technology, working across all parts of the organization to meet customer needs, maximize profit and minimize costs.

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Laura Lopez

Marketing Coordinator

Laura Lopez serves as our Supply Chain Now Marketing Coordinator. She graduated from Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Occidente in Mexico with a degree in marketing. Laura loves everything digital because she sees the potential it holds for companies in the marketing industry. Her passion for creativity and thinking outside the box led her to pursue a career in marketing. With experience in fields like accounting, digital marketing, and restaurants, she clearly enjoys taking on challenges. Laura lives the best of both worlds - you'll either catch her hanging out with her friends soaking up the sun in Mexico or flying out to visit her family in California!

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Jake Barr

Host

An acknowledged industry leader, Jake Barr now serves as CEO for BlueWorld Supply Chain Consulting, providing support to a cross section of Fortune 500 companies such as Cargill, Caterpillar, Colgate, Dow/Dupont, Firmenich, 3M, Merck, Bayer/Monsanto, Newell Brands, Kimberly Clark, Nestle, PepsiCo, Pfizer, Sanofi, Estee Lauder and Coty among others. He's also devoted time to engagements in public health sector work with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. At P&G, he managed the breakthrough delivery of an E2E (End to End) Planning Transformation effort, creating control towers which now manage the daily business globally. He is recognized as the architect for P&G’s demand driven supply chain strategy – referenced as a “Consumer Driven Supply Chain” transformation. Jake began his career with P&G in Finance in Risk Analysis and then moved into Operations. He has experience in building supply network capability globally through leadership assignments in Asia, Latin America, North America and the Middle East. He currently serves as a Research Associate for MIT; a member of Supply Chain Industry Advisory Council; Member of Gartner’s Supply Chain Think Tank; Consumer Goods “League of Leaders“; and a recipient of the 2015 - 2021 Supply Chain “Pro’s to Know” Award. He has been recognized as a University of Kentucky Fellow.

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Marcia Williams

Host

Marcia Williams, Managing Partner of USM Supply Chain, has 18 years of experience in Supply Chain, with expertise in optimizing Supply Chain-Finance Planning (S&OP/ IBP) at Large Fast-Growing CPGs for greater profitability and improved cash flows. Marcia has helped mid-sized and large companies including Lindt Chocolates, Hershey, and Coty. She holds an MBA from Michigan State University and a degree in Accounting from Universidad de la Republica, Uruguay (South America). Marcia is also a Forbes Council Contributor based out of New York, and author of the book series Supply Chains with Maria in storytelling style. A recent speaker’s engagement is Marcia TEDx Talk: TEDxMSU - How Supply Chain Impacts You: A Transformational Journey.

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Luisa Garcia

Host, Logistics with Purpose

Luisa Garcia is a passionate Marketer from Lagos de Moreno based in Aguascalientes. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing from Universidad Autonoma de Aguascalientes, Mexico. She specializes in brand development at any stage, believing that a brand is more than just a name or image—it’s an unforgettable experience. Her expertise helps brands achieve their dreams and aspirations, making a lasting impact. Currently working at Vector Global Logistics in the Marketing team and as podcast coordinator of Logistics With Purpose®. Luisa believes that purpose-driven decisions will impact results that make a difference in the world.

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Astrid Aubert

Host, Logistics with Purpose

Astrid Aubert was born in Guadalajara, she is 39 years old and has had the opportunity to live in many places. She studied communication and her professional career has been in Trade Marketing for global companies such as Pepsico and Mars. She currently works as Marketing Director Mexico for Vector Global Logistics. She is responsible for internal communications and marketing strategy development for the logistics industry. She is a mother of two girls, married and lives in Monterrey. She defines herself as a creative and innovative person, and enjoys traveling and cooking a lot.

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Sofia Rivas Herrera

Host

Sofia Rivas Herrera is a Mexican Industrial Engineer from Tecnologico de Monterrey University, class 2019. Upon graduation she earned a scholarship to study MIT’s Graduate Certificate in Logistics and Supply Chain Management (GCLOG) 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. Former Data Analyst within the airport industry in Latin America at Pacific Airport Group, performing benchmarking reports and predictive analysis of future market behavior.

Currently working as Sr. Staffing Analyst within the S&OP team in Mexico at the biggest ecommerce company in Latin America: Mercado Libre. Responsible for workforce forecasting and planning through the analysis of demand, productivity, capacity, cost & time constraints. Sofia self identifies as Supply Chain Ambassador, sharing her passion for the field in her daily life. She has been recognized as upcoming thought leader in the field and invited to participate in several podcasts (Freight Path Podcast, Supply Chain Revolution Podcast, Let’s Talk Supply Chain, Industrificados) to discuss topics such as digital transformation, automation and future skillsets for supply chain professionals.

She is a frequent featured guest at Supply Chain Now and appointed co-host for their new series Supply Chain Now en Español. Global Ambassador for ISCEAs Sustainable Supply Chain Professional Certification (CSSCP) and keynote speaker at World Supply Chain Forum 2021 by ISCEA Indonesia.

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Karin Bursa

Host

Karin Bursa is the 2020 Supply Chain Pro to Know of the Year and the Host of the TEKTOK Digital Supply Chain Podcast powered by Supply Chain Now. With more than 25 years of supply chain and technology expertise (and the scars to prove it), Karin has the heart of a teacher and has helped nearly 1,000 customers transform their businesses and share their success stories. Today, she helps B2B technology companies introduce new products, capture customer success and grow global revenue, market share and profitability. In addition to her recognition as the 2020 Supply Chain Pro to Know of the Year, Karin has also been recognized as a 2019 and 2018 Supply Chain Pro to Know, 2009 Technology Marketing Executive of the Year and a 2008 Women in Technology Finalist. 

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Vin Vashishta

Host

Vin Vashishta is the author of ‘From Data To Profit’ (Wiley 2023). It’s the playbook for monetizing data and AI. Vin is the Founder of V-Squared and built the business from client 1 to one of the world’s oldest data and AI consulting firms. His background combines nearly 30 years in strategy, leadership, software engineering, and applied machine learning.

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Amanda Luton

Vice President, Production

Amanda is a production and marketing veteran and entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience across a variety of industries and organizations including Von Maur, Anthropologie, AmericasMart Atlanta, and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Amanda currently manages, produces, and develops modern digital content for Supply Chain Now and their clients. Amanda has previously served as the VP of Information Systems and Webmaster on the Board of Directors for APICS Savannah, and founded and managed her own successful digital marketing firm, Magnolia Marketing Group. When she’s not leading the Supply Chain Now production team, you can find Amanda in the kitchen, reading, listening to podcasts, or enjoying time with family.

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Scott W. Luton

Founder, CEO, & Host

As the founder and CEO of Supply Chain Now, you might say Scott is the voice of supply chain – but he’s too much of a team player to ever claim such a title. One thing’s for sure: he’s a tried and true supply chain expert. With over 15 years of experience in the end-to-end supply chain, Scott’s insights have appeared in major publications including The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and CNN. He has also been named a top industry influencer by Thinkers360, ISCEA and more.

From 2009-2011, Scott was president of APICS Atlanta, and he continues to lead initiatives that support both the local business community and global industry. A United States Air Force Veteran, Scott has also regularly led efforts to give back to his fellow veteran community since his departure from active duty in 2002.

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Greg White

Principal & Host

When rapid-growth technology companies, venture capital and private equity firms are looking for advisory, they call Greg – a founder, board director, advisor and catalyst of disruptive B2B technology and supply chain. An insightful visionary, Greg guides founders, investors and leadership teams in creating breakthroughs to gain market exposure and momentum – increasing overall company esteem and valuation.

Greg is a founder himself, creating Blue Ridge Solutions, a Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader in cloud-native supply chain applications, and bringing to market Curo, a field service management solution. He has also held leadership roles with Servigistics (PTC) and E3 Corporation (JDA/Blue Yonder). As a principal and host at Supply Chain Now, Greg helps guide the company’s strategic direction, hosts industry leader discussions, community livestreams, and all in addition to executive producing and hosting his original YouTube channel and podcast, TEChquila Sunrise.

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Chris Barnes

Principal, Supply Chain Now
Host of Supply Chain is Boring

Talk about world-class: Chris is one of the few professionals in the world to hold CPIM-F, CLTD-F and CSCP-F designations from ASCM/APICS. He’s also the APICS coach – and our resident Supply Chain Doctor. When he’s not hosting programs with Supply Chain Now, he’s sharing supply chain knowledge on the APICS Coach Youtube channel or serving as a professional education instructor for the Georgia Tech Supply Chain & Logistic Institute’s Supply Chain Management (SCM) program and University of Tennessee-Chattanooga Center for Professional Education courses.

Chris earned a BS in Industrial Engineering from Bradley University, an MBA with emphasis in Industrial Psychology from the University of West Florida, and is a Doctoral in Supply Chain Management candidate.

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Tyler Ward

Director of Sales

Tyler Ward serves as Supply Chain Now's Director of Sales. Born and raised in Mid-Atlantic, Tyler is a proud graduate of Shippensburg University where he earned his degree in Communications. After college, he made his way to the beautiful state of Oregon, where he now lives with his wife and daughter.

With over a decade of experience in sales, Tyler has a proven track record of exceeding targets and leading high-performing teams. He credits his success to his ability to communicate effectively with customers and team members alike, as well as his strategic thinking and problem-solving skills.

When he's not closing deals, you can find Tyler on the links or cheering on his favorite football and basketball teams. He also enjoys spending time with his family, playing pick-up basketball, and traveling back to Ocean City, Maryland, his favorite place!

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Kevin L. Jackson

Host of Digital Transformers

Kevin L. Jackson is a globally recognized Thought Leader, Industry Influencer and Founder/Author of the award winning “Cloud Musings” blog.  He has also been recognized as a “Top 5G Influencer” (Onalytica 2019, Radar 2020), a “Top 50 Global Digital Transformation Thought Leader” (Thinkers 360 2019) and provides strategic consulting and integrated social media services to AT&T, Intel, Broadcom, Ericsson and other leading companies. Mr. Jackson’s commercial experience includes Vice President J.P. Morgan Chase, Worldwide Sales Executive for IBM and SAIC (Engility) Director Cloud Solutions. He has served on teams that have supported digital transformation projects for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the US Intelligence Community.  Kevin’s formal education includes a MS Computer Engineering from Naval Postgraduate School; MA National Security & Strategic Studies from Naval War College; and a BS Aerospace Engineering from the United States Naval Academy. Internationally recognizable firms that have sponsored articles authored by him include CiscoMicrosoft, Citrix and IBM.  Books include “Click to Transform” (Leaders Press, 2020), “Architecting Cloud Computing Solutions” (Packt, 2018), and “Practical Cloud Security: A Cross Industry View” (Taylor & Francis, 2016). He also delivers online training through Tulane UniversityO’Reilly MediaLinkedIn Learning, and Pluralsight.  Mr. Jackson retired from the U.S. Navy in 1994, earning specialties in Space Systems EngineeringCarrier Onboard Delivery Logistics and carrier-based Airborne Early Warning and Control. While active, he also served with the National Reconnaissance Office, Operational Support Office, providing tactical support to Navy and Marine Corps forces worldwide.

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Enrique Alvarez

Host of Logistics with Purpose and Supply Chain Now en Español

Enrique serves as Managing Director at Vector Global Logistics and believes we all have a personal responsibility to change the world. He is hard working, relationship minded and pro-active. Enrique trusts that the key to logistics is having a good and responsible team that truly partners with the clients and does whatever is necessary to see them succeed. He is a proud sponsor of Vector’s unique results-based work environment and before venturing into logistics he worked for the Boston Consulting Group (BCG). During his time at BCG, he worked in different industries such as Telecommunications, Energy, Industrial Goods, Building Materials, and Private Banking. His main focus was always on the operations, sales, and supply chain processes, with case focus on, logistics, growth strategy, and cost reduction. Prior to joining BCG, Enrique worked for Grupo Vitro, a Mexican glass manufacturer, for five years holding different positions from sales and logistics manager to supply chain project leader in charge of five warehouses in Colombia.

He has an MBA from The Wharton School of Business and a BS, in Mechanical Engineer from the Technologico de Monterrey in Mexico. Enrique’s passions are soccer and the ocean, and he also enjoys traveling, getting to know new people, and spending time with his wife and two kids, Emma and Enrique.

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Kelly Barner

Host of Dial P for Procurement

Kelly is the Owner and Managing Director of Buyers Meeting Point and MyPurchasingCenter. She has been in procurement since 2003, starting as a practitioner and then as the Associate Director of Consulting at Emptoris. She has covered procurement news, events, publications, solutions, trends, and relevant economics at Buyers Meeting Point since 2009. Kelly is also the General Manager at Art of Procurement and Business Survey Chair for the ISM-New York Report on Business. Kelly has her MBA from Babson College as well as an MS in Library and Information Science from Simmons College and she has co-authored three books: ‘Supply Market Intelligence for Procurement Professionals’, ‘Procurement at a Crossroads’, and ‘Finance Unleashed’.

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Mary Kate Soliva

Host, Veteran Voices

Mary Kate Soliva is a veteran of the US Army and cofounder of the Guam Human Rights Initiative. She is currently in the Doctor of Criminal Justice program at Saint Leo University. She is passionate about combating human trafficking and has spent the last decade conducting training for military personnel and the local community.

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Constantine Limberakis

Host

Constantine Limberakis is a thought leader in the area of procurement and supply management. He has over 20 years of international experience, playing strategic roles in a wide spectrum of organizations related to analyst advisory, consulting, product marketing, product development, and market research.Throughout his career, he's been passionate about engaging global business leaders and the broader analyst and technology community with strategic content, speaking engagements, podcasts, research, webinars, and industry articles.Constantine holds a BA in History from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and an MBA in Finance & Marketing / Masters in Public & International Affairs from the University of Pittsburgh.

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Clay Phillips

Business Development Manager

Clay is passionate about two things: supply chain and the marketing that goes into it. Recently graduated with a degree in marketing at the University of Georgia, Clay got his start as a journalism major and inaugural member of the Owl’s football team at Kennesaw State University – but quickly saw tremendous opportunity in the Terry College of Business. He’s already putting his education to great use at Supply Chain Now, assisting with everything from sales and brand strategy to media production. Clay has contributed to initiatives such as our leap into video production, the guest blog series, and boosting social media presence, and after nearly two years in Supply Chain Now’s Marketing Department, Clay now heads up partnership and sales initiatives with the help of the rest of the Supply Chain Now sales team.

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Trisha Cordes

Administrative Assistant

Trisha is new to the supply chain industry – but not to podcasting. She’s an experienced podcast manager and virtual assistant who also happens to have 20 years of experience as an elementary school teacher. It’s safe to say, she’s passionate about helping people, and she lives out that passion every day with the Supply Chain Now team, contributing to scheduling and podcast production.

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Chantel King

Social Media Manager

My name is Chantel King and I am the Social Media Specialist at Supply Chain Now. My job is to make sure our audience is engaged and educated on the abundant amount of information the supply chain industry has to offer.

Social Media and Communications has been my niche ever since I graduated from college at The Academy of Art University in San Francisco. No, I am not a West Coast girl. I was born and raised in New Jersey, but my travel experience goes way beyond the garden state. My true passion is in creating editorial and graphic content that influences others to be great in whatever industry they are in. I’ve done this by working with lifestyle, financial, and editorial companies by providing resources to enhance their businesses.

Another passion of mine is trying new things. Whether it’s food, an activity, or a sport. I would like to say that I am an adventurous Taurus that never shies away from a new quest or challenge.

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Lori Sofian

Marketing Coordinator

Lori is currently completing a degree in marketing with an emphasis in digital marketing at the University of Georgia. When she’s not supporting the marketing efforts at Supply Chain Now, you can find her at music festivals – or working toward her dream goal of a fashion career. Lori is involved in many extracurricular activities and appreciates all the learning experiences UGA has brought her.

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Katherine Hintz

Director, Customer Experience

Katherine is a marketing professional and MBA candidate who strives to unite her love of people with a passion for positive experiences. Having a diverse background, which includes nonprofit work with digital marketing and start-ups, she serves as a leader who helps people live their most creative lives by cultivating community, order, collaboration, and respect. With equal parts creativity and analytics, she brings a unique skill set which fosters refining, problem solving, and connecting organizations with their true vision. In her free time, you can usually find her looking for her cup of coffee, playing with her puppy Charlie, and dreaming of her next road trip.

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Mary Kate Love

Chief of Staff & Host

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

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

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Joshua Miranda

Marketing Specialist

Joshua is a student from Institute of Technology and Higher Education of Monterrey Campus Guadalajara in Communication and Digital Media. His experience ranges from Plug and Play México, DearDoc, and Nissan México creating unique social media marketing campaigns and graphics design. Joshua helps to amplify the voice of supply chain here at Supply Chain Now by assisting in graphic design, content creation, asset logistics, and more.  In his free time he likes to read and write short stories as well as watch movies and television series.

Donna Krache

Director of Communications and Executive Producer

Donna Krache is a former CNN executive producer who has won several awards in journalism and communication, including three Peabodys.  She has 30 years’ experience in broadcast and digital journalism. She led the first production team at CNN to convert its show to a digital platform. She has authored many articles for CNN and other media outlets. She taught digital journalism at Georgia State University and Arizona State University. Krache holds a bachelor’s degree in government from the College of William and Mary and a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from the University of New Orleans. She is a serious sports fan who loves the Braves. She is president of the Dave Krache Foundation. Named in honor of her late husband, this non-profit pays fees for kids who want to play sports but whose parents are facing economic challenges.

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Vicki White

Controller

Vicki has a long history of rising to challenges and keeping things up and running. First, she supported her family’s multi-million dollar business as controller for 12 years, beginning at the age of 17. Then, she worked as an office manager and controller for a wholesale food broker. But her biggest feat? Serving as the chief executive officer of her household, while her entrepreneur husband travelled the world extensively. She fed, nurtured, chaperoned, and chauffeured three daughters all while running a newsletter publishing business and remaining active in her community as a Stephen’s Minister, Sunday school teacher, school volunteer, licensed realtor and POA Board president (a title she holds to this day). A force to be reckoned with in the office, you might think twice before you meet Vicki on the tennis court! When she’s not keeping the books balanced at Supply Chain Now or playing tennis matches, you can find Vicki spending time with her husband Greg, her 4 fur babies, gardening, cleaning (yes, she loves to clean!) and learning new things.

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