Study after study indicates that diversity plays a critical role in improving revenue while making companies more agile and innovative in the face of constant change. And yet the tech industry continues to lag behind when it comes to investing in Black and Brown tech entrepreneurs. So C&I Studios Founder and CEO Joshua Miller set out to answer a simple question: why aren’t we funding Black tech? He sat down with us to discuss the core issues driving his forthcoming documentary, “Fund Black Tech,” and to share his insights from interviewing emerging entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and execs around the world. Learn more about C&I Studios, the documentary film making process, how companies can move beyond lip service when it comes to diversity – and much more.
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Kevin L. Jackson (00:31):
Well, well, good morning. This is Kevin L. Jackson host of digital transformers with Kelly Barner from Dial P for procurement with the supply chain. Now Thursday livestream. You want to look at, what’s gotten Greg rancher. I think we got him. I need on a day
Kelly Barner (00:53):
Jokes on. Maybe we’ll maybe we’ll see if we can compete with their dynamic, Kevin and I made quite a duo. Uh, but yeah, thank you so much, everybody who’s joined us. I’m thrilled to be here.
Kevin L. Jackson (01:04):
I said, you know, an old school is telling you and Regis and then it’s Kelly and Ryan, and now it’s Kelly and Kevin. Wow. We’re gonna, we’re gonna take the world by storm
Kelly Barner (01:16):
Kevin L. Jackson (01:18):
Sorry, Kelly. Now trying something new. Uh, it’s a sort of a brainstorm. We came up with called Thursday’s futures and this is the opportunity for Kelly not to pontificate on the future of digital business, but more important in that we want to find out what you think is going to happen. Is there a new normal in the future for us? Will people get back to those hour long commute to tiny cubicles and nondescript buildings downtown or, or they all revolt and refuse to work on anything, but PJ is on the couch. What comes to your mind? Kelly?
Kelly Barner (02:02):
This is actually a really interesting question, you know, cause there were good things about being home and there were not so good things about being home, sweat pants, probably more on the good end, not being able to fit back into normal pool thing less good. But I think what I’ve enjoyed in any of the conversations that I’ve had with people about this is so why. Right? Cause everybody has very different personal drivers for whether they want to go back, whether they want to stay home. Some people have made crazy life choices during this time. So regardless of what the future is from this Thursday going forward, I know it’s going to be interesting.
Kevin L. Jackson (02:34):
I know one of the things I’ve really gotten into this is a good thing. A habit of exercising at a particular time because I don’t, you know, I’m not on the interstate trying to get home, um, uh, today’s show, we’re going to tackle the future of diversity in the tech industry with the director of fun, black tech, Joshua Miller, he’s the CEO of CNN studios. But before we get to that, I’d like to welcome some of our listeners. I’m looking at, uh, Kyle Garcia. He’s uh, apparently he will be, he just not joining us loud, but he felt so compelled to tell Scott he wouldn’t be here. I guess what we fooled Kyle and didn’t worry. And uh, good morning from Georgia that’s uh, Serina says thank you very much for joining us and Peter Peter Beaujolais. He is a regular a Peter. Scott’s not here today, but thanks for joining us. I’d like to hear some of,
Kelly Barner (03:46):
And Kevin, I got to throw a flag on this. It’s not Peter Palais. It’s Peter bullae all night and all day [inaudible] We got to hit the nicknames.
Kevin L. Jackson (04:00):
I did that, right? Absolutely. So, uh, thanks. Looking forward to your comments also, uh, Peter. So, uh, with that I’d like to, um, uh, like to rock them Joshua today’s show.
Joshua Miller (04:18):
Hey, how’s it going?
Kevin L. Jackson (04:20):
So, hi, Joshua, welcome to, uh, Thursdays futures. Before we, before we get started talking about black technology entrepreneurs. Can you tell us a little bit about you and CNR studios?
Joshua Miller (04:36):
Yeah, thanks for having me guys. It’s great to be here. Um, yeah, CNI studios is, uh, just been my baby. Uh, we started this thing in Washington DC in 2006, um, over, I’ve got a really awesome team, uh, that supports me in everything that we do since then the studios in New York city and Tribeca and downtown Los Angeles and in south Florida. So it’s really grown, which has been awesome. And, and um, we kind of work on a bunch of things, uh, and uh, I’m really addicted to growing businesses and helping businesses, uh, scale, uh, expand and elevate. And so we’ve really come alongside of businesses and help them grow. Um, and so that’s kind of been, uh, my passion, uh, with CNI studios and, um, and we’ve been doing it for such a long time. Uh, but every day to us, we’re, we’re in that place with everyone that I worked with where it just doesn’t feel like work. So everyday is pretty awesome.
Kevin L. Jackson (05:29):
Wow. When you’re doing something that does work, that doesn’t feel like work, that’s sort of the holy grail, isn’t it
Joshua Miller (05:37):
It’s really, it’s really weird. I mean, when I was younger, I mean the whole, you like I filmmaking is in my background. So it just the idea that you could get paid to do this was like always very strange. Uh, now every day, that’s what I do. And uh, it’s, you know, sometimes you forget that that like, yeah, you know, you’re here. So I don’t know. It’s one, the coolest things. It’s the coolest job, uh, for me at least.
Kevin L. Jackson (06:00):
Is this something you wanted to do since you a little boy dreaming about being behind the camera and tell him,
Joshua Miller (06:08):
Um, I don’t, you know, I will say this ever since I was very young, I would, you know, look at, you know, cameras. I was the kid that was always breaking my parents’ television and trying to figure out how it worked. So cameras were always very, uh, exciting, uh, to me and then figuring out, you know, how to get one and then you can shoot stuff with your friends. I, that was always interesting to me, the ability to tell stories in that way, I have always been interested in whether I was four year olds or eight or eight year old, or my parents, you know, everyone was really addicted to when the TV was on. People were paying attention. People were listening, people were watching, uh, the TV had the attention. And, um, I don’t know that stuck with me. And so, uh, now we made it a, you know, just a career and just being able to tell people’s stories. And I really feel like that’s the way that people actually identify with stuff, um, rather than challenging them face to face. Yeah.
Kelly Barner (07:07):
Now, Joshua, just to help us a little bit, understand a little bit more about you and CNI studios, is there a specific type of genre that you would say that your content is in? Is it documentary entertainment? How do you tend to describe the content,
Joshua Miller (07:23):
Man? It really ranges. Um, you know, so it can be on the corporate side. I think there’s a corporate side. And then there’s like a, you know, a creative content side on the corporate side. I mean, we, we dabble in so many different businesses. We’re kind of addicted to anyone. That’s like, Hey, Josh, I want to scale this or this isn’t doing what I want it to do. What we, what my team works so good at is we are constantly thinking and brainstorming of creative ways to achieve that goal. So that could be in the healthcare space. It could be in politics. It could be, um, you know, law firms. I mean it D I mean, products, you name it, but it’s like, we call ourselves a, an idea agency. Um, so it’s kind of a mix of an advertising agency, but also a production company.
Joshua Miller (08:09):
But what we do best is come up with ideas that we know we can execute on. And so in the corporate space, we do that quite a bit. Um, Hey, I want to take my product to this market and we’re not here. I wish we could hit this demo, but we’re not, we’re only hitting this demo. We love that. And this problem solving. So that’s just, so that happens in every industry. So I hate to be that guy. That’s like, I like all, but we really do dabble in a bunch of different industries on the creative side, on the con the content side it’s really started to move like long format really started to become a thing like podcasts like this one, um, uh, documentaries docu-series, um, uh, feature films and television shows. So that’s on the other side of it too. Um, for larger like hotel chains that want to get their message out in a unique way. So we also do that too. So, uh, we really get everyday feels different here. You know, one day, one day we’re shooting a, you know, a documentary and the next day we’re shooting a commercial for target. And then, you know, the next day we’re helping run ads and build a brand for, you know, a fashion client. It all ranges, but it’s really cool because it keeps us on our toes. So, um, it’s pretty fun.
Kelly Barner (09:23):
What does have an amazing team though? Cause when I think about couple of the things that you mentioned, they’re incredibly hard things to do. Creativity is exhausting, right? It’s not natural, it’s exhausting and achieving scale is brutal. So your team must be absolutely incredible to handle all of that and enjoy it at the same time.
Joshua Miller (09:40):
Well, you have to have the right amount of crazy, right? So,
Kevin L. Jackson (09:47):
Uh, you know, a measuring cup,
Joshua Miller (09:50):
It’s a certain amount. You can’t go the T it’s interesting because you have to really love this. Like if you don’t love the entertainment industry, it will eat you alive. And so you have to, the team is finding the right people. So we’ve had so many challenges and finding the right people. Um, but, but yeah, I mean the scale, the trying to be able to do it on such a scale, you know, for us, it’s, it’s global, you know, we got back from a shoot that was in Europe during COVID, you know? Um, and so you have to be able to, you know, work with a team that, I mean, one of our core values is do the impossible because all of our clients, all of them are, you know, if you asked them when they want something it’s always yesterday, it’s always tomorrow, or can you do it now?
Joshua Miller (10:34):
So we’ve had to really adapt and find people that are diverse, have different perspectives from us, but we all kind of share the same level of, you know, our work ethic, um, and our commitment to quality. So, but I do agree with you creative. It’s not easy work. It’s not that we just sit back and we’re like, oh, let the ideas come to me. No, if, uh, you know, you really, we, we all, we also don’t call ourselves creative, who we call ourselves professionals, uh, creatives need to be inspired to work. Uh, the professional professionals can work anytime of day. Anytime at night, we don’t need to, we don’t need to have all the, the candles and the right professionals can create because we’re professionals, uh, creative need to be inspired. Uh, inspiration certainly helps, but you know, you need, when you need something done really well, it’s time to call a pro.
Kevin L. Jackson (11:25):
No, I’ve never really heard it put that way, but it makes a lot of sense. Um, and I tell you, Josh have been really scheming to have you on my show since I kind of met you in Miami, he saved the world set. I saw you working hard, but you’re so busy. I’ve never got a chance to actually talk to you. That was your wife, Amy that told me about fun black tech, and really gotten me gone. Uh, and really, I guess she inspired me. Maybe I’m not a professional, but how is she doing?
Joshua Miller (12:06):
I mean, she’s doing great. Like all things. She is the megaphone to the studio. And just like that, I’m usually busy on some set somewhere. And Amy’s always the first to say, hold on you, you, you actually need to meet Josh or Josh would love to talk. I would love to talk with somebody. People we’re always doing so much stuff, but no, Amy is literally the glue, but between, uh, just like a lot of people on the team, but she’s the glue, uh, for a bunch of different productions that we do. Um, and, um, and our executive team, but, you know, they’re just, they’re so good at that kind of stuff. So she’s doing great. She’s been producing, I mean, so much stuff, uh, fund black tech that you mentioned, she’s one of the producers on that and flying us to all these different places, finding locations to fit them.
Joshua Miller (12:47):
If that’s the, you know, everyone thinks it’s fun to make this. It is, it is brutal. Uh, there’s so much hard work. I tell people on social media, the studio looks so fun and it looks inspirational and it looks like we have a blast and that’s true, but what’s not on social media is the, just the gut wrenching stress and the amount of work. The 2:00 AM 3:00 AM just working and just to hit a goal that’s not on there. And, um, and so, like I said, you got to really love it. Um, but no, she does a great job. And I’m so thankful that she met you. And, um, There were so many people there, but she was like, you gotta meet Josh, you gotta meet Kevin. Okay. Like, it was like the next day I was like, did you meet him? I’m like, no,
Kevin L. Jackson (13:40):
Thank you. But I’ll tell you, you are working hard then down in Miami, you didn’t meet that sun to be sweating. Cause that’s, so you run it up there and running back back, and last week they had their premiere. So, uh, from a director point of view, how do you feel I had part one, uh, last week and part two this week. Are you, uh, is there a smile on your face?
Joshua Miller (14:08):
Well, I will say this is really cool. Every time that we work on something as a team and it gets released, I don’t think people, people always say like, oh, this is a really bad movie. Or everyone has seen bad movies, but it’s really tough for, to be in the industry and say, something’s bad. Cause you know, the, the amount of drama and headache that went to making that bad. So I will say like, it’s a, it’s a big congratulations to, I mean, some films get done and they stop and they never come to light. So the fact that it’s created, it’s done and it got released as cool. It’s always cool to see our work out there. Um, I haven’t had the chance to actually watch it if we’re being it. Uh, we have been on, we have been, do we have been in the process of putting fun black texts first, uh, um, you know, trailer together. So I haven’t had a moment till everyone’s like, have you seen this movie? I’ve seen that. Like, I haven’t seen anything. Um, but no, it’s great to see anything that we work on. So many people worked on that really, really hard for those four days. Um, and I’ll tell you a little secret is, uh, the crew here caused that show four days, the kill CNI.
Joshua Miller (15:20):
It was cause you know, 16, 20 hour days for four days, we were, it was, we were ready. It was great when we got to sleep after that.
Kevin L. Jackson (15:28):
Yeah. So for our audience for days the same, the world, you can catch it on apple TV, it’s on Android. Um, it’s also on Ruku and online. So, um, look for four days to save the world, you can see some of the Joshua’s work. So, so Joshua fund, black tech, how did that actually get started? I tell you when I heard about that, it was like what took so long?
Joshua Miller (15:58):
Oh man. Yeah. Um, I, I think, I can’t remember, uh, Sarah would know, um, but, uh, I think it was like 2018 or 2017 or something like that. We were working with magic leap. Um, and we were doing a bunch of all their creative and a bunch of other stuff. We met a lot of really great people there. The CEO and founder magic magically, uh, Roni. We just, I don’t know, man, we just, we’re just kindred spirits. And we worked on so many projects there. Um, and um, and since then he appointed a new CEO and he’s been working on other stuff and we just reconnected and he was like, I was like, what are you doing? And, and, um, he was just talking about, he came back from this conference and these is a really, if you don’t know Ron, he’s like just a really cool dude.
Joshua Miller (16:39):
Like he’s got such a good heart. Um, and he was like, I was at this conference, Josh, and you’re just kind of upset. I was like, what’s going on? And he’s like, I was like this conference, there was this like 500 CEOs. All of them are white. There was one woman. And, uh, I need to just bothered. And I was like, that’s crazy. And he was like, it’s weird that the tech space acts like it’s still caught up in the 18 hundreds. And that like stuck with me because I just think about like issues in our world, especially how divided everything is right now. People don’t like, I’ll say this. Like Amy’s parents, like, um, they used to eat meat and people there, you know, some of Amy’s sisters feel like you guys should be vegan and you should be vegetarians. And they all have these conversations years, and years and years, you should try to convince them.
Joshua Miller (17:23):
It never worked. They watched one documentary and like the next day they were like, we’re going to be vegetarians now. Um, that stuck with me, it’s like the power of media. So every time I hear stuff, like Ronnie’s, he mentioned, I think, how do you, how do you change something? I, you know, I, you know, my parents aren’t rich, you know, I don’t have, I don’t have money like that. So you think like you can’t really do anything, but, but for us, like the ability to tell a story, um, is huge. So he said that, and I was like a few meetings later. I was like, yo, we have to make this into a documentary. Now it’s been turned into a docu series. Um, but, um, it’s just about how can we, how, why is this a problem? Like why ha like, if you think about black and brown people in sports, the NBA, the NFL, if you think of Kamala Harris, you know, Barack Obama, if you think about the music industry, if you think about all these industries, you see black, brown people, women, just artists have just progressed.
Joshua Miller (18:19):
Then you get to the tech industry and Silicon valley and you have to be two things to be in that industry. And you have to be a man and you have to be white. Um, and it is shocking to me that that’s how it is. So that kind of, that kind of made us continue to think like, well, what is that? Black people not have good ideas? Do women not know anything about tech? Um, all those things aren’t true. So it’s like, well, why isn’t this happening? And none of us have the answer. So it was like, all right, we’re going to go on this journey. And, um, and we’ve got to talk to some of the most brilliant minds in my opinion, uh, that I’ve able to meet yours, included Kevin and set, sit down with some people and interview them and just find out why, because at the end of the day, there is no good answer.
Joshua Miller (19:07):
So if there isn’t a good answer, then we should just fund black tech or just the idea, uh, that and stuff that we’ve heard on this journey has kind of crazy. But we think honestly, instead of getting up on like a megaphone and trying to tell people, Hey, this is what you need to do or writing a blog. We think people hear best when they’re not challenged by other people. Like if you’re watching a film, uh, you know, you feel like you’re and you feel impacted by that film. You feel like you came up with that yourself. Um, you don’t feel like someone, you know, someone’s arguing with you about politics and you’re like, okay, I believe you. But it’s kind of these moments when you’re by yourself taking something in watching something and you feel something, uh, is where I think changes. And so our whole mission is like, can we get people to see this different world and feel something different? Um, because I do think that the majority of people are good. I don’t think sometimes they know what to do or how to express themselves. But I do think that when people are, when they, when people hear certain things, they’re like compelled to be better. Um, so, uh, that’s kind of our methodology behind this thing. Wow.
Kelly Barner (20:24):
Now, given that this is an interview based documentary, it’s not like you’re writing a script. I mean, you are, I’m sure carefully selecting the people that you bring in, you have some sense of what their expertise is or what their perspective might be, but what is the process for you? Like trying to have this big picture vision, but then bring in people without knowing precisely in advance what they’re going to say, but sort of making sure that the whole idea comes together into one code.
Joshua Miller (20:53):
Yeah. I mean, that’s, uh, that’s you just asked the million dollar question, um, for us, like I’ve got, you know, uh, Beth Bryant is one of our producers, Sarah, Dreyer’s one of our producers, Amy, of course. And I just, I just have, and obviously Ronnie, we’ve just been able to, our whole methodology has just been like, I think we need to wing it. And we’re trying to put together outlines and figure out how we should do it. We just wanted to go talk to people and just hear their stories. Some people we thought like, these are the questions that I want to ask Kevin, these are the questions that I want to ask John Amaechi. Um, but in a lot of times I want to ask them the same question to see the, just that alone, um, asking everyone about what the role black women play in tech.
Joshua Miller (21:36):
I mean, every answer is different. Uh, and so that is really interesting to us. So we just kind of went out, our goal was go out on a fact, finding mission, be prepared, but don’t be prepared, save room for magic to happen. Um, and every interview, I mean, I’ve had my jaw drop, just, I think it’s going somewhere. And then someone says something different and you know, and you think, you know, about society and what people have gone in your jaw. My jaw just drops every interview I’ve done about 15 of them now, some international, some here, all across America. Um, but I think the, the, the, the real challenges when I handed over to, uh, my two brilliant editors, uh, Kai Ettrick and, and Andras Colona, I basically just say, Hey guys, here, this mounds of data that we have collected, and they start to sift through and find these moments.
Joshua Miller (22:30):
And once we start doing that, that’s when we really start building the shows. And I think it’s more about what do we need to collect, but I think the magic is in the editing process when we that’s, when we start to connect it up. So for me, I get to have a lot of fun when I get to interview people and ask questions. So just kind of get to know them. If you get to know people and ask questions, they, they share, people want to share their knowledge, share what they’ve been through. Um, and then we have the hard work when we come in and stare at, uh, editing screens for hours and hours.
Kelly Barner (23:00):
No, I don’t want to make you do a spoiler alert, but are there any moments so far from these interviews that either really stand out in your mind as being particularly impactful or surprising, or potentially even changed the narrative arc that the docu-series will end up taking?
Joshua Miller (23:19):
Yeah. I mean, there’s been a lot, um, like we, I mean, I, like I said, every interview has been absolutely mind blowing. I do think that when you there’s been a lot of conversations with, um, like I have like CNS really good verse. Like my executive team is like, you know, it’s me, my brother runs our, the whole company. Um, and then we have two, uh, executive Sarah and Beth that I mentioned. So we’re super diverse. Like, um, we’ve a lot of women in leadership seeing that I think changed the whole documentary. Like, it was like, yo fun, black tech. And then it was like, okay, let’s talk about black women. Let’s talk about women. Then we start with the Asian community and we’re like, hold on. What? So it’s really opened up so much that I didn’t really see at first. Um, and, um, and I think that’s been pretty, and I think that’s been really unique in the, in Inn, but hearing, I think hearing how I think quite frankly, the thing that has struck me the most is like hearing how black women are viewed in tech, but also just society at large.
Joshua Miller (24:27):
It’s probably been one of the craziest things that I’ve ever I’ve ever like, thought about and heard. And we were just, I think I, I don’t, man. I wish Sarah was here, but she would tell me, I was just meeting with someone, but I’m just talking about the role. Like you wouldn’t hear about George Floyd, if it wasn’t for a black woman, you know, it was a black woman that shot that video. It was a black woman that was like introduced to tech. It’s not her first video. She didn’t just get an iPhone. It’s like, how do I use this? Oh, God, what’s happening. She’s super involved in tech and content creation and media and into the tech industry. If had it not been for her, there is none of this corporate diversity, you know, Netflix putting up, you know, all this stuff. There’s none of that, man.
Joshua Miller (25:09):
So I feel like that, you know, the role of black women that they play in the society, I think has been, I say, black women, but I’m also talking about women in general. Cause I really feel like, I mean, women get the end of the stick, uh, in America. And, and, and obviously in the tech industry, like you’re really good to buy our products and women control the household income period. Like we will control women, we will control what you eat, what you sleep on. Like women control it, but don’t, you dare try to start a company like, don’t, you dare try to ask for funding. You can’t do that. But, so it’s been interesting. It’s been interesting to like, hear that. And, um, and, um, so, uh, I think that’s been the thing that’s been the most eye opening. Wow.
Kevin L. Jackson (25:54):
So one of the things I wanted to highlight, I mean, you’ve talked about it that this is not a, an American thing, right? This is an international thing. And I want to just start out a Chang from Canada. I wanted to invite you to, uh, you know, maybe a comment in the stream, you know, is this the same viewpoint, uh, from, uh, north of the border? And, uh, a goodie says doing what you love is awesome as absolutely true. Um, so, uh, the other thing is having the right amount of crazy. I’m going to have to use that, you know, how do you put that on your resume? You know, I have the right amount of crazy.
Joshua Miller (26:51):
I think it sounds wild, but it’s actually quantifiable. It’s like the right amount of crazy is I do what I say I’m going to do. And that’s really it like, cause that means that like I’m stubborn enough to my word means something and I’m stubborn enough to make sure I can do whatever I’m going to. You’re no I’m going to make it happen. Um, and so that’s kind of how the methodology for our studio and myself personally, you got to have a little bit of like Novo can’t we can, we do it at 3:00 AM, but
Joshua Miller (27:23):
We don’t want to, but, and we like take yourself to that kind of crazy. Um, I think that can help you, especially in this industry where you get a lot of notes and a lot of changes, especially when we work in, like we’re working with a news client right now, you get a lot of that stuff. Last minute, it comes in. Most of our clients are doing a job are running companies. So when they’re ready to work on or give you notes on your thing, it’s eight, o’clock nine, o’clock 10, o’clock, 11 o’clock at night. That’s what made us scale to LA to be quite honest, how can we go? How can we have a team in LA that now I have more hours time zones. There’s actually only like four hours out of the day. We’re seeing, I can’t operate in between the hours of two and six.
Joshua Miller (28:08):
That’s it, but any other time, like we’re in full swing. So, um, uh, but yeah, that’s been a, that’s been a huge help for us, but I don’t know. You have to, you, you, you, I dunno, you just gotta keep yourself fresh and surround yourself with some really great people. But I think the biggest thing for us is having a team that feels the same goals as you. Um, that’s been hard and it’s been hard through the, through the pandemic. It’s been hard through some of the, the, uh, political woes. We’ve lost. Some people gained some great people, but yeah, you gotta have a team that is on that sees the same thing. Uh, that’s kind of crucial and that makes you a little crazy.
Kevin L. Jackson (28:44):
So it’s about having that Kendrick spirit on the team.
Joshua Miller (28:48):
Yeah. I mean, cause that’s the stuff that, cause you’re fighting for each other, uh, you know, you fight for each other. There’s a deadline, of course there’s a client, but you’re really fighting for each other and you know, and keeping your word and your art. And so, uh, the kindred spirits, a big deal.
Kevin L. Jackson (29:03):
So Kelly yesterday, you had a really interesting question to ask Joshua.
Kelly Barner (29:08):
I do. So Joshua I’m from the procurement space. I’ve, I’ve worked in this space for almost 20 years. Um, I can tell you from my very earliest days as a practitioner is supplier diversity is not new, but in 2020, because of George Floyd and black lives matter and all of the movement and the exposure and the attention that was drawn, we sort of ratcheted to the next level of urgency around these programs. Now you might think on the surface, that’s just flat out good news, but I’ve been around. And I guess my concern is for companies that actually want to make a difference around the diversity of the people that work and are supported by their supply base. How can they make sure that what they’re doing goes beyond first of all, just patting themselves on the back. And second of all saying, oh, for this month, I’m gonna change my corporate logo to black. And for this month, I’m going to make it a rainbow. It doesn’t that make me so fulfilled. Right? How many jobs did you create? How many real hard conversations did you have, you know, either from the interviews, from the fund black tech documentary or from your own personal experience, can you speak to the procurement community, speak to the people that have been tasked with actually driving meaningful change around the diversity of ownership and workforce and board membership in corporations and how we can make sure that this is not sort of a flash moment in time, how this is actually a pivot that we’re able to see?
Joshua Miller (30:46):
Yeah. I mean, that’s just everything that I talk about on a daily basis. I mean, I, when you, when I, after Georgia, Florida, I saw everything that you were saying, you know, the logos, everyone had their statement. It was almost like if you don’t have a statement, there’s a problem. They said something, oh, put ours up. What are we saying? Like, um, I feel like that’s a question that I do ask to people. No, one’s asked me. So thank you, Kelly. Um,
Kelly Barner (31:14):
I’m lucky. Yeah.
Joshua Miller (31:15):
I, uh, I think a lot of companies have put out these statements and changed their logos. Um, I think just to, uh, make sure they check the box, uh, we did it, um, you know, make sure we have the whatever number is okay of, uh, you know, minority, you know, um, staff members or w what I think a lot of people do stuff just to check the box. But I do think some companies on the other side are like really sitting back and saying, this is not cool. Um, we, and some, uh, you know, that’s, self-reflection, I think, um, you know, is a, is a big deal. Here’s what I think though about, uh, that first group of companies it’s like, people can see through that lip service, we can see through it. Um, and I think employees of a company can feel it too.
Joshua Miller (32:05):
So I think the data really matters. You can’t say women matter, if not a lot of women work there, no women are in, uh, executive level positions. Can’t really figure out the last time a woman was promoted. Um, you could say that out front, but I think the data really matters. I also think that companies are really missing a big key is like, people obviously need money to operate, but that’s not why they operate. And so you will have employees of some of these larger conglomerates. People want to be attached to something. People want to be a part of something. So I think there’s a real missed opportunity to say, you know, for these larger companies that say, Hey, I think black people matter, gay people matter, um, women matter, but we’re not going to stop there. This is what we’re going to do about it.
Joshua Miller (32:56):
I think if you did that, you would have this outpouring of support, love and commitment from your staff that you haven’t seen before. But I think the biggest thing is if you’re really doing it, like, like Ben and Jerry’s is they’re always out front first, like you could tell it’s like who they are. It’s a part of their company. They’re not just doing it for anybody else. Um, and so I think like if you’re doing that, you inherently, if you, if we are more diverse, really diverse, if we’re really looking out after people and different perspectives and backgrounds, your company will make more money period. And I think if people, if executives and board members really thought that they see it as an endurance, they see it as, I don’t know where we gonna lose something. What do you know it’s really about, if you, if you, the more diverse people you have around you, the more your company can reach out to those, uh, different, you know, uh, demographics that you weren’t able to in the right way.
Joshua Miller (33:54):
And I see some of these things that come out like that Pepsi ad with Kendall Jenner, and that comes to mind and you’re like, man, this is a, or like, you know, there’s a, these tech devices that don’t work on black skin. It’s like, man, you guys just didn’t even have someone black or a woman in the room to test, to test it in a white people that works great, but you never tested on anyone with dark skin. So WIC that facial recognition doesn’t even work. It’s like, and so I think if we, if you actually, if you actually do that, um, I think that it actually helps your company, like with your staff. I think it makes you more money. Um, and I also, it holds, it holds you to a, um, like a moral, I think, uh, uh, and the accountability that I think some of these really large companies have to move the needle.
Joshua Miller (34:44):
Um, and I think we’re missing it. Like, I think apple and Google and, um, you know, and IBM, these, they have a role to play in America. It’s not just money. It’s like, you can really shape America with the moves that you make or the moves that you don’t make. Right. You can say certain things are okay. Like when you really hire that new head coach, it should be on merit. For sure. I don’t ever want a directing job because, oh, that’s the black guy and we need somebody. Um, I don’t want the directing job because I’m the, I’m the best director for that gig. Um, but also it looks really weird. It started to look really weird with the Oscars and, you know, it’s like, man, like nothing, no, nobody. And so I think you have to really want it, like, if you don’t want the diversity, if you’re, if you don’t really care, what Muslim women go through, then, you know, you’re just going to put up a thing you’re going to black lives matter.
Joshua Miller (35:38):
Um, you know, just say, but if you really want it, um, you know, I think that you will charge your staff, uh, uh, with why you want it. And that’s got to come from the board down CEO down, not just like, Hey guys, if you could really throw in some people of color, that would be really awesome. Um, I’d be like, well, why don’t we want people of color and, and people of color like shape the way that we do quite a lot. Um, and so it would almost be specific like, like why would we abandon the, the, the, the voice of a woman? Why would be the fandom, but voice of a younger generation or older generation, like, why wouldn’t you want all that to be a part of your company? So, um, I don’t know. I, it, people change like when they want to change. Right. So, yeah.
Kelly Barner (36:25):
And the challenge like we were saying before is one of scale, right? I mean, you, you talk about these incredibly large corporations. They have tens of thousands of suppliers. And so the reality of saying, okay, we want, you know, X number X percent, or this amount of the spend you sort of by necessity have to go to things like, okay, who’s certified, but if you’re even a relatively small to medium-sized business, the time and the cost of getting certified, right. And it’s, that’s a reality. So I’m a woman owned business. I’m not certified. Therefore I do not count towards those metrics. So to me, if you’re really trying to move the needle, it’s okay. Big company, you have legal people like stacked in hallways. How many deserving companies did you help get certified this year? To me, that’s when you focus on the why it’s less about, oh, how fabulous does my logo look in this month? You know, color palette, right? It’s more about what are the stories that I can tell about the impact that I made. The number may be smaller, but that’s at least in my opinion, how we actually start.
Joshua Miller (37:29):
Yeah, you’re smart. You’re spot on there. You’re spot on there. And it’s just gotta be like, is this the data, the opportunity to just have to be there? Um, and if you really want it, you’ll do it. If you really want it, like, you will do it. If you don’t, then it’s just vanity and it’ll be what it’ll be. But, and I think you have both people on both sides that do think you have big companies that don’t care. And I do think you have some companies that are just like, man, we need to like, think about this and adapt and change. And, and I think, um, and, uh, and I also think there needs to be grace as people try to figure that out.
Kelly Barner (37:58):
Um, absolutely grace and benefit of the doubt
Kevin L. Jackson (38:01):
I tell you, look what look who we have on the other side of the screen that you are resonating with. So Scott, not words you have to act.
Joshua Miller (38:16):
Kevin L. Jackson (38:18):
I’m really, uh, I was really, you know, riveted, when you were talking about the importance of diversity in companies, there have been studies, um, that prove that diverse staff, diverse, uh, members of the C-suite all critical to improved revenue and improved profit. But the other thing that it hot, those studies highlighted is fact change, change management companies need to have different worldviews in order to react to change. And in the past change has been slow. I mean, it took hundreds and hundreds of years for business to change, but in today’s world, businesses change their business model like in minutes and seconds, and they create products for a marketplace of one, the personalization. But, um, if, if that didn’t change these companies view of diversity, how do you expect the documentary to have any impact on diversity in, in detect industry or in any industry? If, if money doesn’t make a capitalist change? What?
Joshua Miller (39:46):
Yeah. Um, solid question. I think companies, um, I mean, I think some, I think some companies, um, I think they’ve really, I mean, as, as we’ve been on this journey with this documentary, we’ve talked to so many different people, um, that own, their own companies started their own companies, founded them. I think that for us, what we want from it, I mean, I, I mean, it’s just the knowledge I, like I said, I think people are inherently good when, uh, Ava released a documentary called the central park five. And, um, obviously I remember when the central park five that actually happened to these, these five, these five kids who were sent to prison for this crime. It did not commit. They just were released from prison. Like, you know, I don’t know, a couple years ago or something, um, Ava released that documentary and I had so many people come up to me and just say, oh man, I saw that.
Joshua Miller (40:38):
I didn’t even know this happened. Like that’s crazy. And then it was kind of like was at first it was like upsetting. Cause it’s was like, how did you not know this happen? Um, but I think the beautiful thing that documentary did is some people just actually don’t know cause it’s not their world. And that’s what I really agree with you. It was one of my favorite things that you said when we interviewed you is, um, talking about worldviews. People only know what they know, and it’s a little hard for them to see something different. Um, so the beautiful thing that came out of Ava’s documentary is people knew that these, this happened, like it was, there was a world of people that not that they didn’t agree with it, they just actually didn’t know what happened. So there are people in the tech industry, there’s people that talk to me and I’m sure talk to you, Kevin, uh, and probably you Kelly and say, oh, like someone, you know, the other people have Josh, has anyone ever been racist to you?
Joshua Miller (41:28):
Uh, Kelly, is it hard to be a woman in the workplace? It’s like, are you drunk? Like, absolutely everyone has a story, but, but people don’t people think that it doesn’t hit them. Like, um, COVID is not real until it hits you personally and you have suffered a loss and then it becomes much more real for you. Um, but I think like companies have a, there’s a responsibility that I think companies can play in having people change. You’ve got a lot of people in the Midwest. Do you have a lot of people that they, they, you know, black people aren’t everywhere. Haven’t seen a gay person ever. So they don’t, their world is shaped around what they see. So you go put an Amazon headquarters in Idaho, you put an apple headquarters and you start to see those places get diverse, very diverse, which impacts those communities worldview. And I think that’s how you really start to shape communities and have people see something differently. Um, but until people are exposed to, you know, like, uh, I guess I’ll use my life as an example. I was born in Alabama. I don’t tell people that I tell people I was, I was raised in DC. Alabama just has a connotation of all the things you think Alabama is. It is.
Joshua Miller (42:43):
But, um, I didn’t see, I didn’t see or know white people until I moved to my, my dad, thank God, saved our lives, move this to Washington DC education. He’s just one of the coolest dudes. I know. Uh, but that’s when I was in fifth grade. So I’m 10. I didn’t really know white people until I was 10 years old. So my idea of white people were that you were just the enemy. Like that’s all that I saw. That’s all I was around. Like I grew up in Birmingham and Montgomery and the bad parts at the good parts. So my idea and what I saw was not positive ever. Um, and so when I came to, uh, uh, DC, I remember being in school and be like, oh, these people are nice. Like mom there, I don’t, they are like very nice. This boy, he’s like one of my good friends and you know, and like, but it took that environment shift.
Joshua Miller (43:31):
And I think it reverses the other way too, that you don’t really, you have to really step out of yourselves, but companies have worked really hard to get to this place. If you think about apple and all these large companies, and IBM, they’ve worked to a place where it’s like, we’ve got it, we’ve made it, it’s working. Why would we change anything? You know, like we worked so hard, so why would we change our board members? Why don’t we change our seats? It’s working changes can be very, very scary for people, especially to people who have made it. But I think that there’s so much more opportunity for that is outside of money. Cause I don’t think it’s money for some of these people. Our hope for the documentary is that people know that this is an issue. Uh, that is something that I feel like we should be embarrassed by as a country.
Joshua Miller (44:15):
And it’s something that we need to change and, and we can change it. Like it is something that you can see and go, man, I don’t think maybe we should, we shouldn’t be wrongfully imprisoning people that didn’t do a crime. This is an opportunity for us to obviously do better here. Same thing in tech, uh, tech should be realizing we’re missing out on all these ideas. That means we’re missing out on money. And then also we’re missing out on making what our country should be for our kids and, and what we think it can be like we’re behind in so many different areas because we’re, we’re not elevate. I mean, if you close your eyes and think about like someone in Silicon valley or an engineer, you just, we all think of the same white dude with the pencils. Like, and so I think like we need to change the narrative of what we think a woman is and what she can do and what a black guy can do.
Joshua Miller (45:02):
Like once we start changing that and shaping, people’s worldviews to say, no, it can be this. I think that will really change things, but it’s got to come from a it’s tough because it’s got to come from a standpoint of you have to care. And I think a lot of people think that’s really not my problem, man. Someone else can go do that. And I think that mentality is what keeps us into where we are. I think we’ve seen the public pressure does work. I think whether or not you are authentic in your message that black lives matter. Like the people that put that out, it is pretty astonishing that the NFL still said that it’s pretty astonishing. That that message still went out. So I see it as a, uh, uh, some of these, some of these companies will see it as a disingenuous step, but still I see it as like, okay, the fact that you did that was a big deal.
Joshua Miller (45:52):
Maybe we can get you to actually care about it next time. I don’t know. But I see some of those things as a step in the right direction. So people walk away from this documentary feeling like, wow, okay, I need like, I’m a VC. Like I I’m, maybe, maybe we should think differently, but maybe don’t say that conversation to anybody else, but maybe the next time a black woman walks into your office talking about an idea. Maybe you listen a little bit longer. And, uh, and that that’s, I guess our goal, um, obviously we want peoples and these ideas to get funded, but I think listening and really hearing the heart of an issue, I think is what we want the most.
Kelly Barner (46:26):
And Joshua, you know, we, we take our roles here at supply chain now very seriously, right? Just like you take your role very seriously. And so, you know, even for preparation in preparation for meeting with you today, I did my research and I’ve watched some other interviews with you. And one of the points that I love that I think probably gets glossed over is you spoke about listening to understand, right? And it’s sort of like the difference between listening and hearing. It’s, it’s not even in the same ball field, right? It’s completely different things. I hear that sound that you’re making right now, but it’s sort of like floating me somewhere. It’s not changing my day. If I hear you, that’s a step better. But I think actively listening to understand with the goal being to, if I have to make you back up or say it again, or give me another example, you know, when we think about the soft skills and the empathy that are going to be required in every single role in our society, from corporate leadership to individual contributor roles, to people who are working and social and, and government type positions, listening to understand is so critical as someone who is constantly interviewing, can you give us any, not to bring it down to steps, but can you give us any practical tips or guidance for people that regardless of what their work is or what their family situation is, are trying to improve their ability to listen to?
Joshua Miller (47:53):
Yeah, we, we, uh, man, fabulous question. We got to stop responding. I think that’s the thing. People listen, just to see like, oh, you’re talking about that. Well, I’m gonna respond with this. Um,
Joshua Miller (48:11):
We listen so we can have a response. Will you set that? We’ll we’re gonna respond. I don’t. I mean, I think people just need to, someone says something, especially that’s difficult, man. You gotta reward them for that. Like I think just really, I think we gloss over, like I said, something challenging to you. You think I’m a jerk because I said that it was like, man, I don’t want to say that. It took, it was really hard for me to even say, so it was like realizing that yo, someone just came it’s in this day and age. Like when we, like, I don’t know, we call our generation like the last generation that played outside.
Joshua Miller (48:46):
We like, you know, like this generation is just like, you know, they, they do so much of this that they, they can’t, they think any type of confrontation is negative. They, they, they, they just view, like if I’m talking to you this way, it’s, it’s hard. Um, but I think we, I think, um, we need to have more of those interactions, but really it’s just stop listening to respond. Like when someone tells you something that’s difficult, just sit back and think about like, yo, like what are they saying? I try to repeat that stuff in my head a little bit. And then I try to let them know, like, I hear what you’re saying, but not saying, I hear what you’re saying. I try to say it back to them. Um, and I said, you know, so what you’re really saying is like, you feel like dah, dah, dah, dah, dah. And they’re like, yeah. So that makes you feel blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. You know? And I think that the people operate we’re creatures. We’re like organisms. So like, we’re like, we’re not like rigid we’re we want community. We want to be understood and felt there’s feelings. I don’t feel good about this person. So feelings really matter. That’s why filmmaking is so impactful for me to produce a feeling, not like a result. Um Hmm.
Kevin L. Jackson (49:58):
Uh, emotion in the audience. And I tell you, you must be B, you must be challenging our audience. You’re getting me emotion. We have a LinkedIn. He used, uh, we didn’t get a name on this one here, here. So I mean, you, you, you must be actually driving these, uh, these responses. You’re, you’re challenging their thoughts. We Mohammad from, uh, uh, saying, thank you very much, sir. So you are definitely getting thanked. Right. You know, people appreciating what you’re saying. So, yeah.
Joshua Miller (50:40):
I mean, I re I appreciate that. I mean, I really feel like people just need to focus, just put your phone down, make ONC my guy contact, make a moment like, and I think you’d listen to people that people have, people have feelings and they’re trying to communicate them. And that in this day and age, that could be very difficult. And so I think if you really listen to understand, you will like in this country so divided, but man, there’s actually so much that we probably agree on. If we just weren’t on social media, on Facebook, arguing about it. If I’m a parent, if I’m a parent and you’re a parent, we both want our kids to be safe. We’re going to agree on so much stuff like that. But I think the platforms make us so divided, but I really think that we need to kind of just slow down, stop responding, and start to think about what is the other person trying to say.
Joshua Miller (51:24):
And then also my favorite one is how much of your time do you want to waste? Because if you just keep responding back and forth, get ready to waste all of your time. If you actually want to move this thing forward, hear what they’re saying and talk to them. Like you hear what they’re saying, even if you don’t agree with them, you know? So I think that’s been a, uh, I’m not perfect at it. Um, but I think, um, that’s what I think we need more of. And I think we just need more face to face. And I think that’s the scary part is social. Um, social produces a lot of beautiful things. Like my wife has somebody that she met in Mexico and they’re really great friends. They talk about kids up and that’s like, she would never had that relationship. But I think there’s also a lot of evil on social media as well.
Joshua Miller (52:08):
And, um, and I think, um, one of them is we think, anytime we talk to each other about anything challenging, that’s like bad and we shouldn’t have any of this negative energy. No, they’re, they’re like, you should really think about the people in your life that are telling you something challenging. You don’t have a lot of those people in your lives. That’s important. Keep those people, um, don’t know, shun those people. They had the courage to tell you something about yourself. You need them, you don’t need to exile them. And I think social media were just like unfollow, exile. You don’t agree with me.
Kevin L. Jackson (52:38):
I’ve been drawn to, you’re going to get us in trouble because that conversation by itself is going to make us go full another hour, but running out of time and stuff is starting to pop up. So, so, so Joshua, when will we get the final product from a black tech then? And how can my audience, how can our audience learn more about this? Uh, clearly fascinating topic?
Joshua Miller (53:06):
Well, I’m super excited about it from black tech is about the tech space, but it’s also just about culture. So I feel like if you don’t know tech or like tech or know you would like this, it’s so entertaining. We’re about to drop the first trailer for fun black tech. I want to say that’s going to be in a couple of weeks here. I don’t even know if I should be saying that, but I think it’s, I think it would be, but, um, I think we’re going to drop it in a couple of weeks. So I think just, uh, we’re obviously going to, if you’re following Kevin, uh, I think, uh, just, you know, he’s obviously going to be tagged in it. You’re in the trailer. Your part is fantastic. And then I think you’re going to start to see, uh, different episodes rollout. So, uh, the first thing is like check the website and check, um, social media we are going to put the trailer there first. Um, and I think everyone will be pretty happy with how, uh, this thing is coming out.
Kevin L. Jackson (53:55):
Wow. I can’t, I can’t wait. But, um, on that note, uh, I think we’re going to have to have you back for a part two jobs.
Joshua Miller (54:07):
Thank you, Joshua. We appreciate your time today. You guys so much. I really appreciate that. Thank you guys.
Kevin L. Jackson (54:12):
Yeah. And on that note, please just check out the wide variety of industry thought leadership that we firstname.lastname@example.org. You can find us wherever you get your podcasts. And on behalf of the entire team here at supply chain. Now this is Kevin L. Jackson and Kelly Barner wishing all of our listeners at bright and transformational future. We’ll see you next time on digital transformers and dial P four for Germany. Thanks everyone.
Thanks for being a part of our supply chain. Now community check out all of our email@example.com and make sure you subscribe to supply chain. Now anywhere you listen to podcasts and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. See you next time on supply chain now.
Joshua Miller is the Founder and CEO of C&I Studios. Starting as a small media company operating out of his apartment, he has grown C&I Studios operating out of Washington DC, New York, and Los Angeles California. Joshua has a wide range of media experience, working with companies big and small to communicate their messages to the world. Specializing in film, he has a knack for communicating stories in ways that stick with people. Joshua has produced media for companies as large as Coca-Cola and as small as your neighborhood restaurant. Most importantly, Joshua provides a unique ability to take your company’s message and clearly communicate it with the world, in a way that excites and inspires. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Adrian Purtill serves as Business Development Manager at Vector Global Logistics, where he consults with importers and exporters in various industries to match their specific shipping requirements with the most effective supply chain solutions. Vector Global Logistics is an asset-free, multi-modal logistics company that provides exceptional sea freight, air freight, truck, rail, general logistic services and consulting for our clients. Our highly trained and professional team is committed to providing creative and effective solutions, always exceeding our customer’s expectations and fostering long-term relationships. With more than 20+ years of experience in both strategy consulting and logistics, Vector Global Logistics is your best choice to proactively minimize costs while having an exceptional service level.
Joshua is a student from Institute of Technology and Higher Education of Monterrey Campus Guadalajara in Communication and Digital Media. His experience ranges from Plug and Play México, DearDoc, and Nissan México creating unique social media marketing campaigns and graphics design. Joshua helps to amplify the voice of supply chain here at Supply Chain Now by assisting in graphic design, content creation, asset logistics, and more. In his free time he likes to read and write short stories as well as watch movies and television series.
Director of Communications and Executive Producer
Donna Krache is a former CNN executive producer who has won several awards in journalism and communication, including three Peabodys. She has 30 years’ experience in broadcast and digital journalism. She led the first production team at CNN to convert its show to a digital platform. She has authored many articles for CNN and other media outlets. She taught digital journalism at Georgia State University and Arizona State University. Krache holds a bachelor’s degree in government from the College of William and Mary and a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from the University of New Orleans. She is a serious sports fan who loves the Braves. She is president of the Dave Krache Foundation. Named in honor of her late husband, this non-profit pays fees for kids who want to play sports but whose parents are facing economic challenges.
Vicki has a long history of rising to challenges and keeping things up and running. First, she supported her family’s multi-million dollar business as controller for 12 years, beginning at the age of 17. Then, she worked as an office manager and controller for a wholesale food broker. But her biggest feat? Serving as the chief executive officer of her household, while her entrepreneur husband travelled the world extensively. She fed, nurtured, chaperoned, and chauffeured three daughters all while running a newsletter publishing business and remaining active in her community as a Stephen’s Minister, Sunday school teacher, school volunteer, licensed realtor and POA Board president (a title she holds to this day). A force to be reckoned with in the office, you might think twice before you meet Vicki on the tennis court! When she’s not keeping the books balanced at Supply Chain Now or playing tennis matches, you can find Vicki spending time with her husband Greg, her 4 fur babies, gardening, cleaning (yes, she loves to clean!) and learning new things.
Founder, CEO, & Host
As the founder and CEO of Supply Chain Now, you might say Scott is the voice of supply chain – but he’s too much of a team player to ever claim such a title. One thing’s for sure: he’s a tried and true supply chain expert. With over 15 years of experience in the end-to-end supply chain, Scott’s insights have appeared in major publications including The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and CNN. He has also been named a top industry influencer by Thinkers360, ISCEA and more.
From 2009-2011, Scott was president of APICS Atlanta, and he continues to lead initiatives that support both the local business community and global industry. A United States Air Force Veteran, Scott has also regularly led efforts to give back to his fellow veteran community since his departure from active duty in 2002.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Allison Krache Giddens has been with Win-Tech, a veteran-owned small business and aerospace precision machine shop, for 15 years, recently buying the company from her mentor and Win-Tech’s Founder, Dennis Winslow. She and her business partner, John Hudson now serve as Co-Presidents, leading the 33-year old company through the pandemic.
She holds undergraduate degrees in psychology and criminal justice from the University of Georgia, a Masters in Conflict Management from Kennesaw State University, a Masters in Manufacturing from Georgia Institute of Technology, and a Certificate of Finance from the University of Georgia. She also holds certificates in Google Analytics, event planning, and Cybersecurity Risk Management from Harvard online. Allison founded the Georgia Chapter of Women in Manufacturing and currently serves as Treasurer. She serves on the Chattahoochee Technical College Foundation Board as its Secretary, the liveSAFE Resources Board of Directors as Resource Development Co-Chair, and on the Leadership Cobb Alumni Association Board as Membership Chair and is also a member of Cobb Executive Women. She is on the Board for the Cobb Chamber of Commerce’s Northwest Area Councils. Allison runs The Dave Krache Foundation, a non-profit that helps pay sports fees for local kids in need.
Principal, Supply Chain Now
Host of Supply Chain Now and TECHquila Sunrise
When rapid-growth technology companies, venture capital and private equity firms are looking for advisory, they call Greg – a founder, board director, advisor and catalyst of disruptive B2B technology and supply chain. An insightful visionary, Greg guides founders, investors and leadership teams in creating breakthroughs to gain market exposure and momentum – increasing overall company esteem and valuation.
Greg is a founder himself, creating Blue Ridge Solutions, a Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader in cloud-native supply chain applications, and bringing to market Curo, a field service management solution. He has also held leadership roles with Servigistics (PTC) and E3 Corporation (JDA/Blue Yonder). As a principal and host at Supply Chain Now, Greg helps guide the company’s strategic direction, hosts industry leader discussions, community livestreams, and all in addition to executive producing and hosting his original YouTube channel and podcast, TEChquila Sunrise.
Principal, Supply Chain Now
Host of Supply Chain is Boring
Talk about world-class: Chris is one of the few professionals in the world to hold CPIM-F, CLTD-F and CSCP-F designations from ASCM/APICS. He’s also the APICS coach – and our resident Supply Chain Doctor. When he’s not hosting programs with Supply Chain Now, he’s sharing supply chain knowledge on the APICS Coach Youtube channel or serving as a professional education instructor for the Georgia Tech Supply Chain & Logistic Institute’s Supply Chain Management (SCM) program and University of Tennessee-Chattanooga Center for Professional Education courses.
Chris earned a BS in Industrial Engineering from Bradley University, an MBA with emphasis in Industrial Psychology from the University of West Florida, and is a Doctoral in Supply Chain Management candidate.
Director of Sales
Tyler Ward serves as Supply Chain Now's Director of Sales. Born and raised in Mid-Atlantic, Tyler is a proud graduate of Shippensburg University where he earned his degree in Communications. After college, he made his way to the beautiful state of Oregon, where he now lives with his wife and daughter.
With over a decade of experience in sales, Tyler has a proven track record of exceeding targets and leading high-performing teams. He credits his success to his ability to communicate effectively with customers and team members alike, as well as his strategic thinking and problem-solving skills.
When he's not closing deals, you can find Tyler on the links or cheering on his favorite football and basketball teams. He also enjoys spending time with his family, playing pick-up basketball, and traveling back to Ocean City, Maryland, his favorite place!
Host of Digital Transformers
Kevin L. Jackson is a globally recognized Thought Leader, Industry Influencer and Founder/Author of the award winning “Cloud Musings” blog. He has also been recognized as a “Top 5G Influencer” (Onalytica 2019, Radar 2020), a “Top 50 Global Digital Transformation Thought Leader” (Thinkers 360 2019) and provides strategic consulting and integrated social media services to AT&T, Intel, Broadcom, Ericsson and other leading companies. Mr. Jackson’s commercial experience includes Vice President J.P. Morgan Chase, Worldwide Sales Executive for IBM and SAIC (Engility) Director Cloud Solutions. He has served on teams that have supported digital transformation projects for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the US Intelligence Community. Kevin’s formal education includes a MS Computer Engineering from Naval Postgraduate School; MA National Security & Strategic Studies from Naval War College; and a BS Aerospace Engineering from the United States Naval Academy. Internationally recognizable firms that have sponsored articles authored by him include Cisco, Microsoft, Citrix and IBM. Books include “Click to Transform” (Leaders Press, 2020), “Architecting Cloud Computing Solutions” (Packt, 2018), and “Practical Cloud Security: A Cross Industry View” (Taylor & Francis, 2016). He also delivers online training through Tulane University, O’Reilly Media, LinkedIn Learning, and Pluralsight. Mr. Jackson retired from the U.S. Navy in 1994, earning specialties in Space Systems Engineering, Carrier Onboard Delivery Logistics and carrier-based Airborne Early Warning and Control. While active, he also served with the National Reconnaissance Office, Operational Support Office, providing tactical support to Navy and Marine Corps forces worldwide.
Host of Logistics with Purpose and Supply Chain Now en Español
Enrique serves as Managing Director at Vector Global Logistics and believes we all have a personal responsibility to change the world. He is hard working, relationship minded and pro-active. Enrique trusts that the key to logistics is having a good and responsible team that truly partners with the clients and does whatever is necessary to see them succeed. He is a proud sponsor of Vector’s unique results-based work environment and before venturing into logistics he worked for the Boston Consulting Group (BCG). During his time at BCG, he worked in different industries such as Telecommunications, Energy, Industrial Goods, Building Materials, and Private Banking. His main focus was always on the operations, sales, and supply chain processes, with case focus on, logistics, growth strategy, and cost reduction. Prior to joining BCG, Enrique worked for Grupo Vitro, a Mexican glass manufacturer, for five years holding different positions from sales and logistics manager to supply chain project leader in charge of five warehouses in Colombia.
He has an MBA from The Wharton School of Business and a BS, in Mechanical Engineer from the Technologico de Monterrey in Mexico. Enrique’s passions are soccer and the ocean, and he also enjoys traveling, getting to know new people, and spending time with his wife and two kids, Emma and Enrique.
Host of Dial P for Procurement
Kelly is the Owner and Managing Director of Buyers Meeting Point and MyPurchasingCenter. She has been in procurement since 2003, starting as a practitioner and then as the Associate Director of Consulting at Emptoris. She has covered procurement news, events, publications, solutions, trends, and relevant economics at Buyers Meeting Point since 2009. Kelly is also the General Manager at Art of Procurement and Business Survey Chair for the ISM-New York Report on Business. Kelly has her MBA from Babson College as well as an MS in Library and Information Science from Simmons College and she has co-authored three books: ‘Supply Market Intelligence for Procurement Professionals’, ‘Procurement at a Crossroads’, and ‘Finance Unleashed’.
Host, Veteran Voices
Mary Kate Soliva is a veteran of the US Army and cofounder of the Guam Human Rights Initiative. She is currently in the Doctor of Criminal Justice program at Saint Leo University. She is passionate about combating human trafficking and has spent the last decade conducting training for military personnel and the local community.
Jeff Miller is the host of Supply Chain Now’s Supply Chain is the Business. Jeff is a digital business transformation and supply chain advisor with deep expertise in Industry 4.0, ERP, PLM, SCM, IoT, AR and related technologies. Through more than 25 years of industry and consulting experience, he has worked with many of the world’s leading product and service companies to achieve their strategic business and supply chain goals, creating durable business value for organizations at the forefront of technology and business practices. Jeff is the managing director for North America at Transition Technologies PSC, a global solution integrator, and the founder and managing principal of BTV Advisors, a firm that helps companies secure business transformation value from digital supply chain technologies and their breakthrough capabilities.
Chief Marketing Officer
Amanda is a marketing veteran and entrepreneur with over 15 years of experience across a variety of industries and organizations including Von Maur, Anthropologie, AmericasMart Atlanta, and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. In 2016, Amanda founded and grew the Magnolia Marketing Group into a successful digital media firm, and now she develops modern marketing strategies, social campaigns, innovative operational processes, and implements creative content initiatives for Supply Chain Now. But that’s just the beginning of her supply chain impact. Amanda also served as the VP of Information Systems and Webmaster on the Board of Directors for APICS Savannah for several years, and is the face behind the scenes welcoming you to every Supply Chain Now livestream! She was also recently selected as one of the Top 100 Women in Supply Chain by Supply Chain Digest and IBM. When she’s not leading the Supply Chain Now marketing team, you can find Amanda with her and her husband Scott’s three kids, in the kitchen cooking, or reading.
Business Development Manager
Clay is passionate about two things: supply chain and the marketing that goes into it. Recently graduated with a degree in marketing at the University of Georgia, Clay got his start as a journalism major and inaugural member of the Owl’s football team at Kennesaw State University – but quickly saw tremendous opportunity in the Terry College of Business. He’s already putting his education to great use at Supply Chain Now, assisting with everything from sales and brand strategy to media production. Clay has contributed to initiatives such as our leap into video production, the guest blog series, and boosting social media presence, and after nearly two years in Supply Chain Now’s Marketing Department, Clay now heads up partnership and sales initiatives with the help of the rest of the Supply Chain Now sales team.
Trisha is new to the supply chain industry – but not to podcasting. She’s an experienced podcast manager and virtual assistant who also happens to have 20 years of experience as an elementary school teacher. It’s safe to say, she’s passionate about helping people, and she lives out that passion every day with the Supply Chain Now team, contributing to scheduling and podcast production.
Host of Dial P for Procurement
Billy Taylor is a Proven Business Excellence Practitioner and Leadership Guru with over 25 years leading operations for a Fortune 500 company, Goodyear. He is also the CEO of LinkedXL (Excellence), a Business Operating Systems Architecting Firm dedicated to implementing sustainable operating systems that drive sustainable results. Taylor’s achievements in the industry have made him a Next Generational Lean pacesetter with significant contributions.
An American business executive, Taylor has made a name for himself as an innovative and energetic industry professional with an indispensable passion for his craft of operational excellence. His journey started many years ago and has worked with renowned corporations such as The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. (GT) leading multi-site operations. With over 3 decades of service leading North America operations, he is experienced in a deeply rooted process driven approach in customer service, process integrity for sustainability.
A disciple of continuous improvement, Taylor’s love for people inspires commitment to helping others achieve their full potential. He is a dynamic speaker and hosts "The Winning Link," a popular podcast centered on business and leadership excellence with the #1 rated Supply Chain Now Network. As a leadership guru, Taylor has earned several invitations to universities, international conferences, global publications, and the U.S. Army to demonstrate how to achieve and sustain effective results through cultural acceptance and employee ownership. Leveraging the wisdom of his business acumen, strong influence as a speaker and podcaster Taylor is set to release "The Winning Link" book under McGraw Hill publishing in 2022. The book is a how-to manual to help readers understand the management of business interactions while teaching them how to Deine, Align, and Execute Winning in Business.
A servant leader, Taylor, was named by The National Diversity Council as one of the Top 100 Diversity Officers in the country in 2021. He features among Oklahoma's Most Admired CEOs and maintains key leadership roles with the Executive Advisory Board for The Shingo Institute "The Nobel Prize of Operations" and The Association of Manufacturing Excellence (AME); two world-leading organizations for operational excellence, business development, and cultural learning. He is also an Independent Director for the M-D Building Products Board, a proud American manufacturer of quality products since 1920.
Social Media Manager
My name is Chantel King and I am the Social Media Specialist at Supply Chain Now. My job is to make sure our audience is engaged and educated on the abundant amount of information the supply chain industry has to offer.
Social Media and Communications has been my niche ever since I graduated from college at The Academy of Art University in San Francisco. No, I am not a West Coast girl. I was born and raised in New Jersey, but my travel experience goes way beyond the garden state. My true passion is in creating editorial and graphic content that influences others to be great in whatever industry they are in. I’ve done this by working with lifestyle, financial, and editorial companies by providing resources to enhance their businesses.
Another passion of mine is trying new things. Whether it’s food, an activity, or a sport. I would like to say that I am an adventurous Taurus that never shies away from a new quest or challenge.
Lori is currently completing a degree in marketing with an emphasis in digital marketing at the University of Georgia. When she’s not supporting the marketing efforts at Supply Chain Now, you can find her at music festivals – or working toward her dream goal of a fashion career. Lori is involved in many extracurricular activities and appreciates all the learning experiences UGA has brought her.
Sales and Marketing Coordinator
Katherine is a marketing professional and MBA candidate who strives to unite her love of people with a passion for positive experiences. Having a diverse background, which includes nonprofit work with digital marketing and start-ups, she serves as a leader who helps people live their most creative lives by cultivating community, order, collaboration, and respect. With equal parts creativity and analytics, she brings a unique skill set which fosters refining, problem solving, and connecting organizations with their true vision. In her free time, you can usually find her looking for her cup of coffee, playing with her puppy Charlie, and dreaming of her next road trip.
Ben Harris is the Director of Supply Chain Ecosystem Expansion for the Metro Atlanta Chamber. Ben comes to the Metro Atlanta Chamber after serving as Senior Manager, Market Development for Manhattan Associates. There, Ben was responsible for developing Manhattan’s sales pipeline and overall Americas supply chain marketing strategy. Ben oversaw market positioning, messaging and campaign execution to build awareness and drive new pipeline growth. Prior to joining Manhattan, Ben spent four years with the Georgia Department of Economic Development’s Center of Innovation for Logistics where he played a key role in establishing the Center as a go-to industry resource for information, support, partnership building, and investment development. Additionally, he became a key SME for all logistics and supply chain-focused projects. Ben began his career at Page International, Inc. where he drove continuous improvement in complex global supply chain operations for a wide variety of businesses and Fortune 500 companies. An APICS Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP), Ben holds an Executive Master’s degree in Business Administration (EMBA) and bachelor’s degree in International Business (BBA) from the Terry College at the University of Georgia.
Host, The Freight Insider
Prior to joining TeamOne Logistics, Page Siplon served as the Executive Director of the Georgia Center of Innovation for Logistics, the State’s leading consulting resource for fueling logistics industry growth and global competitiveness. For over a decade, he directly assisted hundreds of companies to overcome challenges and capitalize on opportunities related to the movement of freight. During this time, Siplon was also appointed to concurrently serve the State of Georgia as Director of the larger Centers of Innovation Program, in which he provided executive leadership and vision for all six strategic industry-focused Centers. As a frequently requested keynote speaker, Siplon is called upon to address a range of audiences on unique aspects of technology, workforce, and logistics. This often includes topics of global and domestic logistics trends, supply chain visibility, collaboration, and strategic planning. He has also been quoted as an industry expert in publications such as Forbes, Journal of Commerce, Fortune, NPR, Wall Street Journal, Reuters, American Express, DC Velocity, Area Development Magazine, Site Selection Magazine, Inbound Logistics, Modern Material Handling, and is frequently a live special guest on SiriusXM’s Road Dog Radio Show. Siplon is an active industry participant, recognized by DC Velocity Magazine as a “2012 Logistics Rainmaker” which annually identifies the top-ten logistics professionals in the Nation; and named a “Pro to Know” by Supply & Demand Executive Magazine in 2014. Siplon was also selected by Georgia Trend Magazine as one of the “Top 100 Most Influential Georgians” for 2013, 2014, and 2015. He also serves various industry leadership roles at both the State and Federal level. Governor Nathan Deal nominated Siplon to represent Georgia on a National Supply Chain Competitiveness Advisory Committee, where he was appointed to a two-year term by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce and was then appointed to serve as its vice-chairman. At the State level, he was selected by then-Governor Sonny Perdue to serve as lead consultant on the Commission for New Georgia’s Freight and Logistics Task Force. In this effort, Siplon led a Private Sector Advisory Committee with invited executives from a range of private sector stakeholders including UPS, Coca-Cola, The Home Depot, Delta Airlines, Georgia Pacific, CSX, and Norfolk Southern. Siplon honorably served a combined 12 years in the United States Marine Corps and the United States Air Force. During this time, he led the integration of encryption techniques and deployed cryptographic devices for tactically secure voice and data platforms in critical ground-to-air communication systems. This service included support for all branches of the Department of Defense, multiple federal security agencies, and aiding NASA with multiple Space Shuttle launches. Originally from New York, Siplon received both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in electrical and computer engineering with a focus on digital signal processing from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He earned an associate’s degree in advanced electronic systems from the Air Force College and completed multiple military leadership academies in both the Marines and Air Force. Siplon currently lives in Cumming, Georgia (north of Atlanta), with his wife Jan, and two children Thomas (19) and Lily (15).
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Kristi Porter is VP of Sales and Marketing at Vector Global Logistics, a company that is changing the world through supply chain. In her role, she oversees all marketing efforts and supports the sales team in doing what they do best. In addition to this role, she is the Chief Do-Gooder at Signify, which assists nonprofits and social impact companies through copywriting and marketing strategy consulting. She has almost 20 years of professional experience, and loves every opportunity to help people do more good.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Kevin Brown is the Director of Business Development for Vector Global Logistics. He has a dedicated interest in Major Account Management, Enterprise Sales, and Corporate Leadership. He offers 25 years of exceptional experience and superior performance in the sales of Logistics, Supply Chain, and Transportation Management. Kevin is a dynamic, high-impact, sales executive and corporate leader who has consistently exceeded corporate goals. He effectively coordinates multiple resources to solution sell large complex opportunities while focusing on corporate level contacts across the enterprise. His specialties include targeting and securing key accounts by analyzing customer’s current business processes and developing solutions to meet their corporate goals. Connect with Kevin on LinkedIn.
Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol
Sofia Rivas Herrera is a Mexican Industrial Engineer from Tecnologico de Monterrey class 2019. Upon graduation, she earned a scholarship to study MIT’s Graduate Certificate in Logistics and Supply Chain Management and graduated as one of the Top 3 performers of her class in 2020. She also has a multicultural background due to her international academic experiences at Singapore Management University and Kühne Logistics University in Hamburg. Sofia self-identifies as a Supply Chain enthusiast & ambassador sharing her passion for the field in her daily life.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Jose Manuel Irarrazaval es parte del equipo de Vector Global Logistics Chile. José Manuel es un gerente experimentado con experiencia en finanzas corporativas, fusiones y adquisiciones, financiamiento y reestructuración, inversión directa y financiera, tanto en Chile como en el exterior. José Manuel tiene su MBA de la Universidad de Pennsylvania- The Wharton School. Conéctese con Jose Manuel en LinkedIn.
Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol
Demo Perez started his career in 1997 in the industry by chance when a relative asked him for help for two just weeks putting together an operation for FedEx Express at the Colon Free Zone, an area where he was never been but accepted the challenge. Worked in all roles possible from a truck driver to currier to a sales representative, helped the brand introduction, market share growth and recognition in the Colon Free Zone, at the end of 1999 had the chance to meet and have a chat with Fred Smith ( FedEx CEO), joined another company in 2018 who took over the FedEx operations as Operations and sales manager, in 2004 accepted the challenge from his company to leave the FedEx operations and business to take over the operation and business of DHL Express, his major competitor and rival so couldn’t say no, by changing completely its operation model in the Free Zone. In 2005 started his first entrepreneurial journey by quitting his job and joining two friends to start a Freight Forwarding company. After 8 months was recruited back by his company LSP with the General Manager role with the challenge of growing the company and make it fully capable warehousing 3PL. By 2009 joined CSCMP and WERC and started his journey of learning and growing his international network and high-level learning. In 2012 for the first time joined a local association ( the Panama Maritime Chamber) and worked in the country’s first Logistics Strategy plan, joined and lead other associations ending as president of the Panama Logistics Council in 2017. By finishing his professional mission at LSP with a company that was 8 times the size it was when accepted the role as GM with so many jobs generated and several young professionals coached, having great financial results, took the decision to move forward and start his own business from scratch by the end of 2019. with a friend and colleague co-founded IPL Group a company that started as a boutique 3PL and now is gearing up for the post-Covid era by moving to the big leagues.
Host, Supply Chain Now
The founder of Logistics Executive Group, Kim Winter delivers 40 years of executive leadership experience spanning Executive Search & Recruitment, Leadership Development, Executive Coaching, Corporate Advisory, Motivational Speaking, Trade Facilitation and across the Supply Chain, Logistics, 3PL, E-commerce, Life Science, Cold Chain, FMCG, Retail, Maritime, Defence, Aviation, Resources, and Industrial sectors. Operating from the company’s global offices, he is a regular contributor of thought leadership to industry and media, is a professional Master of Ceremonies, and is frequently invited to chair international events.
He is a Board member of over a dozen companies throughout APAC, India, and the Middle East, a New Zealand citizen, he holds formal resident status in Australia and the UAE, and is the Australia & New Zealand representative for the UAE Government-owned Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZA), the Middle East’s largest Economic Free Zone.
A triathlete and ex-professional rugby player, Kim is a qualified (IECL Sydney) executive coach and the Founder / Chairman of the successful not for profit humanitarian organization, Oasis Africa (www. oasisafrica.org.au), which has provided freedom from poverty through education to over 8000 mainly orphaned children in East Africa’s slums. Kim holds an MBA and BA from Massey & Victoria Universities (NZ).
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Nick Roemer has had a very diverse and extensive career within design and sales over the last 15 years stretching from China, Dubai, Germany, Holland, UK, and the USA. In the last 5 years, Nick has developed a hawk's eye for sustainable tech and the human-centric marketing and sales procedures that come with it. With his far-reaching and strong network within the logistics industry, Nick has been able to open new avenues and routes to market within major industries in the USA and the UAE. Nick lives by the ethos, “Give more than you take." His professional mission is to make the logistics industry leaner, cleaner and greener.
Sales Support Intern
Alex is pursuing a Marketing degree and a Certificate in Legal Studies at the University of Georgia. As a dual citizen of both the US and UK; Alex has studied abroad at University College London and is passionate about travel and international business. Through her coursework at the Terry College of Business, Alex has gained valuable skills in digital marketing, analytics, and professional selling. She joined Supply Chain Now as a Sales Support Intern where she assists the team by prospecting and qualifying new business partners.