T.J. Kragenbrink talks about her career pivot and what she's learned along the way; becoming an industry award-winner; and making strides in sustainability.

372: Women In Supply Chain™, T.J. Kragenbrink

In today’s episode of Women In Supply Chain™, I’m joined by T.J. Kragenbrink – former calculus teacher and Harvard alum turned actuarial studied work-from-home mama, driving operational efficiencies in the post-purchase return experience for busy consumers everywhere.

After achieving her master’s from Harvard, T.J. became a mathematics teacher before changing direction to enter the busy world of supply chain. A leader in the reverse logistics space, T.J. applies her extensive experience in logistics, data management, tech development, and statistical analysis to deliver innovations that help clients reduce returns-related costs, optimize the customer experience, and improve sustainability.

Today T.J. will be talking to us about that fascinating career pivot and what she’s learned along the way; the huge potential to be found in post-purchase solutions; becoming an industry award-winner; and making strides in sustainability.





GoFreight is proud to sponsor the ‘Women In Supply Chain™ podcast series, recognizing women’s vital role in the industry and the need to highlight their contributions and experiences. We are committed to promoting diversity and inclusion in the supply chain field and are honored to support initiatives that empower and inspire women in their professional journeys.

GoFreight is the world’s leading cloud-based freight forwarding management system. In addition to its comprehensive core features, including business quoting, ocean and air freight processes, invoicing and payments, accounting, and finance, customers highly favor it for providing a customer-facing platform that meets the needs of freight forwarders and their clients and agents.

With GoFreight, tasks such as quoting, booking, cargo tracking, and data reporting, which traditionally required email or phone communication, can now be quickly completed through a user-friendly online platform, similar to booking flights or hotels.

For more information, visit GoFreight.

Supply & Demand Chain

This year, we received over 400 submissions for our Women In Supply Chain™ award, the highest amount of applications not only for this award but also for all of our awards. What’s more, 118 of those applications were submitted by male counterparts, nominating their boss, co-worker, or associate. Last year, that figure was just at 75. Also this year, 39 women self-nominated, a tremendous uptick from last year’s award, which just saw 12 self-nominations. This shows progress. This shows hope that one day, we won’t need an award like this because men and women in the supply chain will be equal,” says Marina Mayer, Editor-in-Chief of Food Logistics and Supply & Demand Chain Executive. “While there’s still more work to be done, what we’re doing is working. That’s why this award is so important to Food Logistics and Supply & Demand Chain Executives. From truck drivers to CEOs, what these winners are doing matters to the future of all supply chains. What these female leaders, entrepreneurs, and supply chain professionals are doing continues to push the needle toward excellence, and every year, I feel blessed to celebrate these wonderful women of logistics. And we’re doing just that at this year’s Women In Supply Chain™ Forum, set for Nov. 14-15 in Atlanta. Go to www.WomeninSupplyChainForum to register and learn more. We’re all better together. Collaboration is key to promoting and supporting Women In Supply Chain™.

For more information, vision Supply & Demand Chain.




[07.23] T.J.’s early years, from education to her career as a teacher.

“I had a unique path, even as a teacher I had a start-up mentality.”

[11.18] The four big transferable skills that T.J. took from teaching to supply chain.

“There are some big things I took away. My skill for organization, documentation, iterating and learning.”

[15.03] Why T.J. decided to leave teaching, and the journey that brought her to supply chain.

“I had the confidence to say ‘I know what I’m worth, and these are my boundaries.’”

[20.01] The mentor who inspired and advised T.J. throughout her career journey.

[21.12] An introduction to Inmar Intelligence and what they do; and the unique culture Inmar has created to support and nurture its team.

[23.22] The importance of a supportive culture for working mothers; prioritizing self-care; and how T.J. finds her personal work/life balance.

“I work hard to plan that self-care time, I put it on my calendar so my husband can see it!”

[29.11] T.J. reflects on sustainability – what she does personally, as well as how she is tackling the complex issue of post-purchase solutions at Inmar.

“Returns, by their nature, are not great for the environment. But we’re trying to mitigate that impact… Piggybacking on existing transit lines, allowing returns to ride consolidated, instead of single… utilizing any and all re-used options. In an ideal world that’s plastic free, but we’re not there yet.”

[35.37] T.J.’s recent 2023 Supply & Demand Chain Executive Women In Supply Chain™ award win, and what she’s looking forward to at the forum.

“I’ve been working remote for three years, and I’m so looking forward to hanging out with other women who are doing what I’m doing!”

[37.20] Why women should pursue a career in supply chain, and T.J.’s advice.

“Supply chain is such an easy space for women to walk into, because it’s so logical. And women are such problem-solvers!… We need more confident women in the industry.”

[39.55] The future for T.J.




You can connect with T.J. over on LinkedIn.

If you enjoyed this episode, check out 318: Blended – Parenthood vs a Career: The Ultimate Catch 22 or 359: Women In Supply Chain™, Alexis Mizell-Pleasant.

Check out our other podcasts HERE.

Join the secret Society of supply chain

Find out which membership is right for you

Join the
Let's Talk Supply Chain™ Newsletter

Leave a Comment

Shopping Cart