186: Blended – My Journey

Welcome to the sixth episode of our brand-new show, Blended.

Blended is all about opening up conversations and giving the mic to all of the underrepresented voices in our industry – women, the LGBTQIA+ community, people of colour, those with disabilities, whether they’re visible or hidden, and many more.

Today in Episode 6, ‘My Journey,’ I’m joined by a group of amazing supply chain professionals who are opening up and sharing their personal stories with us – their experiences of being a woman, a person of colour, an indigenous person. And they’re going to really shine a light for us on how those formative experiences have impacted their lives and careers, and made them into the person they are today.



[00.34] Introductions to our Blended panellists.

  • Devon – Founder of SheNative, Entrepreneurship & Business Skill Development Facilitator, Coach & Mentor
  • Shay – President & Managing Partner at Allegiant Logistics
  • Mike – Founder of Procurement Foundry and Managing Partner of AMPlify Resources Group
  • Tzvete – Investment Banking Analyst (Stout) and Founder of Ecosystem
  • Adeola (Addy) – Director of Additive Manufacturing Solutions at Desktop Metal

“Diversity and inclusion is more than a catchphrase. It’s direct action and opportunities for people that look like me.” Shay

[09.23] How Devon’s experiences drove her to shine a light on the common traumas of indigenous women and found SheNative, to inspire and support others.

“Indigenous women are some of the most disadvantaged women in Canada – we’re five times more likely to go missing and to be murdered; we’re 3% of Canada’s population, yet 30% of the prison population.”

[16.51] Shay’s ‘rags to riches’ childhood, and how that journey shaped the woman she is today.

“Starting a business will expose a lot of your trauma, and people don’t always talk about that.” Shay.

[22.53] Why Mike’s experiences led him towards helping others and creating Procurement Foundry, a community for people in the industry to come together, learn and grow.

“The people that are willing to expose their backgrounds and do a deep search into themselves to figure out where they came from, can ultimately say ‘now I know who I am today.’”

[30.04] How Addy’s experience of growing up in Nigeria instilled her with an intense desire to succeed.

“Since I started my career, I was always the only woman, and the only black person – there was never anybody who looked like me.”

[41.43] Why Tzvete’s multicultural upbringing and ambitious parents, as well as her desire to inspire her younger sister, were the key to her success.

“Being in such an international culture at a young age opened my perspective and showed me that there are so many different types of cultures and customs – and it taught me how to adapt.”

[50.20] The panellists reflections on young people in business.

  • Lack of encouragement, low self-esteem and the importance of mentors
  • Experience, knowledge, opportunity and giving the benefit of the doubt
  • Inspiration, influence and visibility of positive role models
  • Access to the right networks and communities

[1.06.11] The panellists take a closer look at diversity and inclusion.

  • Conferences: a lack of diverse speakers, financial drivers and the emphasis on job titles
  • Looking at diversity at a team level
  • The issue with big business ticking diversity and inclusion boxes without truly committing to change
  • The downstream impact of supplier diversity
  • Barriers to becoming a diverse supplier, eg issues with long term sustainability, scaling and access to capital

[1.15.20] Creating meaningful change.

  • Find your niche and be the best at what you do
  • Build something for yourself, outside of the corporate environment
  • The importance of diverse investors
  • The importance of mentorship for diverse SME’s

[1.22.19] The panellists sum up their key piece of advice from today’s discussion.

  • Diversity and inclusion only makes your company better: hear and respect their voices – Addy
  • Put your money where your mouth is – engage with, and invest in, diverse businesses – Devon
  • Just start – Mike
  • Be aware – Tzvete
  • Don’t be intimidated and once you’ve reached your destination, go back and carve out that path for others to follow – Shay



You can connect with Devon, Shay, Mike, Addy and Tzvete over on LinkedIn.

Check out our other podcasts HERE.

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