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35 minutes | 3 months ago
How Business Can Redefine the American Dream
We’re closing out our three-part podcast series exploring the Black business landscape by going back to the beginning — the founding of the United States — and examining a not-so-simple challenge: How do we rewire the American Dream for Black people?To answer that question, we welcome Nat Irvin, Assistant Dean of Thought Leadership and Civic Engagement at the University of Louisville, to Longitudes Radio. Irvin argues that business is uniquely suited to dismantle systematic racism and fuel a more equitable society.“The American Dream is being reborn. And I don't look at it as a negative at all. It's part of evolution,” Irvin explains. “But there's no guarantees that our democracy is going to work. History shows that democracies generally fade out. And so if ours is going to work, we're going to as a country have to embrace all of its citizens, and they have to be vested into the dream itself.”One way to do that is through empowering Black entrepreneurs to follow their business dreams, giving them access to financial capital — and most importantly, the opportunity to recover from failure.“If you look at the history of America … it's all about losing. It is all about failures,” he says. “All about businesses starting and failing. That's how we got America. It was all about people trying ideas, and they fail. But they got another shot.”Given social unrest and a global pandemic, Irvin argues that it’s up to businesses to rise to the challenge of the moment. Business leaders can no longer sit on the sidelines and wait for societal change — they must articulate their values, bring stakeholders together and ultimately drive tangible action. In fact, Irvin says a silver lining of the coronavirus pandemic is the chance for a “fundamental reset,” an opportunity for us to reexamine what truly matters and how we’ll live in the world of tomorrow. An accelerant of such transformation, Irvin says, is enabling younger generations to redesign our social contract. “I think that communities need to focus on the next generation of young minds,” he says. “That's where we've got to change the trajectory of America.” If you missed it, check out part one in our podcast series on Black business, a conversation with former U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx. You can find part two, a chat with entrepreneur Yelitsa Jean-Charles, here.
32 minutes | 3 months ago
What Can a Doll Teach Us About Black Business?
When Yelitsa Jean-Charles was a young girl, she didn’t see any dolls that looked like her. In fact, when her parents tried to give her a non-white doll, she cried because it wasn’t “the pretty one.”She didn’t know it yet, but in that moment, a business was born.Today Yelitsa is the founder of Healthy Roots Dolls, a toy company that creates dolls and storybooks to empower young girls and showcase the beauty of our diversity. In this episode of Longitudes Radio, part two in a three-part series on the Black business landscape, she shares her entrepreneurial journey and how those feelings of childhood disappointment ultimately paved the path for her future success.“I grew up and started to feel less like a princess and more like a pumpkin because I didn't see people celebrated for having hair that looked like my own,” she remembers. “I saw an opportunity … with our Zoe doll and her powerful hair full of curl power.”Like many aspiring entrepreneurs, at first, Yelitsa struggled. And she encountered skepticism about her ideas and her ability to translate that vision into a profitable company.But she kept grinding, learning new skills, figuring out what worked — and what didn’t work. She aligned herself with mentors who believed in her business and supported products more representative of the people who ultimately purchase them.Despite her successes, Yelitsa still has doubts, grappling with her place in a system that has long denied business opportunities to people of color.“Even with all the accolades, even with all the traction, I still often question the validity of my business and the opportunities that I can pursue,” she admits. Yelitsa remains hopeful that her story will inspire other women of color to pursue their business dreams. “My goal in life, my purpose in life, is the liberation and economic freedom of Black women through education and financial literacy,” she says, goals she’s now achieving one doll at a time.Ultimately, however, the long hours, lack of sleep, self-doubt and yes, triumphs, all bring Yelitsa back to her early days … without a doll that looked like her.“What they're playing with,” Yelitsa says of children today “should represent the world and the people that they're going to interact with so that they can learn about others.”If you missed it, check out part one in our podcast series on Black business, a conversation with former U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx.
29 minutes | 4 months ago
Black Business and Transportation Equity
Whether at the local or federal level, Anthony Foxx knows perhaps better than anybody how transportation can forever transform a community — for better or worse.As U.S. Secretary of Transportation for President Barack Obama and the former mayor of Charlotte, North Carolina, Foxx strived to modernize the American transportation landscape, recognizing how such an agenda could serve as a great equalizer for communities of color. “There’s a reason why we use the phrase ‘other side of the tracks,’” Foxx, now Chief Policy Officer at Lyft, says in this episode of Longitudes Radio. “These systems were used as dividers, and it’s very apparent when you go back into history … infrastructure was weaponized to reinforce the ideas of what was important in a city, who was important in a city and who wasn’t.”The conversation with Foxx kicks off a three-part podcast series exploring how we can create more business opportunities for Black entrepreneurs — both today and tomorrow. In upcoming episodes, we’ll examine the Black business landscape through the eyes of an up-and-coming small business owner and take a more academic look at systematic, pervasive challenges unique to the Black business community.As for Foxx, he highlights how the coronavirus pandemic brought certain policy challenges to the forefront, what has changed since his days in the Obama administration — and what hasn’t — and whether we’re on the verge of a truly breakthrough moment in the pursuit of a more just and inclusive society.“There is a much richer conversation occurring in this country about racial unrest and the legacy of slavery and things that were subterranean,” Foxx says. “But they’re very much on the surface and in people’s minds today.”And what about futuristic technologies like drones, autonomous vehicles and artificial intelligence? Foxx says we’re on the verge of a “transportation revolution,” a movement that will allow opportunistic businesses to pivot alongside society at large. On a personal note, Foxx harkens back to his adolescent years, when he was told he had to be “twice as good” as his peers simply because of the color of his skin — and whether he still possesses that mindset as a father now.“I don’t want him to feel like he has to be perfect,” Foxx says of his message to his 14-year-old son. “I want him to be comfortable being himself, and I want him to be comfortable saying what he thinks … if we can give our kids the gift of owning their perspective and their worldview and being comfortable in that, that would be a great step forward.”
34 minutes | 7 months ago
Adaptive Tenacity and Small Business Resiliency amid Coronavirus
Connie Matisse had all kinds of plans for her business. Then coronavirus hit.Like many entrepreneurs grappling with how to move forward during a global pandemic, the co-founder and chief marketing officer of East Fork faced a simple yet scary question: What’s next?In this episode of Longitudes Radio, Matisse takes us behind the scenes of her Asheville, North Carolina-based pottery company, explaining exactly how the company switched gears to get ahead of the coronavirus crisis. It all began with one of the company’s core values, something East Fork founders refer to as “adaptive tenacity.”“Our business has always been tenacious and very adaptive,” Matisse says, adding that pivoting quickly came naturally to her workforce. “Nobody has this preconceived notion of how business is supposed to be done.”Such a mindset served the company well following the coronavirus outbreak, when in March, East Fork achieved its highest-grossing month since launching. Matisse attributes that success to “running a business with crisis in mind since the beginning,” as well as nurturing and fostering a loyal and passionate customer base — a commitment on full display with the company’s more than 120,000 Instagram followers (she also shares some social marketing tips for small business owners looking to bolster their digital strategy).What else can entrepreneurs learn from the East Fork experience during these disruptive times?First, they need to be open and transparent with their own people. And now, more than ever, company values matter, as does customer feedback, which Matisse is using to reshape the East Fork of the future.Matisse also shares some personal stories about trying to avoid burnout when the line between work life and personal life is blurrier than ever, dispels some myths about authenticity and finally, in the spirit of adaptive tenacity, reevaluates that newly complicated question: What’s next?
23 minutes | 8 months ago
Healthcare logistics in the age of coronavirus
The coronavirus pandemic is changing daily life as we know it. Society at large is grappling with how we live and work during a time when the only certainty is more uncertainty. Behind the scenes, however, transportation and logistics workers move the healthcare supplies and medicines needed to fuel an effective response to a global problem.Two experts with decades of healthcare logistics experience between them — UPS Healthcare President Wes Wheeler and Rob Feeney, CEO of Medvantx, a home delivery pharmacy — join Longitudes Radio to discuss the supply chain ramifications of coronavirus and other crises.No longer an academic exercise, logistics leaders are responding in real time to a black swan event. They’re tackling questions of monumental importance: How to ensure medical deliveries for people and hospitals most in need? How to facilitate testing for coronavirus? And what is the role of telemedicine? Logisticians are tapping into lessons from previous pandemics to get patients what they need, when they need it. They know if there’s any breakdown in the healthcare supply chain, it has a domino effect in communities spanning the globe — they must create a truly frictionless and transparent experience.There are a number of factors, however, aiding healthcare logistics today, including the direct-to-patient supply chain and enhanced cold chain solutions. Such innovations are effectively moving healthcare from reactive to proactive, utilizing technologies like machine learning and artificial intelligence to anticipate needs before they even arise. With its recent realignment, UPS Healthcare delivers high-quality visibility, tracking and management options for critical healthcare shipments. Wheeler and Feeney look at the “network within a network” for UPS Healthcare products and services, as well as how the company’s Medvantx partnership will drive in-home treatments.Looking forward, they also explore the development of coronavirus vaccines and how UPS will evolve amid the pandemic. We know this much: Whether coronavirus or any future healthcare challenge, logistics will be at the center of the solution.
30 minutes | 9 months ago
The Reality of Duality
Most of us don’t have just a single face. We have many different faces for different people and different environments. But when we talk about diversity and inclusion in the corporate space, a common sentiment goes something like this: Bring your authentic self to work. But really, who does that? Nobody — at least not in those simplistic terms — argues UPS Executive Communications Manager Janet Stovall, chief speechwriter for CEO David Abney.Stovall moderated a recent panel discussion at UPS’s headquarters on the topic of authenticity and duality and how the concepts overlap. She chatted with UPS Chief Human Resources Officer Charlene Thomas, a leading figure in the company’s efforts to build a diverse workforce around the world in which employees reflect the communities they serve. Stovall also spoke with Valerie Rainford, national diversity expert and author. As former head of JPMorgan Chase’s Advancing Black Leaders strategy, she oversaw a nearly 50-percent increase in black senior executives during her tenure.In their wide-ranging conversation, the panel explores the nature of authenticity, common misconceptions about it and how the corporate world can incorporate duality to improve not just business but society at large.Authenticity thrives in organizations truly committed to unlocking the power of diversity — a commitment, the corporate leaders remind us, evidenced by inclusion across every level of the organization. Ultimately, the panel says, authenticity comes down to how you exhibit and communicate your duality to the world. They each speak to the all-too-common experience of being the only person who looks like them in a meeting, whether with colleagues or C-suite leaders. But how do you leverage that experience to bring something to the room that nobody else can? How do you tap into your authentic self to create value for your company — and actually recognize and champion what makes you unique?
27 minutes | a year ago
Back to the Moon — and then to Mars?
UPS knows a thing or two about logistics. We fuel the movement of goods between every corner of the world, as our Smart Logistics Network helps us reimagine the role of the delivery provider in more than 220 countries and territories around the globe every day. But what if you had to send goods — and people — to the Moon? Or even Mars? Our guest on Longitudes Radio today has the answers to those questions, which are moving from the world of science fiction to the real world.
28 minutes | a year ago
Quality, style and respect for all women
This small business owner is shattering outdated perceptions of “beauty.” She’s also showcasing the business value of “revolutionary inclusivity.”
27 minutes | a year ago
Two-foot-long gummy worms, the world’s spiciest lollipop and the largest stress ball you’ll ever see.Those products sound more like the brainchild of well, a child, than the foundation for a thriving small business.However, the Vat19 story and its founder, Jamie Salvatori, are different. And we had to see for ourselves their formula for success.That’s why UPS Vice President of Global Marketing Chris Byrne traveled to the Vat19 headquarters in St. Louis to unpack how Vat19 is thriving in such an unconventional way.In this extended conversation about small business opportunities and pitfalls, Salvatori and Byrne dig into some of the most pertinent challenges for entrepreneurs today: how to hire good people, manage your time, ride the e-commerce wave and sell your products internationally.
17 minutes | 2 years ago
Living Longer and Better
Invent life tomorrow.That’s the central mission for Joe Coughlin of MIT’s AgeLab, who says we all need to rethink everything about how to serve adults living longer and longer.Nowhere is this calling more pressing than in healthcare, where people are reimagining the “doctor’s office,” increasingly turning to care from the comfort of their own home and getting tested before they get sick.At the same time, the global outsourced healthcare logistics market will grow to $102 billion by 2021, fueled by soaring growth rates in Asia and the Middle East — eclipsing the uptick in the United States. This provides new opportunities for companies of all sizes looking to enter new markets.That’s why UPS continues to expand its global footprint of healthcare distribution facilities and capabilities. It’s also why the company hired Chris Cassidy, a former senior logistics executive from a leading pharmaceutical company, as president of Global Healthcare Logistics Strategy.In part two of their conversation, Cassidy and Coughlin explore how care providers and patients are driving the need for a new brand of healthcare logistics — requiring an ecosystem of companies meeting not just needs but wants.Coughlin dispels the three greatest myths about the aging population, as well as the greatest barriers for companies looking to serve those driving the longevity economy.Inventing life tomorrow, Coughlin and Cassidy argue, is now more about delivering life-defining experiences than accruing stuff.And it’s not just about living longer. Is your company prepared to help people live better?If you missed it, listen to part one of the podcast.
24 minutes | 2 years ago
Redefining Healthcare: What Is Old?
As people around the world live longer and healthier lives, how will companies adjust their strategies to delight aging customers who carry more purchasing power than ever before?Not enough business leaders have the answer to that question, argues Joe Coughlin, Director of MIT’s AgeLab, a multidisciplinary research program that works to improve the quality of life for older people and those who care for them.In a two-part conversation, Coughlin examines the ripple effects of a global society transitioning from a mindset of sickness prevention to the pursuit of daily wellness. Chris Cassidy, UPS President of Global Healthcare Logistics Strategy, is spearheading the company’s efforts to innovate across the healthcare and life sciences sector by enhancing specialized end-to-end supply chain services.He joins the conversation to offer UPS’s perspective on the future of healthcare — including the rise of telemedicine and what this means for the role of the delivery driver — and question Coughlin about the most pressing changes across the industry.They ponder the definition of “old,” dig into the delivery of a next-level healthcare experience and explore the future of retirement itself.We’re all getting older. But we’re not settling for age-old solutions. Businesses must adapt to thrive in the longevity economy.
15 minutes | 2 years ago
Henry Kissinger’s Forecast on Global Headwinds
We’re living in uncertain times.From Brexit to the rise of populism around the world, many are wondering what’s next for global institutions as we know them.What about the state of free trade and transatlantic cooperation? Where does Asia fit into the equation? And how do we account for technologies like artificial intelligence?Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger knows a thing or two about the consequences of uncertainty. As the top U.S. diplomat under Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford (1973-1977), he faced some of the most consequential foreign policy decisions of the 20th Century.The elder statesman left an undeniable mark on history. But what does he think about where we stand today and the challenges that lie ahead?For those answers and more, Karl Kaiser, Chairman of the Board of Trustees at the Center for International Security and Governance and Professor Emeritus at the Harvard Kennedy School, chatted with Secretary Kissinger in honor of the 200th anniversary of the University of Bonn in Germany.
16 minutes | 2 years ago
Becoming a Business Chameleon
How we do business today isn’t how we’ll do business even a year from now.As a result of this whirlwind disruption, adaptability has become the most valuable currency in the world of business. Put another way: Successful leaders must think and act like a chameleon.In this episode of Longitudes Radio, a trio of industry experts chat with the BBC’s Samantha Simmonds about the importance of adaptive leadership and explore the most consequential changes rippling up and down global supply chains.Holly Tucker, co-founder of online marketplace Not on the High Street, joins business development guru Roger Flynn and UPS’S Richard Currie for an insightful conversation loaded with practical advice for those weighing how best to navigate the breakneck pace of international commerce.As the experts point out, you can’t simply dump money into the latest technologies – the tech arms race comes with a price.
18 minutes | 2 years ago
The Long Game
As Tim Brown sees it, the great problem for organizations today is they struggle to think far enough into the future.That’s because they don’t have the ecosystem or the people in place to anticipate where the world is heading. But the CEO and President of IDEO is bringing together leaders from different backgrounds, industries and life experiences to tackle our greatest challenges. Whether it’s the circular economy, urban mobility or healthcare – or enabling technologies like Artificial Intelligence or blockchain – we need global thinkers to come to the table with actionable solutions.CoLab, IDEO’s platform for collaborative impact, does just that. It connects organizations to shape technology’s influence, providing a learning laboratory to design a world more responsive to citizens – wherever they reside. In part two of this conversation on design thinking (you can listen to part one here), Tim talks about CoLab, as well as the building blocks for effective collaboration. He shares insights on how best to release the power of imagination. He explains why words alone are never enough.And lastly, he answers the burning question: What is the one problem he most wants to solve? Editor’s note: David Lee, Vice President of Innovation and UPS Ventures, joins the podcast to help interview Tim. David is also a design thinking “disciple.”
22 minutes | 2 years ago
Finding Your Creative Confidence
When you hear the name Tim Brown (not the football player), the words design thinking are likely to follow.As a leading influencer of the design thinking movement, Tim encourages companies to solve problems primarily through the lens of what people need. In other words, Tim wants us all to think more like designers.In this episode of Longitudes Radio, kicking off a two-part series, the CEO and President of IDEO argues that big ideas aren’t the exclusive domain of “creative” types, saying the most effective organizations are those that give their people the permission to be creative – and even fail.And the best leaders, Tim says, ask questions all the time, always wondering what their teams can do better and how they can unlock the potential in their people.Given the rate of change and disruption in the world, global solutions require the active engagement and participation of agile team members, those who are willing to learn first and foremost from the customers they serve, Tim says.He also discusses some common problem-solving pitfalls such as thinking too short term, falling into monotonous routines and giving up as soon as somebody questions your idea.As Tim points out, a great idea doesn’t mean a whole lot … unless you’re able to put it into action – and meet an actual need. Ultimately, that’s what design thinking is all about.
12 minutes | 2 years ago
Richard Branson Dreams of a New Day for Transportation
Richard Branson jokes that he rarely says no to much of anything, which has earned him the nickname Doctor Yes among his peers. Perhaps that explains the ocean-spanning hot air balloon rides and kitesurfing across the English Channel – or as he calls it, his “insatiable interest in life.” The founder of the Virgin Group says such a mindset fueled his well-known success in the airline and music businesses, among other ventures, as well as his philanthropy around the world. It’s also the driving force as Virgin pushes the boundaries of space exploration and transportation here on Earth with technologies like the Hyperloop. But should business leaders embrace their own versions of Doctor Yes? To answer this question and more, Branson recently sat down with UPS Chief Information and Engineering Officer Juan Perez and Rimas Kapeskas, who managed UPS’s Strategic Enterprise Fund, the company’s venture capital unit. The conversation, recorded during Branson’s visit to UPS’s Global Headquarters, centers on how Branson puts innovative ideas into action, the importance of business leaders who really listen and technologies that could transform the movement of people – and packages – in an ever-shrinking world. Branson also explains why his life pursuits amount to the “one, long university education that I never had” and breaks down his recipe for a people-first company culture. Lastly, he answers the most important question of them all: What’s next?
38 minutes | 2 years ago
Nirvana in 3D
Additive manufacturing will forever shift the concept of supply and demand, moving businesses and consumers from a mindset of “best fit” to “my fit.” UPS’s Alan Amling and Fast Radius founder Rick Smith explain why 3D printing is nothing short of nirvana for businesses plagued by mounting warehouse inventories and profit-draining inefficiencies.They imagine a world where we can make whatever we want whenever we want it.
34 minutes | 3 years ago
Passion Alone Is Not Enough
Starting your own business is hard – no, it’s really hard. Just ask the millions of aspiring small business owners whose “big idea” never made headway in the real world. It’s not that these entrepreneurs didn’t care or work hard enough, argues Gene Marks, a columnist, author and small business owner who writes for The Washington Post, Forbes, Entrepreneur.com and other publications. It’s that they didn’t realize what it would really take to get their business off the ground and running. In the launch of Season Two of Longitudes Radio, Gene provides a checklist for anybody looking to start a small business (he learned these lessons the hard way) and dispels many of the romanticized myths about entrepreneurship. To be clear, passion is important, and failure is valuable – when channeled correctly. But you must also know whether there’s a market for your product and if you’re adding something of value to that marketplace, Gene says. And can you really make the investment in time and money to see your idea through? Do you know how to correctly gauge risk? Are you tapping into the right technologies? Gene answers these questions against the backdrop of National Small Business Week in the United States, an annual event designed to showcase the small businesses that create roughly two of every three new jobs in the U.S. each year. He also assesses the landscape for small business today and explores how companies like UPS can help small business owners compete with more established players in their industries. And if you have business ideas, they’re probably better than failed concepts Gene highlights … a flip-up toilet seat for men and crafts for turtles? Seriously?
17 minutes | 3 years ago
Making Sense of Online Retail
If you’re in the retail business, you’ve probably heard of Martin Newman. He’s founder and chairman of Practicology, a multi-channel and e-commerce consultancy group in the United Kingdom, Australia and Hong Kong. Whether it’s an issue with technology or design or a question about deploying data against the backdrop of choppy retail waters, Martin’s 30 years of experience helps businesses take their strategy to the next level. If you’re wondering about the creative ways retailers are approaching multichannel customers or if you’re curious about consumers’ last-minute buying decisions this holiday season, Martin’s got the insights.
28 minutes | 3 years ago
You Want to Return That Bad Gift ... What’s Next?
Today’s online shopper wants what they want when they want it. But they also want to return whatever they want whenever they want. The problem? Too many companies focus on that first reality while ignoring the latter challenge, Toby Moore, co-founder and CEO of Optoro, argues. In this episode, the leader of the reverse logistics company explains how an innovative returns approach creates return customers. Consumers today want to return any item – no questions asked. But we have plenty of questions for Toby: How did he start Optoro from his college dorm room? What happens to a returned package? How can a data-driven returns strategy shape a more sustainable future? And what exactly is a modern dumpster diver?
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