The Secret World Of Operations

How to keep things moving & scale!

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Susan Aplin

Susan Aplin

A purpose-led and impact CEO, Susan has held executive roles in large global brands and key management roles taking start-ups to exits. She founded a leading sustainable home goods brand that incorporated climate science and style and breakthrough innovation in creating the first climate index for home decor and furniture products, as well as held key executive management roles in several other early and growth stage companies.

Susan's career has spanned global business, retail/eCommerce, product development & design, supply chain, sustainability, entrepreneurship, and operations in the home decor, apparel, food and beverage, finance technology, and sporting goods sectors. She is an experienced CEO with a track record of growing and scaling companies to reach their full potential.

Susan is an outspoken corporate leader and has advocated for sustainability and the environment, diversity and inclusion, the advancement of women, and human rights. Appointed by Secretary Jack Lew, she served on the United States Department of Treasury CEO Roundtable Commission during the Obama administration.

Susan is a frequent speaker on leadership, entrepreneurship, sustainability and conservation, global strategy, impact management, and living your purpose. She has shared her expertise with top media outlets and is a leading voice on sustainability and entrepreneurship. Susan has been a keynote speaker and speaker at top women's leadership conferences and at premiere sustainability, climate, and industry conferences.

Susan currently serves as Senior Advisor at the World Trade Center Institute and on the LIRS President's Council. She is a mentor to entrepreneurial CEOs and serves on the Advisory Boards of several growth-stage ventures.

Carolina Cole

Carolina Cole

Originally from Colombia, Carolina pursued a career in law, graduating from law school and dedicating several years to corporate and insurance law. Her career took a pivot in 2019 when she ventured into the real estate industry on the investment side. There, she focused on implementing processes that significantly increased company revenue. Over the past three years, she has also acquired her own rental properties.

Married to a fellow real estate professional, Carolina has spent the last five years working closely with investors and has learned a great deal becoming a landlord herself. She is a staunch advocate for well-documented processes, assembling teams with the right skill sets that align with the company's culture, and selecting the right tools to achieve what may seem like magic within a company. Her approach is to not only find solutions to specific problems but to delve into the root cause, understanding the 'why' to prevent future occurrences.

Carolina lives in Greenville, SC, with her husband, two children and two dogs. Her journey reflects a blend of legal expertise and real estate acumen, emphasizing the importance of process optimization, team dynamics, and innovative problem-solving in driving business success.

Jay Richardson

Jay Richardson

Jay is a heart-centered husband, father, and organizational leader living with his family in Asheville, NC since 2014. In addition to pragmatism, clarity and passion, the core of his leadership philosophy is nurturing trusting relationships with all those he encounters. Jay is currently serving as Chief Operating Officer for Burial Beer Co., and he's a board member for the Economic Development Coalition of Asheville-Buncombe and Thrive Asheville.

What brought Jay and his family to Asheville was his work as General Manager for New Belgium Brewing's east coast operations. Joining New Belgium in 2003 as the IT Director and member of the senior leadership team, Jay served as the steward of New Belgium’s strategic planning process and as Production Director, prior to accepting the honor of piloting New Belgium’s second facility in Asheville, NC in 2013.

Prior to joining New Belgium, Jay gained 11 years of consulting, management and leadership experience with Hewlett-Packard, Mrs. Smith's Bakeries, and Accenture. He graduated from Mississippi State University with an honors bachelor degree in electrical engineering and a minor in mathematics.

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