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Inspire Brands

Army Veteran and Brand Supply Chain SVP Speaks on Leadership Through Teamwork

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By Jessica Shock

At Inspire Brands, we are proud to support veterans and active duty military members. In honor of Veterans Day, we’re spotlighting the brave service members close to our hearts: our team members.

Joel Blanchard served as an Officer during his time in the U.S. Army from 2003 to 2008. After five years of active duty, he continued to serve his country as a member of the Massachusetts National Guard. Today, he is the senior vice president of Group Purchasing Organization (GPO) and Brand Supply Chain at Inspire Brands.

“My journey in the military started at 18 when I reported to the United States Military Academy at West Point,” says Joel. “I wanted to challenge myself – not just to develop my academic knowledge, but also my character, physical abilities, and leadership skills.”

Joel pushed himself and graduated West Point with honors. He began his military career immediately after, serving at the Schofield Barracks in Hawaii and later at Fort McPherson in Georgia.

“I served as a Lieutenant for a year before deploying to Afghanistan from 2004 to 2005 as a Field Artillery Officer,” says Joel. “It was there that I served as second in command of a 42-person platoon, leading a team of seven people in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.”

During Joel’s deployment, the first ever Afghan presidential elections took place. “I participated in combat operations to support the election and was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for exceptional leadership. This was especially meaningful to me, because it was earned helping extend freedom to other parts of the world.”

Joel returned to Hawaii in 2005 as a Captain, serving as a Finance Officer there and later in Georgia at Fort McPherson. “In the military, teamwork is critical and no one person can achieve the mission alone. I’ve been fortunate to get the chance to lead teams of experienced and knowledgeable individuals towards common goals,” he shared.

After serving in the military, Joel earned an MBA from Harvard Business School and joined the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) before working at Georgia-Pacific. Relationships built through these career experiences led him to Inspire, where he is applying leadership lessons learned in the U.S. Army to help his team navigate the rapidly-evolving supply chain landscape.

The importance of creating connections and helping one another left an impact on Joel. In fact, it’s why he volunteered to join the Inspired Vets business resource group (BRG) at Inspire, which he now leads as executive sponsor.

To celebrate Veteran’s Day, Inspired Vets hosted an on-site event at the Atlanta Global Support Center for Inspire team members to write letters of gratitude to military members at the nearby Atlanta Veteran Affairs Medical Center.

“Inspire’s values of approaching relationships as Allies and striving to be Good Citizens resonates with my experiences in the military,” says Joel. “In the Army, we were committed to serving the nation for the good of others. At Inspire, we aim to serve others by giving back to the community.”

To learn more about how Inspire is fostering an inclusive and diverse workplace for veterans and others, visit the Inclusion & Diversity page of our Careers site.