Sales Talk for CEOs: From Sustainability Advocate to Tech Entrepreneur: Malin Schmidt’s Journey to the Top (Ep110)

Mar 5, 2024 | Sales Talk for CEOs Podcast

In an enlightening episode of the Sales Talk for CEOs Podcast, Alice Heiman engages with Malin Schmidt, not just as the CEO of Kodiak Hub, a pioneer in supplier relationship management software, but as a visionary leader whose journey epitomizes the fusion of sustainability and technology in business. Schmidt’s transition from a sustainability advocate to a tech entrepreneur offers invaluable lessons on the intersection of technology, procurement, and sustainable business practices, making her path a beacon for CEOs and leaders aiming to navigate the complexities of modern industries.

A Journey of Resilience and Innovation

At the heart of Schmidt’s story is her unwavering commitment to sustainability, which led her to challenge the traditional cost-centric models in procurement. Her philosophy, “What we want to do is to put the right data and insights in front of the strategic buyer…including the quality of what you buy, how it has been produced, and of course, to the right price,” reflects a holistic approach to business that balances economic, environmental, and social factors.

Kodiak Hub’s utilization of technology to foster transparency and drive change is a testament to Schmidt’s forward-thinking leadership. She emphasizes the importance of not just collecting data but using it to identify and act on opportunities for improvement, stating, “One thing is to report and to measure. But if those data points are not used to drive and identify opportunities for change…then what use is it to just report?” This approach underscores the role of technology as a catalyst for meaningful change, beyond mere efficiency gains.

Schmidt’s leadership journey is also marked by resilience, particularly in the face of challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic. Her ability to lead Kodiak Hub to double its growth consecutively highlights the significance of agility and customer-centric innovation in overcoming obstacles. This resilience, coupled with a strategic focus on growth, offers a blueprint for CEOs navigating uncertain times.

Emphasizing Creativity and Innovation in Leadership

A distinctive feature of Schmidt’s leadership style is her emphasis on creativity in hiring. By exploring candidates’ personal journeys and thought processes, Schmidt seeks to uncover their innovative potential, ensuring that Kodiak Hub’s team is not only technically adept but also capable of thinking outside the box to drive sustainable solutions and innovation. This approach to building a team underscores the critical role of creativity in fostering innovation and navigating the complexities of technology and sustainability.

Key Insights for CEOs

Schmidt’s journey and leadership at Kodiak Hub offer several key takeaways for CEOs and business leaders:

  • Sustainability as a Core Business Strategy: Schmidt’s emphasis on sustainability highlights its importance as a competitive advantage and a pillar for long-term business success.
  • The Power of Technology for Change: Leveraging technology for transparency and to drive actionable change is crucial for modern businesses aiming to stay ahead.
  • Resilience Through Innovation: Schmidt’s ability to guide her company through challenges underscores the importance of innovation and customer-centric approaches in ensuring business continuity and growth.
  • Creativity in Leadership: Valuing creativity in the hiring process ensures a team capable of innovative thinking and problem-solving, key components for addressing today’s complex business challenges.

For CEOs and business leaders looking to embrace sustainable business practices and navigate the complexities of modern supply chains, Malin Schmidt’s insights provide a roadmap for leveraging technology, understanding buyer needs, and prioritizing sustainability to drive business growth and innovation. Her journey from a sustainability advocate to a leading CEO in the tech space is not just inspiring but also offers practical strategies for leadership in the 21st century.

Watch Below or on our YouTube channel


[01:24] – Guest Introduction: Malin Schmidt

[01:27] – Discussion on Sustainability in Business

[02:02] – Introduction to Kodiak Hub

[03:19] – Importance of Quality, Sustainability, and Price in Buying Decisions

[04:13] – Explaining ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance)

[06:04] – Kodiak Hub’s Approach to Sustainable Procurement

[07:19] – Malin’s Background and the Start of Kodiak Hub

[09:03] – The Challenges and Opportunities of Building a SaaS Company

[11:49] – Initial Sales and Customer Engagement

[12:42] – Building a Sales and Marketing Strategy

[14:15] – Importance of Customer Success in Sales

[16:09] – How Kodiak Hub’s Sales Organization Evolved

[17:12] – Malin’s Role in the Sales Process and Strategy

[19:11] – The Creativity Aspect in Sales

[21:44] – Utilizing the CEO in the Sales Process

[24:46] – Scaling the Sales Organization and Future Plans

[30:51] – Recruitment and Building a Sales Team

[32:35] – Expanding the Sales Team and Geographic Strategy

[35:00] – Interviewing Techniques for Hiring Salespeople

[38:02] – Closing Remarks and How to Connect with Kodiak Club

About Guest

Malin Schmidt, a seasoned SaaS B2B entrepreneur, seamlessly blends her expertise in Operations, Supply Chain Management, and SustainTech to reshape global business collaborations. Malin stands at the forefront of innovation in the realm of Supplier Relationship Management (SRM) software as the Founder and CEO of Kodiak Hub. Recognized as one of the Top 100 most influential Women in Supply Chain, Malin has carved an indelible mark in the industry by steering Kodiak Hub to unprecedented success.

For Malin, the creation of Kodiak Hub represents the most rewarding and enjoyable venture in her career. With a mission to assist brands in developing sustainable supply chains at scale, Kodiak Hub, under Malin’s guidance, has become synonymous with innovation and excellence in the industry. She emphasizes the importance of balancing expansion with consolidation in her business building, to ensure organizational scalability and sustainable modes of operating.

Her continuous mission is to develop the Kodiak Hub platform to consistently surprise and delight users, delivering top-line value for large enterprises and solving the challenges residing in global supply chains.

Social Links

Connect with Malin on Linked In

(99+) Malin Schmidt | LinkedIn

Check out Kodiak Hub’s Website:

Kodiak Hub | Supplier Relationship Management Platform

(99+) Kodiak Hub: Overview | LinkedIn

Kodiak Hub on YouTube:

Kodiak Hub – YouTube

Connect with Alice on LinkedIn:

(4) Alice Heiman | LinkedIn

Check out Alice’s website:

Alice Heiman | Sales Consultant and Strategist for CEOs


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