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WE’RE FOCUSED ON HOWWE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE
In the midst of all the uncertainty and upheaval caused by COVID-19, our conversations at BLF have focused on how we can pull together for one another and for our community to make a difference. Instead of allowing the state of the world to overwhelm us into feeling powerless, we started with banding together, and it’s been inspiring to see where this conversation has led us. In talking, we realized if those of us who are able-bodied, healthy, and still getting to work are feeling impacted, we couldn’t imagine what people who’ve lost their jobs or are immunocompromised must be going through. We decided then and there that whatever it takes to help people, we’re doing it. We’re going to keep working hard because our community needs us right now. This is our chance to step up as a business and be there for people. We started by calling people — clients, previous clients, family members, friends, people in our community — to ask what we could do. Whether that meant mailing something they needed or dropping off meals for those who couldn’t leave their house, we wanted to know how we could help. Ashley was already taking up this charge. She had volunteered with Meals on Wheels, working for several hours in a warehouse without air conditioning, packing meals for those who don’t have them. She’d been feeling powerless in the midst of the virus, but rather than letting that feeling take over, she took action to help others (you’ll get to read more about her inspiring volunteer work inside the newsletter). As our business has made the change to working remotely, we’ve gotten creative with how we connect as a team. When we’re around each other at the office every day, we say hello and ask how our coworkers’ weekends went, and that connection happens effortlessly. So Ashley and I started brainstorming ways to create these organic connections in a remote setting. We decided to do random check- ins — we hop on a video chat together as a team just to say hello and talk about things other than work — to help facilitate some of the conversations that happen naturally when we’re all together.
On one of our first calls, I asked our team to talk about something motivational they’ve
seen, read, or heard. We started talking about the books we’re all reading and inspiring documentaries we’ve been watching. The quick check-in that I thought might last five minutes took 30 minutes. It was awesome. It was so great to see us bonding even when we’re not in the same room. Throughout everything, I’ve been reemphasizing to my team that we will get through this by stepping up and spending time on things that will strengthen our business now and in the future. Getting through tough times is something I’ve seen my parents do as business owners. When the recession hit back in ‘08, many businesses started cutting pay and laying people off, but my parents had a different response. They told their employees, “We’re going to take this challenge on and come out stronger. We’re going to refine everything, refine policies and procedures, and get even better at what we do.” They made it their objective not to lay anyone off or cut anyone’s pay. Things were tight, and they took on projects that they may not have otherwise, but it enabled them to keep every one of their people employed. When we came out of the recession, they were leaps and bounds ahead of the competition. Their approach paid off, and they had the best run they’ve ever had. I thought about this when I sat down with my team to talk about our response to COVID-19. I told them I would do everything in my power to make sure everyone keeps their jobs. We will do the best we can for as long as we can. If we do that, we’ll get through this. My parents’ model has helped me handle this as a young leader.
Here’s something we can all take away from this: Rather than letting this thing divide us, let’s come out of it more united and stronger in response.
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