COVID Silver Linings

Seamus Gearin COVID-19, Professional Development Leave a Comment

When asked about my weekend recently, I compared my excitement around going for walks to that of a dog. This was in an email to a vendor with a volunteer cc’d. It was certainly more informal than I would have been prior to the COVID-19 lockdown, but it spawned something great.  

The vendor shared that they were trying to get a pup of their own but weren’t sure if any were left as everyone seemed to have had the same idea. Our volunteer then chimed in with a picture of their dog wearing a tie and let us know it was well-past the time to take them out. In less than 5 emails, we created an accidental personal connection to one another; and I would like to thank COVID for it. 
 

Princess “Poppy” Eloise Pupperton

Over the last year, we’ve talked a lot about the loss of in-person interaction. I have certainly felt it. The general sentiment has been that “digital is not as good, but at least we have it.” However, I’ve recently grown to see things more in the vein of “digital is just different.”  

In April of 2020, Redstone Agency had 21 staff members. Today, we have 40. Our AMC is extraordinarily lucky to provide employment for so many people. The majority of this success is because we are a “digital-first” agency which allowed us to help our clients quickly pivot to provide amazing virtual events. However, it also means that we have not met half the people we work with in real life. It has been a great challenge (and opportunity) for everyone.  

Our leadership has had to figure out ways to preserve company culture from afar. Staff have lost the ability to tap managers on the shoulder for quick questions, and all of us struggled to balance work/home life from the same room. Yet, we’ve pushed forward. I’m so proud of how everyone I work with has adapted. We learned new tools and found ways to forge meaningful connections through our screens.  

From simple interactions like “you’re muted” – a phrase synonymous with the uptake of Zoom, still brings a weekly chuckle to gatherings – to meeting pets and children and learning about colleague’s home life, many of us office workers have found new ways to connect by leveraging technology. For this, I am thankful. 

If anything, the COVID pandemic has taught me that in-person is nice, but it isn’t everything. I am forming new, genuine relationships at work, maintaining friendships and accomplishing large technology projects that I may not have if we weren’t all trapped at home, together.  

While optimism in the form of vaccination is just around the corner, I hope that we hold on to the lessons we’ve learned in the past year. A real human being is on the other side of every line of communication regardless of the platform. Don’t be afraid to be real with them. 

Have you found new ways to make genuine connections virtually?  I’d love to hear how – view our contact form here!

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Seamus prides himself on building strong relationships with his clients. A Certified Association Executive (CAE), he excels at guiding boards to effectively tackle big picture goals, while building trust with their stakeholders. By creatively employing strategic management techniques, Seamus has a talent for finding solutions to the unique challenges faced by the associations he works with. After honing his skills in publishing, law and insurance, Seamus has found a home in the nonprofit world. For the better part of a decade, he has combined his knowledge of best practices, appreciation of technological innovation and focus on customer service to thrive as an Executive Director, Secretariat, Registrar and Senior Manager for a diverse array of clients. Seamus is the volunteer Vice President for his local tenants’ association, where he advises on governance, fundraising, and communications.

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