As I sit down to write this month’s blog, I am in awe of the stories and remarks that were shared this year at our 2021 Breakfast for Hope. The courage and honesty displayed by our speakers was humbling; the passion and dedication of committee members, sponsors, and staff is quite inspiring; and the donations are more impactful and meaningful than ever. I am so grateful for it all.
It was a virtual event again and that worked really well in many ways, including ease of attendance and being able to join from great distances, of course. We also did not need to choose a menu or pick a hotel. For many of us – myself included, the desire to get back to doing things like this in-person is strong! I cannot wait to shake hands, give hugs, and stand shoulder-to-shoulder with others. I know I am not alone feeling this way, but I also know that not everyone feels similarly.
I’ve been thinking a lot about “the return” – to work, visiting, traveling, and so on. The space we are in now feels unfamiliar and stressful. There were weeks, even months, like this when the pandemic began: a period of uncharted territory. As we look ahead now, I am anticipating a time that again feels uncertain and perhaps exhausting, which requires flexibility, resilience, and patience.
There are countless articles and reports coming out about how to re-open offices and organizations, work remotely, and maintain positive culture. As I read, talk to other leaders, and digest the input from those around me, I want to acknowledge a few of my thoughts:
- We must approach the coming months with compassion. Feelings about returning to work will likely range from excited to anxious. No matter their opinion on the return, people want to feel good, respected, and appreciated. Having compassion as we figure this out together will make it easier and more successful.
- Flexible work arrangements for the future are desired by most, resulting from many months of effective productive remote work. It will be essential though, as we are no longer restricted, to also acknowledge and embrace the valuable benefits that come when we are in-person and together.
- Communication is key, as is enjoyment. It will help us all get through this time of readjustment if we communicate well on expectations, parameters, needs, and wants. Not all will be met at all times but that’s okay. We can find enjoyment in the opportunities to reconnect and collaborate in-person again and in the silver linings discovered in remote work.
My wish as we wrap up the Breakfast for Hope is that the theme, Forward Together, resonates with you and provides positive, hopeful feelings for the coming months.
Kathleen C. Marchi
Chief Executive Officer & President