Updated: 7 days ago
About this time three years ago:
We all became experts on virology.
We all learned what PPE was and discovered that we simply did not have enough.
I had a friend pass away from Covid 19.
At the same time, I was learning how to:
Manage a team from my dining room table
Hold Zoom events that did not include “Zoom Bombers.”
Continue to raise money and social distance.
Embrace our closest partners while continuing to share our mission with new potential corporate and individual donors.
Oh yes, and help our CEO figure out how to move stem cells around the world if all commercial airlines were grounded.
Fun times??? NO
Scary times?? YES
Time for innovation - OH YES!!
I found myself thinking, having meetings with myself, and coming back to some big questions:
What is happening?
Who else is experiencing the same or adjacent challenges?
Who is experiencing challenges I can help them with?
How can we help each other?
Who can help me make the best of this brand new-never had to live through the situation?
How can I be part of the solution?
Realization 1- Sometimes, you have to have a meeting with yourself and simply look at a situation from all sides. You may have the answer(s), or you may think of the key questions to secure good input from those around you. I have often found car rides to be an excellent place to hold these meetings; however, during the lockdown, I found a walk a good time to dive deep into my thoughts.
Realization 2- Once you can control the lack of control, you can really examine what is happening and move towards answers.
Realization 3- OK, This pandemic was not just happening to me OR to the nonprofit I worked for. It was a worldwide pandemic that left everyone without answers. So what are the common problems we all now face?
Realization 4- Some have different problems caused by the same event. How Reach out tocan we help them solve their problems?
Realization 5- Important conversations are happening - how can we be useful participants in the dialogues that are happening?
And most importantly—
Realization 6- The way you have been doing things may not work under this or any other unique situation. (IE: a Gala during a lockdown)
“Have a good plan, execute it violently, and do it today.”
— Douglas MacArthur
Doing is key.
After the thinking is complete, you have to do something. You have to do it fast - and if, perchance, it is not perfect, fix it and move on.
Analysis paralysis simply had no place in a world that was changing so fast.
So…my first step was to embrace our existing partners.
I called a number of partners of ours who were looking to engage their groups in anything cool that was not in person.
We put together impactful agendas that we would present on Zoom - Remember, this was just two weeks into the lockdown. And yes, this was our first experience with an early pandemic phenomenon called the ZOOM BOMBER - such hate is terrifying.
Then there were corporate partners who were also looking to connect their teams with a common mission. We put together visual Lunch & Learns for new and existing partners.
We also put together a bunch of “Good Deeds” days where folks could have a social impact while social distancing.
Then I received a call from Adam Levine (not Adam Levine from Maroon 5), an agency principal who we had enlisted to do some pro bono work for our organization.
By this time, all had realized that the pandemic was unfairly impacting Communities of Color. Our organization had long looked to change outcomes for communities of color by increasing the diversity within the bone marrow registry.
He suggested we join the conversation - and we did!!
We held SEVEN Virtual Town Halls on Disparities in Healthcare. And thanks to our team, including an amazing Board Advisor, we were able to secure 100% of the funding from major corporations - not to mention the panelists that we were able to secure to be part of these events.
There was so much more, but the takeaways were the real win.