Plenty has changed since SHW began working remotely on March 9, 2020. Luckily, due to the Microsoft O365 suite, the transition was seamless, and we have remained connected through these indescribable weeks. Even though events have been canceled or postponed, our team of event professionals remain ready to serve
DOCKSIDE JOURNAL ENTRY / April 28, 2020
Bringing People Together in the Age of Covid-19
by Marka Waechter, CEO
Plenty has changed since SHW began working remotely on March 9, 2020. Luckily, due to the Microsoft O365 suite, the transition was seamless, and we have remained connected through these indescribable weeks. Even though events have been canceled or postponed, our team of event professionals remain ready to serve. Eager and available to help our colleagues, customers, and partners, both old and new, we are navigating these unchartered waters together. We’re grateful for the inspired, brilliant minds and talents of the software, cell phone, and internet providers who are doing a great job keeping us connected, empowering SHW to continue all of our collaborations and preparation for the future that most certainly will bring with it a new normal. Not so many years ago, none of this forward momentum would have been possible.
Who would have even imagined this bizarre time? There isn’t an industry that has not been impacted by the novel coronavirus, and the devastating economic outcomes left in its wake. For SHW, our core business – bringing people together — was halted in an instant. Within days, our industry partners in hotels, restaurants, catering, and entertainment followed. While we fully support the health expert-led government directives, and embrace the greater good mindset, we cannot deny that the economic impacts to our industry is nothing short of colossal in its damage. It’s impossible to know how or when we will all return to life as we knew it, while perhaps not perfect, at least familiar.
And yet, history assures us that our industry will indeed return. This experience, and its economic damage have been equated to the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks- when flights were suspended, businesses impacted, and daily life interrupted. However, the last time the hospitality industry was wholly decimated was 100 years ago. In 1920 Congress adopted the 18th Amendment, or the Volstead Act, ushering in the prohibition against alcohol. The uncanny similarity between Prohibition and the current shutdown of the economy lies in the revocation of liberties in order to protect the health of American citizens. The Volstead Act was overturned in 1933, and hotels, restaurants, and bars were quickly filled, and champagne was poured in celebration. We look forward to the time when it is safe for people to gather again. History is a great teacher and offers us much to consider to navigate these times.
Today, each of us has a unique opportunity to make a powerful impact on how this life-altering period will end. Through our individual actions and our collective community solutions we can create goodness from the rubble. Our actions today can have a lasting impact on how a new normal reveals itself.
For SHW, we decided to continue our unwavering quest for innovative ideas and solutions to help our customers navigate these unprecedented times. Together we are planning new ways to achieve business objectives that previously, and exclusively, were met with live events. Our relentless optimism and enthusiasm are real, and we want to help our community of customers and partners carry on. Through live events, virtual events, and surprise and delight activations, our desire to serve is unchanged by COVID-19. No matter how great the existing technology connection tools are, our shared experience of self-quarantine underscores that nothing can replace the in-person human experience, and it certainly isn’t not too early to start planning for future live experiences.
With all the efforts of our brilliant scientific community, the testing, treating, and eventual vaccinating for COVID-19 is forthcoming. But for now, it is time to be bold and begin to plan a solid experience strategy for launching new products, delivering product messaging, reinventing workforce training programs, and showing gratitude to our customers in this virtual environment. Let’s work on this together.
Please stay healthy and safe.
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