From a business leadership perspective, what would you say is the most important ingredient for success as we come out of COVID-19?

January 8, 2021

Billy Hall, COO,VESTA Modular:

“I would say, hard work. I don’t think I’ll change what I did before COVID, as far as my work ethic, but coming out of it, I believe it’s just continuing to work hard and maintain communication with customers and with the team. More now than ever, having clear and concise communication and maintaining focus on customer service will make the difference.”


Tom DeBaun,  Mayor, Shelbyville, Indiana:

“I think it’s to not lose the vision. For our community, we’ve always operated under the assumption that life would get back to some sense of normal. Even if it was different than before. So, we had to stay the course. There was a silver lining because of our public infrastructure projects. A lot of the construction companies had projects shut down or put on hold, and they were able to throw additional crews at our  projects to keep them employed. And we’ve actually been able to do these projects at, or under, budget and ahead of schedule. So, I believe that sustaining the course and planning for a future post-COVID is the key.”


John M. Brewer, Jr., A.A.E., Airport Manager, Northeast Philadelphia Airport:

“With me, it’s communication with the staff. They are scared; they’re not so sure that their jobs are secure and what to expect. We had a mechanic pass away a month ago… and another young, healthy employee test positive. He was terrified. So, I feel it’s important, as communications come out from the city, to pass those on to my staff to let them know that we’re working very hard to make sure everyone stays employed. Just reassuring them that times are tough but we’re going to get through this.”


Mark Cochran, President & CEO, Jeanne D’Arc Credit Union:

“I think it’s being collaborative. Really being able to understand the needs of people – our members, our employees, and others in the communities we serve. And working forward with them as a partner, in terms of helping people transition back towards ‘normal’.”


David Barrow, Mayor, City of Central, Louisiana:

“Out here, we’re a very conservative, middle-class community, and the majority of our people don’t like a lot of restrictions on businesses. So, it’s making sure that our local, mom-&-pop-type businesses stay in business and that the public continues to support them and buy from them. We’re seeing good results of that right now in our city and we want that to continue. That’s one big thing I want to see out of this – for people to not give up on your local businesses. They need your help more than ever right now.”


Douglas Petersen, President & CEO, Workers Credit Union:

“From a leadership standpoint, I think a very important ingredient for any interaction has always been empathy. And in the COVID world there is more need for empathy than ever before. It’s about understanding where my teammates are coming from, and going to where they’re at, and helping support them in an authentic way. If I can figure out how to do that, then I’ll be very happy. Because we’re all going through our different battles today – and it’s not the 8 to 5 stuff. It’s on the home front: daycare for my kids; worries about my parents. Everybody has those challenges. And so, when people are facing a difficult situation, I tell them, “Take as much time as you need.” And a lot of times they’ll just say, “I need to focus on some work. I need the distraction.” And we need to be there for them.”

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