I’m a people person. I was one of those little girls sent home from school with the note that read, “talks too much in class.” It’s who I am as a person, I’m a connector, a collaborator, and I find my energy from the people I work around and the team I’m lucky to bounce ideas off.
As a CEO, the skills come in handy; I network and mingle and value the relationships we make with our partners and community. It’s the connection that drives and ignites my passion for the work we do every day.
This last year has been so hard on so many levels. As business owners, we faced heartbreaking decisions and complicated choices as we navigated roads none of us had traveled. As a business developer, my calendar of early morning coffee meetings and knowledge sharing was wiped out and traded in for Zoom meetings in my ball cap.
Everything we knew about our jobs was taken away from us in an instance as we feared for the safety and protection of our family members and employees. The worry was so overwhelming that many of us struggled with this new world.
Now it’s time go back to a place that has changed and that can be scary. One word we keep focusing on is “better”- being better, creating better, and knowing better.
We are easing into something better. I’m so proud of our team. When the world closed and events ended, we started a podcast to find new ways to reach clients. Our installers were diligent in wearing masks and meeting the new protocols we were throwing at them each day. Business developers broke in their blue light glasses and turned on their ring lights for virtual happy hours. We’ve been agile and flexible, and now we’re at it again- heading back into our workplaces to return to something better.
Last week, we hosted our first in-person event in more than a year. We weren’t sure when we started planning: Would people attend? Would they feel safe?
As the invites went out and the RSVPs rolled in, we knew we’d made the right call- we are all ready. Our people are longing for connection.
The sun went down, the lights on Maple Street twinkled, and the ‘people person’ inside me smiled at the faces around us. I heard them touting their vaccination stories and plans to re-engage their cultures, and I felt relief- back to better- here we come.
Mary Beth Oakes, Business Furniture + Choreo CEO