Inspirational Companies and Leaders in the Times of COVID-19

BY -

Phil Strazzulla

March 25, 2020

In times of crisis, we look to our leaders to understand what is happening, to gain confidence in how we’ll all make it through.

While there will always be institutions and individuals that fail us in times of crisis, I wanted to highlight people and organizations right here and now that are leading the charge.

We’ve all had moments of anxiety and dread over the past few weeks, and that will most likely persist in the coming months.  Reading about and listening to their exploits have given me peace of mind, as well as inspiration.  I hope it does the same for you!

First, let’s start with some inspirational organizations who have evolved as Corona has gripped our country to help their customers, employees, and society.

  • NYU Medical just graduated their class 3 months early so the students can become interns and help fight the virus.
  • Toast created a new business from scratch in a week to help restaurants stay alive through contactless deliveries, online ordering, and gift cards.
  • Hers’s a throwback from the last recession where a Japanese Airline CEO cut his perks and salary to help pay for employees’ salaries.
  • A UK company that is guaranteeing worker salaries through August.
  • Facebook and Google helping their employees financially.
  • Starbucks expanding their mental health benefits.
  • CVS is hiring 50k people to help keep people healthy.

Next, here are some people that I’ve found to be thoughtful and balanced experts when it comes to understanding COVID-19.  They aren’t looking for a headline, and aren’t afraid to say “I don’t know” even when they’re asked questions that they are more knowledgable about than 99% of the world.

  • You may have seen Ashish Jha on the news recently.  He’s the Director of the Harvard Global Health Institute and recently penned this piece in the Atlantic on how we can overcome COVID-19.
  • Marc Lipsitch is at the Harvard School of Public health (Corona updates that are meant to inform, not scare) and gave a really interesting Q&A last week.
  • Others I’ve enjoyed following on twitter include Nobel Laureate Paul Romer, economist Gabriel Zuckman, epidemiologist Gregg Gonsalves, and economist Neale Mahoney.  Some of these tweets are definitely political from these folks, and I don’t agree with everything they say, but they are all really smart and are applying data to the situation vs fear.

In addition to these world renowned thinkers, I’ve seen a lot of kindness and community happening in my circles.  An HR leader started doing weekly happy hours with her team via Zoom.  A friend just started a weekly Risk night after the kids go to bed.  Other friends are pre-buying restaurant meals, donating masks to hospitals, and doing simple things like saying hello and smiling more often to strangers and neighbors.  

I hope this post provides some inspiration and hope.  We don’t need to be PhDs or CEOs to have an impact on other people.

I’d love to learn about more inspirational stories!  Please let us know who’s inspiring you either in the comments or on social.

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