A Pandemic of Possibilities

I can’t help it, it’s in my nature. I see the glass half-full most of the time. Of course, I have my moments of discouragement, but they recede almost as fast as they rise. I am fortunate and I recognize that. I have learned that the best way to honour my good fortune is to listen to others and with their very real needs in mind, give back as much as I can.

Before you can give back you must have your own house in order.  The uncertainty, the fear, the chaos – our team at CASACOM didn’t escape the trying reality of the past three months.  The pandemic upset us and challenged our every norm, but what it did most is strengthened our bond as a team and showcased our creativity, commitment, and resilience. And unexpectedly, it opened up a world of possibilities.

A Refocused Mission, New Opportunities

I thought I had our priorities well thought-through and articulated before this crisis. I have come to learn how to prioritize them even better. Very quickly, as a team, we came together and identified the essentials. Very quickly, we got down to the business of living our values and serving our communities.

1. Our Employees: Like many companies, we took immediate steps to ensure health and safety. Beyond the physical, we took unprecedented strides to not lose sight of the quality of team morale and motivation by increasing weekly contact and investing in creative distance-team-building activities. We also took extra good care of our culture in these past weeks and the reward has been inspirational and an ongoing source of pride and joy. Employee well-being and communication will always be a foundation of our success

2. Our Clients: As our world required pivots and adjustments so did theirs. Many had to hit pause on projects that just days before consumed their working hours. Despite the sudden stop, we stayed close to their needs. We spoke, and most importantly, we listened. Many needed us urgently.  We were honoured to respond.

Agility became the key as we raced to adjust to everyone’s different situations. From a complete shutdown of operations, to an outburst of demand for products and services, to a complete change in operating business models, we stayed on our toes with each new scenario. Listening, adaptation and creativity have been our guiding key words!

3. Our PR Community: From the very first hours of the crisis, we realized that even the most experienced experts were thrown off course, which was understandable given the unprecedented circumstances!

We had to act. Given the chaos, we were happy to have a driving mission: to support the community of communicators and to provide them forums for discussion, access to the latest insights, and peer interviews for inspiration. We took on these activities to be useful and to use our platforms to contribute to a greater good. We kept up the steady pace by constantly reinventing our approaches.

Here is an overview of our activities for our community to date:

  • We published 20 blogs following the evolution of the crisis.
  • We held ten CASACademies in Montreal and seven in Toronto, with new themes every week! More than webinars, these meetings have become a place to exchange ideas and concerns almost as intimately as those held in our lounges in Old Montreal or Queen West in Toronto.
  • We conducted 25 interviews with Communications experts and CEOs for our new CASAContact podcast.
  • We created a dedicated Covid-19 section on our website providing relevant in-depth articles and insights.

The production of this content has been beneficial for us. It mobilized our team around a common goal and strengthened our learning culture; it also allowed us to reflect, be able to anticipate upcoming issues and to sharpen our strategic advice. Above all, it has enabled us to stay in tune with our community, and better serve our clients.

These many meetings and conversations have strengthened existing relationships and created new ones.

The rewards have also been in the countless messages of thanks, the words of encouragement, and the requests for more. And it is true – you do feel good when you give. What better feeling than knowing that you are making a difference for someone?

From the beginning, despite the difficulties, I dared to believe that this pandemic could make us better. And today, I am convinced that it will. Our track record shows how far we’ve come, the importance of our work and the impact we can have.

Thank you to my entire team, our clients and our community for all we have accomplished in the past few months. May the next few months bring us just as much!

Marie-Josée Gagnon About the author
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