COVID-19 One Year Later – Lessons Learned

Lisé Puckorius, CAE
February 25, 2021

Late January marked one full year since we first started hearing about a then-unnamed virus in the United States. Since that time, the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted and continues to affect not only the meeting and events industry as a whole, but every aspect of education, travel, medicine and health. While hope is on the horizon, planning future meetings will continue to present challenges as the “new normal” for in-person events continues to evolve. Organizations have also had to fundamentally change how they connect with members, customers, with each other and with the world.

Through the ups and downs of the last year, many lessons were learned. We surveyed staff members, colleagues and recent 2020 and 2021 clients to see what they identified as key lessons.

Here are some highlights:

  • “The past year has really helped identify just how much we’ve taken for granted. Beyond the additional safety measures and prevention procedures, it was important to refocus and reprioritize to ensure a sustainable business model in the future.”
  • “No matter the size of the problem, people will get through it with teamwork.”
  • “A willingness to adapt and innovate every day can allow your team to come together quickly to achieve a common goal – maintain the well-being of people, their safety, and the continuity of the business.”
  • “A pause in business is the perfect time to rethink your value proposition and redefine your strategy.”
  • “In spite of uncertainty, always remain focused on your core mission.”
  • “Education and training do not take a break. Use creativity to remain engaged.”
  • “The pandemic has helped emphasize the importance of flexibility. Even the best laid plans can change in an instant. Flexibility and adaptability should always remain a core principle.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote that “life is a succession of lessons which must be lived to be understood.” This past year has certainly challenged us, changed us and hopefully served as an opportunity for growth. One of the most important COVID-19 lessons we learned is the power of encouragement. Check on your friends, uplift your neighbors, share your stories and inspire your community.

Want to share your thoughts? Contact the OLC to share what powerful lessons you’ve learned in this last year of disruption.

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