We Are All In This Together
Monday, April 27, 2020
As event professionals, it is a time of difficulty and uncertainty. The close of the fiscal year is right around the corner, and from all current accounts, it looks like budget projections for the next quarter (or more) will be a tad bit low to put it nicely. Some of us are sheltering in place, but still working hard to determine what lies ahead for our facilities, events, and programs. And for those of you who may have family members at home as well, this quarantine might start to feel like the psych ward as you bump elbow to elbow with the kids during a home-schooling lesson. The good news is, we are all in this thing together!
We are ACCED-I. Everyone is feeling the effects of COVID-19 (coronavirus) during this time. Businesses, Colleges and Universities, Healthcare facilities, and more. Furthermore, the economy is taking a toll as a result of this pandemic. However, we must not lose hope or focus. My message to share is this- “COVID-19 (coronavirus), you are strong. BUT WE ARE STRONGER!!! ACCED-I family, we are a community of talented professionals that face odds and uncertainty every single day. For those of you who attended Michael J. Lyon’s session last year at the 39th Annual Conference should remember this image:
Never have I seen a more accurate definition of what we do in the event, conference, and camp industry. And let’s also add psychic as well, shall we? For the pros in the business, many of us can almost predict to an exact science what our clients/customers need before they even know they need it. New professionals, you will get there – trust me. And trust me when I say this, this period of the coronavirus pandemic is only temporary. We will rise again! Connections are important now, more than ever. ACCED-I (and several other partners in our community like Unique Venues) are offering numerous resources to assist us during this time: COVID-19 resource page. Register for a P2P session, or connect with colleagues across the regions through Social Networking. Got a question? Reach out to partners and engage with others through the ACCED-I Communities of Practice Interactive forums. Try video conference with an ACCED-I friend (or two or three)! You may be surprised to learn, that we all are facing the same issues. We are peer mentors and coaches for each other. It’s a good time to elevate your professional growth and start your CCEP Certification journey. No matter what your needs are, ACCED-I has an opportunity for you and your institution.
What’s going on in your neck of the woods? Today is a good time to think of ways your department or your University can support your local community while also staying safe and respecting rules and regulations outlined by local, state, and federal elected officials. The gesture can be simple but powerful. For example, the University of Southern Mississippi joined Lieutenant Governor Delbert Hosemann, along with organizations and individuals across Mississippi, in the ringing of the bells each day at 6 p.m., through April 20th, in a symbol of solidarity for healthcare workers on the front lines and those who are ill. While many of us are teleworking and continuing to think towards the future, there still remain several front-line staff who must face the odds each day. Connect internally through virtual networking and send out a group matrix video. Show your community that you are still there for them. This is how we operate now. We, as a community, will continue to grow and adjust.
Life after COVID-19. ACCED-I community, in all seriousness, our nation has survived similar cases like this before, and we shall do so again. A few of you may remember the SARS epidemic in the early 2000s caused by SARS-CoV virus. SARS-CoV-2 causes the current novel coronavirus. Let’s all continue to believe in and support our researchers and healthcare systems. Local hotels and restaurants also need our support. As we make preparations to come back stronger than ever and social distancing will be reduced to online memes, continue to find ways to encourage each other. Connect with your local visitors bureau- develop strategies to keep your community and facilities relevant. Post those glamorous headshots from an ACCED-I Annual Conference.
I highly recommend each of you to do a general wellness check with your clients/customers. Continue to establish relationships and let clients know that your team and facilities will be ready when they are. Let’s not forget, many corporations, businesses, and internal departments are experiencing a significant economic impact at this time due to the coronavirus pandemic; therefore, we must be good stewards- empathizing as we work with them. The most important thing to consider right now is the health and safety of our guests and campus community. It may not be today, nor tomorrow, but this too shall pass. Friends, we will feel the effects of the coronavirus for months to come. However, we can use this situation as a learning opportunity. It has challenged us to think in new ways and form connections with one another. Many venues have implemented extensive deep-cleaning measures within our facilities and paved the way for various upgrades.
If all else fails, remember to keep your head up and smile! Your ACCED-I family around the world knows your struggles and is available to support you. I hope each of you and your respective families are well. I bid you best wishes for a healthy and safe return post-COVID-19.
Tiffany Hammond is an ACCED-I member from The University of Southern Mississippi, Conference and Event Services department.