by Celeste Headlee · 21 Jul 2020 · 7 min read
I've always been an introvert and a woman—two traits which aren't exactly relished by the business world. Yet I am also a long-time leader in my organiziaton. I am, therefore, writing this to argue in favor of the introverts and women out there and to help anyone become a better leader. It's as simple as this: communication.
Early spring 2018, I walked into the building of a startup accelerator program I had been accepted into. Armed with only confidence and a genius idea, I was eager to start level one. I had no idea of what to expect, but I knew I needed help. Somehow with life's journey of twists and turns, this former successful event planner was now about to blindly walk into the tech industry and tackle on a problem that too many women entrepreneurs had faced.
For as long as I can remember, I've always wanted to be a makeup artist — and because of that, traditional school never interested me. All I wanted to do was go to cosmetic school, but for my parents, a makeup artist wasn't a "real job" so they wouldn't support me financially to pursue that dream.
For the last 30+ years, I have focused on bringing together political parties, corporate competitors and disparate nations to foster quality leadership, diplomacy and results that better society, creating sustainable partnerships and profitable business models. Has it been easy? By no means. Rewarding? Immensely.
It seemed like everything happened overnight because, well… it did. One moment, my team and I were business as usual, running a multi-million-dollar edible cookie dough company I built from scratch in my at-home kitchen five years ago and the next we were sitting in an emergency management team meeting asking ourselves, "What do we do now?" Things had escalated in New York, and we were all called to do our part in "flattening the curve" and "slowing the spread."
It all started when I began documenting my daughter's 436-day hospital stay on Instagram. She was a perfectly healthy 3-year-old and out of nowhere had a ruptured appendix made worse by a failed immune system. Sepsis began to consume her body and talking about it on social media was my way to cope with the fear of the unknown...
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, many companies were resistant to implementing remote work for a variety of reasons such as concerns about technology and infrastructure, a lack of trust that employees would get their jobs done, the longstanding (and understandable) bias in favor of face-to-face interactions, or some combination of these factors. However, not only has the COVID-19 pandemic forced many companies to switch to remote work despite their reservations, it's clear at this point that it's going to be very hard to put the genie back in the bottle. Remote work is here to stay, at least partially. By analyzing the pros and cons of remote work we've witnessed over the past few months, we can apply various insights towards maximizing its benefits while minimizing the downsides.