In the midst of headlines about layoffs and shutdowns, L.A. business leaders seem to be ramping up. Many are working remotely but embracing technology to stay connected with employees and clients via video meetings or the still-important personal phone call. A shared entrepreneurial spirit has them turning a crisis into a learning experience. These Type-A personalities are also rediscovering there’s more to life than work and are more than willing to share their tips for using at-home time as opportunity for introspection and self-improvement in anticipation of the next chapter.
Boyles has been juggling mayoral duties with video calls dealing with his businesses, 1-800-Got-Junk, Haz Away Today and You Move Me. The businesses have been connecting by video call for years, but Boyles finds himself practicing new virtual ways to connect with the community.
SURFING THE ‘NET: Boyles can’t go surfing these days, but he recently met with about 45 city officials via Zoom from his standing desk wearing a suit jacket and tie on top and board shorts and sandals below. “I had them post (a picture) too because I just thought it was hilarious.”
KUDOS TO GARCETTI: Boyles’ impromptu community video chats have turned into a daily morning address on the city channel and Facebook. “I will say I have been way more engaged with the city … now; I can’t even imagine what Mayor Garcetti is going through. Even in a small city like ours, there is so much uneasiness out there.”
GO GUNDO: Boyles is enjoying home improvement projects, online guitar lessons and inspiring books, including “Surf Is Where You Find It” by Gerry Lopez. But he’s bringing his job home with support for the city’s “Gundo to Go” push to support local restaurants. “I personally have visited over 50 restaurants, some more than once. I might go broke doing it, but I love it.”
President and Chief Executive
Former American Ballet Theatre dancer Rachel Moore leads the company that manages downtown’s Music Center complex, home to resident companies Center Theatre Group, LA Opera, LA Philharmonic and the Master Chorale. It also operates and programs Grand Park events on behalf of the County of Los Angeles. Moore ponders the moving target of a gradual reopening of the center.
MANAGING: “I’m a bit of a walkabout manager. I go into people’s offices and read body language to see what’s going on. It’s a little harder to do that via Zoom. I also recently read an article about how Zoom is incredibly taxing (because) our brains aren’t wired for it yet.”
OPENING NIGHT: “We have the plaza and Grand Park, great open spaces which we predict will open before the proscenium spaces. Everything we do will be triggered by the county.”
OFFSTAGE: “We absolutely ramped up our digital presence with what we are calling our sixth venue, Music Center Offstage. We have been having lots of curated programming, interviews and an educational component we are calling Artivities.”
HOME OFFICE: Daily exercise on the elliptical, fresh flowers and an inspirational quote from Martin Luther King Jr.: “Only when it’s dark enough can you see the stars.”
Halton Pardee & Partners
Pardee’s real estate business is considered an essential service, so she and staff are donning masks and booties to open houses for potential buyers. The guided tour is often replaced with a verbal guide.
FREE RANGE: “I ( used to say) this is the kitchen — well of course, that’s the kitchen. Now I’ll frontload them with things to see before they go. ‘If and when you are in the kitchen, notice that the tile is from Italy.’ They get to experience it for themselves.”
SPIN CYCLE: “On a personal level (sheltering at home) made me realize I was in a washing machine and what I wanted to be in was a waterfall. This has been very impactful on (realizing) how important homes are to people. I love helping people star in the life that they love. I’m really good at that.”
HYGGE AT HOME: “It’s a Scandinavian term (pronounced hoo-ga). I actually spell it like ‘huggy’ because it’s giving yourself a big hug in your home. I have four kids, and I light all the candles every night; we play games. I think what we are realizing is we don’t have to run out everywhere all the time, and you can make the best out of your home.”
Dermalogica Inc. co-founder Jane Wurwand runs a company with an annual revenue of more than $250 million, but during the coronavirus crisis, her mind is on small salons struggling to survive. The Wurwand Foundation’s Found/LA program supports local entrepreneurs.
TERRIFIED: That’s how Wurwand describes salon owners pondering the future. “Even when hair and nail (salons) go back, we don’t know that skin care will be back. (Avoiding direct contact) is fine if you are giving a manicure, but not if you are getting a skin treatment.”
SOCIAL SALON? “When this is all over, people are going to be desperate for that human connection. That’s why it makes me crazy when people trivialize it. It’s not a cosmetic issue; it’s about (a salon) traditionally having been a safe space for people to be together. How do we reimagine it? It’s an exciting opportunity for us.”
55,000 WORDS: “For me personally, it’s been kind of a windfall to be isolated and staying in because I have a book deadline in September. (At first) I thought I should write a book about being an entrepreneur (but decided) I need to write a book that only I could write. I came up with an idea about finding your purpose.”
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