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.
First Associate Concertmaster
Los Angeles Philharmonic
For 10 years, Cole has been performing with the LA Phil onstage and then coming home to train violinists online. So, he was ready to crank up the digital music making in mid-March when concert halls began shuttering, including Walt Disney Concert Hall, the LA Phil’s home base.
On June 1, in collaboration with business coach Jennifer Rosenfeld, Cole launched the Violympics, a series of two six-week training events to build community and keep violinists at the top of their game during isolation.
DIGITAL MARATHON: Cole’s wife Akiko Tarumoto (at left) has run marathons in Chicago and New York, and turned to online training programs. “What blew my mind is, she said if you follow this program for three months, you will be able to run a marathon. Everybody was working on the same thing.”
SUMMER GAMES: “Originally, when I thought of the Violympics, I wanted them to run alongside the real Olympics, specifically to provide that structure (for professionals). When the virus really took hold, I realized I wanted this to be very inclusive for anybody who loves the violin. The term Violympics is sort of tongue-in-cheek now.”
Hydon’s MaCher, a custom designer of sustainable gifts-with-purchase, corporate gifts, premium packaging and other promotional items, often caters to the travel and tourism industry, which has been mostly shut down during Covid-19. He has divided his time between fostering shelter kittens (below) and brainstorming products to get people moving confidently in a changed world.
FUTURE FOCUS: “We consciously said we are not going to get into the PPE business; that was a folly. Instead we’ve been focusing on the future consumer experience. Whether someone is shopping in a retail store or taking a tour or a cruise, how do we create products people will actually use, wear, feel safer with?”
SAFETY STEPS: “You’ve got to (create) a touchless environment so people feel less exposure and a practical solution for face coverage. Ours is a comfortable mask that’s washable and reusable, and a bandana or buff. We call them ‘adventure wraps.’ Another practical solution is a wellness kit with a reusable pillow, so you don’t have direct contact with the airline pillow or the hotel pillow. It’s psychological more than anything else.”
THE NEW “SUSTAINABLE”: “Clearly Mother Nature is telling us it can’t go on as is. (I will not) pretend this never really happened and try to get back to how things were.”
Blank Rome’s Phillips, a nationally recognized family law practitioner in the firm’s Century City office, calls herself “tech challenged” — after almost four years with the firm, she still did not know how to access her emails from home when the firm’s offices closed in mid-March. Now she’s Zooming her way through calls, hearings, mediations and even moderating seminars while awaiting the reopening of Los Angeles courtrooms.
DIVORCE COURT: Phillips predicts a spike in split-ups for homebound couples who are stressed to the max personally and financially by Covid-19. Some are rebonding, but, she said, others are deciding, “I have one life to live, and this is not how I want to live it. I might have been dragging my feet for the past five years, 10 years, six months, but now I’m getting out as fast as I can.”
ROMANCE THERAPY: Besides long walks and calls with family and friends, Phillips has been getting through the crisis with Hallmark Channel romances with titles like “Bad Date Chronicles” and “A Valentine’s Match.” “Hallmark movies are wholesome. … They will make me smile. They will make me cry in a good way. It’s an antidote to the real things we are going through right now.”
Professor of Business Communication
USC Marshall School of Business
Snyder’s latest book, “Finding Work You Love: 3 Steps to Getting The Perfect Job,” is due in August. The professor urges students not to let their dreams be derailed by Covid-19.
YOU BE YOU: “Studies show only 1 out of 10 new college grads are graduating with a job that they love. I studied those folks. … I trademarked the ‘Working You’ system. You are ‘Working You’ if you are being rewarded for the unique value you bring to the job. I worry now that students can get sidetracked. I saw that happen in 2008 (during the Great Recession). The first goal is always finding that job you love, and if that’s not available (move to) Plan B, finding jobs that will help further develop those skills relevant to the job you love so, when they are hiring, you are ready to go there.”
PARTY LIKE IT’S 1989: To stay centered during the coronavirus crisis, “I will tell you the truth, I have 10-minute dance parties. I play music from the late ’80s, which was my club heyday period. Dancing around in the house by myself to those old Madonna tunes takes me to a happy place. And all it takes is 10 minutes.”