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Lessons from Covid-19

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How our team got closer while we were social distancing.

For our program leadership team, responded to the COVID-19 pandemic brought long hours. We knew the people that we support would need us and yet we had to find creative ways of having impact. As individuals, we were working long hours under uncertainty that impacted our professional and personal lives. It would not be exaggerating to say that we needed to dig deep into our toolkits and use all of our leadership and management skills as we kept abreast of federal, state and practice specific guidance, created new protocols for safety, supported clients, employees, families members and ourselves.

It was essential to meet often to do the business of COVID planning and response, but it was clear to me that our team needed deeper connections to support each other through the work. If we were somewhat siloed before with in-person access to each other, how would we break those siloes with the constraints of video meetings?

Here’s some of the things, we put into practice:

  • Moving announcements to email, using meetings for discussion.
  • Modeling appreciation. I began looking for good work throughout the week and shared appreciation often during the meeting then asked people to talk about their successes.
  • Playing matchmaker. I looked for synergies between programs and asked team members to connect offline to collaborate and report to the group.
  • Giving people permission to be authentic. After particularly disappointing news about funding, two members apologized for being late and being down. We set aside the agenda to welcome them and let them share what happened and then supported them.
  • Video conferencing also had an interesting effect in balancing out meeting participation. With all of us looking at the screen, we noticed the signs that our more introverted members had something to say. Unmuting is conscious action. Our extroverted team members had to decide to unmute and that led to increased awareness that others in the room had more to say.

Throughout this pandemic, we shared resources, learned from each other and leaned on each other. We built new clinic protocols, launched teleservices and creative alternative programming to meet the needs of our clients and as of June, began offering in person services in a safe structured way.

We did this work together.

Our team is stronger than before. We have new skills.

This is our new normal.

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Teresa Berkowitz
Teresa Berkowitz
Chief Operating Officer

Teresa Berkowitz is a Chief Operating Officer at Pine Tree Society and an alumni at Priority Learning.



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Wonderful article, Terry!! Thank you so much for contributing!! I learned so much and love this organization so much! I'm proud to be a board member!!


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