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When Life Hands You a Pandemic, Take One Step Forward

Let’s start this off by saying, there is no better test of your tenacity than by watching the world’s economy freeze overnight. Now, I know that is somewhat of an exaggeration, but as a founder and CEO, that is exactly what it felt like. COVID-19 threw many of us into a state of uncertainty so severe that we just froze, awestruck at what was unfolding. I, too, was unprepared for the severe personal and professional decisions I quickly had to make. 

Within the first week of shutdowns, we received a notice from a customer going out of business. Now, obviously there were issues already at play in that situation, but it shocked me out of my state of indecision. That wasn’t going to be Boulo. Women would need us more than ever when massive layoffs affected their families or full-time roles became too much with littles at home. But, if we kept waiting and watching, stuck in decision paralysis, we wouldn’t survive. 

‘More is lost by indecision than wrong decision’—Cicero

There was no handbook for me to reference because a pandemic strategy had never made it to the top of my to-do list. What we did have as a team was reliance on our intuition and some data points (quantitative intuition- a combination of data science coupled with a leader’s sound judgment and acumen). We were not powerless despite the uncertainty. We focused on getting back to making decisions and communicating them out quickly and concisely. 

Here is what that ended up resulting in:

  • Obtaining a contract with #BhamStrong to help get our community back to work. 
  • Inclusion in the Birmingham Business Journal’s list of Who’s Who in Birmingham workforce development
  • Obtaining grants from Sara Blakely’s (Spanx Founder) Red Backpack Fund AND from Harbert Management Corporation.
  • Launching two new services:
    •  Boulo SpringBoard to match board-ready women with SMB board seats at companies who recognize the value of diverse thinking. 
    • Full-time role placement with companies seeking expertise, diversity and offering a flexible work culture.
  • Offering free strategy sessions to our community businesses who needed help taking their team remote.
  • Creating and delivering a four-part “Time for Action’ webinar series about pivoting your product to meet the times.
  • Speaking at a virtual session for Momentum Leader’s Intentional Tuesdays about Professional Achievement without Compromise
  • Acceptance to pitch at a Venture Atlanta Pitch competition

So yeah, we got busy. The Boulo team chose resiliency in the face of risk. There was panic and frustration at times, for sure, but we just kept taking one step forward. And with those decisions, our brand stayed in the forefront, we remained relevant, and we stayed true to our mission of being a voice for working women.

This post is not to brag, it’s to show that taking one step forward opens your mind up to the next step. Doors begin to open, opportunities surface, and pretty soon you see a clear path forward. So, the Boulo team encourages you to use your intuition, your professional acumen and the data points you do have to start making decisions. Because, after all, what else do you have to lose?