My Biggest Surprise During the COVID-19 Crisis

Posted on April 10, 2020

By Joanna Kulesa

Think about it: The virus that has killed nearly 100,000 people so far, hammered the global economy, and put a third of the world’s population under lockdown began with a single animal in a single market in a single country.

Can there possibly be greater proof that we are all interconnected?

Tech PR, in truth, has always been more about networks than interconnectedness. We operate within a specialized community of entrepreneurs, executives, venture capitalists, reporters, analysts, influencers, and agency partners. The COVID-19 crisis, however, is bringing greater appreciation of how interconnected we all truly are.

We’ve seen a CEO break up with emotion while talking to us about how his two teenagers’ have had to put their dreams on hold… and choked up along with him. 

We’ve watched clients try to adjust to their new remote work lives – some finding new levels of productivity, others feeling lonely and isolated, many experiencing both – as we do the same. 

We’re getting a deeper sense of everyone we work with as people. We see their kids, their dogs, their homes, their souvenirs.

I’ve been through other challenging times since this agency’s formation – the dot-com crash, 9/11, the Great Recession – but this one is unique. I don’t just mean the mind-numbing uncertainty, the volatility, the shocking scenes from coronavirus hotspots around the world, the heartbreaking devastation to Main Street America and our communities’ restaurants, service businesses, and workers. 

I’m also talking about a positive I keep clinging to: the intense feeling of shared purpose I’ve been observing all around me.

From a technology perspective, some of our clients are in the thick of the crisis – making sure the internet continues to perform, or defending enterprises against hackers who are disgustingly trying to take advantage, or using data science and machine learning to predict the pandemic cycle’s impact on demand forecasting.

We feel a great deal of pride working with them, as well as all our other clients who had interesting and important stories to tell before these difficult times ⎯ and still do.

We’re being mindful that folks at all these companies are working long hours, under stressful, sometimes disorienting conditions. We are honored to help them in any way we can.

As an agency, we’re also being mindful of our own employees and each other. Obviously, the physical and mental well-being of our team members is our No. 1 priority, and we are acting accordingly. 

This pandemic has disrupted the rhythms of our daily lives, but this is a time when a company can feel all the more like a genuine community.

In our interconnected world, we must all support each other while we look forward to the better days ahead.

Joanna Kulesa has been building successful agencies in Silicon Valley for 20 years.  Her passion for outstanding client service is matched by her dedication to agency employees—reflected in its naming by Fortune as a Best Place to work for Camaraderie and a Best Place to Work for Women. Contact Joanna at joanna@offleashpr.com