What are your biggest business concerns surrounding COVID-19?
Our first concern is first and foremost to do what is right, and most safe, for our members and staff. We were the first members club to close down, having done so voluntarily about 10 days before NYC and LA went into full stay-at-home status, and about a week before others started to shut. We were more cautious than others and we feel it was the right thing to do—to put people over profits.
What is your current business strategy for dealing with the situation?
We have spent the last three weeks completely immersed with liaising with our members on a 1:1 basis as we believe that businesses who take care of their customers will survive this most difficult of times. As the virus scenarios evolve and have gotten worse with each week, we have elevated communications and have tried to just be there as friends and colleagues for people. No one truly knows where this all goes, so at the very least what we can control is how we extend graciousness, warmth and support to people.
How do you think things will look in your industry a year from now?
Physical spaces will morph to ensure the upmost of cleanliness and space between people so that people can socialize, work, and interact with the ability to moderate their sense of distance. As time develops, the hospitality industry is going to have to adapt to people needing and wanting to plug in and out of socialization. Operations and design will have to create “safe spaces” where people feel comfortable. However, there will also be a heightened need for people to meet IRL as many will work from home and then need to plug into a meeting, event, dinner, or a social moment. The companies who understand how to create this offering and make it totally frictionless will win.
The calm, patient, rigorous, and quietly confident leaders navigated the waters and built some incredible companies and teams.
What have you learned from other difficult times in the past?
Leaders or boards often make fast, knee-jerk reactions to crises without stopping to think about what the picture looks like 5 years down the road. Having been through the 2008 Great Recession, I studied the companies and leaders who truly succeeded. The ones who pivoted too quickly or jumped ship too fast did not succeed. The calm, patient, rigorous, and quietly confident leaders navigated the waters and built some incredible companies and teams.
Safe–and entertained–at Home: What business leaders are doing with their downtime
I have actually always been at peace being quiet and introverted, despite being in a job that requires me to be extroverted. Being at home is joyful as I get to walk my dog, Montauk, every morning, which allows me to think and slowly approach the key issues of the day. This newfound solitude is a habit I hope to keep once work from office time resumes.
I refuse to say Tiger King! I am thrilled, however, for Season three of Ozark. And Better Call Saul remains one of the best shows in history. And who could not love Schitt’s Creek and its final season!
I have taken this time to reboot my interest in design and curatorial voices. Courier magazine remains a favorite. On the more avant garde side, I remain a fan of Purple magazine and the editor, Olivier Zahm.
What are you doing to spend quality time with those you’re sheltering with?
I have 3 children, all small. So, it is easy to just play and spend time with them, just “being” in the flow of the moment.
What are you doing to stay healthy mentally and physically?
I think it is ok to admit that right now it is a very difficult time mentally. I sort of have just given into the moments of despair and owned it. I think it is 100% ok to have a glass of wine, rest, sleep and embrace the melancholy. Physically, I likely will gain 10lbs when this is over! It is ok.
Where are you dreaming of visiting once things are back to normal?
This crisis has really reminded me that we are just one small part of mother Earth. So, my travels will focus on getting back to nature and showing respect and admiration for all of these amazing natural environments. Maybe I would call it a natural isolation moment.