Life effectively ground to a halt eight months ago and we all retreated to our homes, experiencing the same crisis separately. Challenge often brings unexpected gifts that reveal hope amid adversity. Association pros share a few of their silver linings.

When the pandemic sent us all home last March, time seemed to stop and then open up again in a completely new way. Mornings were no longer all about rushing to the shower, gulping down coffee, making lunch, getting kids out the door, and watching exhaust fumes spill out of the hundred cars in front of us on the long commute to work.

The “commute” became a walk downstairs or down a hallway to a makeshift setup in some low-traffic corner of the house. Business casual took on a whole new meaning. Newly uncovered pockets of time yielded surprising and gratifying pursuits, activities, bonds, and more.

Here, association pros share some ways they made the most of the additional time the pandemic gave them.

MATTHEW GERTZOG, FASAE, CAE

Deputy Director, American Society of Hematology

I decided that there is no reason not to keep living life, so Michael Loizzi and I got married on October 10 in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.

TIP TUCKER KENDALL

Director of Member Services, International Society of Arboriculture

A ton of work in my yard. Starting a garden. Taking up running. Meeting a ton of my neighbors. Reconnecting with my association community via Zoom meetings.

JENIFER GRADY, CAE

Executive Director, Tenn-Share

Peace, rest, long workouts, introducing two friends to bike riding, getting a pet for my daughter (and seeing her be responsible), taking time to note on a wall sheet when I’ve been most proud of my daughter, a virtual family reunion, trying a virtual conference with my association (fingers crossed), paying attention to my spending, and coming up with five-year goals.

KEVIN P. WHORTON

President, Whorton Marketing and Research

I lost 20 pounds, refinanced a couple of houses to save money and pull out a bunch of equity, started reading again, refocused my time and got much more efficient on client work, while also getting a “free” sneak preview of being semi-retired—none of which I would have done without COVID.

JAY KAREN, CAE

CEO, National Golf Course Owners Association

Discovery of good bourbon. Amazing time with wife and kids. Connecting on Zoom with old friends. Unlocking new business ideas at work.

DONTÉ P. SHANNON, FASAE, CAE

CEO, Association of Equipment Management Professionals

Pausing from a busy life, realizing I don’t need to be busy all the time, realignment with personal values, and time to map out the next 10 years of my life, personally and professionally. Oh, and more time with Spyder, my 12-year-old dog.

Editor’s Note: These responses were compiled by Sheri Jacobs, FASAE, CAE, CEO and president of Avenue M Group, in response to a question she posed on her Facebook page asking her friends and colleagues to share their COVID-19 silver linings. We thank them for sharing them with us.

LISA BOYLAN

Lisa Boylan is a senior editor of Associations Now. MORE »