PRovoke Media 25 Feb 2022 // 10:00AM GMT
After two years of the Covid-19 pandemic, it can be hard to quantify the ways in which we have changed. Our pandemic coverage, of course, helps us understand the industry impact, and it seems unlikely that any of our content has been untouched by the unique circumstances that have taken root since the start of 2020.
But so much of that change has occurred at a human level, where many of the lessons emerge from the various conversations and anecdotes that underpin our stories and events. To better showcase these learnings, and provide a measure of insight into how the global PR industry is responding to such a transformative era, PRovoke Media has launched a new series that asks people what they have learned, according to three specific areas.
In the second article in our series, we hear from Heather Kernahan, who was named Hotwire's new global CEO during the pandemic — and had to learn the ropes of the job with most of the tech agency's offices closed and the kids at home. Kernahan says it was "damn hard." There were, however, lessons learned.
Three things I've learned...Heather Kernahan, global CEO Hotwire
Career: "I started a new job while most of our offices were closed and even though I’ve been with Hotwire for 6 years, it was harder than I expected to take on new responsibilities, working with different teams, all while home. It gave me a better understanding of what it must be like for someone brand new to our company and working remotely. It is damn hard and requires trying new ways of communicating, like regular video updates across the team and connecting, even with short 1:1s via phone instead of video calls all the time. This experience has changed how we’re onboarding and that will need to continue to evolve."
PR: "The pandemic was a throttle for our industry’s role as strategic advisors to business leaders. Issues of politics, racial injustice, climate, employee activism and more shot straight to the top of priority lists for boards and executives and our skills were needed more than ever. We can all continue developing our own skills in this area and encourage our teams to keep learning with thousands of online education options available. Our role as advisors has been cemented and we have to build the business leader mindset for the next generations of comms leaders."
Personal: "Through my career, I have travelled a lot for work and though I always felt connected to my kids I realized after two years home with them that I know them now at a very different level. Seeing them through their teen years and navigating the pandemic and all that it brought, has made us stronger as a family. I also learned that after 30 years together, my husband is still my best friend. I remembered that we can get through anything as long as we’re talking and booking date nights which during the pandemic were just on our back deck. I won’t give up this time and space we’ve created even as travel starts to come back."
If you'd like to share your three lessons, please let us know.