Hear From Our Team
We asked our team questions about how they've managed the last year in a pandemic.
Q. When you learned about the stay-at-home orders in March 2020, how did you feel, and what was your first thought?
Heather Beasley; Vice President, Human Resources: My main thoughts were, “How do we continue doing business, and how do we keep our employees safe?” Even though many of our employees are considered essential, there was no question we would follow the Stay-at-Home order because we wanted to make sure our staff would be safe. We initially had to think through the technical pieces of what would keep us working and serving our clients. Babies were still being born, expectant mothers were still making adoption plans, and adoptees, birth mothers, and adoptive parents were still needing post adoption support. Later, we focused on how to maintain a sense of connectedness among staff through virtual meetings.
Ryan Doty; Supervisor, Information Technology: When I first learned about the Stay-at-Home order, I felt a little nervous and worried about how the staff would handle the added stress of performing their jobs differently than they are accustomed to, and I wondered how we were going to be able to get all of our staff access to everything they needed from their homes.
Nathan Gwilliam; Vice President; Executive Director, Adoption.com: I was grateful we had already implemented technologies and systems of communication to effectively manage remote work, and the Adoption.com team had already been trained and were comfortable in using these. In many ways, our day-to-day work wasn’t altered much. However, we had to become laser-focused on our priorities and sharing the message of adoption with people where they were. That focusing was a very good thing. It took me a little while to realize the severity of the pandemic and how long we would be navigating this, and I was concerned about how the pandemic and uncertainty would impact those we serve. We have redeveloped Adoption.com sites and resources and continued to work to align them with Gladney’s culture, marketing, and communications. We have worked closely with Gladney’s Admissions team to provide the finest support and guidance for expectant mothers through each individualized adoption journey.
Jennifer Lanter; Vice President, Communications: My first thought was, “There will still be a need for education, and we can do this safely and effectively by going digital.” I didn’t exactly know how it would work, but I had faith in the team and knew we had a lot of smart and skilled people who could help turn our Gladney University and AdoptED programs into a digital or virtual format. Our AdoptED program was already planning to scale the program for virtual learning, so we just propelled our timeline forward and started offering teachers options for virtual programs. We knew they would need support, and we wanted to help anyway we could. I was excited for the challenge!
Heather Rogers; Residential Supervisor, Gladney Home: Initially, it didn't feel like a huge deal for the Gladney Home because we thought it would be an extended spring break for one week. Once the reality set in that our clients would be doing virtual learning for the foreseeable future, I think everyone felt a bit anxious about how that was going to work out and the long-term impact it would have. The unknown of how long the pandemic would last definitely increased anxiety in the girls throughout the year.
Lisa Schuessler; Vice President, Donor Relations: I remember feeling the weight of navigating and meeting the important needs of Gladney, while balancing the reality of what the world was going through. In that moment (and always, honestly), I was not connecting with families to raise money for our important work; I was connecting to raise their spirits … and to raise my own. It was essential that we collectively raised all those who had supported Gladney when we depended on them most. Now, they needed us. They were depending on us to be strategic with our asks. Our ask had never been clearer: how can Gladney help YOU, our Gladney Family and Friends?
Let us know what your first thought was when you learned about the stay-at-home orders in March 2020 by commenting below.