Reflecting on the Year with Gratitude

By: Deborah Fowler and Karen Carolonza, Managing Partners, Green Room Communications 

As 2020 comes to an end (finally!), we find ourselves reflecting on a year that will forever be synonymous with a pandemic that upended lives in every corner of the world. Staying positive remains a struggle as humanity continues to navigate COVID uncertainties. We have been collectively grieving—our old “taken-for-granted” routines, face-to-face connections, embraces, in-person schools and businesses, and for many, loved ones taken by this complex disease.

If we learned anything from this challenging year, it’s that beauty and growth can be found in the darkness. For the two of us, as women, mothers and leaders of Green Room, this took form in the practice of gratitude for others and ourselves.

As research shows, the practice of expressing gratitude can benefit your well-being, reduce stress, boost happiness and increase positivity in relationships, and is associated with better sleep, mental resilience and physical health. Anyone working in public relations knows these are all critical for success!

When things erupted in the U.S. last March, the Green Room leadership team quickly paused to carefully determine how to keep our employees safe while also allowing our business to thrive. Our nimble, flexible business model gave us a huge head start. Green Room already operated under a “work from anywhere” mantra, so we were able to seamlessly flex into all-remote operations. This avoided workflow disruption and allowed our team to keep activity in motion, which was especially important for our healthcare clients on the frontlines of COVID-19 vaccine and therapeutic efforts.

While remaining client-focused, we also prioritized self-care. As they say, you have to put your oxygen mask on first so you can better assist others. Our Green Room team members have always been caring and supportive of one another (and our clients), and this year each of us elevated that compassion in new ways. We launched round-robin virtual coffee chat sessions to create a space during the workday for 1:1 relationship building across the company. We held biweekly meditation sessions on Fridays via Zoom and created a Slack channel for sharing positive news and little slices of gratitude daily. We came together not only for virtual town halls and brainstorms, but for fun team-building events like happy hours, trivia nights and escape room competitions.

With our own masks tightly fastened, literally and figuratively, we also stayed nimble. With each passing month, we leaned into what our team needed – from flexible schedules, tech support and ideation of more effective ways to share strategic thinking. Through it all, we found our way.

We are grateful for our smart, kind and compassionate Green Room team (including colleagues, consultants and clients) who adapted positively to the “new normal” during such an abnormal time in our lives, even when it seemed like everything around us was in utter chaos. We are grateful that our team continues to get bigger. We are grateful for our clients who stayed the course and continued to put patients first and who treated us as true partners, allowing us to help uncover solutions in new territories.

In a year of loss, change and grief, we found silver linings while practicing gratitude. For that, we will be forever thankful. Here’s to a happy and rejuvenating holiday season, and a healthy 2021!

Deb and Karen