Jeff Prouty

If You Call My Office

by Jeff Prouty

*Article also appears in The 2020 Q4 Prouty Pulse.
When you have a free moment, please call my direct line in the office, 952-229-8963. You’ll hear the voicemail I left on March 17, 2020.

My, has the world changed.

We went into 2020 knowing that we were all going to rally around Adrienne Jordan—one of our senior consultants—and support her through her fight with breast cancer.
We all donned pink bracelets, “No one fights alone.”
And then COVID 19 happened. I now refer to it as COVID 19-21, as the impact will be felt by us, our clients, our friends well into 2021, and perhaps beyond.
And then George Floyd’s murder happened.
I remember telling people over the past decade: “2008—2009 was a nasty recession, we’ll never experience anything that bad.” My, was I wrong.
Coronavirus, unemployment, social unrest.
The good news: 2019 was a remarkable year for us, as we visited the North Pole (STRETCH Expedition 2019) in June, and then Antarctica in December.
We had a chance to visit South Georgia and see Ernest Shackleton’s grave; we had a chance to visit Antarctica and experience the power and sheer beauty of the ice.
So, when all this “stuff” hit in 2020, I said, “Let’s tackle it like Shackleton.” Everyone comes back alive. In our world that means no layoffs, everyone stays on the payroll, and everyone survives.
The team of 14 is intact—though we’ve had pay cuts, furloughs, and reduced hours—and continues to go through hoops to support our clients.
We’ve done some exciting work virtually with clients in Louisiana, California, Texas, Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Minnesota.
We’ve done some exciting work, face to face and masked up—both indoors and outdoors.
We’ve moved quickly.
On March 20, we started Corona University, and for 3 months, we had one client a day spend 30-60 minutes with us on Zoom.
It was a CNBC Squawk Box set-up with 14 people (not 3) interviewing each client. Listening, learning.
Kristin Jonason compiled the 50 Quotable Quotes from these Corona sessions—they were fascinating, intriguing, and thought-provoking.
In mid-March, I thought we’d all be “back in the office by June or July 1st, at the latest.” As one analyst said in early March, “We have to fight World War III” for 90 days. Again, he was wrong; we were wrong.
So the Shackletonian journey continues.
We have become “Zoom” and “Mural” and “WebEx” whizzes.
We have “masked up, met outside, moved forward.”
I do look forward to the days when I can shake your hand and give you a hug, safely, mask-free.
In the interim, we’re prepared to do whatever it takes—for as long as it takes—to continue to provide great service to our clients and continue to keep everyone on the team.
I wake up every morning and remind myself to keep “an attitude of gratitude.”
It’s kind of like traversing a crevasse on Mount Everest. The metaphorical ladder—originally thought to be 2-3 months long—may now be 2-3 years long.
One day at a time.
The journey continues.
And we’ll all make it to the proverbial “other side.”
We’re dedicating this newsletter to Adrienne’s journey as a leader and our journey as a team, and we do look forward to seeing you soon either on Zoom or masked up, moving forward.

No one fights alone.

In the spirit of curiosity, adventure, and generosity, we hope your family and team continue to stay healthy.



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