May 2020: Sheri Davis-Faulkner, Co-Director of the WILL Empower (Women Innovating Labor Leadership) programme and Senior Programme Director with the Center for Innovation in Worker Organization (CIWO) in the Rutgers School of Management and Labor Relations, USA
Where are you working at the moment?
I am working from my home office in New York, USA.
Has your work been strongly impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic?
How has it been impacted?
We’ve had to cancel numerous events, revise cohort programmes, and completely overhaul budget to prepare for shifts to online platforms while holding out hopes for in-person gatherings.
How have you managed these changes?
By communicating with colleagues via Zoom, and holding online meetings, classes and webinars.
What are the challenges?
Scheduling meetings because everything has moved online; communications because our participants are flooded with email and breaking news.
Does this change the way you operate and plan, and how? What are you doing differently?
It has definitely changed our planning. Everything we cannot do online is on hold – postponed – until we have to ultimately decided to cancel. We’re also having to work with funders to extend deadlines and provide additional supports for professional development to do more online activities and to identify proper platforms for the work.
Can you give us some examples of positive aspects of your work at the moment? Are there good things that have happened?
The best part is that the cohort participants deeply appreciate the community/network we have built, and the sense that they are not in this alone.
What advice and support do you have for others?
Be sure to communicate your understanding that these are unprecedented times and show them some grace, encourage them to be comfortable with the fact that everything they try may not succeed but to learn the lessons and keep pressing. If there are women and marginalised communities represented in your work, actively seek to address imposter syndrome because no one knows what the best thing is to do, we are all learning together.