What’s the most important thing you learned in 2020?
I learned that relationships matter more than anything. During the pandemic, you see who is really important in your life. I am thankful to have spent much of my time building friendships that have blossomed into weekly calls of encouragement during this tough time.
—Robert De Los Santos, CEO of Sky High Party Rentals
Instead of focusing on the negatives, I’ve learned to focus on the positives. I’ve seen an acceleration of innovation happening on a global scale to meet the challenges of the pandemic. Companies all over the world, including ours, have accelerated their pace of change—it’s survival of the fittest. Carpe diem!
—Bo Cheng, president and co-founder of Altovista Technology
It may sound simplistic, but I continue to learn that I can do hard things. I first grasped this when I was five months pregnant and my husband was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer. He died one month shy of the birth of our son. I discovered that I had an inner strength that was rooted in self-compassion and the love for my child that carried me through this very challenging time.
—Phyllis Reagin, CEO and founder of At The Coach’s Table
People above everything. Our team, our investors, our advisors and our partners matter the most to me. Navigating an early startup through a global pandemic has not been easy, but having true believers around us and pushing each other to think is the most exciting part of coming to work every day.
—Naomi Shah, CEO and founder of Meet Cute
I learned that sometimes we must pivot and change things up a little in our businesses. It’s not about how we are going to survive as a business, but what we are going to do to survive as a business. Find the need, come up with a plan and push forward.
—Lisa Collum, CEO and owner of Top Score Writing
2020 reinforced for me the value of building not just a company but also a community. As our team has transitioned to remote work, I’ve continued to learn about the value of investing in the people who comprise a company. I’ve been amazed at how adaptable our team has become. We continue to grow, innovate and collaborate remotely, but it requires the right investment and framework.
—Manav Mital, co-founder and CEO of Cyral
Learn to love ambiguity, because everything you’ve known is changing. When COVID-19 hit, I thought I needed to make all these changes to my business. But my best advisors told me to be patient and instead keep my head down, continue doing what we were doing and weather the ups and downs. So far, that advice has paid off.
—Jill Angelo, CEO of Gennev
This article originally appeared in the January/February 2021 issue of SUCCESS magazine.
Photo by @undergroundbison/Twenty20.com