Chamber Voice: Lockdown, learnings and life in COVID - Tauranga Chamber of Commerce

Chamber Voice: Lockdown, learnings and life in COVID

March 25, 2020 marked the first day of a nationwide lockdown to help stop the spread of COVID-19 in New Zealand.

Now, 12 months later, COVID-19 has presented us with plenty of opportunities for professional and personal learnings – particularly those in business, who have had to be resilient and responsive to some unpredictable changes.

To mark the anniversary of this historic day, we asked our team to reflect on the past 12 months, and share their highs and lows.

Matt Cowley, CEO

Describe your 2020 lockdown experience in three words.
What day’s it?

What was the biggest challenge you faced as a result of COVID (in the last 12 months)?
Unplugging. It took its toll always watching the news and responding to emails. After a month of not really having a weekend off from understanding COVID or economists’ dire predictions, it was exhausting.

What was your biggest win?
Not a single fight or argument with people I live with, despite the cabin fever in an apartment.

What’s the one thing that helped you manage the highs and lows of these strange times?
A hilarious team and zoom work drinks!

Anne Pankhurst, Events Manager

Describe your 2020 lockdown experience in three words.
Enlightening, interesting, constructive.

What was the biggest challenge you faced as a result of COVID (in the last 12 months)?
The uncertainty particularly in my role can be quite discombobulating; sometimes feels like two steps forward, three back. 

What was your biggest win?
We ran the Business Awards and had a fantastic golf tournament, despite the uncertainty, so thumbs up for pushing forward, and not going into stall mode.

What’s the one thing that helped you manage the highs and lows of these strange times?  The support of my boss and the team and them putting up with my grumpy demeanour sometimes. 

Kirstin Mead, Innovation Manager

Describe your 2020 lockdown experience in three words.
Chaos, Resilience, unprecedented (LoL!)

What was the biggest challenge you faced as a result of COVID (in the last 12 months)?
Managing my household where my husband was in self-isolation for the first two weeks after a mad dash home from America – arriving home the day lockdown was announced. He had no idea when he landed what he had walked into!

Given he can no longer travel for the time being, we have had to rethink his business and like many started a new company during lockdown to manage the consequences of the changing global environment we live in

What was your biggest win?
Hands down the biggest win (and work-related challenge) has been setting up a virtual team to deliver COVID-19 advisory support across our region. We had to build a process, train our staff and manage the thousands of customers who were contacting us for support in one go – literally building the plane as we were trying to fly it! 

It was a very stressful and chaotic time for our team with lots of ambiguity, however I believe learning to deal with ambiguity is a great life skill, so definitely a challenge, but also a fantastic opportunity to learn about yourself and how you respond to things outside your control.

What’s the one thing that helped you manage the highs and lows of these strange times?

There was more than one!

  1. Coffee
  2. Gin
  3. Beach walks / exercise. Daily morning walks on the beach sets you up for an epic day – something we still do.
Zoom screen and a glass of bubbles
Laura Boucher, Marketing & Communications Manager

Describe your 2020 lockdown experience in three words.
Time for beer?

What was the biggest challenge you faced as a result of COVID (in the last 12 months)?
Juggling finding my feet in a brand new role at the Chamber (I started on March 2) and immediately needing to provide strong communications and resources to our business community… all while working remotely with a team I barely knew. While it was initially a bit of a shock, I feel like it worked out really well as there was no time to other think anything and everyone was in the same boat as it was truly an unprecedented moment in time, so as a Chamber team we all banded together and got things done.

What was your biggest win?
There were a few, but here’s my top two:

  • One of the biggest wins came out of a bad situation when my husband lost his work. It forced him to rethink his career, and he has now followed his passion and gone back to study environmental management and ecology.
  • The other win was gaining a real appreciation for social activities, and being grateful for all the events I could attend and be part of once we were in Level 2 (including performing as Sporty Spice in a 90s musical).

What’s the one thing that helped you manage the highs and lows of these strange times?
Making scented candles. It’s my new hobby and I’m obsessed. For someone with low patience and no crafty skills, it’s the best – and the end result is always a win!

Jason Stockdale, Regional Growth Advisor

Describe your 2020 lockdown experience in three words.
Best we forget.

What was the biggest challenge you faced as a result of COVID (in the last 12 months)?
My wife and I being essential workers working from home and juggling three kids and a needy poodle.

What was your biggest win?
The amount of businesses that we were able to support was absolutely rewarding.

What’s the one thing that helped you manage the highs and lows of these strange times?
G&T (sorry that’s two things).

 

Scroll to Top