March 30, 2020

A Silver Lining

I want to start off by thanking Brian King for providing years of thought-provoking content in this section of our quarterly newsletter, the Kenway Compass. I have awfully large shoes to fill, but I look forward to the opportunity to engage with our readers via this forum.

I find it hard to believe that Kenway employees, like many in Illinois and around the country, have been living in self-quarantine for the last two weeks. During this time, we have learned quite a bit about this crisis we are facing, but, unfortunately, there has been very little good news to share.

We have learned that COVID-19 is a terrible virus that spreads more aggressively than anything we have seen in our lifetime. We have learned that nobody is safe from its health or economic implications, with millions losing their jobs due to no fault of their own. And on Sunday night, we learned that we will continue to practice shelter in place guidelines until at least April 30 to contain the spread of the virus.

Fortunately, I have also learned some positive things over the last two weeks. I’ve learned how lucky I am to have such a wonderful family. If there is a silver lining to this situation, it’s that I have gotten to spend more time with them, and I could not ask for two better people with whom to be trapped inside. We support each other and have found opportunities in our new routines to bond more than ever. While I do not think I took my family for granted previously, I can say that I now have a greater appreciation for them than I ever thought possible.

While being away from the Kenway office, I have realized a similar appreciation for my Kenway colleagues. Anybody who knows me will tell you that I’ve never been shy about sharing my love of what I do for a living. From our Why to our Guiding Principles, I’ve enjoyed every minute of my time at Kenway and never plan to work elsewhere.

What I’ve learned in the last two weeks is how much I miss the people. My coworkers are not only great consultants but, more importantly, great people. I miss hearing daily or weekly updates about their lives outside of work, and I miss the energy I gain from being together in our office. They say that laughter is for the soul what soap is to the body. Each Friday, we now host a virtual Kenway happy hour, to which I look forward with great excitement, because it’s the most I laugh all week. I can’t wait until we’re laughing together in person again.

I’ve also learned how much I love living in Chicago. Like many, I’m critical of some of the politics and cost of living, but absence definitely makes the heart grow fonder. I miss going to the great restaurants and visiting the parks in our neighborhood. I miss the excitement of baseball’s opening day, despite being neither a Cub nor Sox fan. I miss going to see live music with my friends.

On the rare occasions I do go outside now to quickly walk the dog or buy groceries, I have noticed that, ironically, people seem to be smiling more than normal. I’ve noticed that people, while respecting social distancing, are more polite and respectful of others in our community. As a result of this crisis, I think many of us have gained a greater appreciation for the people and things that have been temporarily taken away.

My family, Kenway and Chicago are resilient, and I have no doubt that we will continue to band together to get past the COVID-19 crisis. And when we do, I’m going to remember all that I’ve learned about myself, my colleagues, and my community during this time of isolation. Times of crisis shape our future, and I’m committed to taking these lessons learned to become a better husband and father, a better co-worker, and a better citizen.


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