What a difference a day makes! The last several weeks have called on all of us to be leaders, personally and professionally, as we sort out the best responses, actions, and approaches based on our current situations.  This has called us to make important decisions, take critical actions and deliver relevant messages.

What has struck me most is the power of leadership in the midst of a crisis. So many of the leaders that have acted rapidly and with grace and compassion have been women.

In my professional world, it started with Bahia Ramos director of the arts for The Wallace Foundation who banned travel we were about to do on behalf of the Foundation’s Youth Arts Initiative two weeks ago. She reminded us that children were involved and we need not visit with youth if we are putting them at risk by doing so.

Then Keisha Lance-Bottoms, Atlanta City Mayor announced – in the same week – that no resident of the city would have their water turned off for the next 60 days. Now she is looking into payments for those with no wages due to the shutdown of life as we know it and for small businesses who have had to shut their doors.

Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Meria Carstarphen acted swiftly and wisely. Less than 24 hours after Governor Kemp pleaded with school leaders to close their districts as soon as the next day (Friday, March 13 – Yes. Friday the 13th!), Dr. C announced that APS would close its doors the following Monday and would hold school Friday so the staff could devise their plans to continue to educate and feed its students during the shutdown. Pick-up locations for breakfast, lunch, and cookable dinners were posted and it appears she influenced the rest of the country with her comprehensive and compassionate moves.

Andrea Ranae held a free 90-minute webinar on Monday night entitled Creating Content that Shifts Culture. 90 of us joined her and were inspired and informed.

These Black women inspired me and protected me and my family. They have led me to ask myself tough questions we all need to ask ourselves right now:

1. Where do I lead and how can I model composure and compassion in the midst of the unknown?
2. What is my responsibility in influencing the actions and mindsets of others?
3. How do I find a balance between staying informed and avoiding frenzy and fear?

There is so much that is unknown. As a community of facilitators and consultants, HTI Catalysts are ready and able to help guide you through this unknown period that will demand you to continue to plan, strategize, and prepare – even in the midst of more unknowns than knowns.

What we do know is we have and believe in community. You are a part of our community and we are here to support you in any way we can.

To each of our partners, associates, and friends, we are here to serve as a resource and thought partner in a time that is uncertain and unpredictable.  We will continue to build community and help each other through this.

And remember – we can still gather socially. In new and different ways.  —- Folami