Four hundred thirty-nine days have passed since the first text message arrived from Eagle County Manager Jeff Shroll (I was skiing Snowmass and thought “this can’t be good”). While I knew it was big before I hopped on the last-minute Saturday call, I don’t think anyone could have anticipated how life altering this pandemic would become. Over a year later and our community is finally a step closer to “life after the crisis.”
While we are not out of the woods yet, we are much closer to a sense of normalcy and “business as usual.” Except that no individual, business or community is exiting this emergency the same way we went in. We are forever changed. Work will look different. Life will look different. And this chamber will look different. There is no going back to the old norms – it is now about how we move forward in the new reality.
It is apropos that May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Our community has gone through so much – front line workers, medical staff, teachers, parents, employees, small business owners and local government. Please have patience and grace with one another. We will emerge from this pandemic in our own ways, having experienced a wide array of stress, with a spectrum of comfort levels. Life will not resume with the flip of a switch, but rather as a crescendo. Be kind. It is going to be awkward for a bit.
The next big challenge is how we emerge, recover and become even more resilient. How do we build back stronger? How do we make meaningful change, building upon lessons learned in 2020? How to we tackle equity, inclusion, workforce issues, affordable housing, child care and broadband access? The chamber is at the table for these conversations. We will continue to have an open dialogue with our members and the community so that we can take full advantage of this metamorphosis.
I have been waiting a very long time to write this email introduction and it feels wonderful. Get ready for post-traumatic growth.
This is worth the listen as we look ahead: How To ‘Human’ Again: Advice For The Long Transition To Post-Pandemic Life via NPR’s Consider This.
Looking forward to live music and lots of hugs,
-Kris, Executive Director