By DOROTHY HARDEE
Tomorrow is the first blank page of a 365-page book. Write a good one…. Brad Paisley
On December 1, 2019, the first known patient experienced symptoms of the mysterious pneumonia-like illness known as COVID-19. While there was no epidemiological link established between this case and later instances, Chinese media reported the first case presented November 17. By the end of the month, China alerted the World Health Organization that a growing number of residents of Wuhan, China had become ill.
Fast forward 365 days and the CDC reports at the end of November that more than 12 million U.S. cases were reported and 260,000 deaths occurred.
The Worldometer’s COVID-19 data was a bit more grim offering a worldwide perspective showing the U.S. leading the number of total reported cases at over 13 million with 270,000-plus deaths. The pandemic has had a significant impact on people’s livelihoods, their health and our food systems.
Rewind a century ago, when the United States suffered another economic crisis elevated by a pandemic and other world events. The Spanish flu pandemic struck while World War I continued to rage. Within two years, unemployment went from 1.4 percent to 11.7 percent adding to the unrest and violence rolling across the country. The Palmer Raids took place, prohibition passed outlawing alcohol, women won the right to vote and unrest overseas was what Dr. Harlan Ullman with the Atlantic Council described as a “petri dish for revolution.” Within two years, the Spanish flu ran its course without the aid of vaccines or treatment and thankfully did not recur. In a rather short period, the U.S. recovered from a “world war, two recessions in quick succession, a pandemic and a period of extreme domestic unrest.”
It feels like we rang in 2020 and it passed by leaving little distinction between seasons, months or days. As Michael Altshuler said, “The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.” Just around the corner is 2021 with an abundance of change the pandemic inspired. For many of our businesses, the change to remote working has reduced their bottom line and helped them work more efficiently. Manufacturing has made remote work part of a normal business practice, while adapting to customer preferences. We are seeing a transition to product optimization, integrated marketing, sales and service, the evolution of direct and indirect channel strategies and a reinvestment into sales operations.
Change is imminent! We must enthusiastically embrace it, manage it, and craft it to our advantage… Steve Craft.
It is time to make sure you are connecting with clients, get active on social media, refresh your brand, work on your website and make sure your printed materials are fresh and current. Forbes’ Shep Hyken predicts that moving into the New Year businesses need to be prepared as customers will continue to get smarter, more impatient, and desire convenience (which is no longer optional). He adds that a virtual and remote workforce will become business as usual, making it imperative that companies and brands find more ways to automate and digitize the experience.
The East Orlando Chamber is here to help with unique offerings to help elevate your business’ visibility and connect you with others helping your business thrive. Testimonial Tuesday features our members on a live broadcast allowing them to share personal and professional information with listeners. The Member Academy shows new members how to use the valuable resources provided with hands-on training to jump start their chamber journey. Taking it one step further, the EOCC Spark 365 Brain Trust is an intimate meeting of the minds helping to decode problems, design solutions and offer leads members desire.
We will also celebrate a new schedule in 2021, offering a quarterly menu with industry focus including our Chamber Luncheon, Women in Successful Endeavors (WISE), OPTIC – Orlando Professional Technical Innovation Council, Connect 4 for Property Professionals, our Healthcare Council Collaborative and more.
Kick off the year by joining us for our event January 27th from 11:30 AM – 1:00 PM at Bonefish Grill Waterford, as we celebrate our Volunteers of 2020, recognize our Chamber Ambassadors and Install the 2021 East Orlando Chamber Board of Directors. Judge Eric Dubois will lead the ceremony as Karen Jensen (Orlando Health) passes the gavel to incoming Board Chair Martha Santoni (Nemours Children’s Hospital). Pete Folch (Second Wind Finish Strong, Inc) will also join to provide an inspiring message for the New Year.
For more information or to register call (407) 277-5951 or visit our website at eocc.org. The East Orlando Chamber of Commerce everywhere East of I-4.
Dorothy Hardee is the administrator of East Orlando Chamber of Commerce.