Colin Lord

Camp Counselor

A Pandemic, A Tornado, and a Bombing: Lessons Learned From Managing A Team Through 2020

Event Logo

Wednesday, July 27, 2022 - 9:00 PM UTC, for 1 hour.

AT THAT (In-Person Only) Regular, 60 minute presentation

Room: African 50

mental health
soft skills
work-life balance

2020 was a long year for everyone. It was even longer in Nashville, Tennessee. The week before the COVID-19 shutdown, an EF-3 tornado moved through downtown. Nine months later, a bomb went off in the same area. Until March 2020, my team worked in person in the heart of downtown Nashville. The day before the tornado hit, we kicked off a challenging multi-year project. None of us knew our kickoff dinner would be the last time we were all together. There isn’t a book or a guide about managing a team through a pandemic, a tornado, and a bombing. I don’t claim to have all the answers. Some things worked, others not so much. We’ll discuss lessons learned from a truly strange and unsettling year in this talk. I care about everyone on my team as a person first and foremost. It was an extremely upsetting and unsettling experience to turn on the TV and see our office in the background of breaking news coverage. Twice. It took a toll on everyone’s mental health. What do you do to help out your coworkers in times like these? We’ll also talk about approaching work and our jobs during traumatic times. While there’s a place for the self-help apps that many companies have rolled out over the last few years, most people need more than that. How do you balance keeping work on track while also checking in on each team member’s well-being? What happened in Nashville in 2020 is hard to believe. I’m thrilled that we somehow met our project deadline. (I also got to share a demo virtually on THAT live during the summer!) But I’m most proud that our team’s morale stayed high throughout the year. Figuring out how mental health factors into Jira boards and velocity charts isn’t easy. Like I said earlier, I don’t claim to have all the answers. But for better or worse, the next time an unfortunate event happens, I do have a bit of a playbook about how to respond.


There are no prerequisites for this talk. Everyone has their own unique 2020 experience.

favorited by:
Bryan Shannon