Class XI: The Pandemic Class
If you have ever heard a Wedgworth Leadership Institute (WLI) graduate introduce him or herself, it is always followed by their self-proclaimed class epithet. Class I: The First Class or Class I, V, VII, and X (and likely not limited to): The BEST Class. Apparently, WLI has several best classes.
As for Class XI, we began developing our class epithet and values during Straughn Seminar II last January. While we were not able to land on that perfectly describing class nickname, we were unified on our Class XI values: accountability, integrity, and resiliency. Three words we were confident were the fundamental beliefs of Class XI.
In March 2020, Seminar III was postponed. We all went into COVID and quarantine mode. Class XI had thirty different individuals with thirty different jobs and thirty different families (thirty-five if you include our wonderful director and coordinators) each with their own unique COVID experiences. We could either hit the easy button and pause Wedgworth programming or we could maximize the opportunities that come with being in a developing leader program when a global pandemic hits.
Last December, Class XI should have been attending Straughn Seminar VII with our spouses, learning more about interpersonal leadership and line dancing (probably a much-needed seminar thanks to COVID quarantining). Instead, we kicked off Straughn Seminar IV in Apopka, FL and based off seminar numbers, it probably seems like Class XI missed out on a good deal just as our WLI experience was beginning.
Yes, we had a nine-month gap in traditional Wedgworth programming.
No, we have not made it down to Miami for our South Florida Straughn Seminar.
Yes, our programming is continually adapting.
No, we have not been on our national trip.
Yes, we debate if you should or should not lick thank you notes closed during COVID times.
During these past “quarantine months” Class XI was still presented with opportunities to network among our fellow classmates with how they were navigating COVID challenges, to refine our diversity and inclusion skills, to receive updates from the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association, to decompress with Zoom Happy Hours, and over all become more effective leaders through our MaXImize Sessions without harming the integrity of Wedgworth programming.
During our tour of LiveTrends in Apopka, Mr. Bisser Georgiev was sure to highlight that for an organization to thrive and survive one cannot be brought down by the minutia. Each class member had their own list of why it would have been easier to not be accountable and show up: figuring out how to social distance employees in a packing house, being a full-time working parent that doubles as a teacher or having produce ready but nowhere for it to be sold. This is not to minimize what any of us are experiencing due to COVID but a reminder to maximize the resources we are enabled with through WLI.
The list of “minutia” was the exact reason we needed to be and continue need to be in programming be it virtual or in “mask-to-mask” the new face-to face. Class XI does not have to wait ten years after graduating to have the need to analyze complex issues or to assume greater leadership responsibilities. We are stepping up to those challenges now and we are thankful for the resources and opportunities.
So just as Class XI must keep in mind, we encourage you to keep in mind as well:
“It’s okay to fall in love with WHAT you do; but it’s not okay to fall in love with HOW you do it.”
– Mr. Bisser Georgiev, Found and CEO of LiveTrends
Be that in how we navigate this “new normal” we are slowly entering into or our opinion of the ever-adapting schedule and delivery of content to Class XI; because after all we are…
The Global Pandemic Class
The Longest-Serving WLI Class
The Immediately Implementing what we Learn Class
The COVID Class
The “they can’t tell I’m yawning & out of seminar shape with this mask on” Class