News from Executive Forum of the Lehigh Valley
On July 22, 2020, the Executive Forum of the Lehigh Valley met face-to-face, as well as having a Zoom option, at the Four Points Sheridan across from Dorney Park in Allentown. The featured presenter was Scott Gingold, owner of Lehigh Valley Technology Company. Ten were in physical attendance and another 17 joined virtually via zoom. Scott’s presentation was timely and addressed the technological challenges and opportunities in today’s business environment.
Scott identified the below challenges during COVID:
- Many businesses did (do) not have the proper infrastructure needed to support remote workers for an extended period.
- Misunderstanding of systems like VPN, Video Conferencing, Phone Systems, etc. led many companies to struggle.
- Stressed (by workload and talent level) internal IT departments.
- Working with the wrong (i.e. “cheap”) IT vendor they found the vendor lacked the documentation, SLA ‘s, systems, resources and redundancy needed to properly support their clients.
- All too many businesses lack(ed) the proper equipment to function remotely.
The Executive Forum once again reconvened June 17th on Zoom for a monthly meeting. The group has always been interested in topics beyond business that contribute to the wholeness of the individual as well as the community. This includes seeking to maintain the work / life balance and encouraging community involvement. Dale Reppert was the featured guest, and he challenged the group to reflect on lessons learned during the pandemic like time with family and savoring life’s simple pleasures.
Reppert, formerly Senior Vice President of Investments with Morgan Stanley, was diagnosed with a rare condition known as Chiari Malformation. Reppert had no choice but to have surgery, that was ultimately successful in correcting the problem, but he would contract a deadly form of bacterial meningitis that would spiral into septic shock. His life-threatening condition required a second brain surgery to save his life. Dale nearly died from the infection and two operations, but he would survive. The aftermath, however, resulted in severe disabilities which would exact an enormous toll on his health. So much so that he would be compelled to step down from his career as a financial professional. His rehabilitation took years and would take every bit of resolve and determination he had. In Dale’s own words, “ I would experience a detour that would change my life forever.”
As the pandemic languishes and suppresses the business environment the Executive Forum continues to meet virtually via Zoom. Twenty-seven members logged onto share their thoughts and experiences with the effects of COVID-19. Members each had a brief moment to provide an update and share any other relevant news. The featured guest was Dr. Kimberly Legg Corba who is a family physician operating a Direct Primary Care office in Fogelsville, PA. Dr. Legg Corba shared about her experiences operating during the coronavirus from a doctor’s point of view. The featured area of her presentation focused on what businesses need to know as they transition back to work, return to normal, and keep employees and others safe.
After practicing in the Lehigh Valley for 15 years, Dr. Kimberly Legg Corba opened the first Direct Primary Care office in the Lehigh Valley on January 2, 2016. More information about Green Hills Direct Family Care, Inc. can be found at https://www.greenhillsdirectfamilycare.com/
As businesses continue to struggle with the effects of COVID-19 their attention is quickly pivoting to re-opening as Lehigh and Northampton Counties approach a transition from red to yellow in the governor's re-opening plan. This includes new decisions and procedures on when and how workers return safely to work. Managers must navigate many issues: operations, culture, health, and legal. The legal aspect was the focus of this meeting as employers look to comply with all legal requirements in a dynamic environment.
The meeting's format paralleled that which has become the standard for the Executive Forum's virtual meeting and order of business. This includes time for individual members to provide a personal update to the group as well as their "thank you" to other members. Following this were announcements from the executive committee and the featured presentation.
On April 15, thirty members met virtually at 7:30 am. The meeting format has changed from the standard live program, but still embodied the same spirit that distinguishes the Executive Forum. President Rob Baker gave his opening remarks and encouragement, followed by a brief update from each attendee. The meeting quickly moved to the featured presenter Amy Lafko, founder and president of Cairn Consulting Solutions (CCS). CCS specializes in three areas: A cairn serves three purposes: Establish the path to success, Clarify the best route when the path diverges, and Identify hidden obstacles and challenges.
Amy spoke on The Kubler-Ross change curve and various growth strategies to equip business owners to evaluate their personal, team, and organizational response to the crisis. Specifically, the Kubler-Ross change curve gives executives a tool to identify their own feelings and state-of-mind to enable them to lead others through discussions and collaboration during and post-pandemic.