The coronavirus pandemic has created uncertainty in all aspects of life.
A Noblesville Chamber of Commerce’s Women in Noblesville panel addressed the issues of community leadership in times of uncertainty Sept. 2 at Purgatory Golf Club.
“It’s important to always anticipate and be ready when things go wrong to have a plan, to have more flexibility,” said Victoria Spartz, a state senator and the Republican candidate for the 5th Congressional District. “Things always go with ups and downs. Get your team ready so that you have this down to go through it the most efficient way and give optimism, energy, tools and support. You have to be optimistic and keep your team strong.
“Success in life depends how you resilient you are and handle adversity. Adversity can destroy you or adversity can teach you to be stronger.”
Spartz said it’s important to prioritize and have the ability to change priorities.
Amanda Rubeck, a vice president/senior retail officer at STAR Financial Bank, said the bank examined looking for the biggest needs in the community and how the bank could respond.
After the pandemic forced shutdowns in mid-March, Rubeck said the Paycheck Protection Program was a major issue and the bank needed more of a workforce.
“We were looking at branches where we were closing down the lobby due to the pandemic,” she said. “I took part of my retail team and shifted some of them to PPP, and we had a 98 percent completion ratio through Wave 1 with PPP because we were about to look at the biggest needs and prioritize those.”
Rubeck said she conducted daily calls with her team.
“I wanted to listen to their concerns, what they had on their minds and what they felt our clients were facing,” she said. “They were the front-line staff and hearing from (the clients).”
Rubeck said the biggest breakdowns she sees are lack of communication.
“I was super proud of STAR and how we showed up, from the CEO having town meetings all the way down to our leadership here in Indianapolis and how we communicated about our lines of business,” she said. “We had to make sure we were one team and putting our best foot forward together. For us, it was about transparency, communication and prioritizing the needs of our clients.”
Megan Wiles, a Noblesville Common Council member and executive director of Riverview Health Foundation, said patience is important.
“We have to say those best-laid plans are not working out the way we thought they were going to, so let’s sit back and evaluate and say what is the best way we can handle this and not just jumping at the next thing,” Wiles said. “We have to look at the situation and people involved. We have to understand everyone is going through different challenges. Whether it’s things going on in their personal life or with the challenges of switching things up at work, you need to have that empathy. You have to make sure people can deal with the situation and still coming to work because we don’t want people shutting down and not being able to come and do their job, whether that’s at the hospital or the city. So, it’s really having that empathy and support for one another.”
Hamilton County Commissioner Christine Altman said the county has done a good job with contingency plans for emergency management.
“But nobody anticipated anything like we’ve gone through. Nobody could have,” Altman said. “All of our contingency plans were like a tornado coming through. This is truly unique. It’s a novel coronavirus, which we keep telling people as they complain because the guidance continually shifts. It is a novel. We didn’t know anything about it and were petrified when it first came through. But the more we learned about it and gathered information, we pivoted. We continue to pivot and need to be flexible in our leadership styles and recognizing we do face uncertainty and accepting it.”