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Collection No. 6

Leading through COVID

COVID-19 has created leadership challenges for every kind of organization. Some are working to help the sick or the hungry, or to maintain vital services. All are scrambling to stay connected with their employees and remain economically viable. We’ve been talking with Yale SOM alumni about the challenges that they are facing, and hearing about their professional and personal lives during the global pandemic.

Illustrations by Sean David Williams.

Illustration depicting home office & financial crisis during COVID
  • How Connecticut Accelerated Its Vaccinations

    Josh Geballe ’02, Connecticut’s chief operating officer, explains the state’s controversial decision to switch to age-based eligibility for COVID vaccines—and says it likely saved lives.

    A drawing of a woman taking a selfie while getting a vaccination.
  • Maintaining Momentum on Climate Change

    Tyler Van Leeuwen ’14 of Shell explains explains how his internal skunkworks team helps move Shell toward its decarbonization goals.

    An illustration of an electric car moving through a landscape of wind turbines
  • Pharma Collaborates in the Fight against the Pandemic

    Nandish Poluru ’13 discusses the pharmaceutical industry’s unprecedented cooperative efforts to treat and prevent COVID-19.

    Scientists gathered around a lab table working with test tubes in concert.
  • Delivering Holistic Healthcare in an Underserved Community

    Dr. Suzanne Lagarde ’14 describes how her federally qualified nonprofit health center is both adapting and expanding to meet new needs in an underserved community.

    An illustration of a clinic at the center of a neighborhood
  • Adapting in India

    Bikram Sohal ’97, who began the year leading the Indian office of a global ad-tech company, describes the impact of COVID-19 in India, a country with deep ties to the global economy but where much of the economy is still informal.

    An illustration of people lined up for COVID checks in India
  • Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont

    A year into his term as governor of Connecticut, Ned Lamont ’80 found himself with a new agenda: responding to the state’s outbreak of COVID-19, one of the first and most severe in the country. We talked with him about the partnerships he formed to bring down Connecticut’s infection rate and the risks that lie ahead.

    An illustration of Governor Ned Lamont speaking to the press wearing a mask on the beach
  • Adapting Primary Care to a Pandemic

    Dr. Frank Ciminiello ’19 explains how his medical practice has reconfigured to safely meet patients’ needs.

    An illustration of a patient and a doctor in an exam room, both wearing masks
  • Repurposing with a Purpose

    David Browning ’99 explains how a nonprofit doing coffee sustainability verification became a source of crucial public health data.

    An illustration of a public-health worker knocking on a door in the jungle
  • A Climate for Change

    Judy Samuelson ’82, executive director of the Aspen Institute’s Business and Society Program, explores whether this cataclysm will trigger lasting change.

    An illustration of people in business clothes marching with signs
  • Lessons from Past Pandemics

    Matt Walton ’78, an entrepreneur whose emergency management software was used to direct responses to past pandemics, examines the cost of lessons not learned.

    Two doctors, one in a historical plague mask and one in modern protective gear
  • The Borderlessness of Tech-Driven Media

    Dayo Olopade ’15, a lead for film and television partnerships at Google, discusses the global disruption of production, distribution, and consumption of media around the world.

    An illustration of a the planet earth wearing a mask in a TV studio
  • The U.S. Army Adapts to the Pandemic

    Richard Kidd ’93, who serves as deputy assistant secretary of the army for strategic integration, explains how the U.S. Army has responded to the COVID-19 crisis and the lessons we can learn from the experience.

    Illustration of a military council
  • Buying and Selling Steel as the Global Supply Chain Frays

    Bill Hutton ’83 describes how a U.S. manufacturer is adapting to pandemic lockdowns and seesawing supply and demand across a global supply chain.

    An illustration of cans and other steel products circling the globe
  • Supporting Patients and Families 

    Jessica Nymeyer ’16 describes working on the palliative care team at the Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx.

    An illustration of a nurse in full PPE holding the hand of a patient attached to a respirator
  • An App as a Lifeline for Immigrant Communities

    Laura Arrazola ’19, a graduate of Yale SOM's Master of Advanced Management program, describes her experiences managing a virtual community that helps hard-hit immigrants navigate the pandemic.

    An illustration of immigrants in the U.S.
  • Leading through COVID: An Alumni Conversation

    We recently convened a group of Yale SOM alumni, leaders of organizations in a variety of industries, for a conversation about the evolving challenges they have faced during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    A screenshot of a Zoom discussion
  • Lessons on Leading through a Pandemic

    We’ve been talking with Yale SOM alumni about their professional and personal experiences during COVID-19. Here are a few key ideas that have emerged from these conversations.

    Illustrations of various aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic
  • A New York City Doctor’s Perspective 

    Dr. Charles Powell ’19 offers a firsthand account of responding to the COVID-19 pandemic at Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan.

    An illustration of a doctor and medical equipment in New York City
  • Training Girls for the Building Trades, Virtually

    Demi Knight Clark, founder of She Built This City, describes how she remade a nonprofit that teaches hands-on buildings skills for a world forced to go virtual.

    An illustration of girls and women learning trades and 3-D printing masks for healthcare workers
  • History as a Guide to the Unprecedented

    Deloitte’s Jeff Schwartz ’87 sees agile, empowered teams as the way to move organizations through COVID uncertainty.

    An illustration of a network of teams
  • Feeding First Responders

    John Wang SOM/YLS ’09, founder of the Queens Night Market, describes transforming the community camaraderie and diverse food that made the market a draw into a project to feed first responders.

    A takeout box decorated to look like a hospital, with the text "thank you"
  • Art as a Model for Navigating Uncertainty 

    Crises require creative solutions born of rational and imaginative tools. Amy Whitaker ’01 sees the artist’s capacity to navigate uncertainty as a valuable model.

    An illustration of navigating from A to an unknown B
  • Guiding Family Firms During a Pandemic

    Seán O’Dowd ’03 of Silvercrest Asset Management, who works with family firms, says that while conservatively managed businesses are well positioned to handle an ordinary crisis, even well-run small-and medium-sized firms need help from the government right now.

    An illustration of images from a variety of industries
  • Providing Childcare for First Responders 

    The childcare provider Bright Horizons, founded by Linda Mason ’80, has pivoted to open centers for the children of first responders. Mason says that however devastating the impacts of the pandemic, there are reasons for hope and pride in this crucible moment.

    A teacher with a mask and a group of children
  • Opening Restaurants in a Pandemic

    Seth Goldman ’95, the co-founder of Honest Tea and chair of Beyond Meat, was opening PLNT Burger, a new chain of plant-based restaurants, as the global pandemic struck.

    An illustration of a plant-based burger
  • Investing in Vietnam’s Future

    Venture capitalist Eddie Thai ’12 says that the pandemic is doing economic damage to Vietnam’s globalization-driven tech sector, even as some companies in his portfolio see their valuations grow.

    An illustration showing volatile financial results through boats on the ocean
  • Helping the Hardest Hit

    Even when the economy was roaring along, far too many Americans lacked the savings and support to respond to an unexpected loss of income. The COVID-19 crisis has thrown that fragility into stark relief.

    A graphic of an umbrella made out of money sheltering houses with faces
  • A Vast Experiment in Remote Work

    Scott Wharton ’95, who leads Logitech’s video collaboration group, sees far-reaching and sustained changes from the remote work explosion forced on us by the pandemic.

    An illustration of people communicating through videoconferencing software
  • Manage Your Team with Empathy

    Laszlo Bock ’99, CEO of Humu, says that right now, checking in on how your team members are doing is is the most important thing you can to keep your organization productive.

    Graphic showing empathy in business