The event and hospitality industry was hit hard by this pandemic. Their business didn’t just slow down; it halted. In this week’s Virtual Voices, we heard from industry leaders on how they had to change their business and get creative to stay open, and how they are partnering with our community.

Virtual Voices aims to keep alums informed and engaged as our community works through this challenging time. Each virtual meeting brings together leaders on the front lines of impacted industries to share their knowledge, perspectives and leadership lessons.

Jeremy Bronson, president and owner of Occasions Catering, Nicole Marsh, partner of Imprint Event Group, and Jon Schlegel, co-founder of Snooze an A.M. Eatery, shared their insights with our alums and the realities of how COVID-19 impacted their businesses.

Check out our key takeaways and the video of the webinar below.

Lead with honesty. How do you lead when you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel? With honesty. It’s OK to communicate with your employees that you don’t have the answers. Team transparency allows you to be there for your employees and find out how you can navigate this together.

Prepare to pivot. How you’re operating your business now is different than how it was at the start of the year. Change your operations to respond to the current environment. If you can’t meet in person or sit down at a restaurant, think about how you can expand digitally. And, get comfortable with change. You may not know what the next month will look like, but you can prepare your business and your team to adjust.

Creativity in a crisis. Uncertainty creates room for creativity. Lean on your team for new ideas to sustain your business whether that’s virtual cooking classes, brunch kits or parking lot patios. Not only will it boost morale, but you’ll see leaders within your company step up to make it happen.

It’s OK to say no. Lead with compassion and understanding but be realistic of the situation. You’re going to have to make tough decisions to sustain your business so you can have a long-term impact.

Support local. The event and hospitality industry is a critical part of our economy. As a community look for ways to sustain this industry. Support your local restaurants and businesses. Don’t cancel events. Postpone them or think about ways to have them virtually. And, if you can, donate to employee relief funds like the Colorado Event Alliance.

Join us for an upcoming Virtual Voices. Check out our upcoming programs.