In a bright spot in the pandemic, adult children bring their talents to the home office,
NEW YORK — I’ve always been a “glass half full” person, so during these incredibly difficult times, it is my natural inclination to look for any positive outcomes from the loss, isolation and separation that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused.
One such silver lining for a number of my clients and friends is that their adult children, some of whom had not been part of the parents’ businesses, have now brought their personal passions and callings into the business. In many cases, it seems, this enthusiastic participation has been an unexpected, yet welcome spark for the families and their businesses.
Building a Plan
For example, amid the coronavirus quarantine, StrasGlobal owners Roy and Eva Strasburger’s three adult daughters (ages 25-31) hunkered down in the family’s Austin, Texas, home, after two daughters arrived for a visit from London and were caught in the travel lockdown. Roy and Eva found that their daughters’ millennial outlook and experience with technology, design, social media and management skills contributed to StrasGlobal’s urgent needs for their stores’ pandemic response.
From mid-March through May, Chantal, Chantal’s boyfriend Ian, Danielle and Selina’s time and physical proximity encouraged and facilitated a “must do” attitude with expertise that StrasGlobal’s Task Force needed at that moment. (A fourth daughter, Lorelei, and her boyfriend Nic participated from quarantine in Denver.)
As a result, StrasGlobal’s COVID-19 response plan has become a guide for the entire convenience industry. Furthermore, StrasGlobal’s curbside and home delivery initiatives were accelerated by having access the daughters’ skills and lifestyle awareness.
The Virtue of Going Virtual
Similarly, York, Maine-based Abierto Networks, a provider of in-store digital signage solutions, was preparing to deploy a new digital technology solution to client test sites when mandatory quarantines and restrictions brought travel plans to a halt. How can the company help retailers to experience this new product when travel is constrained?
Enter Abierto President Rick Sales’ 29-year-old-son, Eric. As founder and CEO of a growing extreme adventure firm, Eric’s digital marketing instincts and videography skills were perfectly suited for Abierto’s needs at that moment in time. With Eric’s help, Abierto was able to help retailers visualize the possibilities for its new technology, as well as advance product development activities by virtually and remotely providing digital content and professional video from a test site in Maine to clients, engineers and partners across the country and around the world.
In still another instance, Compliance Safe, Temple, Texas, found itself challenged to launch its document compliance software service when all trade shows and sales calls are nonexistent. Gerry Gabel, director of business development for Compliance Safe, called on his 27-year-old actress and videographer daughter, Grace, to produce his video demos–exactly what Compliance Safe needed at that moment in time.
I don’t know if all these Gen Xers and millennials will stay as deeply involved in their parents’ business over the next three, six or 12 months, or beyond. But I do know that the mutual respect and (definitely) newly formed appreciation for each other’s skills and accomplishments have strengthened bonds, and turned fear, stress and loss into an expression of their love and caring.
Myra Kressner is president of Kressner Strategy Group, New York. Kressner Strategy Group develops and facilitates strategic engagement for suppliers and operators in the consumable retail industry. Reach her at email@example.com.
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