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Leadership in Challenging Times

Panelists on CICs Christian Leadership in Challenging Times.
Panelists on CICs Christian Leadership in Challenging Times.

Although the title of the event was “Christian Leadership in Challenging Times”, the ideas shared by the panelists were relevant to any business leader dealing with the events of 2020. A common theme was the idea of being a servant leader who serves staff and customers first. As the panel moderator to this Christians in Communications- produced virtual event, Matt Polka painted a picture of servant leadership as an inverted pyramid where the leader supports his/her constituents.

Lead by Example #

Rob Shema's first day at work during the pandemic.
Rob Shema’s first day at work during the pandemic.

Rob Shema, CEO of Com Net, suggested that leading by example is the best form of leadership. Shema faced a unique challenge, as he joined CNI from ACA Connects at the start of the pandemic. He literally had no chance for the face-to-face interaction that one normally has upon starting a new job.

He described multiple things CNI did to adapt to a new kind of work environment, including a physically distanced picnic and a Halloween contest. Some of the biggest success has been in those activities where staff can give back to the community, such as their food and Toys for Tot donation drive. He highly encouraged people to support Toys for Tots, as they seem to be especially challenged this year.

Safety First #

Another common theme was the importance of keeping staff safe. Boycom’s Patty Boyers explained that, with only 16 employees, she doesn’t have a deep bench and that they developed their own bubble to make sure everyone remained healthy. There have been a couple of COVID-19 cases among her team and what impresses Boyers is how team members have carried each others’ burden when necessary.

Similarly, the amount of patience and kindness by NTCI’s staff has been an inspiration to Stacey Slaughter, NCTI President & CEO. She cited a recent story of one of her colleague’s service to a mobile food bank as inspiring. Slaughter’s advice is to encourage team members to share what they are doing both in the personal and professional realms. She also advises to take occasional breaks, go outside and enjoy the day.

Live With the End Game In Mind #

Brad Mefferd, Chief Administrative Officer for Buckeye Broadband, suggested that work hasn’t changed, but that it has gone virtual. From a personal standpoint, he found that there are ways to serve without being in a physical group. For instance, he and his daughter started baking and delivering pies to people in his congregation as a way to stay connected beyond just an electronic tether.

Finally, Patty Boyers encouraged people to live with consistency, integrity, and steadfastness. “By living with the end in mind, you will bring a lot of folks with you” and help others on their respective journeys.

And for many involved in CIC, those journeys include helping Feeding America in the cities that host industry events (see this video for an example). In his closing comments, Matt Polka explained how CIC adapted this service opportunity to meet the reality of today’s circumstances. Check out the CIC website for details on how to participate.

Author Ken Pyle, Managing Editor

By Ken Pyle, Managing Editor

Ken Pyle is Marketing Director for the Broadband Forum. The mission of this 25+-year-old non-profit “is to unlock the potential for new markets and profitable revenue growth by leveraging new technologies and standards in the home, intelligent small business, and multi-user infrastructure of the broadband network.”

He is also co-founder of Viodi, LLC and Managing Editor of the Viodi View, a publication focused on the rural broadband ecosystem, autonomous vehicles, and electric aviation. He has edited and produced numerous multimedia projects for NTCA, US Telecom and Viodi. Pyle is the producer of Viodi’s Local Content Workshop, the Video Production Crash Course at NAB, as well as ViodiTV. He has been intimately involved in Viodi’s consulting projects and has created processes for clients to use for their PPV and VOD operations, as well authored reports on the independent telco market.

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