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Connection is critical

To my LinkedIn community –

Many of you may have read Vancity Community Investment Bank CEO @Jay-Ann Gilfoy’s recent post on how at the bank we continue to work with our clients, community members, and other organizations during these uncertain times. Our mission has always been to use the tools of finance to create positive social, environmental, and cultural change, and this remains true now more than ever.

I’d like to extend a heartfelt thank you to my team, who has been working tirelessly to help our clients facing COVID-19 related financial challenges. Our clients are change-makers in their sectors and require creative solutions to continue their values-based work, and it has made me immensely proud to see my team in action over the past weeks, delivering amidst great uncertainty – and doing it all remotely while practicing social distancing.

If your team is also working in overdrive or facing new and stressful challenges due to remote work, I thought I’d share some tactics VCIB has put into place to help keep motivated, to support our clients, and most importantly, to stay mentally healthy:

Virtual Coffee Talks

Like a touch base at the water cooler or café, we have encouraged our team members to set up a daily “virtual coffee talk” with another team member, including those they may not know particularly well. 100% social, these are personal check-ins with an emphasis on non-work talk. With virtual conversations focusing primarily around work, we think it’s also important to ensure people prioritize staying socially connected. Sharing some time and conversation with a colleague is a simple, grounding act that acts as a welcome moment of reprieve.

Happy Hour – From Afar

To minimize potential cabin fever, VCIB is hosting a virtual Happy Hour every Friday for the next few weeks. Our team members are invited to bring a snack, a drink, and even a pet for some virtual team fun and bonding (at a distance).

Lens of Compassion

As a bank that focuses on compassion as a driver for the work we do in the community, it’s important we turn that lens internally at times like these. When people get busy and stressed in isolation, compassion may slip by the wayside. As a leader, I am committed to asking – and listening – to how my team members are coping. I trust them and know the work will get done, but it’s the compassion that we bring to each other in this uncertain time that will prevent mental distress and burnout. I’m encouraging all leaders to consider focusing on your people while they focus on the work. They need you.

I recognize I’m in a position of privilege to share these thoughts, and I understand that COVID-19 will hit the poor and the marginalized the hardest. Social distancing and remote work are not opportunities that are shared equally, and we must all do everything we can to ensure that the most vulnerable in the community are supported during this difficult time.

We’re working on building partnerships in our communities to help direct support where it’s needed most, stay tuned for further updates from @Jay-Ann Gilfoy.

Stay healthy, and let’s take care of each other.

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Vancity Community Investment Bank is a member of CDIC and is a Certified B CorpTM