COVID-19 & The Great Pivot!
The impact of COVID-19 on Excellence Seminars International first became apparent when asked if we were going ahead with our Gala Celebration to celebrate the 26 people completing the CORE Leadership Series on Vancouver Island, March 14, 2020. As it turned out, that was the first of dozens of cancellations, followed by rescheduling, more cancellations, and more rescheduling. Amidst the kafuffle, it occurred to me that we needed to find a way to support our grads. If we were being challenged at every turn, they were too! In person support wasn’t an option, so we turned to the world wide web to create new a new kind of gathering.
Now, anyone who knows me, knows I’m technologically challenged… perhaps to the point of being techno phobic. That said, I knew we had to do something, and I got support! First things first, I needed to figure out what platform to use. I quickly enrolled in an online course and figured out Zoom would work well. Now, don’t laugh too hard… I didn’t even know how to purchase Zoom but Island graduate, Bruce Patten, helped and then alerted me to a need for a web cam. WEB CAM? I didn’t know they existed! Turns out ESI owned one. Onto learning the software… well, thank heavens for Joanne Swensrude, one of our graduates from Edmonton! Owner of “Know it Sooner Computer Training, Joanne took me under her wings and patiently brought me up to speed on the technology.
On April 1st (ESI’s 21st birthday), we launched our first Interactive Online ESI Gatherings with close to 100 grads signing on our very first day! The experience was so positive, and the need to support people both to survive and thrive during the pandemic, we decided to deliver some of our courses online. On April 27th, that adventure began, and what a ride it has been!
Participants from four provinces, one territory, four states, four countries and two continents have filled every course we have offered! Over the 8 weeks, between April 27 – June 23, three fully enrolled ReSet programs have been delivered (April, May and June) and a fully enrolled July program is now underway. During the same timeframe, we delivered The Practice to a full house. AND… we haven’t even begun to talk about results!!! From smoker to non-smoker; from unemployed to “landing dream job”; from reasonably happy to “finding it hard to rein in my joy”… these results and so, so, so much more! In our 8-week Practice Course, not only were amazing strides made forward in their personal lives but participants collectively raised and donated over $12,000 in cash to food banks and other local charities.
How can all of this be accomplished so quickly? When everything changed, we stayed grounded in our MISSION. When everything changed, we aligned with our PURPOSE. When everything changed, we embraced the change, got creative and we changed everything!
~ Pam Lewis, Director & Program Leader