Leadership advice

Five years from now, how will you look back on this moment?

Advice from Jill Geisler, Bill Plante Chair in Leadership & Media Integrity, Loyola University Chicago and Freedom Forum Fellow in Women’s Leadership

It is May of 2020. We are marking the loss of 100,000 souls, victims of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States.

Now think ahead five years. It is 2025, and you are being asked about this terrible time. You, the journalist who covered it as you lived it. 

What do you remember with pride? With pain? With second thoughts?

Every one of us will have a story to tell. Not everyone keeps a journal, so let me help you take notes now, as you are immersed in covering history. Think about how you will answer these ten questions:

  1. What did you do well during the pandemic – as a journalist, a family member, a friend?
  2. Did you encounter actions and decisions that required courage? How did you respond?
  3. What values guided you throughout the crisis and chaos?
  4. What stories and whose stories stay with you – and why?
  5. What sense memories do you hold on to – sights, smells, sounds?
  6. Were there times you were discouraged, angry, even outraged? How did you handle that?
  7. Do you have any regrets?
  8. To whom do you owe a great measure of thanks?
  9. What did the pandemic teach you about leadership?
  10. What lessons stay with you to this day?

On this milestone day, reflect on the loss, on the lessons, and on your leadership. The stories we tell today become our country’s history – and our own.


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