The Pandemic Diaries is a weekly reflection penned by individual Justine PETERSEN staff members in the style of journaling, chronicling the daily reality of working from home in the wake of Covid-19. This week’s diary entry is written by Tamra Thetford, Chief Program Officer at Justine PETERSEN.
“One of the things that has always impressed me about Justine PETERSEN is its ability to get things done. JP stood out when I worked at the Aspen Institute with America’s largest microlenders and they stand out now that I work at JP and witness first-hand how focused and effective we can be at making things happen.
In the past month JP has hustled to get our entire staff up and running from their homes. We sorted out computers, built digital systems where we once had the luxury of handing things off in-person. We even installed our regular office phones in our receptionists’ houses so they can answer calls from our clients and transfer them just as if we are all in the office!
I like working puzzles. Working through all the challenges has been a lot like an ongoing giant jig saw puzzle. Some of the pieces have been easier than expected (goodbye paper files in the loan approval box!) and some pieces extracted precious tears (phones I’m looking at you.) But we’ve just kept moving, tenaciously putting the pieces in place.
Nowhere was this doggedness and hard work more apparent than in the way a core group of staff worked to immediately accept Paycheck Protection Plan (PPP) loan applications, get them submitted to the SBA, and get 43 small businesses approved before the stimulus funds were depleted.
About a month in to quarantine I can sense a small shift towards “normal” operations. I completed quarterly reviews with my team via zoom, we had our monthly all-staff meeting, we’ve celebrated birthdays and work anniversaries online.
And: my giant “COVID-19 puzzle project” isn’t finished, but more of the picture is coming in to view, and soon my family will resume sharing meals at the dining room table.”