FYI Blog

Avalon Weekly Dispatch 9.01.20

Dear friends,

The RNC  took center stage last week, and the stark contrast between events has me even more motivated to change our country’s leadership. As you well know, we need people to VOTE. We also need people to work the polls; from mail drama to voter suppression to COVID, polling work is particularly essential this year. Avalon is supporting the effort by treating poll training and service as Avalon work. We will not require our staff to use leave time to do this. In addition, we offer every employee a quarterly paid volunteer day to support the causes they care about.

Continuing the National Celebration of 100 Years of the 19th Amendment and Women’s Constitutional Right to Vote, many buildings and landmarks around the country lit up recently to commemorate the historic suffrage slogan, “Forward through the Darkness, Forward into Light.” Many familiar DC institutions participated, including ten Smithsonian museums and the Kennedy Center, as did our National Parks and many other cities. You can view the displays at #forwardintolight on social media. I also recommend the virtual tour of National Geographic’s new exhibition: “Women: A Century of Change.”

In other museum news, National Museum of African American History and Culture curator Damion Thomas recently took over National Geographic’s Instagram to mark the 57th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. The historic photographs are particularly striking alongside images from last week’s march. For me, the collaboration is also a reminder that our missions intersect, and we really are in this work together.

Since collaborations are Zoom-dependent these days, you may have experienced the frustration of a multi-tasking or disengaged colleague. Seth Godin’s Zoom Agreement is a straightforward antidote to this problem. I love it and am sharing it widely. That being said, I always welcome pet co-workers and encourage flexibility for parents with small children!

Together, we have made it to September in a year of unprecedented stress. We have established tentative routines while responding to ongoing crises on multiple fronts. Now we face an unfamiliar back-to-school season, a tumultuous election, and an uncertain fall. As we navigate these challenges, it will be more important than ever to take self-care seriously. A recent HBR Management Tip of the Day (adapted from this article) framed it well:

Your resilience is a high-priority business issue, especially when you’re leading a team through the stress of a fast-paced world. Research shows that our decision making dramatically suffers when we neglect to properly rest and refuel, so make self-care a daily priority. You don’t need to dedicate hours a day, though. You can boost your short-term resiliency by taking a short walk or reaching out to a friend you haven’t talked to in a while just to check in. Investing in yourself isn’t indulgent ­– it’s mission critical. It’s time to tell yourself, “It’s so busy at work right now, I can’t afford NOT to take care of myself!”

I couldn’t agree more. In that spirit, here is a roundup of short-and-sweet self-care that our team has found meaningful: panda cub updatesshoulder workoutssoothing nature sounds, and an early pumpkin latte season. I would love to hear about your resilience lifelines too.


Take care,