19 People around the World Share How They Prepare for a Post-COVID-19 World
Since its founding in 2015, impactmania always turns to the people who drive cultural, social, and economic impact. We need their inspiration now more than ever. We asked 19 impact makers how they are preparing for the new realities of a post-COVID-19 world.
Mary Beth Larkin has 20 years+ of experience in the fashion industry, as a fashion designer, both in the corporate and small-business sector, which gives Larkin the industry knowledge and design expertise to thrive with her new company, (IN)LARKIN. She is focusing her passion and expertise to deliver what women want—an outstanding product that inspires and captivates women worldwide by making them feel beautiful and comfortable with the style they can live in.
April 6, 2020
Paksy Plackis-Cheng in Berlin, Germany emailed Mary Beth Larkin in Santa Barbara, California.
What is your advice for people to prepare themselves for post-COVID?
I would say, “look at things from the perspective that the glass is half-full and you’re going to do all that you can to fill it up the rest of the way.” My advice is not mired in nor focused on the doom and gloom of the whole event, but rather on finding ways to learn from it all, to build a better community, and to grow from the many lessons that we all will be and have been subjected to. Here are a few pointers to help achieve this that I’d like to share.
I think sometimes it takes crises like this to shake us up a bit and force us to look at things differently. There are definitely lessons we can learn from on a lot of different levels. The quarantine’s duration has given us all a lot of time to reflect and to gain unfamiliar perspectives. I am an entrepreneur having just launched my fashion brand for Holiday 2019. I was first affected by COVID-19 with interruption of my supply chain by my production factories in China and in the USA abruptly shutting down. A month later, still not knowing how long and what exactly the impact will be, is unnerving to me and to us all. The buzzword for business owners at the moment seems to be “pivot.” At times, I wonder if a crisis such as this was thrust upon us in such a cruel manner to globally force us to get out of our own way? Perhaps it was a call to “think differently” as Steve Jobs of Apple used to say. I believe that this shake-up is going to force change. First Pointer: Be Open. Think Differently. Embrace Change.
As an entrepreneur, I would always say, “If I could just have a magic pause-button… I need more time.” A little bit ironic now, I guess watch what you wish for. But in all honesty, this has been an opportunity for me to think of new ideas, to work on creating, and catching-up on so many things. What has this time taught me? It has drilled into me that I NEED to and that I MUST make time for the things that energize me. Sadly, it shouldn’t take a pandemic for me to do so, nor to come to this realization. So, my Second Pointer: Brute-Force It. Re-evaluate what is important to YOU and make the time to do it.
Lastly, my advice would be to broaden our vision on not only a domestic scale, but also a global scale, putting geopolitical boundaries aside. On the domestic level, our great United States has been torn politically and become much divided. There is no unity, “community” is little more than a buzzword, and we are weak because of it. I think no matter what your political views are, nor what your heritage might be, we need to GENUINELY come together for our future well-being.
Remember, we are called the United States, and that means something. On a global perspective, we are too busy pointing fingers at everyone and anyone else, instead of working in unity on this single planet of ours. We are no longer in control and maybe a pandemic was necessary to bring us to our knees in order for us to shift our thinking. The empty streets all over the world shown during the broadcast of Andrea Bocelli’s Easter Concert at the deserted Duomo was a powerful reality check, which brings me to my Third Pointer: “United we stand, divided we fall; union is strength.” It’s a Flemish Proverb we all should strongly heed and not forget.
How is this crisis changing you?
I feel like we are in a bad movie. I just never thought something so crippling to the planet could ever happen in real life, while in pursuit of happiness, and while working so hard on so many levels. I guess I should have learned not to take our way of life, nor life in general, for granted. I remember when I thought terrorism couldn’t happen here; then I witnessed the first plane go into the World Trade Center on 9/11, and life as we knew it was never the same. We adapted, grew, and learned valuable lessons and we felt safe once again, almost complacent. Then, a pandemic from out of nowhere brought us to our knees on a global scale. 9/11 changed my innocence. COVID-19 changed my view of the world ─ it showed me that we aren’t so different and that we can unite globally. I have more faith in humanity now and regained respect for the frailty of life.
What will our story be post-COVID?
The story will be based on the realization that we need each other, that we must think as a whole more than we ever have before. I believe we need to think of each country, culture, and race as our own sisters and brothers and care for one another as such. We will open our borders figuratively and develop new compassion where suspicion or other negative sentiment once existed. This will not be at the expense of diversity, unique culture, individuality nor personal identity. It will be a story of working collectively, of unity, of family, all for the mutual benefit of our future wellbeing as humans.
impactmania’s past interviews and programs have been featured in international media, a number of universities, US Consulates, the UN, and have been cited by Harvard Business School, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, and Duke University Press. impactmania’s Women of Impact program was awarded the U.S. Embassy Public Diplomacy grant (2019).