Our CMO Stephanie Buscemi recently caught up with Soledad O’Brien and Sheryl Crow to talk about leadership and creativity in isolation and crisis. Here are the highlights.

 

Soledad O’Brien: leaders rise to the occasion 


In times of unprecedented crisis, like the one we are living in, there are opportunities for true leaders to rise to the occasion.

That was one of my main takeaways from a conversation with Soledad O’Brien, the award-winning journalist who’s chronicled more than her fair share of seismic global events over the course of her career.

“Every disaster I’ve covered – the tsunami, Hurricane Katrina, Haiti earthquake – these are opportunities where I’ve seen leaders emerge. They’re just tests,” she told me.

“This is a really great time to see which of your employees are the ones there during a crisis. People in the workplace want a chance to lead, even in a pandemic. Giving people the chance to run something is quite a big vote of confidence. And you need them – so it works both ways.”

The conversation with Soledad is part of our Leading through Change content series, aiming to inspire and help during this time of uncertainty. I believe that, for the marketing community, it’s important to be hyper-sensitive now to what people are going through. If you don’t have something relevant and helpful to say, consider taking a step back.

That said, the rules for content creators are radically changing in this new homebound economy. As CEO of Soledad O’Brien Productions, she sees opportunity for her 11-person company to be creative, with remote video interviews at the forefront.

“How do we think of shooting things that don’t require you to be next to somebody?” she said. “People can shoot themselves now and the quality of video is great – that kind of opens up a lot of new pathways.”

 

Sheryl Crow: creativity is borne of necessity


The idea that creativity is borne out of necessity was also something I discussed today with Sheryl Crow, the nine-time Grammy Award-winner who joined us from her home studio.

“When this whole thing started happening [...] we made three lists. We made a list of things I have to do, things I want to do – like that I've never done – and ways to give back,” Sheryl said. "I’ve always believed boredom is the greatest proponent for creativity. Now [my kids] are literally using boredom to figure out ways to create worlds around them."

These are just a few of the many subjects we touched on in today’s discussion: from managing today’s deluge of news to supporting the small businesses that need us most to a little forecasting around where Soledad thinks things will land once this pandemic is over. I encourage you to watch the videos if any of this resonates. (Spoiler: Sheryl talks about the baby chicks her sons adopted so they can give eggs away to their neighbors in the midst of an egg shortage.)

Watch the interview with Soledad O'Brien and special performance by Sheryl Crow:


For more advice and expert how-tos for leading your businesses or team through COVID-19, check out the ‘Leading through Change’ series