Last year on March 17, 2020, GAAP Dynamics held a virtual St. Patrick’s Day happy hour, but this virtual meeting felt a little different. Did we drink some Guinness and make fun of Chris for the Irish hat he was wearing? Absolutely! But the day before, the lives we were living were put on pause due to COVID-19: schools were shut down, travel was canceled, restaurants closed, and people were left wondering when they might see family and friends again. It was a scary and stressful time both personally and professionally.
But I felt that meeting was the start of the “new” GAAP Dynamics! Our focus shifted to facilitating online webinars because we knew our beloved, in-person trainings would be on hold indefinitely. We came up with themed marketing campaigns and were able to focus on having the most up-to-date eLearning library (The Revolution) for our clients. It also caused our company to become more flexible in terms of employees working at home with children or even doing webinars at 3am for international clients! But just like everybody else in the world, we were filled with stress and worry due to the uncertainty that the pandemic had created and no matter how much fun we tried to have with themed Zoom parties, it was a hard year.
GAAP Dynamics recognized how hard of a year it had been and surprised us all with a day off that would be held on March 19, 2021! No emails, no phone calls, and no meetings were allowed. The only thing we had to do was take time for ourselves and do something that made us happy (and agree to write a blurb for this blog). So, we wanted to share with you what we did with our day off and also what the pandemic has taught us (I know, it’s weird – we’re usually the ones teaching, but we are also good learners!).
What have we learned?
Mike Walworth, Founder and CEO
COVID-19 has taught me that I have missed traveling A LOT more than I thought. Not just the family stuff (we had to cancel our Italy trip last fall), but also the "mundane" business travel that I did with GAAP Dynamics. I miss eating out at restaurants and exploring various cities with my colleagues. I am ready to get back out on the road.
On my day off, I took my daughter, my son, and his girlfriend to tour the campus of James Madison University in Harrisonburg, VA. We stayed at a wonderful B&B (Friendly City Inn), which I highly recommend. Former GAAP D intern, Lexie Leeds, graciously took time out of her Friday to show us this beautiful campus. Both my son and his girlfriend were accepted to JMU and based on this experience; it is definitely one of their top choices for college in the fall.
Jenny Lukac, Director
For me, this past year has been full of change, surprises, and challenges but it’s made me realize how lucky I am to have the life I have. I am surrounded by supportive family and friends and am part of an amazing team at GAAP Dynamics. I’ve learned to slow down and take things day-by-day and embrace if something in “my plan” changes. I’m also finding joy in the “little things” such as my morning coffee on the porch, working on a puzzle, or having my husband cook dinner (because I’ve also learned I do not love to cook!).
On my day off, I went to my favorite local coffee place (Heartwood Coffee) and enjoyed some coffee/breakfast and alone time while writing in my journal (I started journaling during the pandemic and it’s been very therapeutic!). Our day off just so happened to coincide with the first day of March Madness, so my husband and I watched basketball for about 12 hours straight! If you know me, you know I LOVE to watch basketball, so this was an absolute perfect day.
Pamela Swecker, Office Manager
This pandemic has taught me that as much as I value having time alone to recharge, being around people is also important to me. I miss being able to go out to eat with my family or friends, taking my kids to a movie, going on vacation, and being at the office with my co-workers instead of working in my home office. But the thing I miss the most is spending time with my elderly parents. It breaks my heart that I have not gotten to see them/spend any time with them since Christmas of 2019!
On my day off, I went to Target and bought a bunch of items on the donation wish list of the animal rescue group that we adopted our dog and two cats from, the Richmond Animal League. They do such wonderful work for so many animals and work so hard to find them loving homes, so I wanted to spend time doing something for them that day. Dropping off these donations was incredibly special. It was a small thing to do but I wanted to use that day to show my appreciation for this wonderful organization!
Rachel Klein, Training Specialist
I've really missed spending quality time with extended family and friends. I am thankful that the vaccine is bringing us all one step closer to hugs and time together! I spent my day off having a quiet, leisurely lunch at one of my favorite restaurants. I enjoyed the springtime sunshine outside all weekend long and had a picnic with my husband, daughter, and dog.
Sarah Peterson, Digital Marketing and Learning Specialist
As much as the COVID-19 global pandemic has been less than fun to experience, I believe that this year has clarified for me what I value most and what I am truly passionate about. On my day off, I ran some much-needed errands that I'd been putting off, and then got a cold brew from my favorite coffee shop in the city (Lift Coffee Shop and Cafe). I spent the rest of the day doing some thrift flipping, which is one of my favorite new hobbies that I picked up over the past year.
Vicky Hale, Chief Learning Officer
COVID-19 has taught me not to take so many things for granted...but most importantly the gift of friends and family. While I miss traveling, sporting events, concerts, restaurants, and all the other freedoms we love so much, these things wouldn't mean nearly as much without the joy, laughter, healing, and hope that my friends and family bring to me. I have truly enjoyed getting to spend more time with my daughters and my husband but keeping those connections alive with friends has definitely taken more effort during this pandemic.
On my day off, I went on a spontaneous trip with a close friend down to Corolla in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. We are both fully vaccinated, and we had both been through a fairly hard week. The sight of the ocean, the freedom away from our routines (and children), the late nights, and the laughter were exactly what we both needed!
Julia Shawver, Digital Content Manager
The COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced for me just how important family is. I have a very tight-knit extended family, and it has been really difficult missing out on gathering together for holidays, birthdays, and "just because."
On my day off, I received my first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine! It has been over a year since I've hugged my grandparents, and I'm practically counting down the minutes until I can hug them again in just a few weeks (they are both fully vaccinated, thankfully!). I'm looking forward to getting together with my whole family once we've all been vaccinated, and now we are one step closer!
Madi English, Digital Marketing and Learning Specialist
One thing that I've missed pre COVID-19 has definitely been the travel. On my day off, I took a trip to Asheville, NC with my younger brother. I've been wanting to check out this city for a while now and was tempted to go alone just to get some travel in. Although the drive was about 6 hours, it was worth it. My brother and I stayed in a cottage on a farm where we got to interact with a ton of farm animals – chickens, ducks, horses, and sheep! We got to explore downtown Asheville (with masks, of course!) and even saw the Biltmore Estate!
Jennifer Kartychak, Training Specialist
COVID-19 helped to renew my focus on what matters most and appreciate time spent with loved ones. As a part of a large family, it seemed almost a rare occurrence to have a week without some sort of gathering. The pandemic restrictions resulted in some creative solutions to socialize – from weekly Zoom calls with my family to themed video contests with family friends. Deeper connections began to form because the stress of everyday activities no longer was top of mind. Time spent together in person became that much sweeter.
On my day off, I woke up to breakfast in bed served by my three beautiful children and loving husband. That gave me the energy to tackle some spring cleaning in the morning! My family spent the afternoon outside in the sun riding our bicycles and perfecting our chalk art. We ended our day with a family dinner and a movie. It was picture perfect!
Christine Leese, Director
COVID-19 has reminded me that life is a gift, to accept that there are things that I just won’t understand, and most importantly, gratitude. The world often teaches and stresses “busyness,” “doing,” and “achieving,” but it is also important to slow down sometimes, to take time to just “be,” and to appreciate the many things that are often taken for granted. On my day off, I spent time with my family.
Chris Brundrett, Chief Financial Officer
Like the band Cinderella once said: “you don’t know what you got till it’s gone”. Prior to COVID-19, sometimes I wasn’t thrilled about another business trip. However, through it I have realized that I do need some travel in my life. COVID-19 also solidified the importance of a strong family and one of the benefits of it was the time I had with them.
I thought a great way to spend my day off would be combining those two things. We packed up the car and headed south to a remote Virginia State Park called Natural Tunnel State Park. Two nights in a cabin, some great hikes, cards, and board games made for a great getaway.
We love our GAAP D family, so we’d love to hear from you in the comments section about what you might have learned this past year. Or what you miss the most! Hopefully, we’ll all see each other in a classroom soon.
“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson
About GAAP Dynamics
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