Lessons from 2020 By Madeline Bell

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Children's View

I’ve always believed that a time of crisis can be a catalyst for growth, and I learned some valuable lessons over the past year. I shared these lessons at a conference for women leaders hosted by Independence Blue Cross, and I want to share some of them with you as well.

Look for silver linings.

As daunting as 2020 was, there were some silver linings — and some new opportunities. For example, at CHOP, we were able to scale up our telemedicine offerings very quickly in the early days of the pandemic, which allowed us to continue caring for children during stay-at-home orders. Philanthropic support from the Philadelphia 76ers helped us accelerate this work, and we went from providing about 20 telemedicine visits a week pre-COVID to more than 8,000 a week at the height of the pandemic.

Keep working toward your goals — but be flexible.

As I told a staff member recently, setting goals is still important in a time of uncertainty — and it’s equally important to be willing to pivot if needed. For example, we stepped back to re-evaluate some of our construction projects in light of the pandemic.

Take time to recharge.

One of the biggest lessons I learned from 2020 is that it is incredibly important to take time to recharge. As I told conference attendees, “When we pause a movie, it stops, but when we pause ourselves, we begin.” When we pause, we give ourselves time to think, to reimagine and to revisit our assumptions. We have “a-ha” moments that lead to new ways of looking at and solving problems. We’ve never needed these moments more than we do right now.