There has literally been a billion words written about how awful 2020 was so I won’t wax poetic now, but there is one word that comes to mind when I think back on the year…proud.
“Proud” may seem like an odd word to associate with a year that saw massive protests, millions of lives lost due to a pandemic, a depressed economy and American lives lost due to an insurrection. It doesn’t sound like much to be proud of, but my feelings are for events much closer to home.
I am proud of my team. The c21 team, comprised of Jamie Donaldson, Maggie McDaniel, Valerie Randolph, Frances Chang, Carter Brown and Jade Woods, were quick to adapt, pull together, work from home, get tested, return to work (when safe), wipe down counters, wear masks, keep their distance, get accolades and promotions, find new ways to be social and go above and beyond every day to keep clients happy and moving forward. Despite the year’s events, 2020 was one of our best — and one that brought us closer together despite having to be farther apart.
I am proud of my friends. My high school friends, while initially struggling with IT issues, figured out Zoom for weekly calls (many times lasting over three hours) since our annual gatherings were no longer possible. Since mid-March, I have eagerly anticipated Tuesday nights to reconnect with this amazing ensemble of six women who have entirely different backgrounds, jobs, some entrepreneurs, some not, some with children, some not – but who, for more than 40 years, have found common ground, laughed and cried together and have simply been there for one other through break-ups, newfound love, personal loss, kids going to college during COVID and so much more. 2020 would have been so much harder without them.
I am proud of my family. My sister and brother-in-law have endlessly helped my mom with her transition to a townhome and, as she is now 45 minutes from me, I am forever grateful. And my 80-year-young mom has adapted to new technology – Zooming with her friends, doing online dance and balance classes, and binge-watching The Mandalorian – despite the fact she was “never into Star Wars.” I am also so proud of my love who completed the 350-mile bikepacking race called Trans North Georgia or TNGA. I definitely don’t get it – but I am so proud he was able to put a check in the completed column!
I am proud of Georgia. c21 had the privilege of providing pro bono support to Georgia Support The Vote, a bi-partisan effort to get Georgia companies to inform, encourage and enable their employees to exercise their right to vote — and they did. In fact, more than 170 companies signed on, representing more than 200,000 employees, and shared state-sanctioned voter information on a regular basis through their own communication channels. I am proud of those organizations and of Georgia for making a difference in this historic election.
While I wish I had a crystal ball (especially for a lottery closing in on a billion dollars), I don’t know what 2021 will hold. I do know it’s our 29th year in business. I do know it’s got “21” in it so it’s way cooler than 2020, and I know that with a great team, a new website, an incredible marketing plan and a bunch of support from clients, friends and family that we should be in great shape for another record year. I’m confident my pride will continue.