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SWE Staff Finds Silver Lining While Sheltering In Place Pt. 4

Take a dive into part four of our series featuring teams from the SWE HQ staff.
Swe Staff Finds Silver Linings While Sheltering In Place Pt. 1

Our Events team is next up highlighting what they are doing while sheltering and how they are working together while being physically apart.

Events Team On What They Are Doing During Sheltering In Place: 


Jeanne Elipani // Director of Conference and Events

Swe Staff Finds Silver Lining While Sheltering In Place Pt. 4

Jeanne Elipani, Director of Conference and Events- reporting from Crown Point, Indiana (as of March 18).   In the “millions” of years I’ve been working on the Annual Conference, I’ve never seen anything like this health scare, and admittedly, I feel a bit isolated since I love being in groups.  But I’m so grateful to be able to stay safe via quarantine.  I have the support from SWE and our employees, especially our superstar events team including Sergio, Vanessa, Tori, Trenyce, and Mackenzie!  And when I take my “breaks”, I’ll go for a walk around the neighborhood, or check on the cool things my SWE Facebook friends are doing, whether it’s just a comment or a posted picture from high school!  And I feel so privileged to have the technology to connect with so many people on a daily basis.   As you can see in my picture, I am looking towards a very near better future.  Our world exists on perseverance, knowledge and diverse talent and we’ll get this!  In the meantime, I’m spending my time preparing for WE20 and I’m lucky enough to be able to work and connect also on our future meetings.  But at this given moment, I can’t decide whether to eat my vegetable salad or call Doordash to have them bring me a Big Mac and Supersize Fries!

Vanessa Velasco // Senior Manager, WE Local, Events and Marketing

Swe Staff Finds Silver Lining While Sheltering In Place Pt. 4

It’s crazy to say but I believe my childhood and life experiences have prepared me for “shelter-in-place”. Whether that was two full-time working (divorced) parents, a wild imagination (Wala Wala Ooga Booga, a city my sister and I created), moving 2,000 miles away from family and friends (10 years ago), cooking regularly or being on the road often — coping with this change has been fairly seamless and, I am very grateful for that.

At the start of this pandemic, the four-legged co-workers and I decided to temporarily move our high-rise home base to our boyfriend’s midrise home to allow for less exposure. This not only allowed us to be together but also have more areas to work — couches, bed, desks, oh my! However, my favorite work spot is the kitchen table and soon-to-be window with a view, baby steps into making this change happen. Note: My WFH boss is on the watch 24/7.

This pandemic has shown me where I thrive and have rooms for improvements whether that’s balancing work/life or simply balancing work projects. Personally, I have found it is possible to achieve my personal goals (working out, journaling daily, cooking and weekly small group) while working an 8-10 hour day. Professionally, I have recognized I really “zone in” on projects or people I’m working on projects with so, I have had to make a conscious effort to stay connected with staff by asking questions outside of work, weekly. I also have learned I work better with zoning my time. Two hours for a project here, three hours for a task here and definitely a lunch break. By breaking projects down or blocking timeout for projects, I find I’m more productive and the work I turnover is better.

Google Hangouts, GoToMeeting and Slack have all come in very handy during this time. Not only with staying connected on work projects but saying hello to team members. Oh and Google Tasks! What a time saver (and tree saver) for writing down my to-so items but also re-arranging tasks for upcoming deadlines for not only the 2020 and 2021 WE Local season but also WE20. There are many unknowns on the horizon but there’s one thing for sure, “We will cross this finish line together.”

Mackenzie Morgan // Senior Events Coordinator

Swe Staff Finds Silver Lining While Sheltering In Place Pt. 4

Mackenzie Morgan, Senior Events Coordinator, reporting from Lincoln Park (a neighborhood in Chicago) on day 40 (as of April 24) of quarantine but what really feels like day 500.

Wow, do I miss the SWE office and my coworkers but I am grateful for the roommates I get to WeWork with (as we like to say) as well as the flowers and candles that brighten my day-to-day work. I am currently working at my dining room table but venture up to our loft for a change of scenery every once in a while. These past few weeks, I have been working with my manager, Vanessa Velasco, through GoToMeeting and Google Hangouts to close out 2020 WE Local season. I am thankful I got to see our members at the first three conferences though I missed seeing the rest of you at the final two. Every day is different at WE Local so some tasks I have been working on include adding volunteer names to the SWE volunteer portal, creating standard operating procedures (SOPs) and templates for volunteers and the collegiate competition, processing refunds for WE Local Des Moines, answering questions via SWE’s portal aka I am, preparing and hosting finalists and judges for WE Local’s first Virtual Collegiate Competition for Buffalo and Des Moines — check out the AllTogether blog in May for more details. And now, finalizing the presentation (with SOP and template!) for 2020. Fun fact: after work, I play one sudoku puzzle a day and I have taught myself the American Sign Language alphabet. Stay safe and sane, everyone!

Tori Grove // Coordinator, Conference and Events

Swe Staff Finds Silver Lining While Sheltering In Place Pt. 4

My at-home workstation is currently set up at my kitchen table, however, sometimes I take a trip over to the couch to switch it up a little bit. Luckily, I have two four-legged coworkers that moved in with me to help keep me on task every day. Strangely, they seem to be my biggest distraction while working from home! I have been working on our annual conference in New Orleans. One of my main projects right now has been getting started on our catering order. It is no small task to feed thousands of conference-goers! The current situation has impacted this as we investigate the safest way to move forward with feeding a big crowd. Through this experience, I have realized how much I love our office and how much I miss my coworkers. I am really looking forward to getting back to a regular workday!

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