New Resiliency Virtual Conference Series Helps Entrepreneurs Find Their Strength


Whether it’s an economic recession or a city-wide flood, many of Louisiana’s most successful startups have been through disaster. That’s the common thread of the new Resiliency weekly micro-conference series hosted by NexusLA, Opportunity Machine and The Idea Village. On Friday, May 1st, 2020, entrepreneurs logged in from all over Louisiana — with some attendees participating from other states such as Arizona and Tennessee — to network and learn how to grow in the face of COVID-19.

With strict social distancing measures still in place in our state, virtually connecting with peers and mentors is key to recovery. Attendees visited the main stage for a panel discussion facilitated by Robbie Vitrano and featuring insights from Teresa Lawrence, Chris Meaux, Chris Schultz, Allen Square and Corey Tisdale. Before and after the main panel presentation, attendees participated in virtual networking and gathered around the virtual watercooler to swap stories and experiences.

Here’s how coming together helps entrepreneurs find resilience in the face of disaster.

Creating Connection Through Common Experiences

Natural disasters like hurricane Katrina and the 2016 flood brought portions of our state to a grinding halt, while past economic recessions slowed down business and put startups in a precarious position. Panelist Chris Meaux shared his experiences as an entrepreneur during these events. His startup, that would eventually become Waitr, came about in the aftermath of an economic downturn.

Panelist Teresa Lawrence spoke to a different common experience. Emigrating from Cuba in 1973 along with her grandmother, mother and brother, Lawrence found strength in family connections. That experience made her stronger, and when Katrina impacted her business in 2005, she says, her subsequent actions were powered by instinct.

As the panelists shared their experiences with disaster, moderator Robbie Vitrano facilitated the conversation and a live chat. Attendees found common ground sharing their experiences of finding strength and opportunity despite disaster.

Collaborate on Continued Transformation

There is power in sharing ideas from diverse perspectives, and the Resiliency event tapped into that power. COVID-19’s impact on the economy spans all countries and industries, and rebuilding the economy will require collaboration, pointed out panelist Chris Schultz. Louisiana has a rich history of rallying together after hurricanes and natural disasters, and within that collective spirit we find strength and perspective. That spirit was tangible in the event’s live chat, as participants shared ideas for overcoming disaster.

Community is critical for overcoming disparity exacerbated by disaster, pointed out panelist Allen Square. COVID-19 is reshaping business as we know it. As we move forward and restructure business, we must be mindful of disparity in our communities. Accepting diverse perspectives can help drive effective transformation for all.

Even before COVID-19 change has been constant, but the rate of change will increase as our economy heals. Instead of adopting new rules for working, Corey Tisdale suggests adopting a clear set of values to guide you and your employees’ actions. The way we work will evolve, but if we live and work by our values, then we won’t be compromised by change.

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