Stepping Up

How Leaders Are Rising to the Occasion

Throughout the Small Giants Community and beyond, leaders are doing what’s right when it matters most. These are their stories.

Don’t Let a Crisis Hold You Back

CHRISTINA MOORE | Taylor English

Huddled in a closet in her bedroom, Christina Moore takes a video call in what has become her makeshift office over the past month. Like so many in this pandemic, Christina and her colleagues at the Atlanta-based law firm Taylor English were mandated to work from home for the foreseeable future. Although there are other rooms in the house she could claim as her home office, those rooms come with less privacy: her four children — an eight-year-old, a seven-year-old, and twin five-year-olds are also homebound and have a tendency to find their way into every room in the house.

Christina is a textbook example of how this crisis can impact every aspect of our lives. Suddenly, she has four school-aged children staying home all day, every day. At the same time, her husband is a physician working on the frontlines of the crisis. As her firm quickly entered crisis mode, the other partners looked to her to take on more responsibility. With that kind of pressure on all fronts, many leaders would be tempted to hide in their makeshift closet offices and never come out.

But Christina is a self-described doer, and her partners gave her a new opportunity to step up and do something good to help out the firm. In particular, they asked her to serve as the point person for learning about the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) provisions of the CARES Act and determining what the firm could apply and be eligible for. Christina agreed and dove into the task of researching and preparing summaries and outlines for the firm.

“I stayed up after my family went to sleep and worked until two or three in the morning,” says Christina. “I did that for about two and a half weeks. I see it as a privilege to be able to develop these resources and provide value for the firm during this time.”

As she shared what she was learning, Christina didn’t realize that something much bigger was unfolding. Originally, she’d only set out to provide PPP guidance to the firm — but many of their clients needed help navigating the new provisions, too. Soon enough, people across the firm were asking for her help with their clients, and Christina’s workload quadrupled. Her knowledge was in demand, and Christina is the kind of person that always steps up, even when it’s tough.

“When I first raised my hand, I didn’t think it would lead to all of this,” says Christina. “But it turned out to be of value to our clients, and we’ve been able to retool and reinvent our approach so that we can help as many people as possible. It’s been incredibly rewarding.”

“Most of us are next-generation leaders, and talking to them reminds me that I’m not alone.”

During this time, the leaders making the most impact are the ones who are stepping up when it would be easier to pass the buck. Christina rarely says no to a new opportunity — and she’s not afraid to endure short-term stress and discomfort for longterm rewards. It helps that she has a strong support system: her family, her firm, and a community of leaders in the Small Giants Leadership Academy who understand her unique position.

“Most of us are next-generation leaders, and talking to them reminds me that I’m not alone,” says Christina. “It feels really good to talk about the challenges we’re all going through and how we’re dealing with the topics that are unique to our level of leadership.”

Back at home, Christina and her family have developed a routine that works for everyone. She and her husband raised their children to be responsible and independent, and those skills are coming in handy during quarantine. While Christina works in her office closet during the day, her four kids play together, do school work, and watch a little bit of television. They have lunch and dinner together, and when the kids go to sleep in the evening, Christina gets back to work. But no matter how busy you are, self-care should always be a priority — Christina takes a daily, hour-long run every morning while someone else gets the kids ready for the day.

“My kids are incredible — they know I’m working, and they’re responsible enough to take good care of themselves. It’s already part of their routine,” says Christina. “Being a working mom is hard, but I want to tell every mom that children are resilient. This one moment in time won’t make or break them. There’s value in them seeing me as an integral part of an organization, and they know I’m here for them when they need me.”

The times we’re in aren’t easy, and the ripple effects of this crisis will touch every individual and organization. But the perspective that Christina is taking offers a sunnier outlook on the challenges we’re facing right now.

“This is a time to retool and reinvent ourselves,” says Christina. “It is possible to not let a time of crisis hold you back. Yes, it will be hard, yes you will be tired — but push through those hard moments and accomplish what you set out to do. I know I’m going to be a better person, partner, and mother for it.”

What do these leaders have in common?

These leaders are part of Small Giants companies — companies that prioritize their purpose and culture and invest in their emerging leaders.

One way Small Giants companies invest in their next generation of leaders is by enrolling them in the Small Giants Leadership Academy. This robust one-year certification program consists of virtual learning sessions with expert leaders and coaches, an extensive resource library, on-the-ground meetups with your cohort, a leadership assessment, and your event ticket to two Small Giants gatherings.

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