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Chamber CEO errs on side of over-communicating during coronavirus crisis

Heather Kasten, CEO/president of the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce, says it's been humbling to have to surrender each day and create and plan as she goes.

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  • | 3:00 p.m. April 23, 2020
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Organization: The Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce

Executive: Heather Kasten, CEO/president

Working situation: Right now, I am the only one working from the chamber offices at this time. The rest of the team is working remotely from their homes.

Biggest challenge with the current working setup: Trying to make sure we are keeping everyone on the team in the loop. We are trying to err on the side of over-communicating to keep people feeling engaged and connected.

Most important lesson you've learned so far during this time: For someone who clings pretty tightly to lists and order over things, it’s been absolutely humbling to have to surrender each day and really create and plan as we go. We have had to scrap best-laid plans because they were no longer relevant. So being open to how fluid things are and managing the chaos in every aspect has been tough but probably good for me.

Books, articles, TV shows, podcasts and/or audiobooks have you been focused on during this time: I am an avid reader and alternate between a book for pleasure/relaxation and a business book. Right now for pleasure I just finished reading “American Dirt” by Jeanine Cummins — an absolute page-turner. For business I am rereading one of the best books on strategy by a local Sarasota businessman and author, Joey Brannon with Axiom Strategic Consulting, called “Grow with Purpose.”

How far out into the future are you looking? I’m evaluating different scenarios and recasting numbers right now — looking at 30 days, 90 days and one year out.

How do you maintain your spirit/morale when everything has changed? Trying to focus on being grateful for all the blessings in my life both professionally and personally takes intention and energy — which isn’t always on tap. Spending some time in prayer each day as well asking for wisdom, strength and courage during these times.

Exercise or stress relief have turned to during the crisis: Walking has been a source of relief — no music or phone — just spending time being quiet.

Last trip to out of the house: Daily to and from the office, with an occasional chamber member restaurant takeout or grocery stop.

What's your favorite meal to eat at home: My husband makes the most amazing chicken Marsala with pasta and paired with a glass of wine is absolute perfection.


Click the links below to hear how more regional executives are handling the shutdowns.


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