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Valley Vision in the Time of COVID-19

By Meg Arnold

Like so many in the Capital Region and around our nation and world, the Valley Vision team is making the necessary changes and working diligently to respond to the rapidly-shifting COVID-19 situation. Our fundamental purpose as an organization is to help make our communities the most livable in the nation. That has been the case since our inception 25+ years ago, and it will remain unchanged in this current situation.

Staying true to our purpose, we are pivoting and adapting our existing work in a host of ways, to best serve and support the region, and will continue to do so as the next weeks unfold.

  • In our Food and Ag work, Valley Vision works to create healthy food systems in the region. On Friday this week, we’re launching a brand-new weekly webinar focused on the food and agriculture sectors’ wide range of responses and impacts of COVID-19.
  • In Innovation and Infrastructure, Valley Vision has long played a leadership role in efforts to improve access to broadband – the importance of which has been greatly magnified in the context of COVID-19. Our broadband team is in close contact with State leadership, where we’ve provided our existing maps of regional broadband network coverage.
  • Our 21st Century Workforce efforts support a talent pipeline for our region. Right now, we’re creating a virtual regional convening to assess how Information and Communication Technology can best support business continuity during this time.
  • In our Clean Economy work, we’re active in the Capital Region Climate Readiness Collaborative (CRC), with its quarterly (virtual) workshop recently shifted to focus on how the economic impacts of COVID-19 will affect climate change adaptation actions and resources.
  • We are also supporting the capacity of others to respond, as a fiscal sponsor to select efforts, including the regional World Economic Forum Global Shapers chapter, which is stepping up to provide handwashing stations outside local grocery stores and for homeless populations.

In the midst of our work, we’re also taking time to respect that we are all also people with complete lives, and each of us only human. We’re acknowledging that the degree of change, of uncertainty, and of worry in all of our lives is unprecedented, and we’re doubling-down on the need to treat ourselves, each other, and all those with whom we work with patience, kindness, and care.

Practicing this, our staff is checking in face-to-face by Zoom every morning to stay in touch in a time when we might feel disconnected or isolated. Commiserating and laughing together as we all blend home life with work life has been helpful. We’re sharing articles that hit home for each of us, such as this from the Harvard Business Review, or this about how to hold a great virtual meeting; we’re sharing fun things to do, such as virtual trivia competitionsMonterey Bay Aquarium livecams, and watching penguins wander through a museum.

Be well, be safe, and we will carry on through this together.


Meg Arnold is Interim CEO of Valley Vision.

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