As I reflected on a blog post, I revisited my November 2020 post which was titled, “#Thankful.” I talked about the coronavirus pandemic, civil unrest, economic hardship, physical & mental health, and many more unfortunate circumstances that we are still battling a year later. However, the light at the end of that dark tunnel was, and always has been, the anticipation that comes with every holiday season. The anticipation of being surrounded by loved ones and being thankful that you made it through another year together. Although it may seem like 2021 has not been much better than 2020, there is still so much that we need to be thankful for. There is always a “Praise Report.”
Like every year, there are hurdles and obstacles that arise. Through faith, fortitude, and family, anything is possible.
Unlike last holiday season, we now have a COVID-19 vaccine that is becoming more and more accessible for everyone, from the ages of 5 and up. Recently, vaccine booster shots have been made available, which adds that extra layer of protection. These options were not available last year, and it made it hard to feel comfortable visiting our loved ones, especially those that are immunocompromised or have a weakened immune system.
The vaccine has also enabled our staff to safely travel all over the country for our in-person meetings. In-person events are back, and it is nice to be on the road again! This unfortunate circumstance has pushed UTC into the hybrid event world, and we do not plan on stepping out of that space. We have listened to our members and stakeholders, we understand that traveling still is not an option for them it might not ever be an option again, so we have made it our mission to deliver educational content and networking opportunities to them, whether they are near or far. Hybrid and virtual events are here to stay.
The virtual world forces you to get creative and innovative. It has not stopped my vision for bringing change to the various issues I am passionate about, like DEI (Diversity, Equity & Inclusion). In October, UTC hosted a DEI Webinar that I was delighted to host. It featured six amazing panelists and the conversation was awe-inspiring. I am thankful that UTC had the ability to deliver this message on a virtual platform and get people involved in this important discussion.
Another topic that I am enthusiastic about is workforce development. UTC is upgrading its virtual stage and will be hosting a “Workforce Development Symposium” this December. I am excited about finding solutions to the various workforce development issues, through discussions with various industry experts and potential incoming generations of the workforce.
Although I do not need any more proof, this past year has exemplified the strength of the utility workforce and the need to support them. Hurricane season comes every year, and they prove every year why they are champions. On top of that, disaster strikes at any moment, and they are there to avert the crisis.
With all that has happened over these last few months, it is easy to become overwhelmed with defeat. We must remind ourselves, and each other, all that there is to be thankful for. As you sit down for Thanksgiving dinner and think about how thankful you are for each person at that table, remember to give yourself a pat on the back too. This year has been full of challenges, but you have made it through them all and that is something to be thankful for.