Just over a year ago, millions of us were first hearing about COVID-19 — though few of us could have predicted at that time just how far-reaching its impact would be on our health and our lives. We retreated to our homes, kept our circles small and our interactions few, in order to protect our most vulnerable family and community members. For many, the resulting fear of the unknown and social separation, while necessary, was difficult; even today, the effects of those many months of isolation on our collective mental health remains. And COVID-19 was hardly the only matter we faced in 2020: devastating wildfires, civil unrest and destructive weather events also made their mark on the year.
To say we had a lot to contend with is an understatement.
Hope can be tough to find — and even tougher to hold onto — in the midst of challenges, grief and uncertainty. So when the time came to launch our annual season of giving campaign, we felt more compelled than ever before to spread a positive message, generate hope and build resilience within our workforce and communities.
Each year at Sedgwick, we challenge ourselves to find a meaningful way to exemplify our purpose statement: “Taking care of people is at the heart of everything we do. Caring counts.” Often, what our communities need most is something tangible; we may collect canned goods, coordinate company blood drives or donate to important causes like water conservation. After reflecting on 2020, we felt that what people needed most was a positive message. Hope. A virtual hug, if you will.
With these ideas in mind, this year’s campaign supported Direct Relief, a humanitarian organization helping people around the world during times of emergency. Like Sedgwick, Direct Relief spent much of 2020 taking care of people impacted by wildfires, hurricanes and the COVID-19 pandemic; partnering with such a great organization, raising awareness and encouraging people to support its important efforts just made sense.
Fueled by gratitude
One of the best pathways to hope and healing is connectedness. So when we launched this year’s season of giving campaign, we invited people around the world to contribute to our wall of gratitude. People wrote about how thankful they are to have a healthy family, helpful coworkers and a place to call home. Others recognized the little things, like being able to work remotely, walking their dog more, working out with friends over Zoom…and the fact that they still like their significant other after so much extra time together! Many of the posts commended the resilience and dependability of frontline workers, and how truly valued they are around the world. As you scroll through the dozens of notes, we hope you’ll be inspired by those who have shared what they’re most looking forward to in 2021, and their faith that brighter days are right around the corner.
It’ll take some time to move beyond the challenges and struggles 2020 brought. We’re still working toward healing and safely reengaging. But we’re moving forward with a sense of renewed optimism and hope — and we’re committed to helping our colleagues, clients and communities thrive in 2021.