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Adapt & Advance

How New Virtual Workshops Strengthened Connections During the Pandemic

2.8 minute read

July 15, 2021

Just one year ago, COVID-19 brought social gatherings to a sudden halt. The essential joys of summer—travel, parades, festivals, barbecues, pool parties—were replaced with fear, uncertainty, and anxiety.

We faced worries about our health and the health of those we care about, isolation without a definitive end date, business shutdowns both temporary and permanent, childcare and homeschooling conflicts, and shortages of daily staples.   

Our basic physiological and safety needs were under attack, triggering a deep emotional response and worldwide turmoil. More than ever, preserving our physical and mental well-being required us to lean on trusted relationships and personal connections.

At Harris, we took that need for connection seriously. Despite social distancing, we saw a chance to rise above the circumstances and deepen our most trusted relationships—especially with respect to our clients. That was the impetus behind our Adapt & Advance initiative.

Staying Connected

Developing trusted relationships lies at the very heart of Harris’ client management philosophy and aligns with our vision to serve as Trusted Advisors to community leaders. How we conduct our client management activities may have changed, but our fundamental approach remained the same, and perhaps became even more relevant during the pandemic.

With Adapt & Advance, we hosted collaborative virtual workshops in response to our clients’ needs around business continuity, workload support, balancing challenging budgets, and protecting our communities. We took the opportunity to strengthen connections with long-standing partners and navigate uncertainty together.   

“The Adapt & Advance initiative helped me connect with my clients through discussing current and future industry topics. These virtual workshops provided an opportunity to serve as Trusted Advisors by sharing our knowledge and guiding our clients through industry challenges.

—Lara Jennings, Senior Director, Program + Construction Management

Since our first workshop with the City of Long Beach in October 2020, Harris leaders Lara Jennings, Chris Dunne, Mahmoud Akhavain, and John Kuprenas have led workshops on a variety of relevant topics, including:

Adapt & Advance workshops enable participants to analyze industry trends and discuss challenges in a casual, interactive group setting. Our speakers bring topics to life in relatable ways using real project experience and examples.

Community Matters

If there’s one thing we’ve learned through this period of hardship and social distancing, it’s the importance of community. Harris plans to continue our Adapt & Advance workshops to maintain and grow our strong connections. We have developed new topics around creative financing, fostering inclusive project teams, and innovation and technology

I’m proud to be part of a company so deeply rooted in its purpose of building stronger communities, and I am hopeful for what lies ahead. In partnership with our clients, Harris stands ready to shape a more equitable, resilient, and sustainable future.

Feel free to reach out to our Director of Strategic Pursuits, Marianne Fargas, PMP, if you’re interested in setting up an Adapt & Advance workshop with your team!

Authors

Marianne Fargas, PMP

Marianne Fargas, PMP

Vice President / Marketing