At the outset, I want to reiterate how much I appreciate the hard work and effort of the D'Amore-McKim community, especially over the last nine months. All of us are under severe stress and are tired while balancing work and home commitments during this extremely difficult time. We're physically and mentally fatigued.

Despite this fog of fatigue pervading our lives, there are countless examples of individual and collective accomplishments during this pandemic. Our faculty and students admirably transitioned to remote learning first and then hybrid learning, while our staff have been extraordinarily student-centric and supportive of our entire D'Amore-McKim community including business partners, donors, and alumni. Because of all their contributions, we have had successful summer and fall semesters, something that would have been considered literally impossible in March. The dedication, commitment, and resilience to ensure our success thus far has been inspiring to behold. While we have miles to go before we declare victory over this pandemic-induced crisis, I'm cautiously optimistic about our prospects because of them. I'm confident that our best is yet to come.

Of course, it's easy to see why we do what we do – our “why” is clear. We're in a noble profession. Business learning in higher education enables students and organizations to achieve their potential and become impactful in what they do. We devote our talent and passion to serving others, and we're not in this alone. The D'Amore-McKim community is part of something greater than our individual selves. We work together to make D'Amore-McKim and Northeastern a great place to learn and work. It's this sense of purpose and community that will drive us forward, even when we are feeling the most fatigued during this extraordinarily challenging time.

However, a community can only thrive if there are opportunities to connect meaningfully with one another, celebrate each other's journey, and be kind and compassionate to one another. Friday, Nov. 13, 2020 was World Kindness Day, which was created to “highlight good deeds in the community focusing on the positive power and the common thread of kindness which binds us, (because) kindness is a fundamental part of the human condition….” Between this day and the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, it's the perfect time to celebrate kindness and one another by connecting directly with the people and teams you're thankful for.

I know that so many of people feel thankful for each other, but time, schedules, and distance often get in the way of sharing these good feelings. Of course, a simple note of appreciation can go a long way, but here are some other things you could do to extend your gratitude to your co-workers:

  • Nominate a co-worker for an award if possible (for instance, D'Amore-McKim faculty and staff can nominate someone for a Shining Star award);
  • Consider sharing publicly who or what you're grateful for on your social media channels (the D'Amore-McKim community can use #damoremckim when posting a message);
  • Schedule a short team meeting before the Thanksgiving holiday with a focus on celebrating your wins and showing appreciation for each other, and include special time in team meetings moving forward that allow for “shout outs” to each other;
  • Reconnect with someone you don't normally talk with via email, phone, or a business communications platform like Microsoft Teams or Slack;
  • Attend a community event (for instance, D'Amore-McKim has events like Second Tuesday and Lunch & Learns);

This holiday season and beyond, I wish you and your loved ones happiness, health, and positivity during these trying times. And, as always, a huge thank you to the D'Amore-McKim community for all that you do for the school and for one another.

Raj Echambadi
Dunton Family Dean
D'Amore-McKim School of Business