FINEST HOUR: It’s a good time to look to the wisdom of leaders like Winston Churchill. (Getty Images)

Maureen Andersen, President and CEO, INTIX

We are faced with an ever-changing landscape because of the COVID-19 pandemic, which is directly affecting our beloved industry in unprecedented ways.  It is a time, for us all, that is filled with uncertainty, anxiety, fear as well as realizations and acceptance that our life and businesses may never operate quite the same ever again or at least for the foreseeable future. I am writing this message from my virtual and isolated INTIX office in Palm Springs, Calif., where I have had to, personally, grapple with my own fears, anxiety and plans for my family even as dear family and colleagues inform me that they are exhibiting symptoms. That said, I go back to my own advice — to myself and others — to stay present in the moment. Do I have everything I need right this minute? Yes, because I know where my feet are.  

I am so proud of our industry. I am heartened and buoyed up by the immediate and profound level of tactical responsibility that we have collectively taken upon ourselves to mitigate the seriousness of the worldwide COVID-19 crisis. We led the way by recognizing the need to cancel our events around the world, despite the huge self-inflicted and well-known financial wounds to come. I know that the burden of so much of this will be upon our members, not only today but for the short, mid- and long term. But the silver lining for me, and hopefully for all of us, is that when this is over, the deep need for healing and entertainment will be the thing to help restore our spirits. We will meet the world with joy when we reopen our doors.  

What is INTIX doing?  We are very lucky, thanks to the wisdom of our leaders over a decade ago, to be a virtual organization. We all work remotely, and we have not had the burden of having to shift quickly on that front. Membership associate Tiffany Kelham is learning to balance her family, her work and starting a classroom in her home complete with PE breaks, math, flashcards, art and virtual learning with her children’s schools. I have spent hours over the past several days on the phone speaking to so many members and colleagues. I remain accessible to you all by phone, email, text, social, and other festive virtual ways. I may be isolated but what I see from here is that you are all heroes and the world is truly seeing, in real time, the “magic behind the button” and the nobility of our profession.  

Isolation does not mean that we can’t connect to our tribe! It gives us unrealized opportunities for profound and meaningful gatherings. There are many colleagues providing support and offering ways to connect and we thank them deeply for their service. INTIX will be stepping up in the following ways to you as your ticketing tribe resource! We have the tools to help our members, to support each other, to provide shared information, to discuss options, provide best practices, and to help with communication throughout our industry ranks. Our mission is “to ignite success” and we are here to help you do that in this new world order. We have the means to provide support and buoy up our members to not only survive but thrive. 

Effective immediately, INTIX has opened a new forum, Ticket Life with COVID-19, in the Resources section of its website, www.intix.org, for all ticketing professionals to access. Within that forum we have posted links and are updating and augmenting them to help members to help themselves and each other. But beyond the obvious links and public information, our forum is a place where ticketing pros can post questions, ask for help, share information and wisdom. The forum is ungated and accessible to ALL, so please share the link freely. Members will be able to access it publicly or via your INTIX account login. Our various membership committees will be monitoring the forums to be of maximum member aid.  Our larger organizations and venues have more means to support their staff members, so I ask that we remember that many of our colleagues are from smaller shops, which don’t have the same level of infrastructures, so they may be truly isolated.  Please reach out with that virtual INTIX “hug” to help us help each other via all means possible including the INTIX hand. 

What else?  We have opened a 30-minute weekly Zoom meeting for ticketing professionals to check in, to commune, to share and inspire each other.  We will convene Wednesday Wisdom at Noon Eastern.  Dial in and share with each other (use your video cameras so we can see you), take a break to share your wisdom, your experience, strength and hope with one another.  There will be no set agenda and we will talk about work or war stories, whatever helps the group. And humor, let’s not forget the humor — laughing is a terrific spirit lifter!

Our various teams are meeting daily, and we are shifting our social and Access content to better reflect the needs of our members today and to meet the challenges we are now facing. Watch our social channels as we move to inspiration, utilizing what is at the very core of INTIX, and that is the network of professionals supporting each other. We are also in conversation with our partners and sister organizations on how we can collaborate and share resources that are centric to us all.

For me, I look to wisdom of leaders who have helped in times of crisis.  I recently reread Franklin D. Roosevelt’s first inaugural address from March 1933 that is particularly remembered for its attack on the psychology of the Great Depression with “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself” message.  Also memorable is Winston Churchill’s address to the House of Commons during the Battle of France in June 1940. “In casting up this dread balance sheet and contemplating our dangers with a disillusioned eye, I see great reason for intense vigilance and exertion, but none whatever for panic or despair.”  And “Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties … men will still say, ‘This was their finest hour.’” I know that this, too, will be our collective “finest hour.” 

Life as we know it today is changing and there are a lot of unknowns. What I do know is that our stalwart tribe of professionals is prepared for the challenges, that we’ll do this together, that we will weather this, and we will be of help and service to one another. I look forward to being with you on the journey through this challenge and to seeing your faces and hearing your voices weekly!  

I leave you with the traditional Irish blessing, since we recently celebrated St. Patrick’s Day.

May the road rise to meet you,

May the wind be always at your back,

May the sun shine warm upon your face,

The rains fall soft upon your fields,

And until we meet again,

May God hold you in the palm of his hand.