Walk through Creative 360’s doors on a normal weekday and you are most likely greeted by Laura Brigham, our office manager. From the front desk, her broad smile and welcoming demeanor make us all (staff included) feel welcome and at home. She is also most often the one who answers the phone when you call, and you can actually hear the smile in her voice. So, how does she work from home when welcoming is such an important part of her job? Turns out, she is doing a lot of the same things in different ways.
Even when no one is in the office, it is Laura’s recorded greeting that answers our phone and asks you to leave a message. She is also most often the one who will call you back. In fact, just like in the office, she spends much of her work day returning phone calls, responding to email, and speaking with patrons and artists as she works to reschedule events and facility rentals being postponed by COVID-19 restrictions.
“Everyone has been lovely,” she explained. “They often have to make hard decisions about big events like weddings and graduation parties, but they all seem to understand we are doing our best to make these changes as easy as possible for them.”
We are grateful for the hard work Laura continues to do for for all of you. She does much of the same for the staff. Not far into the work-from-home edict, we all realized how much we missed our weekly touch base meetings and each other. Laura came to the rescue and scheduled weekly staff meetings like always, but now they are done via Zoom meeting. Not the same as face-to-face interaction, but we still get to see each other’s faces on the screen and are able to continue a pretty powerful collaboration.
When our doors open again, we will all benefit from the work she’s doing now to review and streamline procedures, update forms, and make sure everything reflects the positive changes happening at Creative 360. She needs to update board member lists in a variety of places, because we got a few new ones, and is revamping membership offers and sponsorship opportunities. With an eye toward the future, Laura’s doing work in support of the Creative 360 Art Fair at RiverDays in August.
Laura, like many of you, is doing her work while surrounded by her family who is also home. She shares a workspace, separated by a partition wall, with her husband Dexter who is the Director of Theatre for the Midland Center for the Arts. The two of them juggle virtual meetings and work responsibilities with helping to educate their two boys who are in first and fourth grades. It’s not easy to be sure, but Laura admits she is truly grateful to be home with her family, and especially grateful they all remain healthy.
“I am enjoying the ability to get a glimpse of the day-to-day part of my children’s lives that I’m not normally able to witness,” she said.
She shared that her biggest hurdle is her “office assistant,” a two-year-old beagle. “He is the worst distraction,” she laughed, “but HR is DETERMINED I give him a chance.”
Laura looks forward to being back in the office where she is surrounded by art and the positive people who come in excited to learn.
“There is something about our building that is hopeful,” she explained. “I guess because it houses all that art, positivity and laughter.”
Laura’s message to everyone? “Hold on to your hope. We will find a way. We just have to keep faith in each other.”