Leadership Lessons: Northern KY Community Action Commission

Leadership During Crisis: Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic

2020

Catrena Bowman-Thomas picked up her office phone and called Northern Kentucky Community Action Commission’s (NKCAC) board chair, J.C. Morgan. She had just left an early March 2020 executive leadership team meeting at NKCAC headquarters in Covington, Kentucky, and had a lot to report. The team had discussed the increasing uncertainty and chaos surrounding the coronavirus (COVID-19) threat. More and more, it looked like the Community Action Agency (CAA) would have to close its doors in some capacity. Amidst the myriad of issues weighing on Bowman-Thomas’ mind, top of the list was how to balance meeting the needs of the community with keeping NKCAC staff safe. With no precedent for pandemic planning and little guidance to determine the best way to proceed, Bowman-Thomas and the leadership team recognized that they needed to meet daily and act fast to put the pieces in place to prepare for the pandemic and a possible closure of the agency’s 25 locations across 8 counties. Working in tandem with the CAA’s board would be instrumental to these efforts, and Bowman-Thomas wanted to begin immediately. When Morgan picked up the phone, the two exchanged their usual greeting and then started talking about how to best steer the organization through the pandemic.

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