The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted lives worldwide. Companies shut down as they could not withstand the lockdown and forced employees to migrate as they could no longer afford the high living cost.
But through it all, we have seen the rise of authentic and genuine leadership take the reins that have steered us along this rocky and challenging ride. The crisis brought ingenuity of people, from all walks of life, to the core and demonstrated how a single individual with determination can impact the community.
Let’s meet some of the inspiring people who brought hope in the bleakest of times.
1. José Andrés (Founder of World Central Kitchen)
The chef and restaurateur has fed and nourished those affected by the crisis. He was seen forklifting food onto quarantined cruise ships and serving nearly 100,000 meals a day to healthcare workers and others in the hotspot. He provided much-needed jobs for restaurant employees. Andrés’s accomplishments include turning the Washington Nationals’ baseball stadium into a vast community kitchen to serve D.C. residents.
2. Jack Dorsey (CEO of Twitter)
Dorsey announced that he would donate $1 billion of his equity in payment startup Square to a COVID-19 relief fund. He ensured that his transactions were made transparent to show how the funds helped people tackle the virus; he even tweeted a public Google spreadsheet tracking the process.
3. Robert Wagner (Community Activist)
With the increasing number of cases in Poland, the medical staff were overwhelmed and had to work longer hours to treat the alarmingly huge number of patients. In response to this situation, many volunteers came together to form support groups for the overstrained medical staff. Robert Wagner is one of the dozens who stepped up to the occasion and volunteered to deliver coffee, energy drinks, water and packed lunches to paramedics and doctors working overtime.“We are trying to support medical professionals, working a dozen or so hours a day to protect us against coronavirus,” he said.
4. Roger Mackell and David Gaunt (Owners of Gleebook)
One of the most commonly reported impacts of the lockdown was an increasing sense of isolation within people around the world. To alleviate loneliness among people, an Australian bookstore started a free bicycle delivery service to bring books to customers stuck in their homes. “Books are a nice way of travelling without having to go anywhere,” said the store’s cyclist Nerida Ross. “I think there’s a lot of anxiety. People are pretty uncertain so they’re just really grateful to still be able to access the things that give them joy, without having to leave the house,” said James Ross, Event Manager of Gleebooks.
5. KK Shailaja (Minister for Health and Social Justice, Kerala)
Kerala’s Minister of Health and Social Justice, KK Shailaja, was a high school science teacher before she got into public service. By the third week of May, while coronavirus cases were spiking in the rest of the country, crossing the one lakh mark, Kerala had 690 reported cases, with four deaths. Shailaja Teacher, as she is popularly known, had already dealt with Nipah in 2018. She started planning for COVID-19 meticulously in January itself once she heard of the rising cases in China. Her methods were proactive, direct and empathetic. She visited patients in isolation wards and considered it her job to impart enthusiasm to health workers.
This pandemic has inspired and driven heroic leaders globally to act, contribute and help the people. These unprecedented times have shown us the kind side of many people, even the top corporate leaders in the world. As Christoper Reeve, American Actor, said, “What makes Superman a hero is not that he has power, but that he has the wisdom and the maturity to use the power wisely.”