What 2020 Has Taught Us About Life, Work and Togetherness

For better or worse, the last year has changed us. And now, looking back, we can see that the lessons we’ve learned—about health, family, work, resilience, community, and humanity—are lessons we’ll carry forward into the New Year.

Below, Cenera team members share the challenges they’ve faced and the lessons they’ve learned in 2020.

Glenn Tibbles, Partner

Glenn Tibbles, Partner

In terms of lessons learned, a few thoughts in no particular order:

  1. Never take things for granted, whether they are trips, weddings, family gatherings and especially health.
  2. People are very resilient. Within one business day, Cenera switched from a downtown office to remote work.
  3. It is always important to get fresh air and exercise, particularly during COVID.
  4. Staying connected with family, friends and co-workers is crucial.
  5. We can be very effective and client-responsive, even during a lockdown.


Todd Pannett, Manager, HR Advisory Services

Todd Pannett, Manager, HR Advisory Services

When I think about what 2020 has taught me, the word that comes to mind is adaptability. Not only for us as an organization but also for our clients. We went from being an office-based organization, reliant on a face-to-face work style, to shifting our entire organization to remote overnight. We have learned how to adapt and change Cenera’s working style, but also our working styles as individuals. Adaptation usually occurs over time. We took one day! That speaks volumes about our work ethic and professionalism, which is passed along to our clients, guiding them to also be successful. From the HR Services side, there were many balls in the air with remote work challenges and workforce planning (IE: terminations) that our clients had never faced before.


Tomoya Ouchi, Consultant

Tomoya Ouchi, Consultant

2020 has reinforced the reality that anything can happen at a moment’s notice. This extraordinary circumstance has changed our perspectives on health, family, work, resilience, and the community, and it has truly provided the gift of life lessons. The year 2020 has taught me to be more patient and compassionate with myself and others. It has taught me that uncomfortable conversations are necessary to advance our understanding of one another. It has taught me to focus and enjoy the little things in life that make us smile and laugh. It has taught me that even as an introvert, I am still human, and humans need social connection.

On the flip side, it has also taught me that people are just gross! #ew

Oh…and how to use #tiktok.


Joan Dunlop, Partner

Joan Dunlop, Partner

2020 has taught me that I am really and truly an extrovert! I miss being with people (no offence to my family of new co-workers)! Not a shocker! But I’ve also learned to appreciate having more quiet and alone time. I still need to get my people fix, and while over these many months it’s mostly through the phone or a screen, that time with family, friends, colleagues, and our clients still feeds my soul. 2020 has created some happy new opportunities, too – Sunday dinner on Zoom can now include not only the in-town family but also those living far away. The creativity and seemingly endless energy and patience of the caregivers in my 91-year-old parents’ nursing home has allowed us to have Zoom and Facetime chats with them that weren’t a consideration prior to the pandemic. We have become remote-delivery savvy and are reaching clients in remote locations to deliver training and services that weren’t a great option for them when travel was required. And 2020 has definitely taught me to be grateful, every day, for the life I am privileged to live, the incredible people in it, and to stop myself if I start taking any of that for granted. I see some of my family, my colleagues and clients, people in our community and beyond as they struggle with not only everything the pandemic brought, but all the other life events like illnesses, deaths, job challenges and losses, interruptions to education and other life plans, and personal anxiety, grief, and pain. These individuals have taught me what it looks like to face adversity with grace and dignity, and I will hold these human beings in my heart as fine examples of strength and inspiration. And these same people have taught me the importance of offering support, of being kind, caring and generous, and to embrace the silly, joyful, and lighthearted moments along the way!


Steve Cutler, Manager, Client Services

Steve Cutler, Senior Consultant

In a recent discussion with one of my clients, we were talking about leadership, and what types of leaders are “successful.” We eventually settled on the fact that just about anyone can lead during smooth times. When challenging times hit, they reveal who has really done the work with their teams. Leaders who were genuinely empathetic with each member of their team during those smooth times built trust with their team members. That trust is the foundation that allows teams to rise to challenging times. Trust allows team members and leaders to focus on the task at hand. Genuine empathy during smooth times is the key. This applies outside of work as well – between family members, friends, or community members. If we look for it, we can see examples of people rising to these challenging times because they were empathetic and built trust during those smooth times.


Jennifer Doiron, Partner

Jennifer Doiron, Partner

What a year! At times, this year has been bumpy and 2020 heaved its fair share of roadblocks, challenges and setbacks my way, as I know it did for so many. At other times, this year has been one of phenomenal growth and opportunity. As I reflect on the year and all of its ups and downs, I have learned (and continue to learn) so many lessons about life, work and togetherness.

  • Life – I learned that as much as I don’t like change (and I really don’t like it), digging in, resisting it, fighting it, and even out-right pouting won’t stop the change from happening. I have adapted to more personal and professional changes this year than in any previous year I can think of. While it wasn’t always the most graceful process (there’s that pouting I mentioned), I head into the holidays with more appreciation, knowledge, experience and perspective than I ever could have imagined.
  • Work – I learned that our team is capable of phenomenal things. I always knew that I was surrounded by a smart and talented group of professionals, and to see how they leaned into this year to support each other, the corporate clients we have the privilege of partnering with and the individual transition clients we have had the honour of supporting over this last year, I am filled and overflowing with gratitude and appreciation.
  • Togetherness – I learned that you can actually be “together” while being apart. It is possible to maintain the community and connection we have worked so hard to develop, but it does take effort. Nothing will ever replace in-person, face-to-face interactions (or hugs!), and I continue to miss those dearly.  But Zoom, Teams, Skype, FaceTime and the good old-fashioned telephone give us the ability to make sure our lines of communication are stronger than ever.

2020 has taught us that the adversity we face and the resilience we respond with has the power to shape our lives. With each challenge, we are given the opportunity to persevere, learn and grow into stronger, more compassionate and more grateful human beings. These are the lessons that we’ll carry forward with us into the New Year, and for many years to come.

Now, we want to hear from you.

What lessons has 2020 taught you so far?

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By |2021-08-13T12:04:30-06:00December 15th, 2020|News|0 Comments

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