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The GSG QuaranTEAM: Luke Partridge & Marc Litvinoff

Luke Partridge

Director, Digital Communications

Isolating in Alphabet City, NYC

How has your client management changed, if at all?

I’m surprised to say I am really enjoying client relations over Zoom. Zoom is better suited to small teams with very clearly defined roles. Nothing is worse for a client than the 300 consultants call with every tiny square vying for space. If your team is on a Zoom call you need to make sure everyone has a real role (nobody will notice someone not saying anything on a phone call – everyone will notice someone not saying anything on a video) so I try and make sure that I, and everyone else on the call, have something to contribute and own. If it’s done right it can work better than any phone call. Today, I feel proud that I have built relationships with clients who I’ve never met in person.

How do you differentiate your “work” vs “personal” time?

It is really hard. In the evening I try to crack a beer and change the soundtrack. I don’t know how well that’s working.

Which remote working adjustments do you hope will translate back to the office?

Particularly from the digital side, perfectionists don’t thrive in this environment. There are national media buys with millions of dollars behind them with creative made on a Zoom call or filmed on people’s cell phones. It’s a great lesson that constrictions (budget, time, etc.) were never a good reason to not take a creative approach. I hope that after all this we keep this mindset.

Also, sweatpants.

What is the first thing you plan to do post-isolation?

I want to go to Banter Bar in Brooklyn and watch the Premier League. I want to fly to England and see my mum and sister. I want to come into the office on Bagel Friday and see all of your faces (one perk of having worked at GSG for the better part of a decade is that there are friends at work who are so much more than colleagues – and not seeing them has been extremely hard).  

What is your favorite coronavirus meme or internet creation?

The Ghanaian “Dancing Pallbearers.” Technically the meme predates COVID, but they are uniquely matched to the moment (and are now used as part of public health campaigns in India, Peru, and Brazil) and the message behind it is pretty great too.

Also, do you remember when Gal Godot got all her celebri-friends to sing “Imagine” in 12 different keys? In retrospect its even funnier that that happened on like Day 3 of this nightmare.

What meal have you made the most often?

Cheese.

Have you discovered any hidden talents or taken up any new hobbies?

Both my parents were photographers – and last Christmas my mum gave me one of my dad’s old cameras. As motivation to get out of the house I’ve been trying to go out by myself at least a couple of times a week to take photos of how strange the city has become. I don’t know if there’s any hidden talent, but as hobbies go it’s perfect: it gets me out of the house, not thinking about work, and makes me feel connected to home at a time when it’s impossible to visit. They’re all here if you want to look. 

Marc Litvinoff

Managing Partner

Isolating at home in Seattle, WA

What has been the biggest challenge, surprise, or learning since changing to a remote work environment?

I was comfortable working with my fellow GSGers when they were in the office, their schedules were relatively predictable…that’s now gone. With everyone adjusting their personal and professional lives to working at home, I need to make sure my schedule is as accommodating as possible. I find my day starts even earlier than before (5 AM instead of 6 AM) and will often go later. However, I’ve been able to carve pockets out of my day to allow me to get some personal time in so I can go to the gym, walk the dog, and eat lunch with my wife.

Have any of your strongest professional skills been tested or broken?

I’ve been involved with many companies during my career and have faced lots of challenges (hurricanes, economic crises, the dot-com bubble). Each of these forced me to deal with the unexpected and be prepared for unintended consequences. I’ve learned to evaluate the current situation, absorb available information as rapidly as possible, be flexible, and keep a cool head. This pandemic is the most sudden and dramatic I’ve seen but I feel very prepared to deal with the challenges that face our business and my personal life.

How do you differentiate your “work” vs “personal” time?

Prior to moving to Seattle in 2017, I worked at home for two days a week for many years. That experience prepared me for what to expect when I went completely remote. I have a designated work space and I try to not be in my office unless I’m working. At the same time, my day blends together between personal and business; this is just a fact of life for me given I’m three hours behind most of my team and my responsibilities at GSG. Given I often work long hours during the week, I’m pretty careful to not work on the weekends (unless I have something important that needs to get done). I’m also at the point in my life where I don’t have children living with me so my life is very flexible.  

Which remote working adjustments do you hope will translate back to the office?

I’ve come around to liking video. I don’t need or want to use it all the time but I’d like to see it used more often for the right types of meetings/interactions.

What is the first thing you plan to do post-isolation?

Sharon and I miss our family very much. We are very lucky that our older son lives here in Seattle. Our younger son and his husband live in Albany so that will be the first place we’ll go when we feel it is safe to travel again. We’ll then get to Connecticut and Florida to see the rest of our family. After that our travels around the world will continue as I continue my search for the perfect image.

What is the last show you binge watched or guilty pleasure movie of choice?

I like to row six days a week and I’ve setup my tablet so I can watch shows while rowing, therefore I need a lot of content. I recently finished Ozark and I’m now finishing the second season of Killing Eve. Next up are the latest seasons of Billions and Altered Carbon. 

Most fun discovery about your new “coworkers”? (partners, children, pets, etc.)

Technically I now have two “co-workers.” I honestly haven’t learned anything new during the pandemic about Sharon but I have been reminded of her love of puzzles (and her inability to stop before it is done). I’m very fortunate that she is a fantastic chef and baker. There have been tons more dishes to wash since we started self-quarantining on March 8th. My second “co-worker” is Latka, a 21 week old Miniature Aussiedoodle. He’s our fourth dog and I completely forgot how hard it is to raise a puppy. He’s a fantastic “co-worker” because he makes me smile all the time.

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