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The GSG QuaranTEAM: Tanya Meck & Jon Silvan

Tanya Meck

Partner and Managing Director
Isolating in West Hartford, CT

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

I like informal discussions and impromptu brainstorms. That’s what energizes me and how I get a lot of my best work done – so having to schedule everything is a drag.

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

I suck at this and quarantine has made it worse. I am fortunate to have a lot of space in my house, and for those of you who may have noticed on Zoom, I have moved my home “office” to three different floors and locations over the past few months. If my computer is anywhere in my main living environment, I am drawn to it…so now I’ve relegated myself to the “bunker,” which is a windowless office off of my basement. It’s cozy in here. Kerri knows how to get in – so if the apocalypse comes, follow her.

I’ve also prioritized time off that forces me to disconnect. So far I’ve spent three days hiking and camping the Appalachian Trail and a long weekend in Vermont at a hunting lodge with no cell and no WiFi. If you had told me I’d do either of these things pre-COVID…

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

The long flights/train rides for one hour meetings. I think clients and prospects will be far less likely to ask for one-off, in-person meetings going forward.

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

Ozark. ZeroZeroZero. The Night Manager. Modern Love. The Last Dance. All soooooo good.

What meal have you made the most often?

Nachos (yes, it’s a meal).

Jon Silvan

Founding Partner and CEO
Isolating in South Salem, NY

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

I do my best networking and selling at a quiet table over a good lunch where I can cover the whole package in 60 minutes. Interestingly, while Zoom is less conducive to connect with someone, in this state of the world it provides a richer platform to have more meaningful dialogue; so while the physical environment is compromised, the substantive one has been enhanced.

How has your client management changed, if at all?

A lot of my engagement with clients is relationship-driven. Pre-COVID, I would constantly send emails, schedule lots of lunches and dinners, and invite folks to events like ABNY breakfasts. Now I make a point of scheduling 30 minute Zoom calls every month so that I can have dedicated and focused time with clients. Its critical to being able to stay close and connected to them as people and professionals.

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

Staying connected to people you know is a bit harder but very doable, but broadening one’s network and meeting someone for the first time virtually is definitely a big challenge.

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

Like so many of us, it’s been really hard; and frankly, knowing how hard everyone else is working, I have been reticent to be “out of touch” and overly aggressive about tackling every problem and every opportunity that occurs in the moment. One thing that I do is to take a break around 6:30pm most days to work out and then have a glass of wine in between dinner and returning to my office for the “end of day wrap up.”

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

While Zoom has its shortcomings, it does force one – as opposed to conf calls – to avoid multi-tasking and thus I absorb more information than usual.

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

My dad is getting on in years and doesn’t grasp COVID or understand what the masks are all about, so when I do see him, he pulls at his and mine which makes visiting him almost impossible. So when this is over, I’ll take him out for a long, leisurely Italian dinner over a bottle of wine and finally connect again.

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

Fauda. I’m partial to short, bald, stocky Jewish guys with an attitude.

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

Well, its not been amusing, but I have learned that each of them has a special ability to perform one aspect of housecleaning and thus, together, we live in a relatively civilized home. Mine is dusting.

What meal have you made the most often?

Salami and mozzarella sandwiches…and it shows.

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

My 14 year old son is now almost ½ foot taller, heavier, and stronger than me and loves basketball. So I had no choice to but to brush up on my skills and have developed a pretty good jump shot…which is required because going to the boards with him would result in a trip to the ER for me. Oh, and I can pick good fruit at the grocery store.

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