TOTA team members wearing Telus masks and physical distance outdoors for a meeting

Manic Monday | Building Team in a Time of COVID

There is a lot that each of us can learn about teamwork, trust, being together, and the importance of breaking down barriers.

This past Friday was the first time in months that the entire TOTA team was together for a physically distanced day of meetings and activities. Since mid-March, we have been together on video chat every morning and evening to set goals and provide updates on the day’s activities. We have had virtual performance reviews, managers meetings, interviews, new hires, and discussions. We created and delivered the entirely new Thompson Okanagan Tourism Resiliency Program and have had more one-on-one time with each other and regional stakeholders than ever before. We have even had our staff retreat online, complete with breakouts, and none of this would have been possible without tools like Zoom or Meetings. However, on Friday, we were actually together, and I have to say that there is no substitution for the quality of interaction that takes place in person.

Having the opportunity to meet our summer interns in person and to be together as a team demonstrated to all of us the importance of direct human connection.

We were also able to take part in an “Amazing Race” group challenge hosted by our partner, CRIS Adaptive, a pioneer in adaptive recreation. This organization enables individuals with any level of ability to experience the many tremendous outdoor adventures available in this region utilizing specialized equipment. They have worked hard to make sure hiking, paddling, kayaking, and other great outdoor sports, that many take for granted, can be accessed by all.

Delivering on their promise means teamwork, and this notion was at the center of the day’s activities. Our group was broken into five teams that had to work together to complete a circuit course that would test them on various levels. The only way to successfully complete the activities was by working together, supporting each other, and drawing from each person’s individual strengths. In addition, each team had one member take part by being carried in a Trail Rider, while two others were responsible for maneuvering the equipment. This provided us with a much deeper appreciation for all that is entailed in engaging in regular activities while dealing with a mobility challenge. There is no question, we all learned to lean on each other, trust each other, and depend on each other a little more through the course of the afternoon, with many moments of laughter along the way.

There is a saying I have appreciated for a long time, and it is befitting of Friday’s activities as it is of the current situations we find ourselves living:

“If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together.”

Thank you to CRIS for all the work you do to make a difference in the lives of others, for your hard work and dedication, and for all that you did to make Friday such a unique and memorable event. And to the team at TOTA, thank you, for your commitment to the tourism industry and its future, to each other and to the work we are doing.

We will go far if we all continue to go together.

Glenn Mandziuk, TOTA President & CEO

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