2020 in Review- Part 3: “The Biggest Lesson I’ve Learned.”

2020 in Review- Part 3: “The Biggest Lesson I’ve Learned.”

By Tricia O'Connor

What did you accomplish this year?

  • Launch a new product?
  • Set up a home office?
  • Learn how to use Zoom?
  • Change out of sweatpants?

It’s certainly been a challenging year for many of us, but within the chaos and turbulence, there have been incredible moments of innovation and responsiveness.

This month, EBI is sharing the biggest business lessons our leaders have learned in 2020. So far, we’ve heard from our alliances and compliance team leaders.

To close out the year we turn to our product and marketing division.

RJ Frasca is the Vice President of Product and Marketing at EBI.

He brings over 20 years of marketing and product experience and has worked with numerous high-profile companies such as Yahoo, Microsoft, Time Warner, and Verizon on various marketing campaigns. He has extensive experience in digital marketing, product management, and community management, and is a well-known and respected thought leader.

RJ’s responsibilities at EBI include strategic oversight of all product and marketing initiatives.


What has been the BIGGEST challenge you have faced in 2020? How did you (or are you) working through it?  

The biggest challenge of 2020 by far has been adapting to and acting upon the speed of changes brought about by the COVID pandemic. We had an incredibly comprehensive plan for 2020 and hit the ground running. When the pandemic hit in February, we made changes that we initially expected to be temporary. By April, we realized that temporary efforts and band-aids weren’t going to solve for the complexity of the obstacles we were facing, and it was back to the drawing board. Since then, the decisions we have made have taken into account the fact that the effects of the pandemic would be ongoing for the foreseeable future. The EBI Leadership team has done an incredible job tapping into our collective experience and best practices to solve for these never-before-seen issues.

What has been the BIGGEST challenge your team has faced in 2020 and how did you guide them through it (or are continuing to guide them through it)?  

The biggest challenge I have observed my team face in 2020 has been pivoting rapidly to constantly changing goals and priorities. The unpredictable nature of business in 2020 has all but taken away the ability to plan more than a few months out.

What has surprised you the most in 2020 from a leadership / people management perspective?  

From a leadership perspective, I have truly been most surprised by how experience and determination have driven great results. As I mentioned, the never-before-seen obstacles have continued to pop up, but the breadth of experience in leadership at EBI has brought about not only great results in continuing to perform our core business, but has spawned an incredible amount of creativity in new processes and solutions never thought of before. In the end, I believe we will come out of this a much stronger company.

What are the leadership skills and people management strategies you leaned into the most during 2020?  

I have leaned into many of the best practices learned throughout my career alongside intuition. I have tried to communicate as much as possible with my team throughout the crisis, not only in regard to work-related subjects, but personal related stories as well. I knew from the beginning I would not be able to navigate through this alone and would have to lean heavily on my team.

I have also focused on pragmatic marketing principles as closely as possible, as I knew clients’ needs would be defined by COVID-19 as they, too, tackled the pandemic. For instance, our EBI Workplace Health & Safety product offering has been a direct result of seeing a tremendous need in the market for providing employee and customer confidence to keep business running smoothly while mitigating risks associated with COVID-19 in general.

What do you expect 2021 to bring? How are you trying to approach the new year?  

I am looking forward to 2021 as I think this year will prove out many of our solutions and define an entirely new era in the business world. As awful as it has been, there finally seems to be light at the end of the tunnel, and I think we will see a new and improved way of working. I am excited to be a part of that aspect of change.

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For more insight from Frasca, check out these additional posts:

Four Ways Managers Can Build Closer Remote Teams

Helpful Hints to Stave Off COVID-19 Employee Burnout

Reestablishing Company Culture After a Pandemic: Five Things to Know

For 26 years, enterprise-caliber organizations have trusted EBI’s award-winning background screening solutions. Pandemic or not, we’re by your side.

For more information about EBI, click here.

About the Author

Tricia O'Connor

Tricia O'Connor

Writer. Digital marketer. Storyteller. An award-winning writer and editor, Tricia O'Connor is the Marketing Content Manager at EBI. Tricia worked as a broadcast and print journalist for nearly two decades writing and producing programming for high-profile networks like ESPN Radio, History Channel, and Hallmark Channel, as well as contributing editorial work to publications nationwide. Tricia joined the EBI marketing team in 2019 and is responsible for content strategy, development, and engagement. Tricia earned a master's degree in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and is a proud undergraduate alumna of Wheaton College in Massachusetts.

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