For over 25 years Gemma Osborne, conference coordinator for Cornell AgriTech, has played a vital role in organizing extension events for growers and producers across New York state. Below, she shares insights on how her role has evolved while working remotely during this year’s COVID-19 pandemic.
Can you describe your day-to-day experience at Cornell AgriTech before the pandemic?How did the pandemic change your work and why?
When the pandemic first hit, scheduled events needed to be cancelled, rescheduled or turned into virtual events. Recognizing the need to convert our in-person events to virtual ones, I spent a lot of time researching the best platforms to use, watched a lot of YouTube videos, asked a lot of questions and reached out to my colleagues, friends and family to help me practice Zoom event sessions. With the assistance of Kim Paul, event assistant, I quickly learned how to transition events to a virtual world successfully.
What is the most exciting thing you’ve learned in your adapted role? What’s the most difficult thing you’ve learned?
I found learning the virtual event world very exciting and have enjoyed the challenge. The most difficult thing I have learned is that there are a lot of factors in the virtual world that are outside of my control. Zoom can be quirky and it doesn’t always perform in the manner I would like it to.
What is your favorite and least favorite part of working remotely?
I really like the flexibility in hours that working from home offers and it has really helped me have a healthy work-life balance. Not having to worry about having to rush home from work to let the dog out is a big benefit. I have to admit, it is nice to wear casual comfortable clothes all day as well. My least favorite part of working remotely is that I really miss all the running around and exercise I used to get when coordinating in-person events.
Knowing what you know now, what would you tell your pre-pandemic self?
I would tell my pre-pandemic self not to take things for granted, to appreciate the little things in life and look at the bright side.
What’s your funniest moment working remotely during the pandemic?
I learned that a Zoom meeting recording starts the minute you turn the meeting live. I jumped into a Zoom meeting workshop early to make sure everything was ready. After the meeting I watched the Zoom recording and was surprised to see the first five minutes of the recording was me playing with my labradoodle Mickey.
What do you miss most about working on-site at Cornell AgriTech events?
I miss being out and about at my work events and socializing with my colleagues.
More stories from Cornell AgriTech staff working remotely
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