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When Challenges Arise, Focus on Your Mission

By Brett Ladd

Brett LaddWhen facing an endless barrage of challenges, it can be difficult to know how to proceed. As fundamental aspects of daily life shift drastically, we may become reactionary. Constantly responding to events as they unfold can make it easy to lose sight of our core mission and values. However, this is when organizations must maintain the strongest focus on their mission, using it to guide their actions and help them forge an intentional path.

This idea is illustrated in the latest chapter of President to President. In “Leading in Tumultuous Times: The Importance of Mission in Times of Real Change,” Mount Saint Mary’s University President Ann McElaney-Johnson, Ph.D., details a harrowing year that began with wildfires threatening her California campus and culminated in the immense challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic. As she led her institution through complex and unfamiliar situations, McElaney-Johnson looked to the University’s core mission as envisioned by its founders, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet. She structured her actions around core elements of the University’s mission, which include innovation, creativity, advocating for social justice, and filling the needs of the community.

At Sodexo, we also approached the challenges of the past year as an opportunity to strengthen our focus on our core mission and to effectively lead the campus lifestyle evolution. As always, our core values of service, teamwork, and progress guided our efforts to adjust the programs and services we offer on campus. We focused on how best to meet the moment we are in, identifying new ways to ensure students enjoyed exceptional campus experiences, even during a challenging time.

One example is isolation housing, part of our Clean4 Infection Control program. When students and faculty members are required to isolate on campus due to COVID-19 protocols, our teams safely provide meals and carefully clean and disinfect isolation areas, creating an environment that is comfortable and supportive. We also strive to maintain a sense of continuity and engagement for those in isolation, helping them feel connected to the campus community.

The coming months are sure to bring new challenges as we adjust to the next phase of pandemic recovery. However, our mission and values will continue to guide everything we do, ensuring that we improve quality of life on campus each day—no matter what the future may hold. 

February 16, 2021

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