2021 is officially here, and with it comes a sense of hope for a new year full of health, happiness, and prosperity. To begin the new year, Aileron held an all-team kick-off meeting where the team was asked to complete this sentence as it applied to their experience of last year: “I can’t believe in 2020…”.

The first theme we noticed about our team’s responses is how connected everyone felt, even with most team members still working remotely.

  • “I would say ‘I can’t believe,’ but I feel like I really should say I can believe because I totally believe it because of this group, but the majority of our team worked remotely in 2020 and yet I think we’re more connected than ever.”
  • “I can’t believe that in 2020 I had the opportunity to work with and get to know all of the amazing people on this team, so thank you all.”
  • “I can’t believe for as little as I’ve seen everyone on campus in 2020 how connected I feel. Particularly with the Market Engagement team, but arguably with everyone on the Aileron team.”

This exercise also prompted our team to praise the success many members of the Aileron community had during this difficult year.

  • “I can’t believe how successful a lot of our community’s businesses were at practicing professional management in 2020. I have talked to so many of them who say they are having their best year ever! On the other hand, when I’ve talked to our community members who aren’t having their best year ever, they are still learning so much about themselves that’s helping them prepare for the future and that amazes me.”
  • “I can’t believe in 2020 how inspired I’ve been seeing so many small businesses completely change their business model and thrive under these crazy conditions.”

Some of our team communicated the pride they felt in all that the Aileron team was able to accomplish in 2020.

  • “I can’t believe that as wave after wave came our way, everybody was able to remain so focused. I think we worked really well together on lifting up what was most important at that moment with the information we had. I just can’t believe how well we navigated through that and came out the other end better and stronger and made it through so beautifully.”
  • “I can’t believe that we were able to keep such an even keel throughout all of the challenges we encountered in 2020. We struggled a little bit, but we regained our momentum and kept moving on!”
  • “I can’t believe how much my team was able to accomplish this year! I feel like when I started at Aileron, I had this ‘laundry list’ of things I wanted to do and work I wanted to get done, and I feel like most of those things have been checked off and that we’ve been able to do that in such a wild, crazy, and busy year. I’m really proud of that.”
  • “I can’t believe all of the new things we tried this year! From different services to modalities to new technologies, it’s been really cool to navigate not only a global pandemic with this team but also a bunch of really cool new things.”

A few members of the Aileron team expressed some of the blessings they couldn’t believe they gained this year and the “guilt” some feel for having had such a great year personally when so many people were suffering in our world.

  • “I can’t believe all of the things that I’ve been blessed with this year from marriage to a new home to being able to work with such a great team! A lot of people have had a lot of struggles this year, but my husband and I say all the time how blessed we feel to have had all of these great things come out of 2020.”
  • “I can’t believe that I almost feel like I have to apologize for having such an amazing year in 2020. There has been a lot of hardship this year and it almost feels bad to admit how amazing my year was, largely in part to all of you, so thank you.”
  • “I can’t believe I was able to come back to Aileron in 2020! With this being such an interesting year, I am so excited to be back with everybody. I have personally had a really good year in 2020 and almost feel guilty about it.”

There was so much uncertainty in 2020 from beginning to end, but the Aileron team was able to persevere, make the necessary shifts, and continue working toward our purpose of improving lives. We have been incredibly inspired by all of you, the Aileron community, and how you have shifted during these unprecedented times. Thank you for staying flexible and sticking with us as we navigated 2020.