Chiara Condi on Tapping into Creativity to Seek new Solutions in Lockdown

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Olga Fromentin is discussing with Chiara Condi, founder and president of Led By Her, the unexpected challenges of the current crisis and the silver lining of the lockdown.

Olga Fromentin: Hello Chiara, as you know, we are asking successful women to share how they are coping with the confinement. 

I’d love to ask you three questions. 

Here is the first one.

What’s your way to deal with this situation? How do you maintain your activity, and what are you doing during the lockdown? 

Chiara Condi: I needed to rebuild my work because of the crisis. Most of my work has to do with the conferences, and conferences don’t exist anymore. I was forced to think of what else I can do. What is still possible at this time, what I can focus on.

I had to recreate myself and be creative. I’ve been focusing a lot on the more creative aspect of my work, on my podcast. In essence, we interview male leaders and CEOs about gender equality.

I am also busy creating content: writing articles, contributing my knowledge to what’s happening in the world right now, especially regarding women. 

I’ve rebuilt my nonprofit “Led by Her” using a digital platform to help women entrepreneurs. We used to propose only physical activities, such as Hackathons, or other events in the real world. 

We had to digitalize, and it was a bit of a digital revolution that we went through. It forced me to rethink everything I’ve been doing before and figure out how I can do it now. 

OF: So your podcast is called “The Other Half”? Is it an audio only, or also a video podcast? 

CC: Yes, it’s only audio. You can find it on every podcast platform, Google podcast, iTunes, Spotify, and other platforms as well.

OF: My second question is about the positive and negative aspects. What positive things do you see in the lockdown? And what are the negative points?

CC : What has been important to me is to focus on finding opportunities in the crisis. 

I think that crisis forces us to think differently.

Perhaps, we are afraid to think that way when everything is comfortable, and everything is going well. It forces us to reinvent ourselves, and maybe in reinventing ourselves, we find new projects and new things that we didn’t think of. 

So I see this as an opportunity, an opportunity to work on other things.

Intellectual work like creating content is vital for sending my message out to the world.

I have so little time for it in my “normal” life. 

I am always traveling, going to conferences, doing plenty other things. So this crisis is a tremendous opportunity!  

I’m using it for any kind of creative work. I’m thinking of turning this into a book, who knows. I’m using this time and the fact that I have time to explore and also do things differently. 

I think when you’re forced to, you find new solutions. This is what I like. 

I also like having more time, having more in-depth conversations.

And I also like taking my time every day, being outside for a bit. I’m grateful for that, taking some walks, being in nature, and using all of this, you know, using this time to do and have everything that I don’t have in “normal” life. 

OF: Certainly. That’s a very positive side of the crisis. What about the negative sides? 

CC: Well, the negative is really on the surface, right?

For my nonprofit, we were doing everything in the physical world. As conferences don’t exist anymore, technically, I’ve lost everything. Now I have to rethink everything. 

It doesn’t feel right. You feel like you’ve been working for many years to create something, and then you find yourself with nothing.

In the beginning, it hits you very hard, and then you need to figure out, what does this mean, where do I go from here and what are the solutions, what I can do about this. So I think that’s very important!  

Something else that is there, there’s a lot of worrying about the world, about people who might be sick, about economic uncertainty. Much worrying that we need to cope with in the world right now. 

I think this is something that we all need to acknowledge and consider. We have to take this into account. I don’t think we should forget about this or erase this. 

OF: Yes, I absolutely agree.

Here’s my last question: your advice to our readers, to people who will watch this video, how can they better cope with this situation? Movies, books, any good advice, or best practices to share with us? 

CC: Well, I realized that I was spending too much time in front of the screen in the first few weeks. Zoom calls, this and that, everything in front of the screen.

And then it felt like I got to the end of the day and I didn’t do anything! 

I’m trying to do a lot more things in the present, like reading a paper book, going for a walk, just being in nature, enjoying the sun, baking a cake. 

I am just trying to do things more in the present rather than virtually. I think it keeps me grounded and makes me feel like I’m still living the daily life, and it’s not all in front of the screen. 

Having a routine is very, very important to me. 

It’s a weird time when a day kind of all wraps into one, and there is no separation between time. It can be very challenging. 

And then, doing what you love! Take the time to do what you love and enjoy doing it! We have the luxury of having the time that we’ve never had before. I think it’s one of the best advantages. 

But you know, at the same time it’s also thinking about solutions, figuring it out, rather than just seeing problems. 

We need to find what else we can do, where we can go from there, what is possible. We should think of how we can take what we’ve already done, and do it in a creative way, repack it differently. 

The world is starving for connection and content.

It’s an excellent time for creating. 

It’s important to me, and I want to do it because I feel like I need to express myself in this way. I need to continue delivering my message. I need to keep doing things. 

At the same time, it’s an opportunity to write a book. It opens new doors. When the crisis is over, everything that I’ve done and accomplished during this time will still be there for me. 

I think the most important thing is to be pertinent and active. 

If you put your energy into something, something will come out of this energy. 

OF: Yes, I agree that this’s the most positive message we can find in this situation.

Thank you very much for answering all of my questions. Let’s keep in touch. 

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