Lara C. Azoy, Founder & President: A Year in Review
Q: 2020 was a tricky year. You juggled a lot, and made it through a lot! Were there any tips or tricks you picked up along the way?
A: We all juggled a lot this year. I am usually a very optimistic person and this year this trait is what got me and my business through these challenging times. I opened up more to my clients and team this year than in years past. I let them know what was challenging for me but also how we planned to address these challenges. I accepted that things weren’t going to run smoothly and that this was ok. I learned to focus my effort on areas that were of the highest risk and relied on my team more. Their responsiveness to these challenges has been extraordinary! I guess the “tricks” or skills I learned this year were to “let go” and “be flexible.”
Q: What was the highlight of your year?
A: Professionally, I am proud of the way in which we have set ourselves up for growth. By creating processes for nearly all tasks using Aero Workflow, I would estimate that our capacity increased by over 30% and our client service improved tremendously.
Outside of the business, the highlight of my year really was watching my two boys take the lemons handed to them and continue their eagerness to learn, no matter what the circumstances. They have made my heart happy!
Q: What did you learn about your team?
A: The team really showed me that they are invested in the overall success of the business. They have shown me time and time again that they will do what it takes to serve our clients to the highest quality of standards no matter what the circumstances.
Q: Who inspired you this year?
A: Crazy to say, my 8 and 5-year-old sons. They have spent very little time complaining or being concerned about being home so much. They have taken everything in stride. At the start, I could sense that they were afraid of what was happening but since then, they have learned to get along better, they have become more independent, they can entertain themselves when bored, and they have increased their computer literacy 10 fold. I am convinced that they will not be the “forgotten generation,” rather they will be the “most resilient” of our time.
Q: What did you learn about your clients?
A: In opening up a bit more to my clients about my personal home situation, I found that our clients are people too, many of them struggling with the same things as me. In every twist and turn that was thrown at us, our clients stuck through and continued to trust us with their businesses. It has always been taboo in financial services to let your clients know of your personal life, “the client always comes first” as they say. But I realize in this environment, it’s not realistic to hide the little face popping up behind the screen to ask if he could have a snack or watch TV, but our clients trust we are working hard for them no matter what.
Q: Is there anything that you will take away from the hurdles in 2020 and apply in the years to come?
A: It’s ok to be uncomfortable. This has always been true but truer now. Stepping out and trying something new or different even if it seems weird or out of my comfort zone. It’s ok to try it. I might like it, I might not, either way, I’m no worse off. Just give it a try!
Q: Businesses across the world struggled this year, but there were also a lot of them that adapted quickly and created opportunities. What did you observe from those that created opportunities?
A: This was truly amazing to watch! Those that created opportunities had to do some serious “letting go.” Most of them had to let go of the current vision for the business. They had to let go of their future visions for their businesses. They had to look for opportunities in areas that were based on the needs of their clients or their communities that probably didn’t fit the vision or goals of the business in January 2020. They did NOT let go of their brands, quality, or themselves rather they used these things to make the vision of their NEW opportunity a reality. More often than not, this mindset created success for these businesses. It was probably uncomfortable for most of them but this seems to have worked for many!
Q: What are you most proud of in 2020?
A: So much...but really my team. Wendy and Armine have been two sources of reliability for the business. Without them, this year would have been so much more difficult. I am proud and I am grateful.
Q: What are you most looking forward to in the coming year?
A: I’m excited about the comeback! People and businesses are ready to get moving again. Ideas have been stirring, culture has been changing and I believe that we will come out of 2020 with increased efficiencies, better use of and improved technologies, and I think we will work to improve personal privacy and use social media for our betterment versus our destruction. I am hope-FULL!