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What Hurricane Irma Taught Me

Nearly two weeks after Hurricane Irma passed, the sunsets in the Florida Keys are still second to none.

The “Old Salts” of the Florida Keys rarely bat an eye each hurricane season as storms start swirling off the coast of Africa like fastballs headed for the Caribbean.

But earlier this month, the tension in the air was palpable. Hurricane Irma was no joke.

While CIOs like Fletcher Previn of IBM and Derek Kruse of DOTComm (one of our finalists for the Fall 2017 Midmarket CIO Award of Excellence) are working to break the traditional IT mold in favor of driving digital business, there’s no greater disruptor or teacher than Mother Nature.

Boardroom Events was established nearly a decade ago to empower some pretty driven individuals to continue doing work they loved to do. Though headquartered in Marathon, Florida, the phenomenal team members are dispersed across the country. I’m incredibly grateful to them, because with one phone call, they took over driving and steering the BE ship. They rescheduled meetings and took over my workload. With our next Forum only four weeks out, timing was less than ideal.

Now I know many folks rely on Waze for their daily commute, but when you work from the cockpit of your sailboat, traffic jams are irrelevant. But when the only road out of the Florida Keys leads to interstates log jammed with anxious folks all heading north, looking for scarce fuel and running from a Cat 4 hurricane, it was mission critical.

I’ve compiled a loose list of other mission critical needs in the event of a catastrophic natural disaster.

Bring power bricks. Everyone knows we rely heavily on our devices. It feels good to help keep people “charged” and connected with concerned family and friends.

Build and maintain a large network. After evacuating not once, but twice, it was friends of friends who kindly welcomed me into their homes. Good friends can make an ordeal feel more like an adventure.

Stay fueled. Oh man, was I thankful for a diesel vehicle with a range of 600+ miles! My tank never dips below half empty during hurricane season for good reason.

Practice, practice, practice. Yoga mats double as sleep mats and come in handy for alleviating boredom waiting for the storm to pass and stress awaiting information once it has.

Keep going…There are hard-working families who’ve lost their homes, businesses and livelihoods. Despite reports by the national news, there’s still a long road ahead for the Florida Keys to return to normal. Some of our friends have chosen to relocate and start fresh. Our beloved Ship O’ Fools, after having just undergone a major overhaul, grounded and severely beaten. But in the words of Roy T. Bennett, “Your hardest times often lead to the greatest moments of your life. Keep going. Tough situations build strong people in the end.”

 


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  • Mike Kelley Reply

    Grateful you and yours are all safe and sound Charles! Was worried about and for you during those times … Was thankful for your posts in social media to let us know you were surviving and was glad to see NOAA help you find the Ship O’ Fools.

    When I can look back with at my life with Grace and Gratitude hidden in my worst days were the GREATEST gifts i have ever gotten.

    September 28, 2017 at 5:26 pm

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