The Importance of Business Resilience at INWK

It starts to rain on your walk home. You forgot your coat. When you reach your destination, your door is locked, and you don’t have your keys (they’re probably in your coat pocket). From the front steps of your house, you see that your bedroom window was accidentally left wide open allowing the torrential rain that has drenched you to now soak your newly installed wood floors. It just isn’t your day.

You have all experienced something like this. During this global pandemic, you probably experience this feeling a bit more than you’d like.

In business, there are challenges that are outside of your control. At a time when the pandemic impacts all of us in so many profound ways, it’s important to stay strong. Be resilient.

What does being resilient even mean?

Personally, resilience may be required to simply get yourself out of bed in the morning. On a more serious note, resilience is waking up every day and trying to improve a skill whether it be baseball, business, academics, or anything that is useful in life.

Professionally, being resilient is continuing to move forward no matter what. Currently, the odds are stacked against many industries, but if you are determined to contribute in a positive manner, then you are exhibiting resilience. No doubt, your co-workers and clients have noticed this sort of effort as it is hard to miss.

Why is being resilient important?

As described, resilience has many real-world applications for everyone, but is it beneficial to be educated about resilience?

According to the National Institute of Health’s recent article entitled “Resilience to Major Life Stressors is not as Common as Thought,” people have a greatly enhanced mental health when they are proven to be resilient. An enhanced mental health will lead to a stronger emotional, psychological, and social well-being. In the American Heart Association’s “Resilience in the Workplace” report, they carefully monitored the usage of educational programs on resilience to see if there would be any meaningful impact on the quality of life and the performance of business workers. The results reflected a clear benefit.

At InnerWorkings, resilience is critically important in the role that we play for our clients as a chosen marketing services partner and a collaborator in navigating important decisions, especially those decisions impacted by the current pandemic.

To better understand what this really means for clients in all industries, we sat down with six experienced executives from across InnerWorkings to better understand what is most important for them personally and for their clients professionally as they navigate these challenging times.

The specific questions for the interviews challenged each professional to clearly communicate how resilience impacts our success with clients.


Leveraging over 30 years of dynamic experience in the marketing services sector, Brian Gillespie, who runs the non-profit vertical for InnerWorkings in the United States, emphasized the importance of finding creative ways to work through problems. “How you adapt” is how he characterized resilience for him. Gillespie acknowledged that you cannot adjust everything in every situation you may face. Finding ways to help your clients may appear to be extra work, but will help you to develop strong relationships.

For example, Joe Hartman, who leads several enterprise relationships at InnerWorkings, spoke about how he had faced similar challenges in his career. In a prior venture, Hartman and other members of his leadership team had to make difficult decisions related to ongoing investment requirements to support the business. The team came together with unified goals about what was most important to them as individuals and to the clients they serviced. That longer-term perspective helped them to navigate the challenges of being a small company with competing organizational priorities.

A Fresh Set of Eyes

Long-time InnerWorkings executive Kim Marban has a lot of experience navigating challenges in the work environment. Marban emphasized the importance of emotional intelligence for her when she looks back on her many experiences with the company. By “resetting herself internally,” Marban found she could be even more successful at leading teams and achieving shared goals even after a decade with the company.

Having worked onsite at multiple enterprise clients, DeVona Mitchell emphasized the importance of listening to both peer and client perspectives when creating solutions. As a Black woman, Mitchell brings to the conversation a point of view that may not necessarily be reflected by others in the conversation. Leveraging a wide variety of experiences is a key ingredient to developing the best results possible.

Committing to Consistency

Mike Robinson knows a lot about resiliency having worked with InterContinental Hotels Group for over a decade - starting during the financial crisis of 2008 and continuing through today’s pandemic. “You must put your absolute best foot forward every day and continue to do it. If not, there is no chance at success.” Some people build a rapport very quickly, but end up losing their respect because they cannot consistently produce at the highest level. Robinson has been able to develop relationships and maintain clients through his consistent nature of work.

Working on a complex global drinks account, Sangeeta Oommen described her entire experience with InnerWorkings as requiring a commitment to unwavering resilience. “Never settle and continue to obtain information even when you feel that you know everything about a topic.”


With adversity, comes opportunities. Have resilience and utilize the opportunity to find a creative way to move forward. As Oommen states, “when the tide is low, this is the time to go out into the sea and discover what is beneath the surface.”

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