Our staff weighs in on finding silver linings during these unprecedented, challenging times
In a year of turmoil, I am grateful for blessings in my life. I have a wonderful family and friends that support and love me. My family — starting with my incredible mom, dad, and my brothers Tom, Andy, David. My kids, Henry, Allie, Ellie and Carrie — each of whom are embarking on exciting careers. And of course Katie, my amazing wife (and partner in crime) who enriches my life in so many ways. Granted the bar was pretty low when we met, but Katie has brought energy, optimism and fun into my life. Relentlessly curious, adventurous (and competitive!), I learn something from her every day.
Katie and I have an incredible team helping us build a company that stands for something important — spotlighting issues that deserve attention, truthful reporting and engaging storytelling that delivers positive impact. We have wonderful partners (too many to name) who are helping us every step of our journey. Katie and I are so grateful for their support and friendship. We could never do this alone and we recognize our shared mission to create a business that is truly a force for good.
I am grateful to live and be a citizen of the greatest country on earth. I’m in awe of all the people who have stepped up this year to help others in the face of a pandemic, social unrest, economic challenges and political divisions. I’m optimistic for what tomorrow will bring and deeply grateful for what I have now.
— John Molner
I’m grateful for the time I’ve gotten to spend with my parents. I’m 30 years old, and I moved back in with them in March, thinking I’d be here for a couple of weeks. Well, I never left! We’ve spent more time together in the past eight months than I probably would have spent with them in the next 10 years. I’ve gotten to know them as people who have lives and identities beyond just “mom and dad,” and they’ve gotten to know me as an adult, as a roommate, and as a friend.
This week, my dad was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. I am shocked, and I am devastated, but in a strange way I also feel so blessed that I’ve gotten to have the past eight months with him. Eight months of family dinners, and shared TV shows, of walks, and arguing over who ate the last of the blueberries. The road ahead is going to be really difficult, and I feel like my life has suddenly been split into “before” and “after.” But I wouldn’t trade the last eight months for anything in the world.
— Emily Pinto, Senior Producer
This may sound a little strange, but I’m grateful for knitting. It’s something I’ve done off and on for 15 or so years, but I didn’t get super serious about it until a couple of years ago. I finished my first-ever sweater when the pandemic started and I’ve probably made about 15 things since (including gifts for loved ones and two more sweaters)! In addition to keeping me busy and supplying me with a new wardrobe for post-pandemic life, I really credit this hobby with helping me stay grounded and a little less anxious this year, and I’m glad I was able to turn to it during unprecedented times.
— Radhika Marya, Wake-Up Call Editor
This Thanksgiving will be different for my family — and not just because of the pandemic. There will be an empty seat at our dinner table. My dad and best friend of 25 years passed away in July, almost a year after he was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a rare blood cancer.
The pandemic brought my brother and me home to Virginia in March. For the first time in 12 years, we were all living under the same roof. We shared stories, watched old movies, ate casseroles, looked at family photos, laughed, cried and repeated. We looked forward to the day when my dad would put cancer behind him. In the meantime, we’d be by his side without outside distractions. For four months straight, it was just the three of us.
A week before my dad passed, he looked at me and said, “It was the best time we’ve ever had together.”
As we head into the holidays, I’m thankful for the quiet moments that allow us to reconnect with our loved ones — whether it’s on Zoom or in person. It’s rare for us to have the time to put down our phones, laugh with one another and not worry about whether the turkey is dry or who is bringing the cranberry sauce.
The pandemic gave my family a gift and if you look hard enough, you’ll find one, too.
— Eliza Costas, Producer, Digital Strategy
I’m thankful for…
FaceTime, which has made it seem like I can still be close to friends and family (including my sister who is all the way over in Berlin!) even when I can’t be.
My neighborhood in Brooklyn. Shout out to my neighbors who perform a socially distanced stoop jam session every Saturday, and to Prospect Park for being a much needed source of calm and comfort during really scary and uncertain times.
All the essential workers and health care heroes who get up every morning and put other people’s lives before their own.
Teachers — especially my mom, who as a second grade teacher in NYC works harder than anyone else I know to make sure her students’ education doesn’t suffer just because they’re remote.
Journalists who tell the truth.
Love Island (a true dumpster fire – but boy does it take you out of your own anxiety)!
Scientists and researchers.
Fancy candles: Splurge on that $70 pine fir candle and pretend you’re in the New England forest instead of a 200-square-foot apartment that overlooks a…..brick wall.
Antidepressants. Therapy. Nutritional yeast.
— Julia Lewis, Social Media Manager
This has been a difficult year, no doubt. But, in no particular order, I’m thankful for cheese, my family and my boyfriend Robert.
— Tess Bonn, Senior Writer
This spring, it felt like the blows kept on coming. My senior year of college was cut short; my graduation turned virtual; and the fellowship I had spent months hoping to earn was delayed, possibly indefinitely. I returned to my hometown with no plans, a lot of cynicism, and even more angst.
While in the moment it felt like everything I’d worked for was falling apart again and again (…and again), other opportunities started to take shape. As this momentous year begins to wrap, I can already recognize parts of 2020 that fundamentally changed me for the better, and which only happened because I “missed out on” what was “supposed” to happen. Joining Katie Couric Media is the perfect example. I started at KCM this fall, and have spent the last few months learning and growing from the driven and brilliant women at the heart of this company. (Oh yeah, and Molner too!) Time with my parents, rekindling high school friendships, and a spontaneous road trip to national parks all fall into this category.
This holiday season, I am grateful for the opportunities, memories and moments I experienced this year — many of which I never knew I wanted, or didn’t realize I needed… and especially the ones I hadn’t known to plan for.
— Mary Kate O’Leary, Coordinator
This year of our lord 2020, I’m thankful for a lot of things, even when it seems like every day there is less and less hope in sight. I’m thankful for my family, who has, after months of my badgering in March and April, stayed very safe and healthy during the pandemic. I’m thankful for my friends, who have stuck by my side and surprised me time and time again, even when I went through some of the hardest months in my life this past summer. Whether that was warm bread deliveries, long summer park hangs, or mid-week bike rides to the beach, they have made the most of our social situation and found creative ways to stay connected. And of course, I’m thankful for my new KCM family, who not only provide me with job security (thank you!!) but have taught me so much in my short time here! It’s been inspiring to say the least.
— Clare Palo, Associate, Audience & Digital Strategy
Most of all, I’m thankful for my health, my job at KCM, my home, the food in my fridge — and my family’s health. Those things are all top of mind right now. But I’m also grateful that I get to live in such a beautiful place (Brooklyn), where people have really come out to take care of each other during this time. At the darkest point of the pandemic, I realized how special it is to be friends with the super in my building — and the bodega employee down the street. I’m also thankful for the pandemic turning me into a crazy cat lady: In July, I adopted a senior cat named Bruce Banner and I truly have never loved an animal more for keeping me company whenever I feel a bit lonely.
— Amanda Svachula, Staff Writer
I never expected back in early March, while stocking up on supplies like everyone else, how much our lives would really change. Between the sadness, craziness and unknown, I feel grateful to have been given the gift of time with my family. With two overly scheduled teens and two working parents, we’d divide and conquer just to get through the day! Then we’d take a deep breath, at some point over the weekend, and do it all over again. Now all we have is time. So many walks, talks, hikes, lazy days, laptop working days, puzzles, meals, etc. Our girls are 13 and 15 — the oldest, just two years from college and the youngest getting ready to enter high school. This is time, which I was never expecting to have and that I will always cherish, was gifted to me.
— Stacey Stambleck, VP, Audience & Strategy
I’m thankful this year for Zoom. The moment has forced my entire extended family, and even my older, less tech-adept relatives, to start video conferencing. It’s been a great gift — allowing me to gather with them virtually from across the country.
— Rachel Uda, Senior Writer
I’ve spent almost all of 2020 living alone, 865 miles away from my family. This year I find myself incredibly thankful for technology; it has helped me stay sane and connected, but also allowed me to help drive change while staying safe.
I’m incredibly driven by social justice and I initially felt helpless this summer when I was unable to take action as I normally would to support the BLM movement; but seeing how communities around the world found ways to share information and educate each other to fight their apathy through social media was inspiring and energized me to do more with the resources I had access to. With these resources I was also able to take action, volunteer and be informed as I cast a ballot, in Georgia, in my first election as a new citizen. As a South Asian immigrant who has grown up looking at the American election process from the outside in, I cannot explain how meaningful it was to finally have a voice.
It’s been incredible to see how technology has been leveraged and adapted in so many ways; to help my friends say hello or goodbye to their loved ones, to celebrate small wins across global borders, or to help us support small businesses locally. I’m grateful because technology has helped those around me and has truly shaped my year and it has forever changed how we’ll interact with the world in the future.
— Aneri Desai, Senior Associate, KCM Corporate Development & Partnerships