<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=1077042309067556&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">


Views from the Home Office: A Conversation with McLean Quinn, President

Company News | McLean Quinn | Insights From

Views from the Home Office: A Conversation with McLean Quinn, President Blog Feature

By: Lisa Youngentob on May 12th, 2020

Print/Save as PDF

Like most people who are balancing work and family, EYA President McLean Quinn’s COVID-19 experience can be split into two buckets: personal and professional. He said, “The balancing act of childcare and professional obligations has been a significant challenge.” With two young kids at home and a company to lead, McLean said, “My wife and I have struggled to fit 16 hours of work and 14 hours of childcare into our days.” To make things easier, McLean and his wife have decided to split their days in half. “The solution has worked well, though juggling afternoon calls with naptime, snack time, and playtime has led to some amusing moments.”

McLean Quinn Recognized by WBJ for “40 Under 40”

From a professional standpoint, McLean has also had to find a balance between not only dealing with immediate crisis management but also thinking about the long term strategic needs of EYA. “The push and pull have been a challenge, but I think we’ve done a really good job of balancing those priorities. We know this crisis will be over in 12-18 months and that it will leave a lot of challenges and heartbreak in its wake. That said, our long term goals and strategic objectives remain unchanged. Managing through the crisis while picking our heads up and planning beyond short term challenges has been something that the management team has done really well.”

When asked about where he finds the silver lining in this experience, McLean said, “Again, I would bucket it into the personal and professional buckets. Personally, the extra family time has been really nice. My work from home has also been really productive, I definitely see myself working from home more often as we go forward.”

Professionally, McLean has really enjoyed seeing all of his colleagues rise to the occasion and meet the challenges to innovate and problem-solve together. He said, “It started immediately, people instantly aligned behind solving the problems together. Nearly two months in, people are still collaborating with a can-do attitude, which is such an important part of who we are as an organization. We are seeing amazing contributions in every department and from every person.” He went on to say that, “People are living the best of the EYA values and it has been inspiring. It creates a virtuous cycle when you see people rise to the occasion like they have. It makes everybody want to do their best, contribute the most they can.” He finished by saying “Without a doubt, that has been the best part of this.”

One of the ways that he has seen people rise to the occasion is through documenting processes and adding more structure to meetings to replace common informal conversation. He said, “While I think there is great value in the informality of the office environment, I think the organization and structure virtual work has required has been really beneficial.” Meeting notes and key takeaways are being documented and recorded in real-time with collective input. There has also been full alignment behind what the key deliverables are immediately after exiting a meeting. He said, “I think the best practices we are developing in our virtual meetings now should continue to carry forward.” He added, “People are coming to virtual meetings on time and more focused. It’s really been a tremendous disruption to the routine of normal business, but I think it's refocused us on some of the best practices.”

Tools, Resources, and How to Connect with Us During this Time

Over the last seven weeks, EYA has been having full company meetings via Zoom once a week. “Being able to see the entirety of the organization and connect the field with the main office on a weekly basis is very powerful. It hasn’t just helped our ability to communicate across the organization, it also helped us connect everyone emotionally and culturally. I definitely see EYA increasing the frequency of our company-wide meetings and our use of this technology to bring people together going forward.” He then added, “I feel closer to our teams in the field now than I did pre-telework.”

At the beginning of the Stay-At-Home Order, McLean and his family were running on the Capital Crescent Trail every day at 7:00 am. It allowed him to get his exercise every morning and get the day started on the right trajectory. He said, “Exercise has always been my main outlet for relieving stress. Running and biking have always been my two favorite ways to not only break away from the stress, but also have some focused me time. It’s more important than ever right now.” With his new split schedule, it has been a lot harder to get exercise in during the day, but he is finding the time where he can, even if that means riding a spin bike during a conference call. He said, “During the Riggs Park Place Kick-Off Meeting, which is how we kick off each of our new projects, I spent an hour and a half on my spin bike, rode 32 miles and felt like I was still able to participate while getting a great workout in.” However, he then added, “Most calls don’t facilitate that type of multitasking.”

McLean was also asked what kind of advice he would give to an emerging leader in a similar situation. “Situations like this are a unique opportunity to learn, advance your career, and grow your leadership capacity. Disruptions of this magnitude only happen a couple of times in one’s career. These opportunities really give you a chance to raise your hand, take on new leadership responsibilities, and contribute. They allow people to gain a perspective that you can’t learn as quickly in the ordinary course of business. It can give you access to leaders that you might not otherwise have and it allows you to contribute at a higher level.” He added, “Being as present and as engaged as possible in situations like this can have huge benefits in both the short and long term for their careers.” Because most people will only be involved in a few crises of this magnitude over their career, he recommends “making the most of each one by being fully engaged in finding solutions to the challenges facing your organization.”

How You Can Help Your Neighbors and Community

Lastly, McLean focused on the importance of making a difference during difficult times. He said, “I have the good fortune of not having anyone who is sick in my family. There is a tremendous amount of pain in the world right now, a tremendous amount of economic disruption to people’s lives, but events like this are clarifying, they give everyone a chance to evaluate what is most important and to really focus on what they can do to make a difference.”