Call for Leaders | Catalina Rousseau (BDR Associates): First of all, this crisis meant ‘eyes wide open’

Mihai-Alexandru Cristea 19/11/2020 | 14:47

After running its course, the original Call for Leaders – 3Q was completed successfully, achieving its intended purpose of bringing a positive, insightful, or otherwise constructive view of the Romanian business scene in the context of the current crisis. Now, Business Review followed up with some of Romania’s top professionals and entrepreneurs for #Call4Leaders part II – Back in Business, to see how they mapped out the long-awaited return to normality.


Current conversation: Catalina Rousseau – President & CEO, BDR Associates.


How do you define the new normal that everyone should submit to?

Working from distance, but not only: everything means now staying away from colleagues, clients, partners, communicating virtually with them. This, for sure brings a sad feeling of loneliness. In early spring, during the first Covid-19 wave, our agency launched a media and social media campaign under the slogan “#NotTogetherNotAlone”, which was then translated into many languages and was spread around Europe in the attempt to keep people’s moral up. Now, we are celebrating 25 years since BDR was created, it’s a silver anniversary, let’s say, which should have created joy and buzz, but what we live today is unique, in our quarter of a century working experience. In “normal” times, we would have a had a big party, today we simply have an online media campaign dedicated to all our former and current BDR team members, and they are about two hundred. Our call for getting together again has received so warm reactions from not only Romania, but from many other countries in Europe, from USA, Canada, South Africa, or Middle East, wherever our former colleagues are presently located. This means solidarity! Therefore, our call for solidarity launched in spring has become a living proof that ‘normality’ today means solidarity.


Has this crisis altered your optimism or hopes for your business plan in this calendar year?
This crisis has first of all, meant eyes wide open, as we were asking ourselves “what’s next?” So, we got up to speed immediately, and put our whole creativity and innovation at work, in order to exploit, and not to lose momentum. We have not had time to analyse our optimism or hopes, we just kept working and have been working so hard so far, in each and every day ever since the health war has struck us. Our clients needed us, so we had to forget about 8 working hours a day, or free week-ends (do what in weekends, anyway) and dedicated fully to our professional mission. We cannot afford either thinking at our hopes or being optimistic, but for sure, we will look back to these difficult times later, when life gets back to normal, and see if there was hope and if that has become reality. Now solidarity is the global word.

What’s next for the industry you are currently representing?
A lot of work, I would say, as crisis management is one of the key professional competences in the strategic communication field, in which our agency operates. In this beautiful context of our 25-year silver anniversary, let me wish all younger agencies to grow, and fight to reach this high performance. BDR pioneered in the field 25 years ago, and here we are, honoured to be interviewed by a highly reputed publication like Business Review.

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