Joan Enoh Tata

2019 Mandela Washington Fellow, Cameroon

Course Reflection on “Navigating a Business in Uncertain Times: Strategies to Ensure Your Enterprise’s Long-Term Success”

4 people stand behind the counter of a pharmacy, in various stages of work, smiling at the camera
Joan and her colleagues work at the community pharmacy.

When the Fellowship Portal launched in July, I was going through so much chaos in my life, both personally and professionally. Prior to this, I had been neck-deep in helping my community deal with COVID and ended up spending three weeks in quarantine after being infected with the virus.  

During my time in quarantine, I kept wondering how I could maximize the opportunities that COVID presented to my healthcare business without comprising my values.  But one of the earliest courses to launch on the Portal was Navigating a Business in Uncertain Times: Strategies to Ensure Your Enterprise’s Long-Term Success, and it felt like a gift that I had no idea I needed!

Going through the course, the one thing that clearly stood out for me were the 4R’s: reliability, redundancy, resilience, and robustness.  These concepts assured me that when an inevitable crisis happens, like in the case of COVID, it is important to go back to the drawing board and adopt new strategies that speak to your current realities.  I remember one of the panelists from the course said it was important to “listen to your business” in times like this, and it resonated so much with me.

Additionally, moving forward, I am applying the 5C’s from the course to maximize the opportunities that COVID brings to my healthcare business.  I am paying more attention to the changing needs expressed by my customers.  I am communicating openly, honestly and effectively with my team and other stakeholders.  I am also using tools from the course to collaborate and create partnerships with colleagues, government administration, and other stakeholders.  The course stressed that having some sort of collateral funding was a given for uncertain times like during COVID or any other “crisis” situation, and I started one for my business immediately after completing the course.  I have also been leaning into my creative side, and it has given me the liberty to innovate and take risks.

It is such an exciting time for me as an entrepreneur!  Thank you to the Fellowship Portal providing the resources to help my business get through COVID.

Written by Joan Enoh Tata, a 2019 Fellowship Alumna from Cameroon. Edited by Meredith Lopez.

The Mandela Washington Fellowship is a program of the U.S. Department of State with funding provided by the U.S. Government and administered by IREX.  The views expressed in this piece are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the U.S. Government.

Fellowship Alumni and selected candidates for 2021 who are interested in learning more about this topic are encouraged to take the “Navigating a Business in Uncertain Times: Strategies to Ensure Your Enterprise’s Long-Term Success” course through the Fellowship Portal.  Learn more about the course.

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