One of the true joys in the otherwise dismal seven-month period since the pandemic hit home has been the emergence of Kel, our superb IT director of 16 years, who has blossomed into our resident wellness guru at Peppercomm.
Every two weeks or so, we’ll set aside 20 minutes from the usual, twice-weekly virtual staff meetings to have our “Stay Well with Kel” stretching, deep breathing and yoga training sessions. It’s a beautiful thing to be able to step back from the keyboard, stand, pick up a few light weights, roll one’s shoulders and neck and forget about, however fleetingly, our worries of the day.
So I thought now was a good time to give Kel a break from his normal routine and learn a little bit more about the man behind the machine…
How has COVID impacted your professional and personal lives?
I had to make a few adaptions to my workflow, e.g., not having a proper home office, I had to use my laptop on my lap for many endless hours, which after then affected my posture causing stiffness on my neck and shoulders. On a personal level, food shopping felt like going to the airport, not just any airport, but LaGuardia Airport.
As an IT professional, are there any unexpected ways your job has changed since the start of the pandemic?
Since video conferencing became the norm, I have only had a handful of actual voice only calls.
Which “meeting” platform do you prefer? Zoom, Teams, neither and why?
Teams is my favorite now; it does the things we need in an elegant and simple way. I like Zoom too, but the gallery view hurts my eyes.
How do you stay current with all that’s new in the ever-changing technology world?
Webinars, online keynotes. It is a never-ending process. But I would say that trying to stay current with technology can be costly and creates disruptions.
Aside from my usual ineptness with Zoom 101, what’s the most frequent request you receive from our employees?
There is no one most frequent request. This depends on what kind of client work we are doing at the time.
What’s Plan B if, god forbid, NYC goes off the grid?
We are ready to go back to using smoke signals and African drums to replace all forms of communications with clients. I have been studying celestial navigation for years now.
Tell me about your fitness background, the classes you lead, etc? What got you started in fitness?
My fitness background from studying different martial arts throughout the years. The fitness movements I teach are not designed to help anyone get stronger or look tough or big. Instead, they are designed for functional mobility. I (virtually) teach a self-defense class, and there is nothing more challenging than that.
You lead our twice-a-month “Stay Well With Kel” sessions. Can you describe them for the reader and how do you intend to take us to the next level.
Twice a month, we take a few minutes to practice a few stretches and shoulder mobility exercises to improve our posture. This video explains it best.
What’s your secret to maintaining a positive, upbeat attitude? I don’t think I’ve ever seen you down or upset.
A long time ago, at the start of five-day hike through the Appalachian trails, my instructor had this to say: “this trip is what you make of it”. Work is what you make of it. Well I got a smile for everyone I meet.
How do you unwind?
I love riding my bike, hiking in the outdoors, it’s a feeling that I can’t explain.