September Columbus CEO: Digital Issue

Katy Smith
Columbus CEO

Oh, to be back in a time when talk of disruption involved stories about exciting startups and new technologies. When it was an overblown reference to natural, slow-motion economic evolution.

With the perspective 2020 has given us, we now know true disruption—that caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Columbus region business leaders have faced a year like no other: Restaurants closed en masse, reopening to tepid traffic and crippling public health precautions. Hotel operators laid off thousands of people. Banks scrambled to get federal stimulus cash into the hands of desperate small business owners, while no one fully understood the rules.

Meanwhile, businesses in a position to capitalize on a virtual, on-demand world have thrived through the pandemic. In our annual Columbus Partnership issue, a PDF of which is linked to this article, we bring you the stories of nine CEOs who have navigated this singular year, with all its massive challenges and opportunities.

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Speaking of 2020 and disruption, the summer's protests over the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and many more Black people at the hands of police sparked a historic movement for racial equality that for the first time in memory includes the business community. The conversation is being had in board rooms, including those at Partnership companies: How can we make good on the promise of advancing more Black people into positions of leadership? This month, we talked with a half-dozen accomplished Black executivesto get their rich perspectives. Takeaway No. 1? Racism exists in the American workplace. Believe it. And if you aren't fighting it, you're keeping it alive.

Also don't miss:

The new CEO of Mount Carmel has turned around struggling hospital systems before

Cardinal Health CEO Mike Kaufmann: “We can’t waste this moment" to advance corporate diversity

The hotel industry's free fall

Home Office Space: Beam Dental CEO Alex Frommeyer's treehouse in the urban skyline

How Per Scholas, Black Tech Columbus and Level D&I are making the tech workplaceeveryone's workplace

Katy Smith is editor of Columbus CEO.