Employees share how they’ve persevered in the most challenging of circumstances
By Kara Corridan
As we approach the two-year mark since COVID-19 upended life as we know it, the omicron variant is making it feel like 2020 all over again. And for many employees, they’re back to — or still — adjusting how they need to care for their loved ones.
Caregiving takes a tremendous toll even when we’re not living through a pandemic. The National Alliance for Caregiving cites feelings of isolation, emotional and financial strain, and having to balance work while providing care as the biggest stressors.
In the video above, you’ll hear stories from three employees and members of Prudential’s Generations business resource group who have encountered all those factors as the pandemic upended their caregiving routines.
For Amanda Wathen, advisor, Human Resources, helping her 10-year-old son, who has autism, navigate his daily routine and schoolwork has been nearly all-consuming. “The pandemic has completely altered our entire lives,” she sums up.
Ryan Story, director, Prudential Communications, took on all school-related duties for his two children when his wife, an assistant principal, had to go back to school in person. “Everyone’s at home, sharing a small space, trying to use the same internet connection — it’s loud and chaotic,” he describes. When his son and daughter finally went back in person, he had to navigate getting them to and from two schools that started and let out at the same time.
And Doreen Frantz, vice president and chief of staff, Transformation Office, went from seeing her 95-year-old mother in a nursing home several times each week to not being allowed to visit her for nearly 12 months. “The first thing I thought was, ‘I may never hug or kiss my mother again,’” she recalls.
As they explain in the video, each had different ways of adapting and each found that Prudential played a role in easing their burden. For Frantz, sharing her struggles with her colleagues made her feel supported. “There’s so much value and strength that I derived from showing a little bit more of myself and showing those emotions because I learned that I wasn’t by myself,” she says.
BRG Real Talks is a video series featuring employees involved in Prudential’s business resource groups (see box below). Prudential’s BRGs have been around for more than 20 years and play a vital role in the company’s inclusive culture. They’re run by employee volunteers in partnership with Prudential’s Inclusive Solutions group and made up of members of eight distinct populations as well as the allies who support them. Each group has an executive sponsor, a senior leader who serves as an advocate, advisor and ambassador.
| Prudential’s BRGs At-a-Glance:
• ADAPT (Abled and Differently Abled Partnering Together)
• APA (Valuing Asian Pacific Islander Americans)
• BLF (Black Leadership Forum)
• Generations (Bridging Age, Culture and Experience)
• Juntos (Elevating and Empowering Latinos)
• PRIDE (Embracing Identity, Equality and Belonging)
• VETNET (Supporting the Military, Veterans and their Families)
• Women Empowered (Leading, Empowering and Inspiring Change)