We are facing an unprecedented time of uncertainty and confusion.
When I was in London for the Icis conference I truly believed that the worst of the coronavirus was over, as we were seeing the first signs of a slowing down in China. I would never have believed that now, less than a month later, I would find myself wondering when I would be able to visit my family and friends in Italy and constantly fearing for their well-being.
This situation also made me realize that I had taken for granted the essential role that traveling plays in my life – both on a personal and professional level. I always thought that it didn’t matter where I was in the world, because everybody and everything was just a flight away. The outbreak of the coronavirus is showing us how vulnerable we really are.
I personally believe that the best we can do right now is to undertake any reasonable measure to protect our colleagues, our friends, and our community at large, and do our best to make sure that our companies and our industry navigate this challenging period in the best possible way (for some it seems that the best thing to do right now is to stock gigantic quantities of toilet paper – but then again, we all have different priorities).
While several countries are closing borders to contain the spread, I am witnessing the amazing power of friendship and solidarity that reaches across borders. I have received messages from all over the world, which proved once again what a great community the lubricant industry is – from Asia to the US, from South America to many European countries. Messages checking up on how I was, if my relatives in Italy were OK, but also many messages just telling me to stay safe and keep in touch until we can meet and be together again.
It is the strength of interpersonal relationships, the energy, the positivity, and the resilience that emanates from these messages that makes me believe that, in spite of the difficult time we are going through, we will emerge from this situation stronger than ever, as individuals and as an industry.