An interview with my older sister, Debbie Cline, about how the pandemic impacted her life and role as Chief of Customer Success at Buzzy Rocket.

Amy Powell with her older sister, Debbie Cline.

Debbie is incredibly positive, passionate and driven in everything she does — which is why she is so successful at helping founders launch their businesses. She loves what she does and her clients love her for her ability to instill confidence, creativity and inspiration in everyone around her. What makes Debbie so special to me is that she loves to learn, play and create, all while having a lot of fun along the way. So, I wanted to ask her some questions about how she has thrived over the past two years and continues to see so much optimism all around us. I’m sharing a picture of us from our childhood that very clearly shows Debbie for exactly who she is — someone who is always happy to play — in this case with toddler -sized me!

Amy Powell: What lessons can we learn from the past year and a half about not just managing our time, but managing our wants, needs, and obligations?

Debbie Cline: One lesson that I have learned during the pandemic is that I am in control of my choices. I can choose how I manage my time, and the balance between wants, needs and obligations. As part of this I have shifted my perception of what I consider an obligation. Previously, I would more often than not say yes — to meetings that were optional, to tasks that I could outsource, to efforts that were not truly the best use of my time or skills. These obligations were often at the expense of allowing time for myself to address my wants and needs. I have a new understanding and appreciation for what is best for me in the balanced picture of the greater good.

Amy: Who did you prioritize seeing (in-person) pre-COVID, and how many of those relationships did you prioritize during COVID?

Debbie: Pre-Covid I would often see friends and family all over the country. I spent time with clients, fellow volunteers at the animal shelter, neighbors, and many others. I am in a very high risk category, so I actually did not see anyone outside of my doctor’s office until I was immunized. The amazing relationships that I have with family, friends, clients, neighbors and in my small town community stayed strong through remote communications through Covid and are as strong as ever now.

Amy: So, what freedoms would you like to keep in your schedule moving forward?

Debbie: I founded a boutique marketing company a decade ago and have worked from home long before the pandemic. I am lucky that I have always had the freedom to walk my dog during a conference call, work at my desk, kitchen table or a client’s office. I look forward to everyone keeping the freedom to be more human, more authentic, and more sharing of themselves that became more common during the pandemic. It has been fantastic to learn more about people, meet their kids and pets over Zoom, and see more of their personalities.

Amy: Does your schedule demand in-person meetings? Or can it just be a Zoom call, email, or maybe even a text message?”

Debbie: In person meetings are much more rare, and much more intentional, but still very valuable. I have found that Zoom became the default meeting format during the pandemic, but that in reality video was not needed on many of these meetings. Often a standard phone call can replace a Zoom, an email can replace a call, and sometimes a quick text is all that is needed.

Amy: Do you have certain relationships that are worth prioritizing in this new normal?

Debbie: Relationships are what fills me up. Interactions large and small, with close friends, strangers and everyone in between. I take time to slow down and talk to someone I pass on the sidewalk, I fly across the country to spend time with my family, I send cards to people I haven’t seen in years, and I text people just to say hi. I don’t balance an equation of time or value to prioritize any particular relationship. Each is important in it’s own way and I treasure them all.

About Amy Powell:

Amy Powell is a recognized entertainment industry leader and pioneer in the next generation of digital marketing & content creation. As an entrepreneur and founder of multiple digital, film and television companies, her expertise spans across digital marketing, story-telling, brand-building, content creation and business intelligence.

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