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Julie was the first volunteer to participate in my latest photo project Lockdown Heroes. She runs a very successful HR company @julieprovinoauthor and is also an author. www.julieprovino.com

You can read below how this pandemic has affected her and her family –

collage of business lady having professional photo shoot

Hi Neil,

Thank you for your email.

Please find my answers below:

Name and Age -Julie Provino (41)

Place of birth – Normandy France

Where you live now – Reading

Occupation – Owner of VeryHR, coach, trainer and author

How has the pandemic affected you and your family professionally and personally ?

For someone who specialises in keeping your cool under any circumstances and training others to develop resilient and the likes, this has been a small shock to the system as well as a great lesson. I literally was on an emotional roller coaster for the first couple of weeks of lockdown.
On a business perspective, in the early stages of lock down, I have lost all of 3 months’ worth of pre-booked face to face training and half of my client base in the HR outsourced business. I remember that week very vividly, when every single phone call was a cancellation or a termination of contract. The rest of my client base, business owners, were panicking and wondering how they could ensure some kind of longevity for their own business. My HR business, is my baby. A business that I had build successfully over the years being slowly ripped to shreds. Not only that but my husband started working from home and my kids’ school had just closed. So not only was my own livelihood crumbling to pieces but I also had to manage the home and take on my fair share of responsibilities – as my husband has a full time corporate job, I took it upon myself to be around the kids more, cook and comply with the endless task of tidying up after a 3 and 7 year old. This has not been easy. Ironically, I find that sharing my home office is still the hardest part of it all.

I found that everything that I held dear about myself to change – initially I struggled with my own ego telling me that I should be “more” than this. I should be out there, rise, giving hope to others. I should be taking this time to embrace the opportunity to be with my kids. I should finally edit book 2, I should create a new wellness branch to my business, I should….I should, I should. That got me very down. Once I realised that I had everything I needed at hand and more courage and strength that I ever thought I had I started picking everything back up. Business is slow; and for now, that is OK. Right now, I am sitting here typing these words and watching my two kids playing in the garden. My heart is at peace and I feel more grounded than I ever thought I could be. I’m still challenged each and every day mind you….I am clearly not a stay at home mum at heart, but these moments are truly precious, a time to be inspired, introspect, love and laugh. I often use this small exercise with my coaching clients. Imagine where you will be at in 3 years time. Rethinking about the times now, what would be the best advice that you could give yourself to survive or dare I say enjoy these times….and simply, just do that.

If you were PM would you have done anything differently ?

Now this is a sore point ?
Anyone in the PM’s shoes is in a very difficult place right now, this is a marathon, and clearly not a race. Not a job that I would envy at all. There are many things I would have done differently – lock down sooner, be more present and listening. Most importantly, I would be as authentic and as human as possible. It is fine to say “I don’t know”, to take your time…but show compassion, authenticity at its fullest. I’ve really struggled to remain engaged in all of the political steps the UK has taken. I have grown to personally distrust the information that I am reading which is a great shame really. I applaud the efforts to keep our economy going and keep us as safe as possible, but clearly more and more people are being completely disillusioned with our national progress.
As a HR consultant, I have personally felt that all of the updates for employers were not considered as deeply as they should, there have been little consultation or want to truly understand how businesses are impacted and solutions have been thrown at us with little more oversight on what the future will or may bring.


Looking to the future do you think this pandemic will change the world for the good ?

Personally I truly hope so! The one thing that has kept me going is this rise in humanity. People supporting each other, collectively realising that together we can rise and make a positive change to this world we live in. Yes, there are still the old stigmas, but right now it’s not about what car you drive, or clothes you wear or even how many people are following you – it’s about doing what we can to support each other in the future and I believe in that. The world is opening up to wellbeing, love, mutual respect and I think that this is amazing.

Thank you for taking part Julie and sharing your experiences with us. Stay safe.