Family First

A World Class CEO on Leadership in the COVID Crisis

How We Can Learn from 2020 to Make 2021 All The Better


ceo, pat gelsinger



VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger was honored by Fortune Magazine as the Global CEO of the Year in 2018. In 2019, Glassdoor voted him the Top CEO in the US. Come 2020, COVID changed everything for him, his family, and his company of more than 35,000 employees. In the video below, which he made expressly for Family First Global and its partners worldwide, Pat shares what he learned in 2020 and how he’s harnessing it to be a better leader in 2021.


“My motto for this year has been empathy plus urgency,” said Pat. For him, empathy is manifested when we show others that we truly care for them and their loved ones. Pat also underscores the importance of over-communication in a crisis like COVID-19, staying positive while acknowledging that things are difficult. “We have to combine empathy and urgency. We have to seize the day. If we dwell in the difficulties of the moment, it can be overwhelming. We must be leaning forward faster to the future,” Pat added.


The pandemic has disrupted the order of things, but it has also brought positive changes to how people live their lives. As enumerated by Pat, employees vacated offices and rooted themselves in their very own “centers of collaboration”. They also enjoyed less commutes and more time spent with their families. Online education reached more kids. People monitored their health through telemedicine, and companies were able to hire people from all walks of life, making business environments more diverse as ever.


Pat emphasized the importance of lifting others up instead of allowing negativity to bring our spirits down. “I must be encouraged, so I can be an encouragement,” Pat states, and he makes perfect sense. We must all do our part and come together to survive and even thrive in this new normal.