Elice Hunley, development training coordinator, was “thrilled” to be meeting fellow crew members off-screen. Not having the distraction of covering up messy backgrounds was a huge relief, she added — one that could enable folks to engage in conversation instead of fixated on their Zoom backgrounds.
“It’s very exciting to see everyone smiling,” Elice said. “There are advantages to Zoom when you’re in a breakout room with one another — you do get close to people in that way. So, to have met some of these people online and to now be able to shake their hands, hug them, and say, ‘I’m so glad to see you!’ has made for a really great day.”
Amanda Whitlock, a crew member in the Mountain Mindful woodshop, has spent much of the last year finessing her woodworking skills at Coalfield Development’s headquarters at West Edge Factory in Westmoreland neighborhood of Huntington.
“Whenever I started working here, I didn’t know what to expect, and I kind of felt like it was going to be a fun little thing to try out — I didn’t realize it was going to be something I’d fall in love with,” Amanda said. “I work in the woodshop, and I build furniture. I’ve been here about a year, and since then, I’ve taken on two projects, all on my own, so it’s been pretty fun.”
Jackie Codling, a crew member at Refresh, Coalfield’s agricultural enterprise, wasn’t sure what to expect out of the in-person event, but reported that her experience was nothing but positive. At Refresh, Jackie works with produce and online marketing.
“I’m really emotional today, so I feel like I’m feeling everything,” Jackie said with a laugh. “This is my first time that this has been in-person. Usually I’d be awkward and standoffish and introverted a little bit or get anxiety around people, but it’s been nothing but good.”