Reflect And Pivot: Enduring Strength For Difficult Times

Ekata Vice President and General Manager, APAC, Tom Donlea had recently moved to Singapore to open new offices when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. It’s bad, he told PYMNTS, but not all bad. “This slowing of commercial activity, albeit unfortunate, allows us to place even more focus on developing our people, strengthening partnerships and building enduring customer relationships,” Donlea said. Read about Ekata’s post-COVID plan in Black Swan from PYMNTS.

The following is an excerpt from Black Swan, contributed by Ekata CEO and Co-Founder Tom Donlea.

Reflect and Pivot: Enduring Strength for Difficult Times

Surviving in tech — or in any executive role — means spending your energy on what you can control, but also preparing for unforeseen occurrences that might disrupt your business, your family and your life. This includes something as unthinkable as the coronavirus.

My personal story is as complicated as any. In January, I moved to Singapore from Seattle to open Ekata’s new Asia-Pacific office — exactly when this global pandemic started to ramp up. Fortunately, Singapore has done an excellent job of early identification through testing and monitoring the general health of its citizens. While I am not concerned about my physical health, I am focused, along with the rest of Ekata’s leadership, on supporting our customers and building business contingencies to keep things moving in spite of the inevitable market decline.

Things we are considering at Ekata:

Human vs. Digital

Concerns over the virus have decimated the event scene across several industries, including Money2020 Asia, among countless others. Businesses must pivot to reach customers, partners and prospects digitally. It is challenging to replace the face-to-face human connection through digital means. We are finding new ways to buy a “digital beer” for people so we can foster relationship building.

Action vs. Learning

Ekata’s success is grounded in the care and commitment of our employees’ actions. Although travel has ground to a halt, we won’t sit around and wait. Teams are proactively investing in projects that increase our knowledge, enabling us to better service our customers, evolve our product lines and improve our overall operational efficiencies.

Growth vs. Sustainability

Nearly all industries will see their revenue impacted by this pandemic. One of CEO Rob Eleveld’s mantras is to “play the long game.” This slowing of commercial activity, albeit unfortunate, allows us to place even more focus on developing our people, strengthening partnerships and building enduring customer relationships. We will support our customers to help them fortify their own companies and do our part to reduce the negative effects of this economic downturn.

Colleagues: take this chance to reflect and pivot. Get yourself ready for the inevitable recovery by defining your key pillars and marching prepared toward the next bull market.

Read more insights and tips in Black Swan from PYMNTS.



The How We Shop Report, a PYMNTS collaboration with PayPal, aims to understand how consumers of all ages and incomes are shifting to shopping and paying online in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our research builds on a series of studies conducted since March, surveying more than 16,000 consumers on how their shopping habits and payments preferences are changing as the crisis continues. This report focuses on our latest survey of 2,163 respondents and examines how their increased appetite for online commerce and digital touchless methods, such as QR codes, contactless cards and digital wallets, is poised to shape the post-pandemic economy.