We recently hosted our first-ever global town hall with BCG alumni, a group that totals more than 25,000 around the world, in order to talk about how BCG has been responding to the pandemic and to reconnect with this influential network.
Our first speaker, BCG CEO Rich Lesser, described the efforts we’ve been making to help our employees, clients, and communities around the world navigate the crisis as we figure out how to restart the economy while keeping people safe. The speed and efficiency of action has been extraordinary, including our embrace of new ways of working within BCG, the hundreds of rapid response teams we’ve activated globally to support our clients, and the work we’re doing with governments everywhere.
Martin Reeves, chairman of the BCG Henderson Institute, talked to our alumni about the importance of thinking about the crisis in terms of the disease itself, the effects it’s having and will have on the economy, and the impact it will have on different sectors across the economy, as well as on individual companies. He discussed a recent BHI survey, which shows that while 92% of company leaders are working hard to plan for a recession, only 25% have started thinking about the potential for opportunities—an effort that BCG will work with clients to pursue.
The global leader of our Health Care practice, Adam Farber, shared some fascinating work that BCG has been doing since the crisis hit, including efforts to support government action, improve medical response, and increase public engagement. The depth of BCG’s digital and analytic capabilities has been crucial to much of this work, including the development of an integrated model that uses existing epidemiological data to predict imminent hotspots and indicate where the greatest imbalances in ICU capacity and medical equipment, for example, will be.
And Sharon Marcil, our chief marketing officer and chair of the entity that runs US federal government business for BCG, described the firm’s public-sector work. We started with a team in China early on, and we now have 60 public-sector teams working in 30 countries around the world to navigate the crisis. Our digital business is central to these efforts, as well, as we work with governments to analyze impact, make plans for reopening economies, and prototype products that could accelerate loan processing.
ALUMNI IMPACT AROUND THE WORLD
In addition to the response efforts of BCG, it’s been exciting to learn about the incredible efforts our alumni have made to fight COVID-19. Here are just a few examples.
Jean Mixer, who was a partner in BCG’s Boston office, is now the chief digital transformation officer and vice president of strategy at Boston Children’s Hospital. In her current role, she and her colleagues have launched a number of digital health solutions. Since the COVID-19 outbreak, Boston Children’s has offered services aimed at containing the spread of the virus and improving emergency preparedness globally. These include scaling remote patient care, as well as launching HealthMap (a data visualization of cases around the world over time) and COVID Near You (a crowdsourced tracker and predictor of infectious diseases).
Dr. Carol Wildhagen, a former project manager in BCG’s Berlin office, is the cofounder and CEO of Ariana. That company’s patient engagement and real-world evidence collection platform was designed for the pharma industry. Now Ariana is in the process of adapting it for COVID-19. The platform could then offer scientific FAQs, updates, and tips on how to navigate quarantining at home, giving users virtual support as well as a texting companion during the outbreak.
And in Greater China, a group of 12 alumni came together through the BCG Greater China Alumni WeChat group that includes more than 500 members. The team joined forces with current BCGers to contribute to response and recovery efforts, including pro bono work for local governments on containing the epidemic and preparing for a faster economic recovery. They’re also volunteering their time with the Huazhong University of Science and Technology Alumni Association in Beijing in order to help transform the setup of the organization and cope with the high volume of donations.
Our alumni are a central part of BCG’s community. This town hall was a wonderful reminder to me not just of the impact that BCG is having during this unprecedented crisis but also of the powerful influence our alumni network has all over the world. I look forward to ongoing direct dialogue with alumni as we navigate this difficult time.