Leadership San Antonio’s 45th Class Examines How San Antonio is Surviving the Covid-19 Pandemic


Leadership San Antonio’s 45th Class Examines How San Antonio is Surviving the Covid-19 Pandemic

On October 9, the Be Healthy team of the 45th Leadership San Antonio class examined in a virtual summit how San Antonio is managing the COVID-19 public health crisis through the three pillars of physical, financial, and mental health. The LSA2020 class was joined by Richard Perez, President and CEO of the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, and Marina Gonzales, President and CEO of the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

LSA2020 aligned with its Chamber sponsors in early March to continue via virtual classes and carry on their mission of leading San Antonio into the future, focused on topics of health, education, military, workforce development, and transportation.

The day began with an outdoor and socially distanced workout in the parking lot of the United Way of San Antonio and Bexar County. Class members also participated virtually from their home or office. Class participants heard from an LSA member whose family contracted COVID-19 in the spring. They discussed their experience and recovery, and encouraged the class to be safe while supporting local, small businesses. Dr. Stephen McConnell, an emergency medicine physician at Methodist Hospital Northeast, provided an insightful examination of the history and current state of the coronavirus; the “amazing and unprecedented” coordination of San Antonio’s medical community in battling COVID-19 in our community; and advised LSA2020 that “leadership is about service, it is not about being served.”

Amanda Weinand, Senior Vice President and SBA Lending Specialist at Broadway Bank, shared with the class her expertise regarding the types of financial assistance that has been available to businesses facing the unprecedented challenges arising from the pandemic’s consequences on the economy. Broadway Bank has serviced over 2,600 Small Business Administration Paycheck Protection Program loans to businesses. This translated into $400 million into the community’s economy, maintaining employment, and helping San Antonio area families.

The class next looked at mental health. Vanessa Bernal, a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Licensed Professional Counselor, led the class through a deep breathing exercise. Dr. Ruth Morgan, Medical Directory of Primary Care at the Center for Healthcare Services, discussed COVID-19’s ongoing challenges for mental health. The Center for Healthcare Services is one of thirty-nine Local Mental Health Authorities in Texas, providing services to those with serious mental illness, intellectual or developmental disabilities and substance use disorders. Dr. Morgan cited to the U.S. Center for Disease Control’s findings of significant increases over the past year of anxiety, depressive disorder, and suicidal anxieties that last for over 30 days.1 Dr.

Morgan also provided information to help identify friends and family that may be having a hard time and needing support, as well as noting opportunities for mental health first aid training and community resources. She encouraged everyone to “slow down and appreciate each other.”

The Be Healthy team had asked class members to participate in a fitness challenge by committing to engage in at least 30 minutes of physical activity during each day leading up to the class day, which garnered overwhelming participation. The morning concluded with calls to action for the LSA2020 class. The COVID-19 pandemic has led to social isolation for many seniors, which puts their health at risk. Class members were asked to volunteer for Meals on Wheels Friendly Visitor program2, which provides friendship, socialization and wellness checks for area seniors.

As a finale, donning 2021 glasses, members of the Be Healthy team encouraged classmates to make a 2021 resolution for self-care in the areas of physical, financial, or mental health based on information provided during presentations.

Support and partnership opportunities for Leadership San Antonio are always available through corporate and individual donations of time, talent, and treasure. For specific sponsorship details, please contact Lori Stinson at lstinson@sachamber.org.

Love,

Be Healthy Team (Edward Benavides, Langston Clark, Kat Filut, Connie Gonzalez, Kara Heasley, Heather Hepp, Alejandro Romero, Felisha Sanchez & Jeff Wurzburg)

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