RSPA W2W Leaders Discuss COVID-19 Impact on Personal and Professional Lives

By: RSPA W2W Community

Back in Feb. 2020, the RSPA W2W Committee hosted a special edition of the RSPA Trusted Advisor podcast focused on work/life balance – RSPA Trusted Advisor Ep. 10: Special W2W Episode on Work/Life Balance. However, the COVID-19 crisis – and its unprecedented impact – altered everyone’s 2020 personal and professional plans. To better understand these changes and how members are adapting, two W2W committee leaders shared how COVID-19 has affected their lives:

  • Kelli Stewart, Chicago’s POS Consultant and recently elected RSPA Reseller Board of Director
  • Linda Sudderth, EPSON America’s North America Sales Manager and the 2019 RSPA W2W Leader of the Year

How has COVID-19 affected your personal life?
Stewart: “Working from home has been a blessing and a curse through COVID-19. I have become savvy at managing Zoom or Team meetings while my cat tries to participate. ‘I’m on an important call’ is typically met with a UPS or mail delivery completely driving my dogs into a frenzy. It would be completely humiliating if it were not for everyone else dealing with the same thing.”

Sudderth: “Personally, so much has changed. I haven’t been ‘home’ or traveled for three consecutive months in over 25 years. My vegetable and flower garden is in the best shape it’s ever been. I’m baking sourdough bread for the first time ever. I’ve made homemade pizza dough and sauce for the first time ever, so baking and cooking differently has been fun. My house, closets, filing cabinets are all ultra-organized. I’ve enjoyed being home, being able to exercise regularly and doing lots of ’normal‘ household chores and activities without squeezing in whatever I can before the next flight!”

How has COVID-19 affected your professional life?
Stewart: “Having been at the pivotal point of deciding on a brick-and-mortar location, lockdown occurred and forced us to make the decision [to go with a virtual office]. We’ve saved on expenses but suffered through displacement. Overall, we are still getting the job done.”

Sudderth: “We’ve all become proficient at using MS Teams and Zoom communication tools: easy point-and-click calling as well as internal and external personnel collaborative calls. I’m thankful Epson’s CIO looked ahead about a year ago and implemented all of these tools we are using every day.”

Stewart: “Supporting businesses through looting and rebuilding isn’t the way anyone wants to close deals. Yet we found ourselves in the position to do the best we can to be a source of solutions. In an uncertain time, the greatest comfort has been the comradery; we’re in it together.”

Sudderth: “Manufacturing shutdowns in different areas of the world for periods of time provided a few challenges on product availability. However, due to the industry slowdown, the effect on customers was minimal. We’ve seen our share of order pushouts, and some cancellations, too, but I’ve been pleased with the partnerships have demonstrated with our reselling partners, our distributors and end user customers.”

Final Thoughts
RSPA and their members continue to collaborate and finds ways to win. A prime example is best practice sharing that takes place in the RSPA Communities’ meetings. The RSPA W2W Community meets monthly to provide a support network and resources for women and their companies to advance in the retail technology industry. If you would like to get involved in the W2W Community, please email RSPA Member Services Manager Ashley Naggy at

About the RSPA W2W Community
W2W was created to provide a support network and resources for women as they enter and continue to advance in the retail technology industry. Any and all retail technology women professionals can join W2W as it is not exclusive to RSPA members. By joining you will receive information about this group, upcoming events and networking opportunities. Learn More.