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Emily Perkins of Epro: “Seeing Light at the End of the Tunnel; 5 Reasons To Be Hopeful During this Corona Crisis”

I’d like to see kindness not only appreciated, but celebrated. There are so many opportunities for kindness and it can be wearying for those who are continuously kind if they feel unnoticed and underappreciated. The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the inherent kindness of those healthcare professionals, from doctors and nurses to orderlies and care, assistants, […]


I’d like to see kindness not only appreciated, but celebrated. There are so many opportunities for kindness and it can be wearying for those who are continuously kind if they feel unnoticed and underappreciated.

The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the inherent kindness of those healthcare professionals, from doctors and nurses to orderlies and care, assistants, as well as support staff such as receptionists, medical secretaries, and canteen staff. We are, as a world, celebrating that kindness now — but I’d like to see that continue when the pandemic is over.


As a part of my series about the things we can do to remain hopeful and support each other during anxious times, I had the pleasure of interviewing Emily Perkins, Chief Brand Officer at Epro. A storyteller almost from birth, Emily has worked with some of the world’s largest tech companies, including Samsung, Beats, B&O Play, and many more. She leads Marketing and Branding at Epro, a clinically-led digital solution for healthcare professionals and organizations.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about what brought you to your specific career path?

Since before I can remember, I have been telling stories. I even have my first ‘story’ that I wrote for my cousin, all about teddy bears and pirates and gold! I loved seeing the way a person’s world changed as they listened to a story: fear, hope, wonder, all could be created with just a few words.

I’ve dedicated my career to storytelling, and Epro has one of the best stories to tell: how digital solutions can make tangible differences to patient care and healthcare professionals’ ability to work. By telling this story I can, in a small way, support more healthcare professionals and make patient care even better. That’s something worth getting up for every morning, particularly at this time when health issues are very much on everyone’s agenda.

Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?

During these days of the pandemic, I have returned again and again to my old paperback copy of The Plague, by Albert Camus. Beyond the fact that he was an existential writer who forces the reader to consider all assumptions you’ve ever made, there is a macabre mirror in the book to our current reality.

In the book, Dr. Bernard Rieux quickly realizes after just a few deaths that a plague has begun in the town, and tries to convince health and government officials of the danger approaching the city — but to no avail. While positive notices are placed around the town, downplaying the danger, only one ward is opened at the local hospital with the beds filled within a few days. There isn’t enough medicine to treat everyone, and by the end of Part 1, the town is sealed, and plague declared.

Sound familiar?

Ok, thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. Many people have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. The fears related to the coronavirus pandemic have heightened a sense of uncertainty, fear, and loneliness. From your perspective can you help our readers to see the “Light at the End of the Tunnel”? Can you share your “5 Reasons To Be Hopeful During this Corona Crisis”? If you can, please share a story or example for each.

  1. Kindness is more catching. My ‘office’ at home looks out over our street, and every day I see carers stop by the elderly, neighbors pick up a loaf of bread for the house next door. One gentleman, probably in his 30s, ‘visits’ an elderly couple directly opposite me every day, talking to them meters away from their open window. I see them waiting every morning for him. It’s 10 mins of his day, but it’s clearly the highlight of theirs. It’s easy to get caught up in the negative news cycle, but there are plenty of positive stories if you know where to look for them. I recommend following Global Positive News for good stories from around the world. COVID-19 may be a pandemic, but it’s being followed by equally high amounts of kindness.
  2. Healthcare professionals are finally receiving the appreciation they deserve. In countries around the world, doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals are being applauded for their selfless work — and just six months ago, many of them were fighting for fairer wages. In this time of the pandemic, society is starting to wake up to the fact that the very people who keep us healthy and safe are often underappreciated.
  3. Digital transformation will save lives. Healthcare organizations can take this situation as an opportunity to dedicate time to digital transformation — an action that will immediately start to free up time for healthcare professionals, and will support patient care. Epro and other digital health services empower healthcare professionals and support staff — and our systems created £1.1m worth of savings in just one year for one Trust. These changes are helping patients right now and will continue to do so after the pandemic ends.
  4. The planet is healing. Just as COVID-19 can make breathing difficult for patients, the planet has struggled with air pollution for decades — but those rates are completely changing. Air Quality News has demonstrated in their study that some areas are enjoying a NOx concentration reduction of about 30 to 40%.
  5. We’re re-learning how to talk to each other. Without the distractions of cinemas, bars, and live sport, we are learning again how to value real-world connections. We are talking to each other more, spending more time on video chat when there are no other distractions, and just the simple act of missing our loved ones is emphasizing how much they mean to us.

From your experience or research what are five steps that each of us can take to effectively offer support to those around us who are feeling anxious? Can you explain?

Firstly, we need to listen much better. Every word we ever speak or type is the story of ourselves we want the world to believe. That’s why I distinguish between ‘hearing’ and ‘listening’. Hearing just means that I have registered the words you have said, but I haven’t delved into the meaning of those words. The story is much deeper than that.

For example, if someone says, “It’s so irritating that I can’t go to the gym anymore!” it is easy when you hear it to just think that person is complaining about something that, in the grand scheme of things, is not essential. But if you listen to the concern and the fear, you can start to unpack it. Are they worried about gaining weight? Was that their primary social outlet — are they now feeling lonely?

That person is telling a story, and just listening to the surface words means that you miss out on the truth of that story. By truly listening, we can understand each other much better.

Secondly, be open about your own emotions. It’s tempting to force down our anxieties because we do not want to burden those around us, but that will only increase your internal tension and make life more difficult for you. Find someone you can trust and share with them.

Thirdly, we can cut each other some slack! We are all going to get frustrated, fearful, anxious, or despondent at some point. Instead of immediately trying to make someone feel better, let’s acknowledge that those are real emotions and cannot be ignored. Recognize them for what they are, and accept that we will feel like this at some point. In every story, there’s a dramatic moment of loss, confusion, or depression. It’s just one chapter.

Fourthly, consider what you can do for someone else, even the small things. This is particularly challenging for those living in lockdown situations, but digital technology empowers so much. Can you donate to feedback — even a few pounds or dollars could be the difference of a meal for someone. Could you send a fun quiz to someone whose children are getting bored and restless? How about organizing a phone call rota for an elderly family member so they never go a day without speaking to someone?

Finally, remember that this too shall pass. It felt like the world was ending to the generation in the Cold War, and the generation that fought the Second World War — and the generation that survived famine in the medieval era! This pandemic is not going to last forever.

What are the best resources you would suggest to a person who is feeling anxious?

Best app: Headspace is a great meditation app with a large free section, which is now offering premium subscriptions for free to all US healthcare professionals, and some free guided meditations for everyone on their website.

Best book: Equal Rites, by Terry Pratchett. Perhaps one of the funniest and most insightful writers I’ve ever encountered, it’s been a personal refuge in times of stress. In this fantasy world which has strange resemblances to our own, a wizard is born. Only the midwife notices that he is in fact, a she. Chaos and hilarity ensue.

Best movie: pick one of the movies you loved when you were a child. Nostalgia is a safe space and you should embrace it.

Best action: I like to recommend unknowable kindnesses. Do something for someone that they either will never know about or can never repay you for. That sounds complicated, but it could be as simple as praising a colleague to their line manager in an email. They may never know, but it’s a wonderful way to be kind.

Best creativity: write something! I honestly believe that everyone has a story in them. Short story, novel, epic series — whatever it is, whatever creative project you have been putting off or never thought you’d have time for: you do now.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?

“Mind how you go.”

It was a special way that a loved one in my family used to wish people well upon parting. Although deceptively simple, it carries all the connotations of a caring farewell: you are going, and I cannot and would not stop you. You have your own journey, and because you matter to me, keep safe until we meet again.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I’d like to see kindness not only appreciated, but celebrated. There are so many opportunities for kindness and it can be wearying for those who are continuously kind if they feel unnoticed and underappreciated.

The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the inherent kindness of those healthcare professionals, from doctors and nurses to orderlies and care, assistants, as well as support staff such as receptionists, medical secretaries, and canteen staff. We are, as a world, celebrating that kindness now — but I’d like to see that continue when the pandemic is over.

What is the best way our readers can follow you online?

You can follow Epro on LinkedIn or follow on Twitter. Our website is www.epro.com, and if you want to talk with me directly, connect with me on LinkedIn here.

Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!

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