The “Hello From The Other Side” blog series was launched in response to COVID-19 to share what young professionals think and feel about the changes happening in our community, and how they are finding ways to navigate those changes. We hope that these stories give you insight, hope, encouragement and community as we move forward, together. If you are interested in sharing your own story, please contact us here.

What’s your name, your involvement with AYC?

Sarah Taylor; I moved to Austin last June and joined Austin Young Chamber earlier this year.


Are you currently working/WFH? How does your workday look different than it used to? How has your industry or position changed as a result of COVID-19?

As the talent acquisition and communications manager for Maxwell Locke & Ritter, the largest CPA firm headquartered in Austin, I’m thankful that I, along with the rest of our team, can work from home. Our offices are accessible to employees who need occasional access, but we are all strongly encouraged to work from home.

Due to the nature of our industry and our ability to serve our clients virtually, public accounting and wealth management haven’t been impacted in the same way that so many other industries have been. And that’s not something we take for granted.

At first, my days slowed down a bit as we reworked our recruiting and communications tactics in our new landscape. Now that we have new plans in place, such as virtual interviewing, my days have become action-packed again, which I enjoy.


What are you most concerned about right now?

I’m most concerned about those who have lost loved ones, those who have lost their jobs and what the future holds for them, those who have fallen ill and those who are risking their lives to keep us all safe and maintain our “essential services.”

Additionally, I’m concerned about what life looks like once we’ve passed the peak of the virus – what aspects of our lives have changed forever?

Lastly, when does this end? I’ve come to terms with the reality of the situation as I know it, but when do we get to see the light at the end of the tunnel? Unfortunately, that’s one we can’t be sure of, but hopefully with social distancing, we’ll see that light sooner rather than later.


What are you most optimistic about right now?

I don’t know that it qualifies as optimism, but throughout this experience, I’ve tried to keep gratitude at the forefront of my mind. I have endless of things I am grateful for, but below are a few things at the top of the list right now.

  • I have a great “quaranteam” (my boyfriend, Alex, and our golden retriever, Chief)
  • My family and friends are safe and healthy
  • The ability to work from home
  • This time at home is an opportunity to spend time together, do activities we enjoy (individually and together), check things off our to-do lists and connect with our loved ones in new ways


What is keeping you sane right now?

Focusing on gratitude, staying on a routine, being intentional with how I’m spending my time


Are you finding balance in your new daily routine? If yes, what does that look like?

I thrive on routine, so this has been key for me. My current routine (which has only been slightly adjusted from my normal routine) is as follows:

During the week, I wake up at 6:00 a.m., feed Chief, enjoy a cup of coffee while reading on the couch. I shower, do my hair (no makeup though – loving letting my skin breathe!) and put real clothes on – this helps make it feel like a real workday. I take Chief for a quick morning walk and then make breakfast (we’ve been making lots of smoothies these days).

With the exception of a 45-minute midday break to make lunch and take a family walk (we need our Vitamin D!), I work from 8:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m., allowing me to get my work done, but also totally disconnect and enjoy “me time” on the nights and weekends.

In the evenings, we’ll cook dinner, then I’ll exercise while I watch a little TV and take Chief on his evening walk. I get in bed around 9:00 p.m., read for about 30 minutes and then drift away to a sleep meditation (I highly recommend “30 Days to Better Sleep” by Cory Muscara).

We’re making most meals ourselves and focusing on maintaining good nutrition, but to support the restaurant community and to indulge every now and then, we’ve been ordering takeout for Tuesday lunches and Friday dinners. We do “date nights” in on Friday nights with some sort of activity to do together, Saturday is my “lazy day” (PJs all day, at-home spa treatment, lots of TV time, etc.) and Sunday is my “admin day” (deep cleaning, laundry, grocery shopping and meal planning, getting organized for the week, etc.). Oh, and we also do what we call “Sunday Special” in which we make a recipe we’ve never made before.


What are some of your favorite blogs, books or podcasts right now?

I’m not into podcasts, but I love to read (my goal is to read 24 books this year!). I prefer non-fiction books focused on positivity and professional development.

What’s the strangest impulse purchase you have made online or at a store during COVID-19?

No impulse or panic purchases here, but I did get some additional athleisure wear for my lazy Saturdays.


What are some examples of community coming together that have inspired you or given you the warm fuzzies?

One of my teammates, Renee Mauk, is joining her church group in making masks for medical professionals. Additionally, I was happy to see our local media outlets come together in support of All Together ATX led by the Austin Community Foundation and United Way. I’ve also loved seeing celebrities/athletes/public figures making donations and large corporations leveraging their resources to produce things like masks, ventilators and hand sanitizer.


What is the first thing you will do once the lockdown has been lifted?

My perfect first post-lockdown Saturday includes: an outdoor activity at one of the state parks, brunch, time at the pool and an early dinner with margaritas outside on a patio.


What advice do you have for other young professionals in Central Texas who are feeling scared, isolated, and anxious about the future?

Focus on what you can control, avoid overexposure to the news, make taking care of yourself a priority – get plenty of sleep, eat well, stay active, spend time on activities that you enjoy and that relax you and reach out to your friends and loved ones when you need someone to talk to.


How can members get in touch with you?