Name: Mark Neville, CEO Company: SDCCU Holiday Bowl Type of business: Sports Event Founded: 1978
How have you changed your business in response to COVID-19?
This has been a hard year for everyone, and we had hoped that the Holiday Bowl would have served as a bright light for San Diego’s tourism industry at the end of the year. Unfortunately, our organization had to make the hardest decision in its 43-year history and cancel this year’s game. We know that a lot of people in San Diego look to the Holiday Bowl to provide the economic boost at the end of the year, but when we looked at the student-athlete experience and the other concerns we just couldn’t go forward. While we realized that we would not be generating the tens of millions of dollars in economic impact that we typically do, we still wanted to make a difference in the community. We understand the devastating toll the epidemic has had on the tourism and hospitality sector with so many people of out of work and many of them facing food insecurity for the first time in their lives. Because of that we have teamed up with the San Diego Food Bank and the SDTA to put together a food drive to deliver meals to 1,000 tourism workers in need on Dec. 18. Other organizations that are supporting this effort are the San Diego Convention Center and the San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council. We really wanted to do our part to help those workers and their families during this holiday season. We are also holding a capital campaign to raise funds for the San Diego Food Bank to help underwrite this food drive. You can contribute to the efforts here.
What keeps your hopeful?
People keep me hopeful. I believe that people are good. During this crisis, we’ve had to get creative and work through so many challenges. I think we will emerge from this stronger than ever before.
What is your advice to other companies?
Working together is critical, and we need to lean on each other. It is also important to be empathetic and show compassion. Don’t isolate yourself; lean on the wisdom of others because the only way we are going to get through this is by working together.
What is the one thing you are looking forward to doing when things return to normal-ish?
No question about it, I am looking forward to the personal interactions. While Zoom calls have served their purpose, I really miss the person-to-person meetings. I crave personal relationships, and they are hard to foster over a computer screen. I can’t wait to meet face-to-face on a regular basis again.