Choosing Hope during COVID-19

seven miles team member

To say it’s been a dark and challenging time of late is a gross understatement.

It’s been tumultuous, scary, daunting, life-changing, uncertain and difficult. The sense of hopelessness and negativity has at times been all consuming.

Yet at the time same there are moments of light and of hopefulness that encourage us to pick ourselves up and to keep going, that are life-affirming and positive.

One of those is the new meaning it brings to the question “how are you?”.  It has become more than a platitude, but rather a wonderful reflection on humanity as we seek connection and show genuine care towards others in these extraordinary times.

When discussions turn to business (because family and friends are now, rightly, our first thought), the questions are equally genuine – how’s business? How are your team? How are your customers? How do you think the industry is going? How are you coping working from home? What will things look like when we get through to the other side?

While I have attempted to offer a perspective on it all and have asked similar questions in return, the most consistent thing I’ve heard myself say is that actually I’m full of hope – that I’m hopeful for our business, our industry, our people, our customers, and our collective future.


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So, what’s driving that hope?

Well, to put it simply, you are, our coffee community. You provide me with a great deal of hope, a great sense of hope and a great belief in hope. Our future is going to be more than ok because it has all of you in it.

One of my wonderful customers (he knows who he is) reminded me of the phrase “your attitude defines your altitude” – this couldn’t better capture what I’ve witnessed over the past 6 weeks when I think about our business, our people and our customers.

I think of those businesses who have literally transformed their operations overnight, adapting to this new COVID-19 world, finding a way through the dark days, and unleashing their entrepreneurial spirit. They’ve decided to climb the proverbial mountain, scale new heights and put their positivity right out there. How exciting, how inspiring, and how fantastically hopeful!

To think that we have an industry full of this sparkling attitude, resilience, resourcefulness and adaptability gives me great hope for the future, and so it should. There are so many people out there in our community who have shown tremendous courage to progress, to do something totally new, to back themselves through this incredibly daunting time and have managed to do so whilst dealing with all the unknowns, emerging into this “new normal” with something totally different to when they first started. Imagine what’s possible when we’ve achieved so much in such little time?

It goes without saying that the road ahead is still uncertain, that there will be further tough times, that the virus will continue to force us to make difficult decisions affecting people, livelihoods and businesses. It’s been unforgiving and relentless, and we will find ourselves in a socially and economically different world when this time passes.

But when we do take a moment to reflect, we have every right to feel hope and to feel hopefulness when at times we have felt totally hopeless. Let’s draw on that resourcefulness, that courage, that resilience, to propel us forwards. Let’s use that attitude to help define our success in the future.

If we can harness that attitude in these dark times, imagine what we can do in when there is light.


Jenny Willits
After 17 years in the marketing and communication industry, including leading creative agencies in London and Sydney like Saatchi & Saatchi and J. Walter Thompson, Jenny decided it was time for a completely different challenge – coffee. As you might expect, there’s been plenty to learn since joining Seven Miles as CEO in 2017. However, Jenny quickly found that behind all the technical aspects of coffee, people are the real thread that ties the industry together. From the farmer to the roaster, the barista trainer to the café owner, it’s actually human relationships that drive us forward. So, led by her strong personal beliefs in integrity, empathy and kindness, Jenny has set about to put people first on our pursuit of exceptional coffee. Whether it’s through her relentless focus on customer experience or investing in new technology to move us towards a sustainable future, the goal is the same; strong relationships with our team, customers, and the broader coffee community. When she’s not at work or sipping on a long black at our Espresso Window, Jenny can be found at home entertaining family and friends, cheering on the Sydney Swans, or dominating the spin class at the local gym.
Jenny Willits

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