On Thursday June 11, Axios media reporter Sara Fischer hosted a live, virtual event on critical decisions CEOs have made around company values, layoffs and surviving economic turbulence with Accenture CEO Julie Sweet and CVS Health CEO Larry Merlo.

Julie Sweet said Accenture has maintained pay equity by hiring an outside adviser to annually review the company's pay policies and immediately act to correct any imbalances found.

  • On what companies can do to immediately advance equity: "Addressing pay and equity is completely within our control as companies."
  • On companies that were positioned to transition to remote work: "[Before COVID-19] the top 10% of companies that had done digital transformation were performing twice as well as the bottom 25%. Overnight, that gap has become almost a chasm because those who had invested in advance were able to adjust much more quickly to everything going online."

Larry Merlo discussed CVS Health's response to COVID-19, from turning drive-throughs into testing sites and how the company has adapted to a predominantly remote workforce.

  • On the response to COVID-19: "[CVS Health] was able to scale within 30 days...We're not doing testing from within the store, we're doing it from our drive-through. And we now have tested more than 400,000 individuals."
  • On managing a remote workforce and transitioning back to in-person operations: "We probably had about 20-25% that work from home. But since the March timeframe, we have close to 90%...we're working to bring those colleagues back in a very phased approach, working with the guidelines established by state governors."

In a View from the Top segment, Axios CEO & co-founder Jim VandeHei spoke with SJR CEO Alexander Jutkowitz about the evolving role of leadership in the private sector.

  • "Leadership used to be sort of dynamically thinking about what's good for your organization...The reality now in a post-COVID environment is that it's a form of servant leadership. You have to care about the world at large. You have to care about the people inside of your house and outside of your house."

Thank you SJR for sponsoring this event.

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Updated Aug 5, 2020 - Axios Events

Watch: Small business recovery during the pandemic

On Wednesday August 5, Axios co-founder Mike Allen and "Axios Today" host Niala Boodhoo hosted the last of a six-event series on how small businesses have pivoted during the coronavirus outbreak, featuring Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.), owner of The Curvy Bride Michelle Files and Satori Yoga studio owner Andrea Stern.

Sen. Lankford discussed the federal government's response to the pandemic, financial support for small businesses, and the importance of NGOs as economic safety nets within communities.

  • On the effectiveness of PPP loans: "The Paycheck Protection Program has had some problems, but overwhelmingly it's been very, very successful. Paycheck Protection Program was designed to keep small businesses and not-for-profits running so their people didn't have to end up on unemployment assistance...and it has done that."
  • How the coronavirus has changed the economies of small towns: A lot of small towns in Oklahoma have had their highest tax revenue they've ever had in the history of their towns this year...They're used to those folks in small towns driving to big cities to shop. But they're not. They're staying at home. They're shopping online."

Michelle Files and Andrea Stern highlighted the unique challenges of running a small business during the pandemic and how their respective businesses have pivoted to digital tools in these changing times.

  • Michelle Files on adapting her brick-and-mortar business to a virtual world: "Mobile appointments...really took off. People loved that they were still able to shop from the comfort of their own home. I would just bring the dresses to them and safely be on a Zoom call from my car with any questions that they would have."
  • Andrea Stern on transitioning to live, online yoga classes: "We decided that livestream was the best way to go...one of the nice parts about livestream is that [instructors] actually have people in front of them. You can get feedback from the students. It was just a matter of getting everyone up to speed on the technology."

Axios co-founder and CEO Jim VandeHei hosted a View from the Top segment with CEO of the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council Karen Kerrigan, who discussed trends in how small businesses have adjusted to the new economy.

  • "[Small businesses] are massively moving to technology platforms. 51% said that they've upped their use of social media in order to engage with customers and find new customers. So they really embrace technology at this very critical time, which is helping them to survive the COVID-19 economy."

Thank you Facebook for sponsoring this event.

Biden: The next president should decide on Ginsburg’s replacement

Joe Biden. Photo: Drew Angerer / Getty Images

Joe Biden is calling for the winner of November's presidential election to select Ruth Bader Ginsburg's replacement on the Supreme Court.

What he's saying: "[L]et me be clear: The voters should pick the president and the president should pick the justice for the Senate to consider," Biden said. "This was the position the Republican Senate took in 2016 when there were almost 10 months to go before the election. That's the position the United States Senate must take today, and the election's only 46 days off.

Trump, McConnell to move fast to replace Ginsburg

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Trump will move within days to nominate his third Supreme Court justice in just three-plus short years — and shape the court for literally decades to come, top Republican sources tell Axios.

Driving the news: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans are ready to move to confirm Trump's nominee before Election Day, just 46 days away, setting up one of the most consequential periods of our lifetimes, the sources say.