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On Tuesday, October 6, Axios' Erica Pandey hosted a conversation on how business dynamics have shifted and how companies are building capacity for ongoing change, featuring MassMutual CEO Roger Crandall, Clorox Senior Vice President Troy Datcher and Doctor on Demand CEO Hill Ferguson.

Roger Crandall discussed MassMutual’s transition to remote work and its capacity for change and innovation during the pandemic.

  • On innovating during the pandemic: “We are absolutely moving forward right now…We pivoted [the LifeBridge program] to a program we call HealthBridge, giving free life insurance to frontline health care workers.”
  • On MassMutual’s larger purpose and his Business Roundtable membership: “We see the racial injustice going on in the country...We think business has to do something about it. So I’m really proud that MassMutual is very actively involved in that effort.”
  • Read more: MassMutual CEO shares concerns on remote work for younger employees

Troy Datcher unpacked Clorox’s growth and the unprecedented demand for its disinfecting products throughout the pandemic.

  • "We manufactured over 450 cleaning items before the pandemic, and today we produce 45...We first and foremost looked at those items that provided disinfecting properties."
  • On continuing to grow: Partnerships with folks like United Airlines, Uber and AMC theaters give confidence to people as they leave their home to go out into their communities. Clorox is growing and helping to provide a safer environment for them.

Doctor on Demand CEO Hill Ferguson discussed the effect of the pandemic on telemedicine and the realization that held beliefs about patient care aren’t always true.

  • "It's pulled our industry forward by a number of years...What's happened has been far more than just the coronavirus. The whole industry has changed."
  • On health care that could move permanently online: “We were seeing strong growth coming into the pandemic with our mental health practice. It’s only going to continue...Most people feel more comfortable talking to a therapist from their home.
  • Read more: Doctor on Demand CEO: COVID has changed the telehealth industry

Axios Chief People Officer Dominique Taylor hosted a View from the Top segment with Boston Consulting Group Managing Director and Senior Partner Luke Pototschnik who discussed the acceleration of trends, like online penetration, and strategic moments for change brought on by the pandemic.

  • On taking back control of this moment: “I think leveraging funding from inside the organization to fund top line growth is where companies are getting back on the offense.”
  • On how larger organizations can move quickly in this moment: “Appoint chief transformation officers, oftentimes reporting to the CEO, that have the ability to look across the organization and help make decisions quickly.”
  • “Transformation is no longer an event. Really, it needs to be an ongoing capability.”

Thank you Boston Consulting Group for sponsoring this event.

Go deeper

Updated Jan 13, 2021 - Axios Events

Watch: Recovery and resilience after COVID-19

On Wednesday, January 13, Axios' Dan Primack and Dion Rabouin hosted a conversation on the future of equitable economic recovery, featuring Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) and chef and World Central Kitchen founder José Andrés. They unpacked the pandemic's impact on small businesses and minority communities and spotlighting efforts to create an inclusive economy.

José Andrés discussed the impact of the pandemic on the hospitality and food industry, stressing the survival of restaurants as a critical part of the U.S. economic recovery.

  • On the food industry's need for federal support: "Restaurants will open again, and the issue is: how many are we going to lose from today until the next three, six months, or one year until everything goes back to normal? We have to make sure that the federal government is behind those businesses that are badly affected by this pandemic."
  • On ensuring living wages for workers: "We need to make sure that ... the food industry is not an industry that lives on the fringe of almost poverty, but that every American employee, every restaurant worker will make a decent living."

Rep. Ro Khanna unpacked the pandemic's impact on rural and minority communities and outlined a strategy for the Federal Reserve Board to better target their efforts.

  • On having the Fed scrutinize how they've been lending: "[We need] to make sure that lending isn't concentrated just to financial institutions and large corporations, that they're using their regional banks to be regional economic development banks considering rural and minority communities."
  • On taking a long-term approach to economic recovery: "We need to infuse [the Small Business Administration] with loans. I would do $10 trillion over 10 years to have 200,000 more loans to small businesses across America."

Axios co-founder and CEO Jim VandeHei hosted a View from the Top segment with Mastercard's strategic growth Vice Chairman and President Michael Froman who discussed the role of the private sector in times of crisis.

  • "The private sector can do a lot. And by this I mean not just philanthropy or corporate social responsibility or ESG efforts. As important as all of those are, the key is really getting companies to look at their products and services, technology and expertise and explore what they can do to have a positive social impact on a commercially sustainable basis."

Thank you Mastercard for sponsoring this event.

Updated 3 hours ago - World

U.S. airstrike kills senior al-Qaeda leader in Syria, DOD says

A displacement camp near the village of Qah in Syria's northwestern Idlib province. Photo: Ahmad Al-Atrash/AFP via Getty Images

A U.S. airstrike in northwest Syria on Friday killed senior al-Qaeda leader Abdul Hamid al-Matar, U.S. Central Command said in a statement.

Why it matters: Syria serves as a "safe haven" for the extremist group to plan external operations, according to U.S. Army Maj. John Rigsbee.

Updated 9 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Giuliani associate Lev Parnas convicted of campaign finance crimes

Lev Parnas, a former associate of then-President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Florida businessman Lev Parnas was convicted Friday on charges of conspiracy to make foreign contributions to political campaigns, according to multiple outlets.

Why it matters: Prosecutors said Parnas, then an associate of former President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, funneled over $150,000 from a Russian businessman into U.S. campaigns as part of an effort to land licenses in the U.S.'s legal cannabis industry.