Apr 7, 2020 - Axios Events

Leading in a time of crisis

On Friday morning, Axios hosted a virtual event on how business and government leaders can work together for social good in the midst of a global pandemic.

Axios co-founder and CEO Jim VandeHei discussed how companies are adapting to the current state of affairs with Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and how businesses can prioritize their employees with Edelman Global CEO Richard Edelman.

  • Cuban on the opportunities that this moment presents: "This is a complete reset. All those things you were wondering about ... now you get a chance to try them ... we have a chance to go into America 2.0."
  • Cuban on the possibility of restarting the NBA season this year: "I hope so. I really do. But again, the NBA will put safety first. ... I’m hopeful, let’s just put it that way."
  • Edelman on the responsibility of companies in this moment of crisis: "Companies have to speak up now because they are actually the most trusted sources of information. ... Brands are expected to say how they're helping to solve the problem and also what they're doing to help employees specifically keep their jobs."

VandeHei and Axios cities correspondent Kim Hart honed in on the impact of this crisis on city leaders and how they're communicating and collaborating with other cities and the governors of their respective states.

  • Hart on what cities are focusing on at this moment: "A pandemic was never really something that was on their list. They're trying to figure out not only how to keep their people safe, but also afloat economically."
  • Hart on how mayors are learning from other leaders: "[Mayors] are relying on text message chains ... on fairly regular conference calls just to check in with city leaders of other cities that are of comparable size ... to see what have they learned, what are their lessons. ... It also comes down to how they're working directly with state governors."

Thank you, Anheuser-Busch for sponsoring this event.

Go deeper

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Texas, Arizona and Oregon saw significant spikes last week in new coronavirus infections, while cases also continued to climb in a handful of states where steady increases have become the norm.

Why it matters: Nationwide, new cases have plateaued over the past week. To get through this crisis and safely continue getting back out into the world, we need them to go down — a lot.

Some call for fewer police, even as streets erupt

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"Defund the police" isn't just a slogan on a protester's sign — it's a political movement to relieve cops of responsibility for managing intractable social problems and shift spending to agencies that are better equipped to handle them.

Why it matters: The aftermath of George Floyd's killing has brought a renewed focus to the two dominant trends in policing: sweeping reforms on one side, militarization on the other. Neither of these responses will make our cities safer or our justice system fairer, civil rights activists argue, because the problems are much broader and deeply entrenched in society.

Mayors' job: restoring trust

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Mayors across the country are vocally condemning the police killing of George Floyd, marching with protesters in their streets and outlining concrete steps to address the systemic racism that still plagues U.S. communities.

Why it matters: De-escalating the violence that's erupted amid protests is only the start of rebuilding a constructive relationship between the public and local law enforcement. And mayors are in a unique position to do that, given their close relationships with both.