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On Wednesday, December 17 Axios' Felix Salmon hosted a conversation on how businesses are making a difference during the pandemic, featuring Cuyana CEO Karla Gallardo, Edgewell Personal Care CEO Rod Little and Fanatics founder Michael Rubin.

Michael Rubin unpacked how Fanatics pivoted from manufacturing sports apparel to face masks and the social responsibility of the private sector during the pandemic.

  • On the decision to produce masks: "I called the Commissioner of [the Major Baseball League] Rob Manfred and said we should shut down the production of Major League Baseball jerseys and instead make masks...From the second I had the idea to when we were making masks was six days."
  • How the private sector can support the public sector's efforts in the pandemic: "I have a strong belief that as a successful business leader in the private sector, you have a responsibility to make a difference...government alone cannot do what needs to be done."

Karla Gallardo discussed Cuyana's work with their supply chain partners to repurpose materials and to strategically stagger production to keep everyone in business.

  • On their pivoting strategy: "We repurposed materials towards products that we knew would be more in demand. We moved new styles to the later parts of the year or to 2021...We worked with our suppliers together to figure out situations in which both of us could make it through [the pandemic]."

Rod Little unpacked Edgewell Personal Care's focus on employees and highlighted the critical nature of their pandemic leave program, which guaranteed two weeks of paid leave and twelve weeks of 70% paid leave.

  • On the implementation of the paid leave policy: "The most important decision we made early was to institute a new pandemic leave policy...We ended up having 40% of our population in the early days of [the pandemic] either feeling unwell or needing a quarantine because they thought they'd been exposed or needed to sort out childcare. And we paid them for two weeks to go do that."

Axios VP of Client Partnerships Jon Otto hosted a View from the Top segment with General Motors' Global Manufacturing EVP Gerald Johnson who discussed how General Motors began producing ventilators at the outset of the coronavirus pandemic.

  • On acting swiftly at the beginning of the pandemic: "It led us to be able to produce our first ventilator 30 days after [deciding to manufacture them]...Ultimately, the majority of our production ended up filling the country's bank of ventilators to support the effort of the pandemic. "

Thank you General Motors for sponsoring this event.

Go deeper

Updated Jan 15, 2021 - Axios Events

Watch: Affordability and the next administration

On Friday, January 15, Axios' Caitlin Owens hosted a conversation on the future of health care affordability with a new Biden administration, featuring former CMS administrator Dr. Mark McClellan and former Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.)

Dr. Mark McClellan discussed the priorities of the incoming Biden administration and challenges in health care access and affordability exacerbated by the pandemic.

  • On President-elect Biden dealing with the pandemic: "[He] was elected above all else for an effective response to the crisis. And that means the first round of legislation has to focus on more effective vaccination, more effective testing, reopening the economy, and giving people the economic support they need."
  • On people not getting the care they need during the pandemic: "We've seen a lot of health care complications because people did not get help. We don't have a strong public health system in this country...Most people did not get help. If they were at risk for infections, they had to go find a way to get tested on their own."

Rep. Greg Walden unpacked the value of telemedicine and creating an affordable, patient-centered health care system.

  • How technology can bridge existing health gaps: "We've learned the importance and practicality of getting health care closer to the patient. I'm speaking specifically about telemedicine. I think it can be both cost-effective and so much more convenient for the patient...You shouldn't have to rush into a hospital for everything you need."

Axios Vice President Yolanda Taylor Brignoni hosted a View from the Top segment with the CEO of OptumHealth, UnitedHealth Group, Dr. Wyatt W. Decker, who discussed the pandemic as a moment for the industry to think differently about how they provide accessible care.

  • On the potential for telemedicine: "Let's put the decision-making, good information, and support in the hands of a person and help provide them with digital tools that can give them easy access to health care with excellent outcomes. We [can] do this in a whole variety of ways by providing telehealth solutions."

Thank you UnitedHealth Group for sponsoring this event.

Mark Meadows will stop cooperating with Jan. 6 panel, attorney says

Photo: Chris Kleponis/Polaris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows will no longer cooperate with the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, his attorney told Fox News Tuesday.

Why it matters: Meadows, who failed to appear before the panel last month, is believed to have insight into former President Trump's role in efforts to stop the certification of President Biden's election win.

Updated 3 hours ago - Economy & Business

The billionaire balloon

Data: World Inequality Report 2022; Chart: Axios Visuals

The super-rich are getting stupid rich: New data out today shows the share of global wealth held by the richest slice of humanity swelled by almost a full percentage point during the pandemic.

Driving the news: The top 0.01% of individuals now hold about 11% of the world's wealth, compared to just over 10% in 2020, according to the "World Inequality Report 2022," written by Lucas Chancel, Thomas Piketty, Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman.

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