Thought Leadership

Quarantine Q&A: How Michelle Ledesma & Valerie Latronche are Adapting

April 3, 2020
By Rubicon Project

As Covid-19 has altered the way people in our company work for the time being, we’re curious how some of our employees are handling their quarantine.  We spoke with Michelle Ledesma, Marketing Operations & Global Events Manager in the Americas, and Valerie Latronche, Managing Director of France & Belgium in EMEA, to find out how they are doing, what’s keeping them sane, and to discover any tips they have for getting through this trying time.

MICHELLE LEDESMA

What is your name? 

Michelle Ledesma

What do you do at Rubicon Project? 

Marketing Operations & Global Events Manager

How are you doing with the quarantine? 

I have my good days like most.  A big part of my job is to produce events around the world, so the last few weeks have been pretty hard and stressful due to cancellations. Having a partner that makes me laugh and who’s super supportive helps me get through this.  At the end of the day, I’m just so thankful to have my health, a roof over my head, and a job that can be done from the safety of my home.

What adjustments have you made to your work life? 

Not a whole lot has changed aside from the fact I’m on more video calls.  I start my day at the same time as I would have when I was going to the office and I make sure to sign off at 5 pm. By maintaining the same schedule I’m hoping it will help me transition back to “normal life” once we’re cleared to return to the office.  

What gets you going in the morning? 

A shower, a little makeup, and a good stretch before I get in front of the computer. 

Do you have some productivity tips for working from home? 

Having a proper workspace is extremely important.  I also never have the TV on while I work, especially the news!   

What are the best things you’ve experienced during this situation? 

Hearing so many stories of people helping one another. I have neighbors using their 3D printers to make parts that are in short supply for face shields and masks. Neighbors are also offering to go grocery shopping for those who can’t because they’re high risk or simply too afraid to leave their homes. This situation is bringing out the best in community and compassion. 

How are you keeping in touch with friends and family? 

I’m pretty active on Facebook, especially since I have a lot of family overseas. It helps me stay connected, as well as group chats and video calls. Exchanging hilarious memes has also been fun.

What are you doing to stay occupied outside of work hours? 

I’ve been helping a group of women in my community make masks which will be donated to hospitals in the LA area, as well as the Los Angeles Police Department. Sewing several masks a day is hard on their hands, so I cut the fabric and make a drop every few days.  Everything is done with minimal contact, so after all this is done I’m looking forward to actually meeting them in person! 

How are you staying active during this situation? Are there any exercise videos or tips you recommend? 

I’d love to be in the pool swimming but can’t, so I go for short walks instead. I’m also trying to get back into dance through YouTube videos.

What TV shows, movies, or books do you recommend? 

I just started the new season of Ozark on Netflix, and boy is it good!  

When all this is over, how will you celebrate? 

I’m going to fly to San Francisco to give my mom and dad a big hug (instead of virtual ones) and play with my 2-year-old nephew!

VALERIE LATRONCHE

What is your name? 

Valérie Latronche

What do you do at Rubicon Project? 

As Managing Director France & Belgium, I lead the great French gang who operates our business from Paris.

How are you doing with the quarantine? 

So far so good! I now realize how lucky I am to have a small garden while living in an apartment in Paris, so I can enjoy some time outside even if we are not allowed to walk out of our homes.

What adjustments have you made to your work life? 

Since it looks like we’ll be at home for weeks, I have installed a large desk facing the patio door to the garden. Also, we have scheduled regular video calls with the team to chat about everything except work.

Other than that, it’s business as usual. There is still a lot to do!

What gets you going in the morning?  

Instead of spending 45 minutes in public transportation, I use that time to cook a proper breakfast and read while listening to music and bands I have never listened to before!  This is a new routine I like very much. 

Do you have some productivity tips for working from home? 

I stick to my regular office hours and shut down my work laptop when the office day is done. Same for the professional email notifications on my cell phone. I am conscious that working from home during a long period of time can hurt the work-life balance quickly.

What are the best things you’ve experienced during this situation? 

I’ve talked to people living in the same building who I had never met before! 

How are you keeping in touch with friends and family? 

Video-conferencing! Seeing my relatives all raise their Champagne glasses last Friday night was priceless.

What is your favorite recipe you’ve concocted out of things lying around the house? 

I like to travel a lot and I usually bring back spices and recipe books from all over the world, which I never use once I am back. So I’m trying a lot of Lebanese and South African recipes right now :).

What are you doing to stay occupied outside of work hours?  

I have 2 shelves full of unread books, so I read a lot. And I try to match what I read with music playlists. For example, I’ve just finished Life, the autobiography of Keith Richards, so I’ve listened to all the musicians he mentioned in it. And there’s a lot of them! I also sing (my neighbours confirmed my apartment’s soundproofing is OK). Oh, and I’ve found my 1990 Game Boy with Tetris again.  I’m working hard on it to hit my highest score ever. 

How are you staying active during this situation? Are there any exercise videos or tips you recommend? 

I am not a sportsperson at all, and in France we are not allowed to go out to exercise a lot. However, I’ve just found out that Just Dance is available through an app on my phone, and I can Chromecast it on my TV. This will be a game-changer for me!

What TV shows, movies, or books do you recommend?  

Anyone with a Netflix account should watch Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness, a 7-part documentary on a private zoo manager in Oklahoma. No script writer could have imagined such a story! As for books, anything from Margaret Atwood will do but one can start with The Heart Goes Last or Keith’s autobiography!

When all this is over, how will you celebrate? 

French Style parties: Champagne, French Wines, and Gourmet food (including stinky cheese) with family & close friends!

To learn more about life at Rubicon Project, email us: contact@rubiconproject.com


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