Life was very different in March 2020. The pandemic lockdown had just begun here in the United States. Hospital ICUs and morgues were overflowing with victims of COVID. The highways, once backed up with traffic, were now eerily silent. Air travel, train and bus travel all came to a screeching halt. Our lives were abruptly turned upside down. Consumed with taking care of our loved ones, many seriously ill, we had to be creative about how to get groceries, homeschool our children, and find necessities like toilet paper. And we were facing a challenge unlike anything we faced before: how to survive in isolation.

There are many inspiring stories of survival that have emerged from the lockdown. Many of us were overwhelmed, burned out, and depressed during this dark time. For some, however, the lockdown inspired their creativity and a sense of purpose that helped them forge a new path in their careers and their lives.

In August 2020, Michelle Fishburne found herself without a home, a spouse, a job, or a kid to take care of. An international trade attorney in Washington, DC, Michelle decided to be a stay-at-home mom after the birth of her first child. As her two children got older, she made her way back into the workforce doing public relations for education nonprofits. She was the National Director of PR and Partnerships for Inmates to Entrepreneurs, an entrepreneurship education nonprofit, and was busy setting up events at the U.S. House and U.S. Senate for “Second Chances Month” in April. When it was clear that national events could not happen due to the pandemic, she was laid off from the nonprofit.

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