The Pandemic: Lynne’s Story
About the Author:
Lynne Wines is a Director of BankUnited, a NYSE traded commercial bank. She also serves as Chair of the Nominating and Governance Committee and as a member of the audit committee. She is a well-respected and experienced banker, having held the position of Chief Executive Officer of several Florida based banks. Her expertise includes finance, operations and mergers and acquisitions. Lynne also serves as Chair of the Broward Business Council on Homelessness, a division of United Way of Broward County. Their mission is to house and provide wrap around supportive services for the thousands of homeless individuals and families in Broward County, Florida. Lynne is a graduate of New York University with a Masters of Public Administration, a Harvard Advanced Leadership Fellow and holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Nova Southeastern University. Lynne resides in Florida and New York.
Being a Board Member for Different Brains:
Q: Describe what your role as a board member for Different Brains is:
A: My role as a board member is, I support what Hackie is trying to do. I support the mission of Different Brains. I’m not on the executive committee, but that doesn’t really define the role, so it’s really to support the mission of the organization. When it’s too cumbersome to call the whole board together for a quick question, Hackie has a discussion about something, or if he wants to bounce something off of us, he just calls on his executive committee.
Life Before the Pandemic:
Q: Okay, sounds good. So now that we know a little bit about you, describe your everyday life before the pandemic hit. Include aspects of your life, such as work, extracurricular activities, or anything that was social.
A: I was in conjunction with United Way, running the Broward Business Council on homelessness and trying to advance initiatives in this community, house the homeless, and provide wrap-around services for them, so that’s what I was doing for work. I also sit on the board of Bank United, which is a large publicly traded financial institution. I sit on five other boards. That takes up some of my time. There are obligations on and off to those boards, so that’s what I do. I would say some of that is social because we were able to meet in person. Of course, I enjoy going into United Way, attending meetings, attending events; not only for United Way, but for the bank or for the Fort Lauderdale Housing Authority, or whichever ones they were.
For extracurricular activities, I’d love to work out. I was going to Orange Theory and into a small, private gym. I did that probably four or five days a week. I was living in Fort Lauderdale with my partner, and we would go kayaking. We were traveling. We have a place in New York, so we were going back and forth. My son lives in California. I was in California just before the pandemic hit. I enjoy going out there too, and I’ve been here a long time.
I have friends. We go out to dinner. We do things together. Going to theater, concerts, and plays was a big deal. We belong to the Broward of Performing Arts Center as members, so we’d go to almost every performance that they had there. That was a big part of what we did as well. It’s very interesting and some of these things are related, or you create relationships between them by trying to tie them together. I was always learning something, meeting interesting people, trying to advance a cause and trying to make things better, so I enjoyed it very much and I look forward to getting back to it!
Reacting to the Coronavirus:
Q: Describe how you initially reacted to the coronavirus and the social distancing.
A: Initially, I think myself and probably many other people thought this was going to be short, so it was almost like a vacation from being busy. Oh, we can just sit in the backyard. Plus, it wasn’t as hot. We have nice furniture along the water, and we could just sit outside and read and relax. We could continue to have conversations with all our friends. I worked out at home, I had all these videos, and got my own yoga mat and yoga blocks. I started baking and cooking, so I kept very busy in the beginning, thinking it would go away. This would be up four to six months or be a four-to-six-week experience. Clearly, it’s been more than that, so now the social distancing is more challenging. We still try to see friends. We create our own little pause of people that we trust that we know are healthy, and we still try to see a few people. It’s been interesting for all of us, in one way or another. It’s hopefully a once-in-a lifetime experience.
Schedule Changes & Adaptations:
A: In what ways did your life and schedule change as a result of the coronavirus?
A: Obviously, my schedule changed in that everything was done through Zoom. I’ve gotten burned out now on so many Zoom calls. In the beginning, I was open to all of them, and every time an organization said, “Oh, we have a call on how to be more on homelessness,” or “how to be a better director of a financial institution,” I would do it. Now, I’m sick of all those new calls and don’t accept all those invitations. I did exercise at home, which I hadn’t done in years. I talked on the phone and watched TV. I’m not really a TV watcher and I still don’t watch a lot of TV, but I started watching movies more. I was never big on cooking or baking. Certainly not baking. I don’t think I’d made a cake from scratch in like 25 years, and I now make them all the time (chuckles.)
Q: What have you had to do to adapt to these circumstances?
A: I mean, what everyone else is doing, which is staying in. Have I had to do anything in particular, other than order more things online, order groceries online, get my yoga mat and yoga blocks, and more weights in the house? I think other than that, just try to teach myself to be calmer about having so much downtime.
Coping With COVID-19:
Q: What coping mechanisms are using our deal with these strange times?
A: As we discussed, yoga and exercising. I take very long walks, which I never did before because I worked out the gym. I generally walk about four miles a day. I’ve got a puppy, and that’s a big thing, so that was one of my coping mechanisms. She’s great!
Life Lessons & Advice:
Q: What have you learned about yourself and the world around you from these unusual circumstances?
A: I don’t know if I learned this, but maybe my awareness has been heightened because of the times we’re living in. The divisiveness of the society we’re living in now is very disturbing. I think what I see from the world is that we really all have to work together because it is one world and isolation just isn’t going to work. So, we need cooperation to get these vaccines done and things like that. What I’ve learned about myself is that I can be a lot calmer and a lazier than I ever thought I could change (laughs.)
Q: What advice would you give to someone that’s currently dealing with similar circumstances?
A: I would say take a deep breath and let yourself relax. Read a book in the middle of the day. Things we never allowed ourselves to do because we always felt like we had to be busy and doing something constructive. Working. Now, you have no choice, so sit back, read more, or whatever you enjoy doing, whether it’s baking or reading or making something. Artwork: allow yourself to enjoy it more. Give yourself a break.
Story by: Lynne
Interviewed by: Julia Futo
Interviewed on: September 3rd, 2020
Julia Futo was born on August 5th, 1999, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. She faced difficulties early on in life with trying to perform everyday tasks. Before she was five years old, she was diagnosed with two learning disabilities: Encephalopathy and developmental coordination disorder (DCD). She struggled in school for a long time, but that changed when she took journalism in high school and learned how to become an advocate. She is currently in college and hopes to help others find their voices.