How a 9/11 Tragedy Became a Blessing.
By: Sonia Clayton.
President & CEO of VIP-Global.
In the dark days of 2001 when the 9/11 terrorist attack took place, my former employer and team were working on a project at the World Trade Center (Tower 1, 70th floor), in New York. Suddenly, the twin towers were destroyed in a single day and America was terribly wounded. Almost 3,000 victims and 19 hijackers were killed with 6,000 more injured. As American’s, we were all emotionally wounded while our economy crashed. Luckily, my team and I were absent from the project that day, however, we were adversely affected in the aftermath of this catastrophic event.
My team immediately became unemployed and big questions raised up in our minds. We were facing a dramatically challenging moment in History that would CHANGE America and the world forever. I knew that the changes ahead would challenge the norm, our safety protocols, our national identity, the way we used to travel, access public events, and even our own perception of the world. It was indeed a pivotal, challenging and complicated moment. I had no idea of what to do about my people and my team and how we would navigate our way forward.
After two weeks of unemployment and uncertainty, we noticed that the economic downturn was going to be a “V-Shaped” economic recession. We then decided to start a new business and we created Virtual Intelligence Providers, LLC, also known as VIP-Global (www.vip-global.com).
Our initial intent was to help our friends find jobs and help rebuild America. I gathered my former team because they had lost their jobs due to the ensuing economic downturn. I retooled their skill sets, gave them a new vision and mission and together, we went to market. Eventually, VIP-Global became a multi-million-dollar, international operation, one of America’s most recognized IT consulting firms in O&G and the recipient of more than 30 awards of excellence.
This is how we found light in those dark days. We prayed for guidance, we focused on being optimistic and positive people. We looked for opportunities to serve. We decided to have fun while we worked. We remained attentive to the world economic news. We met and discussed ideas and started to volunteer our services in hospitals and in energy and manufacturing corporations in Houston. Soon after, VIP-Global landed its first deal with Pennzoil (Shell Oil), where I had been helping as a volunteer recruiter.
Today, we are one of the most innovative companies in the USA. We are a privately-owned, Houston-Texas based company, recognized by more than 30 awards of excellence including House and State recognition. We are a full spectrum Technology and Change Consulting firm that provides “People & Solutions for Next-Generation Computing Technologies” ™. Most solutions provided by VIP-Global are technology (application) driven localized in 26 different languages and deployed across the world. As I look back, I realize that regardless of our inadequacies we were able to take those depressing and difficult 9/11 days and turn them into VIP-Global.
As on the dark days of 9/11, COVID-19 has changed life as we knew it. Be ready to change and keep in mind that when life gives you lemons, you have the power to turn them into lemonade, but it takes courage, endurance, optimism and a positive can-do attitude in the face of adversity or misfortune. Lemons are sour and so is life sometimes. Take the lemons of your life today and make your own lemonade.
It is not a coincidence that “God found Gideon in a hole, Joseph in a prison and Daniel in a lion’s den.” He knows of our anguish, our pain, our stressors, and concerns, during troubled times. Just remember, when the world sees disappointment and failure, God sees revival, future, innovation, prosperity, and much success. Let us all be ready to rebuild our beloved America, one more time!