We Are Strong

The tradition of Friday Presentations helps Finegold Alexander team members weather the pandemic together

Clockwise, from top left: Finegold Alexander colleagues Christopher Lane, Josie Catino, Sherman “Pat” Morss, Jr., and Rob Law gave a rousing presentation to the firm during a recent Friday Presentation
April 16, 2021
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Boston, Massachusetts—Slowly but surely, as the Finegold Alexander team is receiving their vaccinations or making appointments, we are emerging from our separate shelters and workspaces—taking stock of this past year of remote working and greeting the future with a cautious dose of optimism. So what helped us stay the course with our project work and personal lives, and how were we able to maintain a measure of wellbeing as we tried to power through 2020 and the spring of 2021? Certainly, the answers vary for each one of us here at Finegold Alexander, but maintaining our connections and identity as a team in the face of Covid was crucial. The mutual support came in many forms throughout the year, as we Zoomed into each other’s living rooms and kitchens; chatted with each other on Teams; and received in-person visits from Principals bearing holiday gifts. Continuing the Finegold Alexander tradition of Friday Presentations during the pandemic has been a critical component to staying connected and supporting one another through these stressful times.

The tradition of Friday Presentations dates to the early days of the firm, when they started as Saturday morning design review sessions. Over time these morphed into the longstanding Friday Presentation format, where we would knock off work an hour early on Fridays, to gather together in the Main conference room. The basic premise was—after an intense week of work—to drop what you were doing to grab a beer and snacks together.  For many years we would pack into the room, seated two rows deep—pouring each other wine, handing around communal platters of veggies and dip; and sharing our weekend plans.  We reviewed current projects, had impromptu Q&A sessions with firm leadership, and welcomed the newest members of the Finegold Alexander family.  The discussions were spirited as we debated form and function, always making sure everyone’s voice was heard.

Above: A Finegold Alexander Friday Presentation from back in the day

All of this changed when Covid hit. Conference room packed with colleagues - gone; generous array of beer bottles, wine bottles and soda cans - gone; communal bowls of hummus - gone! In the face of a global pandemic, these small losses were the least of our worries, but we did keep meeting on Teams as a firm every Friday afternoon. In this version of Friday Presentation, Alan Gerofsky might be at his dining room table; while Josephine Penta sported a virtual background; and Rebecca Berry was in the passenger seat of her car, heading with family for a weekend in New Hampshire. In some thumbnail screens, kids snuggled on parents’ laps, while dogs oftentimes barked in the background. Getting together virtually and sharing ideas felt more important than ever. After a week of working from our homes, collaborating virtually with our teams, it was refreshing to see all the familiar faces of friends and colleagues on one screen and get regular updates on how the firm was pivoting to address the financial pressure of working through a global pandemic.

Above: The sharing of summer photos and memories is a longstanding tradition of Friday Presentations. Here, Design Principal Tony Hsiao captured some moments from the summer of 2020.
Above: Guitarists Rob Law and Christopher Lane performed Funny How Time Slips Away by Willie Nelson during a recent Friday presentation.

At last Friday’s Presentation, we were reminded of how powerful the bonds of connection and support remain at Finegold Alexander. In that session, Senior Associate and musician Christopher Lane jammed with Associate and fellow musician Rob Law. Christopher also performed an original song written by our colleague in Finance, Associate Josie Catino. Titled “We Are Strong,” the music served as the perfect counterpoint to a composition Josie had penned at the start of the pandemic, “The Covid Blues.” It was a cheering and emotional experience to weather the pandemic together, and to hear Christopher sing Josie’s lyrics, below.

We Are Strong

This year it has been…. very hard and so long

Yet still I am here….and I’m singing my song.

And I ain’t singing about…. all the crap that went wrong

We’re moving ahead….


We’re getting new jobs….and the outlook is sunny

We’re on social media….and crushing it honey!

We’re a “For Profit” firm….so let’s go make some money!



The principals…. they show that they care

Ellen has said…. that she’d buy us all beer

Ms. President with the long blonde hair

Has led us back, from the brink of despair

Efficient, better, with all that we need

This is your official Notice to Proceed.


Spring will be busy, and I hope summer’s nuts

So, wake up your keyboards, get off of your butts!

I’m telling you now, get ready to go.

I’ll start off each Monday with a helluva show.


--Josie Catino, lyrics; music composed and performed by Christopher Lane

You can see a recording of Christopher’s performance, here:

As the perfect finale for this Friday Presentation, Associate Principal and accomplished photographer Sherman “Pat” Morss, Jr. shared a series of spectacular photographs he has taken over the course of this past year. Focusing on the incredibly varied wildlife that lives around his home on the salty shores of Gloucester, Pat provided us with a chronicle of the year that was both powerful and poetic.

Above: No need to head to The New England Aquarium! Here Pat captured a bob of seals, sunning themselves a short walk from his home.

As this memorable Friday Presentation drew to a close, it was time to say goodbye to one another, and greet another weekend. Looking forward, we now know that we’ll be returning in person to work at Finegold Alexander’s North End offices. The work week may look different than it did pre-pandemic, but what is certain is that the tradition of Finegold Alexander’s Friday Presentations will continue, stronger than ever. Thank you, Josie, Christopher, Rob and Pat, —for making us smile, for making us laugh, and for reminding us of the power of our shared discourse. And a big thank you to Design Manager Özge Diler Himes as well, for all of the work she does creating, structuring and managing the Friday Presentation schedule over the course of each year!