Garrett Leight California Optical's Global Sales Director riding a bike in the South of France.

At Home with Charles Wolfe

Meet Charles, Global Sales Director

How has the current environment affected the way you work?

For me, working from home is not something new. As the commercial sales director, I am used to managing a team that, for the most part, also works from home in their respective countries. For me, I just need my laptop and my phone and I am "in the office." In normal times, that could be on a train, on a plane, or sometimes in the Amsterdam office. The thing that I miss the most are the tradeshows; since they've all been canceled, I only get to see my team on ZOOM. We are a really tight group and it's always good to have time together. We had planned to have a sales team weekend in Portugal this September, but we eventually had to opt out due to the Covid risk — so next year!

Is Europe getting back to something resembling 'normal'? Is there a new 'normal’?

Right now we are coming off of August, when Europe is typically all on vacation. For the most part, people did take time with family and loved ones—just maybe not the 3 weeks as usual, and mostly in their own country. Here in France, the tourist spots like Saint Tropez, Biarritz, etc. were full of French tourists, but of course no fellow Americans or other non-domestic tourists. But the EU borders are open, and I recently drove to Rome for a few vacation days. Everyone wears masks when in public indoor venues; shop owners take temperatures of customers as they enter; and in the city centers, masks are required even on the streets. The new norm is meeting friends at outdoor venues where you can be together with less risk—the weather has been fantastic this summer in Europe, so definitely taking advantage!

Garrett Leight California Optical's Global Sales Director Charles Wolfe working on laptop. GLCO's Global Sales Director Charles Wolfe with his dog.

Have you introduced any new routines or rituals since the pandemic?

For sure ZOOM is the new norm for getting together for work or for friends. My mom is in a retirement home in Virginia and no one in the family has been allowed to visit her since March—so we get the family together to ZOOM with her and she is so happy to see all of us. For my team, I think it is really practical and a great way to see each other and share ideas.

What do you do when you need a mood boost?

If I really want a change of mood I take the dog and go to a nearby river—there’s a great spot about 30 minutes away where there are canyons and lots of little cascades from underground springs that flow into the river. There's not too many people and it's a good place to just be alone and enjoy nature.

What're you wearing?

I love my Roku with light blue tinted lenses for when I am on the computer. They’re feather light and I love the look of the acetate inner rim in crystal. Even if you’re just working at home, it feels good to not just be in boxers and a t-shirt. And for sure wearing a Mr. Leight frame in case you jump on a video call is always a good idea.

What’s the first thing you did when lockdowns were lifted?

Here in France we were not allowed to go more than 1 kilometer from our home in March and April, so the first thing I did was get together a small group of my friends and have a picnic outdoors in the countryside, where we could respect social distancing. Even though it was only 3 months, it seemed like a year had flown by since we’d seen each other.

What's the best advice you’ve received or can give during this time?

I think even though we were not able to see our friends face to face, this time has actually drawn me closer to them. 2020 has thrown so many curves into the game, the best thing to do is to stay positive and remember to appreciate all the good things around us.

A scenic photo of GLCO's Charles Wolfe's home in the South of France and his dog.