Friends

When faced with a prolonged period of time (semi)locked inside and without the usual distractions you’d turn to in order to unwind – like a good night out or a dinner date – you just have to get inventive.

With the country effectively shutting down last March, we asked business leaders interviewed in MaltaCEOs 2021 what entertained them most during lockdown, and their replies are pretty… well, entertaining.

Quality family time

Many CEOs embraced and valued the increased opportunity for family time – but this proved entertaining for different reasons. For Beppe Muscat, CEO of NM Group, what entertained him was “the kids and the home-schooling drama”, while Michael Bonello, CEO of Alliance Group, was amused by his “children on TikTok”. Andre Zarb, Senior Partner at KPMG, cherished “spending more time with my family, particularly my grandson”, and Gege Gatt, CEO of EBO, says “armed with a GoPro, my family and I had some lovely weekends producing short movies.”

Working out

Breaking a sweat proved to be a great way for business leaders to take their minds off things. Andrei Grech, CEO of AG Group, says he was entertained by his “home gym, for two-to-three hours a day”, while Nikhil Patil, CEO at GO plc, refers to his “Peloton bike” as a good distraction. Meanwhile, Paul V. Tabone, CEO of Tabbingtons Ltd, cites “doing online exercises with Richard Geres” as a way to stay healthy and occupied.

The telly

There’s nothing like a few hours spent on the sofa, forgetting about the world while watching a series or film. Netflix proved to be a popular choice for many, including Bank of Valletta CEO, Rick Hunkin. For Adriana Camilleri Vassallo, CEO of Francis J Vassallo & Associates, “watching Downton Abbey” offered some sweet respite, while Rose Anne Cuschieri, CEO at Malta Further and Higher Education Authority, turned to “watching comedies” during lockdown. What’s better than a good laugh?

Food & Drink

Straight to the point, Niki Travers Tauss, Managing Director at Esprit Yachting, says what entertained him most during lockdown was “whisky!”, while Kevin Rapinett, CEO at Halmann Vella, singles out “my wine cellar.” On the other hand, Miriam Theuma, CEO at Agenzija Żghażagh, says she enjoyed “baking bread – I even have my own pandemic yeast culture.”

The Great Outdoors

Nature proved to be the best medicine to combat lockdown woes for many across the islands, including for Dana Farrugia, CEO of Tech.mt, who says “rediscovering nature through long walks” was a joy during tough times. Similarly, Laura Jasenaite, CEO of Cool Ride-Pooling, turned to “walking”, while Joseph Gerada, Regulator at the Family Business Office, says “cooking and cycling” were a great antidote.

Friendly chats

For two CEOs, online group chats proved to be fun, entertaining, and a great way to learn something new. Felipe Navarro, former CEO at MAPFRE Middlesea, says he was entertained by “a weekly Zoom call with a group of friends, where we discussed a documentary that someone would have recommended” the previous week, while Joanna Delia, CEO at People & Skin, says she cherished moments with “my closest friends and our intellectual conversations”.

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