How To Address Your Team After A Tragic Event

Stacey Ferreira
3 min readOct 2, 2017


No amount of education or books can prepare you to address your team after events like the ones in Vegas.

When you choose to start a business, you often try to mentally prepare yourself for all the possibilities of the the ups and downs throughout the journey. Still, there are things that no one ever teaches you, and things that don’t even cross your mind as a realistic possibility.

Even last night, when I went to bed around 10:00pm, I still wouldn’t know I’d be waking up in the morning to hear about the largest mass shooting in the US.

My first thought was “Was anyone on my team in Vegas?” I didn’t think they were. So my next thought was “Was anyone’s family or friends in Vegas?” Living in California and having just been in Vegas last week myself, that was certainly a possibility. Next I thought, “How can I help?”

I posted on Facebook, your standard “Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone impacted,” but I felt obligated to address my team differently — after all, these are the people I spend more time with than anyone else.

So instead, I wrote them an email to offer up some resources (early in the morning before I knew people would be heading into the office):

“Last night’s horrifying events in Las Vegas are extremely tragic and sad. My thoughts, prayers and support go out to the victims, families and friends of victims and everyone else who has, in some way, been impacted. If you know anyone who was impacted and need time today, please let me know but feel free to take the day off.

Events like these can be emotionally taxing — especially as we see them happening more frequently in this country and around the world. If you need help finding someone to talk to as a way to express grief, sorrow, anger or any other emotion to an unbiased, third-party, let me know and we’ll work together to find the right person for you to talk to.”

Why offer Mental Health Counseling and PTO?

  1. Mental Health Counseling — Nothing is more important to me than everyone on my team being in a good headspace. If people need to talk to someone to cope with sorrow, grief, anger, or any other range of emotions from an event like the one in Vegas, I want them to have a professional to speak with.
  2. Paid Time Off — If someone on my team lost a loved one, the last thing I want them to worry about is their paycheck. So, the least I can do is financially take care of people who have taken care of my business.

I hope that I won’t have to write another one of these emails or a blog post like this ever again. But as one of my mentors, Dan Tyre, wrote to me in an email this morning, “Senseless brutality is a real issue in our world and will, unfortunately, likely not go away in our lifetime. We win with love and kindness. If you know someone impacted, its okay to drop everything to help.”



Stacey Ferreira

CEO & Co-Founder at Forge. Thiel Fellow 2015. U.S. State Department Speaker. Co-Author of 2 Billion Under 20.