* * *BC/DR Professional Showcase* * *
An Interview with Cheyenne Marling Taking your BC/DR Profession to the next level
Ms. Cheyene Marling
BC Management, Inc.
Cheyene has become an integral part of the business continuity community previously serving on the board for the Association of Contingency Planners of Los Angeles and Orange County and currently an active professional on the Editorial Advisory Board for Continuity Insights. She was also the recipient of the inaugural ACP Hall of Fame award in 2006 and most recently she was awarded an Honorary MBCI by the Business Continuity Institute (BCI).
Q & A Taking your BC/DR Profession to the next level
You are in a key position to monitor the trends in the market place. Are you willing to make a best bet on what skills will be in demand 2 years from now? Global expertise will be crucial. I’m not implying that someone needs to be working overseas to gain that expertise, though. Working on the program on a global basis will continue to be a very marketable skill. Companies more than ever seek real world experience in responding to disasters and activating programs during a disaster. Not everyone is equipped to “emotionally” respond during an actual event.
In your opinion, what is easier to sell to a prospective hiring company – Leadership skills or real world experience? Real world experience is easier to sell. Professionals should keep a list of the events they responded to. What was their involvement in responding to the event and what did they learn from the event? The same exercise should be done for leadership skills too, though. How many years have you served on a board? How many presentations have you given and where? Have you written any white papers or contributed to industry journals?
Real world – have you come across many BC or DR professionals that have a robust Training program that they personally deliver within their organization. Are you seeing that companies are willing to invest time/money on educating their staff? Yes, I have come across several professionals who have rolled out an organizational training program on BCM. I havefound, though, that training programs have dropped a bit in priority of company needs. I’m assuming that the economy has impacted this a bit as companies focus on the bottom line.
While looking for a suitable candidate – what indicators do you look for to show someone is a true Champion of our BC/DR profession? It really comes down to the dialogue with the candidate. Do they inspire me? Do they actually know what they are talking about? Can they reference examples when I ask questions? What are their
accomplishments? Are they a leader in the profession or an upcoming leader? Are they well spoken and polished?
Can you talk to us a little about “Branding” – For example: Being ‘Detailed’ – could be a plus or minus. It is natural to assess other individuals so that you can form an opinion on how they might act in future situations. Everyone has a “personal brand” and how they react in 1 on 1 settings along with group settings develops their “personal brand” over time. Everyone must be aware of their “personal brand” and how they conduct themselves in different situations. The better your personal brand matches the company culture will contribute to your success with an organization. Meaning, being detailed may be a good match with one organization or hiring manager, or it may be the exact opposite.
Do you have any suggestions on what are considered ‘good’ places to publish? The Disaster Recovery Journal and Continuity Insights are large, recognized industry journals within the USA. Both organizations are always seeking informative articles to publish. Aside from that, commenting on blogs, LinkedIn and other social industry groups can also increase your marketability.
Do you see an increase in the number BC professionals? Yes, I certainly do. The profession continues to grow each year and more than ever professionals are entering the BCM profession through various career paths, such as
operations, compliance, risk management, audit, health & safety and program management, to name a few. Programs also continue to grow as enterprise programs within organizations, which is also increasing the number of experienced BCM professionals.
Do you have any idea why ACP is decreasing in membership throughout the country? I would point to the economy. Fewer organizations are assisting professionals with reimbursing for such organizations. Individuals are also busier than ever at work because they have increased responsibilities due to a lack of replacing professionals who were laid off or resigned. Aside from money, it’s become a challenge to leave work and participate in association events.
If you were new to the business continuity profession, what skills would you want to obtain in your first several years?
Professionals new to the industry should gain experience (as much as they can) in being involved in the full-life cycle in developing and implementing a BCM program. Certification is also key and desired by most of my companies.
What skills do you see missing in longer-term business continuity professionals? Long-term business continuity professionals seem to struggle with thinking outside of the box. Approaches and best practices evolve over time. One should never assume that they have all the answers just based on their years of experience. Everyone should always be learning and accept that they don’t always know everything, despite how many years of experience they have.
Interview conducted by: Dianne Stephens