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Continuity Insights Management Conference: Meet Howard Mannella

Meet the speakers at this year’s Continuity Insights Management Conference, then click here to learn more about the 2023 event.

Meet the speakers at this year’s Continuity Insights Management Conference, then click here to learn more about the 2023 event.

Howard Mannella
Alternative Resiliency Services

When did you know you wanted this job?

I was unemployed on 9/11, and got the inspiration to reach out to BC/DR companies since I figured they’d be getting busier. I knew that I made the right call by the enthusiasm of their replies.

How did your earlier career choices lead you to where you are now?

My early career choices of Financial Services and Consulting made BC/DR consulting for Financial Services firms a natural fit. Seeing how portable Resiliency is from one vertical to another led me into Resiliency for SaaS, which is my main focus now (but it’s still portable!)

What career mistake has given you the biggest lesson?

Not putting the business at center stage. When I ran the shop at Expedia, I constituted a Steering Committee with the usual suspects: CIO, CFO, CAO, Facilities, Legal… the back office. I should have had the business-side – where we made the money – represented. After that, every Steering Committee or Governance org I’ve established has included “Voice of the Business” and/or “Voice of the Customer”

Some were calling my not Yes-sing my management at Expedia when they wanted to gut the program a career mistake. I disagree.

What research did you do to prepare for this role?

On 9/12, I looked at who was operating in this space. I then looked at the leaders and learned a bit about each. I also looked a how they played here, and landed on a short list of those who were small, had good leaders and offered consultancy and advice. A good pick, in hindsight.

What was your first “win” that made you confident that you were doing the right thing?

In pre-Resiliency consulting, when a regional brokerage house called me, said that Goldman Sachs recommended me and asked me to come in and do the project. What a rush! In my Resiliency career, having people call me and ask me to come do work. With only two exceptions, all of my work in ten years has come from word-of-mouth and reputation. That’s both gratifying and humbling.

How do you avoid being complacent in your role?

Knowing that I have to be different from the pack and add value every day, especially in this economic environment, where sadly too many think that Resiliency is a nice-to-haver but expendable since “We Can All Work From Home” :+( and that practitioners are interchangeable.

What is the biggest risk that you’ve taken?

Spinning up my own business. I give full credit to my wife (and now CFO) when she suggested, “If you think that your BS is so good, why not try selling it on the street?” Thus was born Alternative Resiliency Services Corp, which will celebrate its 10th Anniversary in March. What a roller coaster of a ride it’s been!

What did you do at work yesterday? (A spin on the “what is a typical day” question.)

Four workshops/working sessions ( I do not do ‘meetings’, they’re a waste of time), a bit of testing of a newly-acquired Mass Emergency Notification service, and a lot – a lot – of Slacking people, the virtual equivalent of “Managing by Walking Around”

How did you set yourself apart from others who wanted the same job?

Mainly, I was myself (my best version of myself) – pragmatic, tell it like it is, no buzzwords. I also spoke English and Exec-lish, not BC/DR Geek-Speak. I also did some research on my company, figured out that

To learn more about Howard’s session and to view the full conference agenda, click here.

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