When did you know you wanted this job?
I actually sort of “backed into” business continuity thanks to a management shakeup where I was working, but I found that the work really matched my natural style of problem solving.
How did your earlier career choices lead you to where you are now?
I decided to move into program management after just a few years in Business Continuity, and thought that going back to graduate school would be a good step in that direction. That education has served me very well, both as a program leader and as a consultant.
What career mistake has given you the biggest lesson?
I remember very early on in my career noticing that two implementation projects I was working on for two disparate groups had parallel efforts and goals. So, I arranged a large meeting with all of the stakeholders for both projects to try and see how we could streamline things. Unfortunately, I didn’t really have a solid agenda together for the meeting, and it very nearly ended up being a big waste of time. I learned then to never plan a meeting without an agenda.
What research did you do to prepare for this role?
I’ve done a lot of reading of other people’s work. In addition to getting certified, I’ve also spent a lot of time looking at sample and actual documents from people in a number of industries that tried to accomplish the same goals (whether they be Crisis Management, BC plans, DR Runbooks, or whatever). I’ve learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t.
What was your first “win” that made you confident that you were doing the right thing?
It wasn’t my first win, but I think it was a huge win the time I convinced the CIO to let me reorganize the company inside our BC software to match the structure our accounting department was using for costing and budgeting, rather than simply matching the organizational chart. While the move might have seemed counterintuitive at first, it allowed me to match profit and budget numbers with departments. With that information, I was able to accurately project the costs of outages using numbers that the department managers themselves had provided.
How do you avoid being complacent in your role?
In my current role as an architect, I find myself continually stretching out and improving my skillset so I can better needs of my clients. Every company I work with is different, and I need to stay on my toes so I can help solve everyone’s individual problems.
What is the biggest risk that you’ve taken?
I’ve taken a few in my career. Probably the biggest was moving my family 5 states away for a job, and all of the expenses and anguish associated with that. It was a good move for a good job, in hindsight.
What did you do at work yesterday?
I met with internal managers and vendors to try and figure out better ways to deliver solutions to our clients. Two of the outstanding conversations include talking to a vendor about a new potential use for their software that they weren’t previously considering, and talking to our sales manager about a new marketing campaign I can help with.
How did you set yourself apart from others who wanted the same job?
Interestingly enough, I think I was the only person considered for this job when I was hired. I had interviewed with Sayers a few months prior for a different job, and their resource manager basically told me that I was overqualified for that position, and that he’d call me if something with more responsibility came along.
What is the best career advice you’ve ever received?
When I was a little on the fence on whether or not to go to grad school (I was 37, working a stressful job, and had two kids still in diapers) my father told me to ahead and do it. Even if I didn’t get a promotion immediately, it would help me in the future and probably in ways I couldn’t predict at the time. He also said it would be worth the effort and the money. He was absolutely right.
What advice would you give to your younger self at the start of your career?
I’d tell myself to research toxic relationships and how to avoid or get out of them. That probably would have helped me both in and out of the workplace.
What impresses you the most when you are considering hiring someone?
Writing style and preparedness. If someone has a real command of language, and exudes competence in what they’re doing, they’re probably going to be great at their job.
How do you, your team or company define success?
We define success by making our customers happy. Yes, that sounds trite, but we take it incredibly seriously at Sayers. Our Netpromoter scores reflect that.
What is the biggest challenge to achieving that success?
Making everybody happy all the time is a pretty tall order to fill. The key there is managing expectations.