A8: How Was Canadian Premier Able to Manage During the Pandemic?      
Tahir Rao, Canadian Premier Life Insurance (Subsidiary of Securian Financial)       
Before November 2019, there was no Business Continuity or disaster recovery plan available in the company, and it was an uphill task to build end to BCM framework, including developing of BCM Policy, identification and training of BCP Coordinators, identification of mission-critical systems, processes, data, people, and preparation of data. The other challenge was to eliminate traditional off-site/alternate locations and while creating a capability of working remotely in crisis/emergency, impacting all the locations like the current pandemic. This presentation will describe the success story of Canadian Premier Life Insurance where within a short period of six-months a complete BCM framework was built, including preparation and approval of BCM Policy, Procedure, getting buy-in from businesses, the nomination of BCP coordinators, their training, conducting BIA, the testing of BCM Plan, and seamlessly transition to working from home.

A9: Black Swan Lands in Texas     
Andy Lapierre, Frost Bank
2021 Frost Bank was faced with: – COVID-19; – A winter storm of epic proportion; – No water; – No electricity; – A power grid minutes away from utter collapse; – Critical employees who could not work from home; – and much more. In this presentation we will discuss how we overcame these obstacles while still being there for our customers and employees. Many if not all of us have heard of the Black Swan. The Black Swan is supposed to be a theory or a metaphor. What happens when that Black Swan actually lands at your company’s front door? In February 2021 Frost Bank experienced its own Black Swan. Already dealing with the likes of COVID, Mother Nature thought she would throw in some additional key contributing factors that created our own Black Swan. These factors included a winter storm that crippled Texas for weeks and a power grid on verge of collapse. In this session we will discuss many aspects of how these events were managed. We will explore how each of our departments came together as a whole to persevere through these such events and we’ll discuss what went well and what didn’t go so well and how we as a company chased it away. This session will give some great takeaways and lessons learned that can help you and your company prepare should this Black Swan ever show up at your front door. 

B12: Where Do We Go From Here? Continuity in Higher Education in the Post COVID World
Brandon Robbins, Washington University in St. Louis
Prior to COVID-19 emergency managers and business continuity professionals may have developed continuity plans primarily focused on continuity following a large-scale disaster resulting in destroyed buildings, staff that may have been killed or injured, total loss of information and communication infrastructure, and governments and businesses with the ability to only focus on their essential functions. COVID-19 was not an apocalyptic incident. Rather, it challenged planners because staff was lost but they were lost from being on campuses, officed, or government complexes. Employees could still do all their functions but were away from their hardened offices. Functional areas were disrupted, not because of the loss of resources or personnel, but rather the demand increased too much. What if there was a way to streamline planning efforts to reduce the amount of time spent on risk assessments? What if there was an approach to focus on continuity capabilities rather than restrictions of time, cost, and scope? What would happen if we adapted planning to areas rather than completing templates provided by FEMA? This presentation will introduce the audience to adaptive business continuity strategies that all emergency managers can understand and implement in their current environments and plans. We’ll explore the streamline impacts and risks for your areas to only include 7 key areas. In addition, this presentation will explore planning utilizing a competency, resources, and procedures approach focused on the capabilities of an area. Lastly, the discussion will include the new roles and responsibilities for leadership and continuity planners in this post COVID-19 era. In the end, the audience will take away the ability to focus their time and efforts, clarity to their roles and responsibilities, a notion of thinking inward rather than just externally, and lastly, the notion of building a culture of continuity to increase resilience.

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