In the leadup to the 12th Annual Continuity Insights Management Conference, April 28-30, 2014 at the Sheraton New Orleans, Continuity Insights asks presenters about their chosen topics, lessons learned from their organizations’ business continuity experiences, critical business continuity skills and hypothetical band names. This week we sat down with Kimberly Hirsch, Senior Business Partner — Business Continuity Management at Target, to learn more about her upcoming presentation, “When A Drip Becomes a Flood — Lessons Learned From Target’s First Large-Scale Business Continuity Activation,” why real-life case studies are important and why Harry Connick Jr. would make a good business continuity professional.

Continuity Insights: What’s the most important thing you learned during Target’s first large-scale business continuity activation?  

Kimberly Hirsch: To be available and visible. Rather than setting up a command center in a conference room, our team decided to sit at tables in the busy lobby of our impacted site so that we would be a presence to those affected. They knew exactly how and where to find us the entire time. It allowed us to answer a lot of questions and gather information before small problems grew into large ones.

CI: Why are real-life case studies important for business continuity professionals?  

KH: In our profession, if we are lucky, we rarely get to practice our skills in real-world, large-scale situations. If I can’t have an experience that I can learn from myself, then I want to learn from yours. This is what allows for constant skills growth and plan improvement.

CI: Complete this sentence: To be a successful business continuity professional you must master the risk assessment, the BIA and _____?

KH: … influencing without authority. Much of our team’s success depends on others being willing to work with us and feel that business continuity planning is as important as we think that it is. In a world of ever-increasing time conflicts and everyone being overworked, that’s increasingly difficult to sustain.

CI: Which U.S. president, first lady, sportsperson or musician do you think would have made a good business continuity professional and why? 

KH: Harry Connick Jr. If you ever see him in concert, you’ll see that his band has these really cool computer screens with the song selections pre-programmed, but when Harry feels the need, he plays a few notes of another song, the band figures it out and kicks in. Prepared, but flexible. (Plus, with the conference in New Orleans and all — Harry … call me!)

CI: If you formed a band with other business continuity professionals what would you call it? 

KH: Disaster Preparedness … I’d feel the need to let my audience know what they are in for!

Catch this session and more at the 2014 Continuity Insights Management Conference! View the agenda here.

Learn more about Hirsch’s session:


When A Drip Becomes a Flood — Lessons Learned From Target’s First Large-Scale Business Continuity Activation

Kimberly Hirsch, Target

Early one Sunday morning, a water line failed in a Target headquarters location. By the time the tide was turned, three floors had to be closed, affecting approximately 1,200 employees — some for as long as eight weeks. Attendees will hear about the key actions taken by the corporation to minimize damage; which business partners — both internal and external — were vital during the recovery process; how the team’s scope of responsibility rapidly grew throughout the event; and how work-from-home capabilities both dictated the success of this event and will change our planning process going forward.

Kim Hirsch holds MBCP, MBCI, BCMS Auditor and ISO22301 Lead Auditor designations and has more than 10 years of industry experience.