In the leadup to Continuity Insights New York, October 29-30, 2012 at The Hotel Pennsylvania in New York City, Continuity Insights asks presenters about their chosen topics, critical business continuity skills, how prepared we can be, which famous person would have made a good business continuity professional and what they would name their band. Up first is Donna Arobone, IIG Divisional Contingency Coordinator at Vanguard, whose presentation is titled Nothing Spreads Like Fear: Contagion — A Movie Case Study.
Continuity Insights: Why did you choose to use the movie Contagion as a case study for your presentation on how to respond to a worldwide pandemic outbreak? How can this fictional piece of work help us prepare for a pandemic?
Donna Arobone: I saw the movie, Contagion, when it came out in 2011 and loved it. I immediately thought that the movie had many parallels to what we plan for and discuss at work as continuity planners. The movie shows how quickly a pandemic can spread, the effects on society, the choices that people make under stress and panic, and the government officials that would get involved. I suggested to the Principal of Contingency that we do a case study with all of the continuity planners at the company. It was very well-received. Therefore, I thought it would be a fun exercise to share with other continuity professionals.
The movie opened my eyes to the realization of the widespread effects that a pandemic could have on all of us. After watching this movie, you won't touch your face as much and you'll think about stockpiling food and supplies.
CI: What is the most important thing you’ve learned in preparing for (and responding to) pandemics?
DA: Wash your hands! A LOT!
From a business perspective, it always helps to geographically diversify your critical functions, therefore lowering the risk of a pandemic effecting your business.
CI: Complete this sentence: To be a successful business continuity professional you must master the risk assessment, the BIA and _______________________.
DA: influencing upper management
CI: True or false: There are some things you simply cannot plan for, e.g. the massive earthquake and tsunami in Japan.
DA: True: I don't think anyone can anticipate what life might throw at them 100 percent of the time. When you're standing on the beach in Hawaii in your bathing suit with just a towel and your iPod and a tsunami hits, you're not prepared. But I do think we can mitigate risks. We can lower our chances of being effected by an emergency by taking certain steps. Planning and testing is key to increasing your level of preparedness.
CI: Which U.S. president, first lady, sportsperson or musician do you think would have made a good business continuity professional and why?
DA: I would say Eleanor Roosevelt. She was a Red Cross volunteer and advocate. During World War I, she handed out cups of coffee, newspapers, sandwiches, candy, and cigarettes to the soldiers en route to army camps. She gave blood up until she turned 60 when the Red Cross said she could no longer donate because of her age. She was the first First Lady to hold a press conference (communication is key, right?). She was also innovative and influential as she fought for veterans and women's rights, and against segregation in the south.
CI: If you formed a band with other business continuity professionals what would you call it?
DA: RTO (Relocating to Oasis)
For more information on Arobone's presentation, as well as the full agenda and registration details, visit the Continuity Insights New York website at www.continuitynewyork.com.