Tell us about yourself – your name, company, title, and responsibilities?
Jill Caputi. I am currently a crisis management analyst with the Centene Corporation.
How did you get into the world of business continuity?
My path to the world of business continuity is an interesting one. Business continuity is not a field I knew about during my undergraduate studies. I attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and studied exercise and sport science with a concentration in sport administration. At the time I was drawn to game day operations and organizing athletic events. After I graduated, I worked for a company that produced running events such as half and full marathons across the U.S. My main responsibilities as an event operations manager were to oversee the strategic planning and execution of running events. As with any outdoor events, there are any number of incidences that could disrupt race operations. In my role I started to think about what the race organizer’s responsibilities are if an unexpected incidence occurred during a race. How would we communicate as a team? How would we communicate to runners? How would we coordinate with our partners? This line of thinking, coupled with learning emergency management is more than just FEMA, led me to pursue a master’s degree in emergency management at North Dakota State University (NDSU).
My interest has always been business interruptions, but I was able to dive into this in greater detail through classes at NDSU and an internship with Zoom. At NDSU, I dove into a business continuity class and was very interested in preparedness, response, and recovery from a business perspective.
During my internship with Zoom, I gained hands-on experience with business continuity. I was able to dive into BC plans, understand some of the standards associated with BC audits, and learn about the important connections a BC program needs to have with physical security, cyber security, and facilities. My internship with Zoom confirmed to me the business continuity/crisis management world is where I want to grow my career.
What gets you excited about your career?
I am interested in quantifying the value of business continuity and crisis management programs – outside of meeting audit requirements. I am also interested in understanding the systems in a business and how a disruption in one department has potential to create a ripple effect in a company. I am excited about being able to explore and grow in this interest while also strengthening the field.
I also like working with a team to generate solutions to continuity- and crisis-related problems. The new challenge of the hybrid and remote work options employees now have is one challenge which I look forward to collaborating with others for which to understand and find solutions.
The VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous) world in which we live will continue to bring challenges to businesses. I look forward to working with others to find solutions to tomorrow’s challenges.
Have you had any mentors? Describe the effect they have had on your career journey.
I have been lucky to have mentors who guided me along the way. Dr. Carol Cwiak at NDSU teaches the business continuity course. I was also Carol’s graduate assistant while at NDSU. She has been instrumental in providing resources and business continuity advice. Carol first introduced systems thinking to me, and it is a lens I often used when trying to understand the ripple effects of an interruption.
Shane Matthew is another person I was lucky to have as a mentor. I worked for Shane when I was an intern with Zoom. He allowed me to become very involved with business continuity projects and take complete ownership of certain projects to accelerate my growth in the field. He was instrumental in helping me grow my network and jumpstart my career in business continuity and crisis management.
What types of formal training and certifications have you pursued, and what kinds of learning and networking opportunities are you looking for to continue your professional development?
I currently have my Associate Business Continuity Professional certification through DRII. I’m also working toward my Certified Emergency Manager certification through the International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM).
I am involved with IAEM. This is one way I am continuing my professional development. I am the interim secretary for the Emerging Professionals Caucus and the leader of the Critical Infrastructure & Business Continuity Professional Development Subcommittee.
My hope is to be able to attend at least one conference a year. Conferences provide great learning and networking opportunities. This year I will be attending the IAEM conference in November. I hope to attend a business continuity conference in 2023.
What advice would you like to give to those individuals embarking on their careers in this industry?
Network, network, network. The people I have met in the business continuity/crisis management world want to collaborate and help newcomers to the field. They can help them navigate what conferences to attend, find job openings, and find subject matter experts on topics in which they are interested.