The recent global pandemic and other world events that unfolded since 2020 have created unprecedented social, economic and geopolitical disruption, convincing almost every organization globally of the need to have strong, mature and resilient operations, which in turn cemented the need for experienced business continuity and resilience professionals.

Almost 50% of business continuity professionals globally are women. However, The BCI, a global institute for business continuity and resilience professionals, indicates that only 30% of BCI members are female and 25% of the active volunteer pool lead various global chapters and groups. There are currently only two women on the BCI Board of Directors. 

It is with this aim is to connect and empower women in disciplines including, but not limited to, business continuity, crisis management, emergency management, security, disaster recovery, risk and organizational resilience, that the BCI set up the “The Women in Resilience (WiR)” group in 2018, as a volunteer organization of women working in business continuity management (BCM).

BCI WiR has a mission to advance women in BCM, advocate for equality, and ensure excellence within the profession and a consequent vision to have a resilient world where women BCM professional achieve equality in the BCM profession and realize their full potential. This global community of women, male allies, and advocates are dedicated to bringing talented women together to celebrate and foster their passion and drive for business continuity and resilience, as well as to accelerate their personal and professional development and career. In addition, there are many professionals who are intrigued by the resilience field but perhaps aren’t sure how to get involved. The BCI WiR platform creates a supportive environment to help guide newcomers to the field as well.

Promoting women is not just about moving women who are already in BCM roles through the organization. It is about active engagement to ensure that programs and policies are in place that will support women in their desire to step up to leadership roles. Executives and other leaders need to see themselves as sponsors, mentors and visible spokespersons for women. Leaders need to show that they visibly support women’s progress within the industry. At the same time, women leaders also need to be proactive in preparing themselves for roles of great leadership responsibility. 

Global surveys to assess what women professionals in BCM – or in any field – need, indicates that:

  1. A substantial percentage of women felt a need for a mentor to help them start off and then, guide them through their professional journey;
  2. Many report experiencing conscious and unconscious bias at work;
  3. There is a need for active allies to support their cause; and
  4. Women need support to enhance their visibility in their profession.

The members of BCI WiR are active resilience professionals themselves and represent multiple regions and industries, bringing to the table a unique and global insight of requirements their colleagues would have.

This understanding has enabled the committee develop a suite of exciting and interesting bouquet of annual events and activities to suit the needs of women BCM professionals globally. Some interesting ones are:

  1. BCM Spotlight, to highlight the journey and achievement of a fellow woman BCM professional.
  2. Ally Spotlight, tracks the motivation and an inspiring story of an ally who uses his or her influence to advance the cause of women at their workplace or in society.
  3. Interesting and relevant webinars delivered by women, for women.
  4. Events – virtual and physical with industry leading professionals exploring a range of key resiliency topics to accelerate your career, enhance your personal resilience, confidence and leadership skills. 
  5. Social media channels – for professionals in the field to share thought leadership and conduct discussions on all things resilience related. 

To know more or to join the BCI Women in Resilience Group – visit the LinkedIn page https://www.linkedin.com/groups/12154246/ or the BCI website https://www.thebci.org/group/women-in-resilience.html

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Margaret J. Millett

Margaret J. Millett, FBCI (hon.), MBCP, is the vice president of global resiliency for MetLife.

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