Selma Coutinho is a young professional from Brazil who recently relocated to Plano, Texas.

Coutinho is head of business continuity management CoE Americas at Ericsson. She has been working in the business continuity and disaster recovery field for the last 12 years, but she started her career in security. “In 2006 … my first activity was to support the team responsible for BCM to keep it updated,” she said.

She has been passionate about the industry ever since. She plans to continue in the field and eventually seek a master’s degree. Her intensions are to “follow all evolutions during this journey.”

Knowledge is very important to Coutinho as a business continuity management practitioner. DRJ Fall 2018 will be her very first conference. She is hoping to learn about real-world experiences, successes and failures, and wants to have more discussions with other professionals regarding critical subjects in the BC/DR field. She plans on gaining insight and taking advantage of the many networking opportunities with other business professionals in Phoenix.

She recently tried to hire an intern at her company, and the students had never heard of business continuity management. Because of this, Coutinho feels the profession should be emphasized to attract new talents. “It’s not clear what we do,” she says. “That needs to be improved.”

Coutinho’s preferred methods of communication are email and Skype. She relies on Continuity Central and the DRJ website and emails to gain insight and improve her skills the profession.

“I am also using the mentoring program provided by BCI,” she explained. “This is an excellent way to gain knowledge, listening the experiences of senior BCM practitioners. I am glad to have a very supportive mentor to share a lot of good insights and experiences with me.”

As for advice to young professionals, Coutinho’s words are simple and based on actual experience: BCM is part of the digital transformation, and companies have become dependent on technology. They need to be prepared to deal with interruptions, so professionals must be trained and ready to handle challenges. She adds that younger professionals in business continuity might encounter major challenges to prove their experience and overall knowledge of their field. “As a young professional, we have a lot to learn, but we also can contribute with some experiences and insights.”

Coutinho insists that young professionals must allow the possibility of seeing the big picture of the company at which they are employed.

“BCM can make the difference in the company,” she says, “and it can be a competitive advantage if well implemented and it is not just an amount of paper that should be updated once a year.”