Tina Klaskala has transitioned through a fascinating professional evolution. Having started her response career as a wild land firefighter with the US Forest Service in the 2000s, she was assigned to the front line of fighting destruction and protecting threatened communities. For the past three years, she has remained committed to similar occupational objectives in the field of business continuity, learning the importance of planning and resiliency with the potential aftermath when risks go wrong.

Klaskala has solid advice to other young professionals. “Find your voice in knowledge, remain open minded and don’t be timid,” she says. “Don’t take for granted the knowledge level of a new audience.”

According to Klaskala, young professionals should consider that workshop or conference attendees may not have had any previous exposure to business continuity or emergency management content. That is why she feels all presenters should use the KISS method (keep it simple, stupid) when explaining topics. “If you can explain it to a 5-year-old, then you know what you are talking about.”

In addition, she says that receiving the right introductions when starting a new business continuity position within any company is crucial. She says business continuity and disaster recovery professionals require having the “ear of authority” as a mechanism to normalize program requirements and be your champion for raising corporate awareness. She encourages anyone joining a new discipline to align with a mentor in the field; mentoring is invaluable to achieving well rounded development, stating, “They can provide years of thoughtful context and check well-meaning assumptions.”

Klaskala is vice president of corporate incident response and life safety at a financial institution, transitioningfrom emergency management and critical infrastructure protection planning within DHS to private sector business continuity and crisis management. She has attained AMBCI and ITIL Foundations certifications and is working on her CEM (Certified Emergency Manager). Her preferred method of communication is to text, use Skype or Outlook.

“One book I found exceptionally helpful is Blindsided’ by Bruce Blythe,” and would highly recommend to others in the industry. “Excellent fast readwith very tangible information.”

One reason Klaskala joined the business continuity profession is because she feels the work is dynamically challenging and gratifying. “There is no limit to how your career may evolve in this discipline.” She adds that there is a wide variety of experiences on which to focus.

She also loves the mission of servant leadership, especially the alignment to her own intrinsic motivation. “I get out of bed everyday with the knowledge that I serve an important purpose to our bigger picture.” She also welcomes the opportunity “to never live the same workday twice.”

Although Klaskala is very passionate about business continuity, her current focus is developing the crisis management capabilities within her organization, ensuring alignment with regulatory requirements and current threat landscape. Having a strong knowledge base in this area has given her the confidence to tackle challenges of consequence and reputational management.

Klaskala is planning to attend DRJ Fall 2018 and is especially excited about the round-tables and plenty of relaxing networking opportunities. She hopes to experience a crisis management course focused on information management and communications. “I am always paying attention to new opportunities to advance my skill sets.”

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