Speaker Spotlight

Cliff Thomas

Cliff Thomas did not even know the business continuity/disaster recovery profession existed when his background in military contingency planning and program management led him to the job.

He started working in the profession in 1998.

“What I enjoy about the profession is how it changes with the dynamic world we live in,” he said. “Every day is a new day … and I find that energizing.”

Thomas thoroughly enjoys being able to find creative approaches to solve problems.

“I don’t think people often associate this profession with creativity, but I’ve found that ingenuity and imagination are valuable and necessary in this field,” he said.

Thomas believes many people think about the BC/DR field as being technical in nature, but he does not.

“I think of this as being about people,” he said. “The best thing we can do is to bring groups together to understand and solve problems in the best way possible.”

Thomas, MBCP, MBCI, will present “Risk and Decision-Making for the BC/DR Professional” at DRJ Spring 2021 on March 29 from 4:15-5 p.m. during Breakout Track 2.

Attendees will learn about the anatomy of decisions which are made during crises. The influences that drive these decisions are often quite different than what might be assumed, and for that reason professionals are often not even aware of them. Participants will gain an understanding of how risky decisions are actually made, the importance of thinking about “how” to make decisions, and how to avoid common decision-making pitfalls.

Thomas said his goal during his presentation is to raise the level of awareness for attendees who are involved in crisis management.

“Through this awareness, I am hopeful that we can reduce the harm resulting from future crises,” he said.

Thomas has previously presented at DRJ conferences. He said all past events stand out to him because they were interesting and energizing.

“The most important aspect of DRJ to me is the opportunity to hear a wide range of perspectives and opinions about the issues we face,” he said. “There really isn’t a similar forum for that discussion as DRJ.”

As for choosing his favorite part of DRJ conferences, Thomas said he enjoys it all but the highlight for him is speaking sessions which cover topics for which he is not as familiar or aware.

Thomas, Ph.D., is an adjunct faculty member at Colorado State University, the University of Denver, and University of Maryland. He is also a partner in Atlas Group, an enterprise risk consulting firm based in Fort Collins, Colo. He has more than 20 years of experience including corporate program management and international consulting.

He said as an enterprise risk consultant, his mission is to help clients make the best decisions they can about how to manage risk. In doing so, the core values honored are respect, ethics, and kindness. They also place value on humility, knowing that no one has all the answers.

“We do best when we learn from each other,” said Thomas.

He served in the U.S. Army and Coast Guard. When he isn’t working, Thomas loves to travel. He lives in Fort Collins. When he’s not in the office, his favorite place to be is with his wife and friends socializing at a local micro-brewery.

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