How about a Sandy success story? Well, DRI International has one for you! Did you know that we had a five-day class scheduled to start the Monday Hurricane Sandy was making her way north? And did you know that the class was in Manhattan? I did, but what I didn’t know until yesterday is that the class was held as scheduled! Despite power outages and closed airports and the vast majority of businesses in the area being closed, two brave and motivated souls showed up for class on time. And what better time to learn about business continuity than when it’s being put to use, right? That’s what they thought, and I’d like you to meet them.
Kathy Croft, business continuity program manager with Cisco, made her way to New York from Raleigh, NC on Saturday. She has a daughter in the Big Apple, so she came up early and “had plenty of time to avoid the whole travel hassle.” Croft says she “really wanted to attend the course. I’ve been working toward my CBCP certification, and I wasn’t letting this stop me.”
Mark Francis, who works in information security at Sageworks (also in North Carolina), had no family in town but says, “as long as everything was scheduled, I was game. My personal and professional schedule was such that I really need to get this training and learn and network.” Francis says he feels the circumstances served to create an even more valuable learning experience. “It changed the dynamic of the learning situation. It was relaxed and intimate and really helped me get my hands around the concepts.”
Class was held at the conference center on 23rd Street as planned on Monday, but as the weather worsened, plans were put in place by DRI instructor Robbie Atabaigi for class to reconvene in her hotel room for the rest of the week. Atabaigi also divvied up the leftover food (service for 12) among herself and the two attendees. That turned out to be a “smart move,” according to Francis, who said “that was dinner and then breakfast the next morning.”
Fortunately, the backup location (Atabaigi’s hotel room) never lost power and Francis and Croft were both able to switch to locations with power after a couple of days. They found an Irish bar and deli that were somehow able to stay open and after class had front row seats to real-life crisis management and continuity.
For Francis, who is from a small town in Oklahoma, the trip was especially significant. It was his first time in New York City. Croft says she played tour guide as they sloshed through Herald Square. And Francis says he does plan to return someday. “I’m from a very small town and the city is just so bustling. I’d never seen a place so busy! You don’t walk anywhere, you run. And there are crowds all over the place. Honestly, I don’t know that I’d be able to tell the difference.”
Francis calls the whole experience “really cool.” I’d say the same of him, Croft, and Atabaigi. Really cool people who never lost their cool even in some pretty uncool circumstances. Now, that’s continuity. Says Atabaigi: “We were resilient. We made it happen.”
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