When a professional is new or transitioning into the discipline, it is helpful to understand what conferences and resilience resources are available. Engagement in ongoing education and developing your skills is vital to success in any professional discipline. In What Are Business Continuity Certifications? I recommended that one option for BCM practitioners is to obtain a formal attestation of minimum skills. Academic opportunities are growing, but the most practical and efficient way to ramp up as a resilience professional remains the certification route.
However, once obtained, professionals maintain certification credits. One of the ways to do this is to attend industry conferences. Multiple organizations offer best-in-class offerings. Of course, more hybrid or virtual offerings are available with the travel restrictions imposed by the pandemic over the last few years. To me, this is a good thing because it enables expanded participation in what were previously heavily regionally based offerings. For example, travel to the UK for BCI World was prohibitively expensive in the past, but the launch of online access has allowed me to participate. I anticipate that the potential global reach of hybrid conference models will enrich future opportunities. Let’s create an international library of shared learning.
Why conference attendance is valuable
Attending conferences is vital to career success in several ways. Focus on your employer’s needs and preferred resilience methodology is essential. However, I see an increase in management’s desire to benchmark against external sources. Whether it is to understand the approach of other companies or the industry, professionals act as subject matter experts. Of course, networking with peers helps form relationships and encourages idea sharing. A 2019 Forbes article, 10 Reasons Why Networking Is Essential For Your Career, identifies many reasons to connect with other professionals.
And in-person or virtual engagement in learning opportunities is one way to do this. So, industry conventions provide one-stop-shopping and exposure to various topics. It also allows you to engage with software vendors or other tools to increase effectiveness and provide value to your organization. Especially as many of us are teams of one or operate in small groups, the right technology can help increase output. Of course, attendance fees and travel are costly, but the investment can reap dividends if approached strategically.
Knowledge seekers become beacons of light.
Conferences and resilience resources increase our knowledge and awareness of current trends. I am not saying you need to embrace all the ideas offered. But, it helps if you objectively listen to new and alternative hypotheses. It is your job as practitioners to weigh the pros and cons, then bring back the best offerings to your leadership. If you think about it, that’s part of their expectations.
The value occurs when you synthesize and integrate the best ideas into existing programs. Or new opportunities arise that help reshapes stale programs to keep pace with business changes. I am not suggesting change for its own sake but that to encourage growth with our business peers to maximize our relevance. Several years ago, I observed that many programs were stale and old-fashioned. We saw through COVID that businesses scrapped the worst offenders. Our programs must operate as beacons of light to operations to retain value. Like lighthouses, resilience programs draw business partners and leaders in through their obvious relevance.
Space and time to learn. No imposter syndrome
When I wrote In Praise Of Conferences, my objective was to celebrate a return to normalcy. Yet, it also explained why expanding my understanding and knowledge benefits my business partners. As I work to keep pace with market changes and business objectives, conferences give me time to focus on learning. Taking time away from daily work is vital. It gives me space to digest and be open to inspiring or innovative concepts. For me, conferences continually provide fresh opinions and different ways of doing things.
As professionals, making your voice heard is crucial. All of us contributing makes for increased resiliency. For example, over the past few years, I started this blog and lent my voice to webinars, panels, and co-authored articles. Putting yourself out there is not easy, but more of us should do it. I am continually amazed by our peers’ breadth and depth of knowledge. Resilience attracts some of the most dedicated, engaging, and intelligent people. Now, most are very humble about their smarts so imagine what will happen when more of us speak out and up!
Upcoming resilience themes conferences
We need all voices, young, mid-and late career, to enter the fray. Of course, completion is not the only goal but sharing competing ideas is healthy. Conferences and other venues provide ways to do that. Below are the top upcoming forums I recommend you check out (links included):
- Business Continuity Institute – BCI World Hybrid 2022 – As the name implies, there will be in-person (London) and virtual offerings
- Business Continuity Institute – Business Continuity Awareness Week (BCAW) 2022 – Webinar program, an annual opportunity to promote resilience throughout your organization
- Continuity Insights – 21st Annual Continuity Insights Management Conference – In-person (Minneapolis, MN)
- Disaster Recovery Journal – DRJ Fall 2022 – Also providing on-site (Phoenix, AZ) and online, on-demand attendance
- Disaster Recovery Institute International – Annual DRI International Conference 2023 – In-person (Austin, TX)
- International Association of Emergency Managers – IAEM Annual Conference 2022 – In-person (Savanah, GA)
- Risk Management Society – RIMS Canada Conference 2022 – In-person (Halifax, NS), RIMS ERM Conference 2022 – In-person (Indianapolis, IN), RIMS South Asia Risk Forum 2022 – In-person (Mumbai, India)
- Risk Management Society – RISKWORLD 2023 – In-person (Atlanta, GA)
This list is getting long, and I haven’t even covered physical, information security, or employee safety. I’ll have to follow up with a list on those in another blog. So, as you can see, there is a wealth of offerings in just the business continuity and risk resilience space.
Get out there!
The time is now to re-engage in conferences and resilience resources. COVID likely dominated your attention since 2020. Or, program management takes all your energy. I get it. However, investing in ongoing learning is worth it. Many companies cut back on travel or education resources. If you are in that boat, there are other ways to keep up with trends and learn.
Some educational resources are (links embedded):
- Continuity Insights – Besides hosting regional and annual meetings, they also maintain business continuity news, best practices, conferences, events, and educational and networking opportunities. In full disclosure, they include my articles on their site, such as What Resiliency Success Measures Look Like.
- International Crisis Management Conference (ICMC) – This member site is the only stand-alone community dedicated to Crisis Management Professionals. They offer free content as well. They provide an annual conference, typically in Rhode Island. This year’s passed, but sign up to get notification of the 2023 offering. Plus, they offer training and webinars.
- Journal of Business Continuity & Emergency Planning – Promoted as the leading professional journal publishing peer-reviewed articles and case studies written by and for business continuity and emergency managers. I was fortunate to be asked to publish an article in the Spring 2022 edition.
- The Disaster Recovery Journal – In addition to hosting conferences, DRJ publishes this industry-leading resource.
- The International Consortium of Organizational Resilience – ICOR provides webinars, training, and podcasts dedicated to organizational resilience.
- Risk Management Magazine – This is a RIMS product that provides analysis, insight, and news for the risk management community.
Of course, there are more local offerings out there. Please share your favorites in the comments below. The more we share, the more we can grow our knowledge together. Ultimately, our combined experience and know-how help further the resilience of ourselves, our companies, and our communities.