An Open Letter to my Colleagues
Updated: Jan 19
The one year anniversary of the Resilience Think Tank caused co-founder Mark Hoffman to reflect on where we started, and where we are going.
Many of you are familiar with me, either through various things I posted on LinkedIn, the Resilient Journey podcast, or through my work with the Resilience Think Tank. But here’s something I bet you didn’t know - I love to read biographies.
One of my favorite biographies is Johnny Cash: The Life by Robert Hilburn. In the book, Hilburn describes how, on each December 31st, Cash would write a letter to himself summarizing the events of the year, and looking forward to the next. I’m no Man in Black, but I thought I would write such a letter, but instead of writing the letter to myself, I’d write it to you, my colleagues.
By now you may have heard that The Resilience Think Tank has reached our first anniversary. Let me tell you the story of how we got here.
Believe it or not, the Resilience Think Tank had its inception in 2020. As the COVID pandemic was disrupting lives and businesses all over the world, I thought it sounded like a good idea to jump in and help our colleagues with return to the office planning. I took to LinkedIn and asked if anyone was interested in forming a peer group to collaborate on some ideas. Nine people joined. We met a few times and came up with an excellent checklist. But the group wasn’t cohesive. We were missing a common goal. After just a few meetings, we disbanded and moved on with our lives.
One member of that group, Milena Maneva, and I took the checklist public – speaking on podcasts, webinars and writing a series of articles on the subject. It was the follow on work with Milena that really laid the foundation for the think tank.
In April of 2021, I was fortunate enough to win the BCI Americas Continuity and Resilience Consultant Award. As part of my acceptance of that prestigious award, I committed to giving back to our great industry. At the time, several people had been vocalizing that their employers weren’t seeing the value of their BCM / Resilience programs. It was time for another peer group, but this time, I would form the group by invitation only.
Instead of nine, I wanted the group to be six members. I wanted representation from Europe, the US and Canada. Due to time zones, I needed the participants to be in the eastern time zone in North America.
I made five phone calls.
I started with two people I knew.
My thought was, let’s get the best there is. So, I called James Green. He immediately said yes. Building on the success from the previous year, I called Milena to see if she wanted to do another peer group. Again, an immediate yes.
Then I moved to two people who I knew only by reputation. Lisa Jones and Ashley Goosman. Two introductions, two invitations. Two immediate yeses. My peer group was now five strong.
I wanted another person from the UK, and someone suggested Andreas Bryant. I wasn’t familiar with Andreas, but he had a great reputation, and I trusted the person who suggested him. Another introduction, another invitation, another immediate yes. My peer group was formed.
We met several times to discuss how we could help our colleagues articulate value as members of the BC / Resilience profession. My plan was to get some thoughts on paper, maybe write some articles, do a podcast or webinar, deliver something to the BCI (that was my commitment) and that would be that.
Instead, we clicked. We realized that between us, we had over 87 years of industry experience, a very diverse perspective and something you can’t know until you work together – chemistry. We all genuinely liked each other. As we wrapped up our work on ‘articulating value’ someone suggested that make our group a permanent thing. We came up with the name and the Resilience Think Tank (RTT) was born.
The RTT has six core objectives as part of our mission:
To be an ally for risk and resilience professionals. We are here for you. If you’re dealing with something you’ve never been faced with, don’t know how emerging technologies or threats will impact your program, we are here to help.
To promote diversity in our industry. We want to help make sure that everyone who wants one, not only has a seat at the table, but a voice at the table. A more diverse perspective leads to more thoughtful program services.
To be champions for the team of one. Many of us fell (or were pushed) into this industry and a high percentage of our colleagues are part of very small teams. We are here to help small teams have someone to collaborate with.
To remain independent, vendor & product neutral. You have my commitment that any research we do, any article we write, or anything you hear us discuss will never be influenced by sponsors, alliances, or outside business relationships. Our views are vendor and product agnostic.
To focus on what is relevant to risk and resilience professionals. If there’s a topic you want some input on, let us know. We want to write and talk about things that are important to you.
To mentor the next generation of professionals. I firmly believe that we can all learn from one another. It our goal to help make sure those newest to the industry have the tools and skills they need to be successful. For me, I personally want to take someone who has never presented at a major conference and give them to tools to make a killer presentation. Anyone interested?
We spent a lot of time in year one getting ourselves organized and figuring out what we want to look like going forward. We took our time and built a solid foundation.
As we head into year two, we are going to build on that foundation and soar to new heights!
First, as you might expect, we will continue to provide you with a lot of great content in the form of articles, webinars, podcasts (The RTT sponsors the Resilient Journey), social media posts and more.
But that’s just the beginning.
Year Two promises to be bigger and better and we want you to come along with us for an incredible journey. Keep watching our posts on LinkedIn, listen to the Resilient Journey podcast and follow resiliencethinktank.com for some exciting news, that’s just around the corner.
Let me close by saying thank you. Thanks for your support throughout the year. Thanks for being part of an incredible industry. And thanks for wanting to rise to new heights, we are right there with you.
Keep looking up,