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“In-Person is Back” - Lisa Jones on DRJ Spring 2023

Discover the newest blog by Lisa Jones as she recounts her insightful experiences and valuable learnings at DRJ Spring 2023, held in sunny Orlando, Florida.

During COVID lockdown, we grew accustomed to virtual meetings, embraced online learning, and acquired continuing educational credits through webinars and virtual conference attendance. We connected and shared through social media, celebrated, and gathered information through online chats and forums and “seemingly” forged ahead by working remotely from the comfort of our own homes. During this same period, some Business Continuity professionals have lost jobs, experienced career development and travel budget cuts, and global inflation which has yet to subside.

So as the DRJ looked to 2023 to kick off DRJ Spring, it’s no surprise that our industry would question the return to conference or 'RTC' in-person. Well, I can tell you that in-person conferences are back with a vengeance. During DRJ Spring 2023 last March, conference attendance almost reached pre-pandemic numbers. More than 750 registered with 100 joining virtually.

It was great connecting with my fellow Resilience Think Tank Managing Partner and Co-Founder, James Green, as we gathered ideas from the conference to share with our RTT community. A few popular topics I found shared by both presenters and attendees were:

  • Implementing Operational Resilience.

  • How to keep our organizations engaged now that the “threat” of the pandemic is over.

  • Organizations are struggling to acquire talent within the industry.

  • More organizations are incorporating risk or aligning with enterprise risk within their organization.

The Resilience Think Tank is working on these topics and more. Follow us to find out more.

One of the most challenging discussions of the conference, James and I participated in, was a general session panel discussion to tackle diversity, equity, and inclusion. “The World’s Greatest DEI Microsimulation” provided three simulated events based on race, gender and disabilities and uncovered specific considerations for DEI in Risk and Resilience. This was the first of its kind at DRJ and the response was eye opening. As a woman and a person of color, I found my own unconscious bias got in the way of uncovering inclusive approaches. This only proved to me the importance of including people of different backgrounds and thought leadership to improve overall planning. Although this was a challenging topic to take on, I felt so honored not only for iluminr, who used their platform and gave me an opportunity to take part, I also must give credit to Bob Arnold, Disaster Recovery Journal President, who spearheaded a DEI initiative for DRJ.

Overall, there was a sense of renewed community at the DRJ conference. The energy throughout the three-day experience was palpable! I was struck by the number of new professionals who were attending their first conference, eager to learn and network. I also found it exciting to finally link with colleagues I became acquainted with online only, through LinkedIn or virtual events. The conference also posed as a “reunion” with people I hadn’t seen since COVID lockdown. I participated in many conversations around how our industry showed return on value 'ROV' during the “COVID Times”, the challenges we continue to face in elevating our programs and what is on the horizon for business continuity and resiliency.

I left the conference filled with new information to enhance planning, exhilarated from the new connections I made, the reconnections to lifetime friends and colleagues and eager to do it all over again at DRJ Fall 2023.

James and Lisa at DRJ Spring 2023:

Lisa on TikTok, or 'TakTik', as she calls it.

Lisa also moderated the session “Manage Up, Move Up!” and spent time with the BCI team to talk about the importance of what we do in the industry.

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