BCI Mentoring: what have users said so far?
The BCI has recently relaunched BCI Mentoring through a refreshed platform in order to allow members to be better supported by fellow professionals in the sector, as well as promoting best practices, knowledge, and experience sharing.
In this article, the BCI speaks with some of those members who have been involved in the preview stages of BCI Mentoring in order to share their feedback on the platform and the importance of mentoring itself. As such, Austin Cruz and Jasmiina Rousu AMBCI have been part of the mentoring member participation group (MPG) for the project.
Could you tell us about your current role and your previous experience in the BC/resilience sector?
Austin Cruz (AC): As a former firefighter, I have spent much of my life dedicated to responding to emergencies and dealing with disruptive events. I transitioned from the first response sector into crisis management to help build a global aerospace company’s first crisis management programme. Now I share that experience with clients across the technology, finance, and manufacturing space as a senior business resilience consultant with specializations in crisis management and business continuity. I’m also an elected member of the USA Chapter Committee and chair of the Membership Engagement Collaboration Stream for the United States.
Jasmiina Rousu (JR) AMBCI: I have worked as a cyber security and business continuity consultant at KPMG Finland for more than five years now. I started my journey from a junior position, right after graduation, and didn’t have much business continuity knowledge at the time. Ever since then it has been a steep learning curve, learning the principles of business continuity and how to put those into practice. I have been able to work very broadly across different industries, ranging from industrial manufacturing to large financial institutions, as well as governmental agencies and critical infrastructure operators. This has given me a broad view of the different challenges and characteristics of each industry, which was put to test during the pandemic.
The pandemic highlighted the importance of my work. It also made me to want to learn even more about good practices in the industry and to seek new ways to ensure the quality of my work, hence, I took on the challenge of CBCI certification in 2020. I have been a member of the BCI ever since and it has continued to support my professional journey.
How was your experience in the MPG for BCI Mentoring?
AC: The MPG shows tremendous promise to help build skills and capabilities throughout all levels of the resilience industry. Already the volume of talented and experienced mentors that have signed up is remarkable, transcending a multitude of backgrounds and industries.
JR: It was a great experience to participate in the development of the new mentoring programme. As a mentee, it gave me a way to share my expectations on the platform and the whole programme, and then see those expectations be brought to life.
What features of the new mentoring platform have been useful in your experience so far?
AC: The tool was intuitive to use and included an engaging onboarding process. While building one’s profile, there are gamification features where you can collect points for completing certain tasks which makes a normally dull process much more entertaining, especially for competitive people. I briefly held first place until Jasmiina Rousu and Yusef Ukaye claimed the top spot. The Questions and Conversations feature also shows particular promise, and I’m eager to see what dialogue amongst the top industry professionals gets featured there, especially pertaining to trending topics like artificial intelligence or climate change*.
JR: The new mentoring platform makes BCI Mentoring well structured and easy to jump on board with. As the platform encourages you to set clear goals and track your progress together with your mentor, it creates a great incentive to make sure that mentoring is goal-oriented and going in the right direction. It has also been fun to gather points from reaching your goals and seeing how you and others on the platform have made progress!
*The BCI Mentoring platform has a new feature which allows members to post questions about topics relevant to the industry and discuss them with other users of the platform.
Why is mentoring important to you?
AC: Mentorship has been vital to my professional success since entering the field. To begin, the benefits of leveraging a mentors’ networks, skills, and experience is extremely valuable, and certainly one of the keys to unlock career opportunities. The ability to receive guidance from someone that you trust and is invested in your development can supercharge your growth both as a professional and as a person. In resilience, it is not uncommon to be a leader in challenging or unprecedented environments and advice from experienced mentors can help one to prepare for the unexpected.
JR: I am by nature quite driven and often times might be taking on too many things at once. Therefore, I find it extremely valuable to be able to discuss career-related topics and challenges with individuals who have been on this path for longer. It’s great to hear insights and thoughts from people who have had similar challenges during their career and to learn best practice from their stories. For me, mentoring is a way to challenge my own views and to develop new ways of thinking, which provides me with clarity and innovative new ideas.
How has mentoring helped in your career?
AC: I wouldn’t be anywhere near where I am today without the support of several incredible mentors. In my opinion, surrounding yourself with people who empower you and set you up for success is the best thing you can do for your career. It’s also a great way to make life-long friendships. Now that I’ve reached a place where I’m not only being mentored but taking on mentees as well, I’ve also discovered that mentorship is a bi-directional learning experience. Generations that are entering the workforce come with diverse and innovative ideas that help us adapt to a rapidly changing world. I look forward to both being mentored, as well as mentoring others well into the future.
JR: Having worked with mostly Finnish companies and organizations throughout my career, I had not had an opportunity to hear how the bigger, multinational organizations build larger business continuity management models and how they govern those systematically. Through mentoring I have been able to learn from mentors who have had these experiences and to learn from their first-hand experiences. It has given me a whole new perspective on building sustainable large-scale business continuity models and understanding the challenges that larger organizations might face. Mentoring has been a pathway to learning about completely new things that you thought were out of your reach.
On top of that, I have been able to benchmark the best practices of goal-oriented career planning that my mentors have advised me to do, which has clarified my next steps and helped me set innovative new goals for my career.
What advice would you give members looking to be mentored?
AC: I encourage people looking for mentors to put themselves out there, and to not be afraid to reach out and make that connection. It could change your career and your life. Unlike other industries, there are high concentrations of mentors out there who are specifically looking to mentor the next generation of leaders. Whether you’re trying to level up into that first director role, give your first presentation at a conference, or land your first job, mentorship will be key to making it happen. Take a risk and respectfully put yourself out there, and good things will follow.
JR: It is important to find a mentor who is a match for the mentee’s objectives, but also someone who the mentee feels comfortable with sharing their career challenges and future wishes. Therefore, my main advice would be to make sure that anyone looking to be mentored takes the time to get to know the potential mentors’ profiles to make sure both the mentor and mentee get the best out of the mentorship.
Anything else you want to add?
AC: I’m very excited that the BCI has invested resources into bolstering the industry’s mentorship capabilities with this new platform. For anyone who is looking to get more involved but has reservations, don’t hesitate to reach out to me on PushFar or LinkedIn. I am always eager to connect and support the journeys of early career professionals.
JR: Mentoring is an excellent way of networking with more experienced people in the industry, which might be quite difficult for someone quite new to the industry. It can also lead to long-lasting professional relationships and ways of thinking that will carry you far!
For more information and to access BCI Mentoring follow the link below.