BCI Women in Resilience (WiR) spotlight: Doniella Mckoy MBCI

  • 04 May 2023
  • Doniella

Doniella McKoy, MBCI is a Lecturer in Business Continuity (BC) and Integrated Emergency Management in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). She is originally from New York, USA and became a certified BC practitioner while in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Her focus is future leadership in resilience industries, BC training, awareness, and healthcare emergency management.

Doniella was inspired by the movie ‘I Am Legend’, with Will Smith. She says, “it brought me to Emergency Management when I decided I wanted to be the person that made sure evacuations would be successful.” Once she obtained her Master of Science in Healthcare Emergency Management, her first full-time job was as a Continuity of Operations Planner with the City of New York.
When it comes to gaining opportunities, Doniella believes the best way is “to be willing to try new things.” After her role with the City of New York, she ran a BC Program in Philadelphia. She taught at the University of Alaska as an Adjunct Instructor and from there she was recruited to teach BC and Emergency Management for a bachelor's program in the UAE full time.

She says, “I am deeply committed to diversifying our industry in the sense that we have to stop using a one size fits all approach if we want to really protect our organizations and communities. The challenge is twofold. Convincing leadership to try new approaches and teaching the next generation critical thinking and innovation.
A turning point in Doniella’s career was when she did a formal mentorship program while in the City of New York and was matched with Christina Farrell who is now the First Deputy Commissioner at NYC Emergency Management. She says, “That relationship taught me the power of when leadership trusts you but also when you trust leadership. If she ever doubted me, I could not tell, she encouraged me to try new approaches and was available for feedback and support.” When she relocated to Philadelphia, Doniella received incredible support internally and externally that contributed to her practitioner experience and the fact that she is now certified through BCI and DRI. She says, “I was the first Future Leader for the BCI USA Chapter, which paved the way for other Future Leader programs across the BCI and because of that I transitioned to the BCI USA Chapter board and now BCI UAE Committee.

When it comes to essential leadership skills that one needs to have in the industry, Doniella says, “You have to be able to listen and manage emotions. In this industry, we are dealing with crises and disasters. If we can’t listen to the issues, then we can’t keep ourselves safe and we will waste time fixing problems that are not relevant. Time is crucial for what we do. When it comes to emotion, a crisis can be overwhelming and so my motto is do everything you can to prepare yourself (and your organization) to be comfortable in an uncomfortable situation.

About the BCI WiR Chapter and its role in influencing the BC & Resilience industry, Doniella strongly believes that “representation matters. This initiative highlights the ongoing contributions of women to the industry that could be missed when we only focus on our immediate surroundings.”

On the future of the BC profession, Doniella says, “I would like to see BC grow in terms of the number of practitioners in the same organizations (so reducing departments of one) and growth of awareness of what BC is and is not. It would be great if more organizations build the capacity to bring in entry-level professionals and help them mature which would truly create long-term resilience. This is honourable work. We are protecting people and their livelihoods. We protect the economy when we keep business alive. Our plans and actions impact the communities we serve in the worst of times. We can’t prevent crisis, but our preparedness, response, and recovery can create resilient communities.”

To learn more about the BCI WiR Chapter please follow the link: https://www.thebci.org/group/women-in-resilience.html


More on
About the author

Doniella Mckoy

Lecturer in Business Continuity and Integrated Emergency Management

Doniella Mckoy, MBCP, CBCP is a certified busisness continuity professional that currently lectures at Rabdan Academy in Abu Dhabi, UAE.

In her last role she served as the Business Continuity Program Administrator for non-profit Health Partners Plans in Philadelphia, PA and was an elected member of the BCI USA Chapter Board and Liberty Valley Chapter ACP

She is an experienced practioner looking forward to her newest role in the UAE and connecting with others in the region.