Women in resilience (WiR) - Ally Spotlight: Christopher Horne FBCI, BCI Chair
Chris is a proud Canadian with over 20 years of management experience. He entered Business Continuity (BC) originally from a background working on Security, Health and Safety, Emergency Response, and Environmental programs. His career has included planning for the retail, energy, banking, financial services, and insurance industries. He has led Canadian, North American, and International BC programs and successfully certified a large Canadian financial services providers program to the ISO 22301 standard for BC Management Systems (BCMS). He is the current Chair of the BCI Board of Directors and works for Canada Life where he is responsible for the design and implementation of the program and BCMS Framework at Great-West Lifeco Inc.
Q: Why do you believe it is important for more women to join the resilience field?
In order for Resilience efforts to work it needs to be inclusive and consider a broad view. That perspective is best achieved with diversity and foundational to that is gender balance. Continuity, Risk and Resilience focused departments and programs succeed through diverse thinking. Too often this is overlooked. For analysis, planning and response efforts to be successful you cannot have a siloed like-minded, represented team.
Q: How do you feel that you have personally contributed as an ally to others?
Personally to me being an “ally” means being an “active supporter”. I try to lead by example and encourage and influence diversity wherever possible. By reading about, listening, and discussing the issues and obstacles facing women. Participating in Women in Leadership events to educate myself and learn how to be a stronger supporter. Amplifying the voices and opportunities for women on my team. This is not just about where I work and the team that I am a part of but also involves my volunteer work in the industry.
Q: What are some challenges which you have supported women in overcoming in their career?
In my role as a leader I do my best to encourage continuous learning and advancement opportunities for careers or in volunteering. In addition to those day to day aspects I have also been a mentor. This provides a chance to discuss issues that are being faced and provide coaching and advice to support development and encourage advancement. I make it a priority to when hiring to have a diverse slate of candidates for consideration.
Q: Which schemes have you seen work effectively in your team and organisation to promote women?
My organization Canada Life is committed to fostering diversity and inclusion in our workplace, culture, and the communities where we live and work. This is driven by the Canada Life Diversity Leadership Council and Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) such as Women in Leadership. Our woman’s committee is the longest standing with local chapters and a national presence. There are so many ways that our organization provides support. From hiring talent using diverse candidate pools, leaders being involved in unconscious bias training, to supporting internal and external events to support and educate employees. Included in this is an annual celebration of International Women’s Day to raise awareness. All of these are just a few ways Canada Life is working to make a difference.
Q: What advice would you give to other men to encourage them to contribute as an ally to women in resilience?
I am going to go back to what I said earlier on being an active supporter. Leaders need to be accommodating for their teams and when hiring they need to be working towards a balanced group that can provide a variety of experiences. The best candidate is not always the one with the most time in. Look holistically at your existing team, the role itself but also give strong consideration to the diversity and competencies demonstrated and presented by your candidates. Having a team with varied backgrounds, gender, age, background, skills, and competencies just makes sense. Diversity makes for stronger teams and more successful companies.