Women in Resilience (WiR) Ally Spotlight: James Green
James Green has worked on risk events that have occurred all over the globe, holds multiple risk management certifications and is a sought-after speaker on the topics of risk and resilience.
In 2020 he was named the BCI’s Continuity and Resilience Consultant of the Americas, becoming the first person to be honored with this award twice. In 2021, he was one of the global Co-Founders of the Resilience Think Tank, which provides guidance and research to the risk and resilience industry.
Since the start of his career, diversity and inclusion have always been important issues for James. He says, “When I first started attending conferences and webinars, it became apparent to me that the people in our profession do not reflect the general population.” Adding “This led me to wonder if we were excluding people by design, or just by neglect?”
James strongly believes that diversity of experience, background, and thought always leads to more quality ideas. He says “More ideas lead to more ways to solve a problem. It leads to a better chance to identify a problem before it becomes a problem, and isn’t that a key component of our profession?”
In 2021, James decided that it was time to become a more proactive ally in pushing for diversity and inclusion in the BC & Resilience industry. He says, “I will not be a keynote speaker at a conference if everyone looks like me. I will not moderate or participate in a panel discussion if all the participants look like me.”
James also sought out businesses and organizations within the industry that were led by women that he could support, promote, and hopefully contribute to. He says, “Being a meaningful ally and putting the spotlight on strong women in our field was a key part of the foundation of the Resilience Think Tank.”
When it comes to the challenges that women face in the industry, James argues that there is a lack of advocacy for women professionals compared to men. “I have found that, in many organizations, rising stars who are men often have an advocate while the equally talented women do not. I want to make sure that they do.” Having a strong advocate in your career is essential according to James. He believes that “it is one of the most powerfully overlooked keys to having a successful career.” He also adds that “an advocate is not just a mentor, an advocate is always looking for opportunities and experiences for you. An advocate opens doors for you that you usually cannot open on your own.”
According to James, the organizations that most successfully develop and promote women are those that have a significant pool of women candidates for opportunities. Arguing that “if an organization has five analysts, and four are men and one is a woman, the odds that the next analyst promoted to supervisor or team lead is going to be a man is very high.” He also adds that organizations need to become better at “aggressively recruiting diverse candidates and entry level employees, so that the funnel they are starting with is not 90% men.”
James’ advice to encourage other men to contribute as an ally to women in resilience is a three-step process. He explains, first men need to recognize that “there are not enough women in our profession and the problems that causes.” Then he adds, they need to “support initiatives that seek to increase the opportunities for women in our profession.” And finally, they need “to be proactive.” He explains that there is a need to seek out women in this profession as mentors or mentees, for project teams, for business continuity initiatives, for writing and speaking engagements. “It is important for me at this stage in my career to open as many doors as I can, because many doors were opened for me.”