DRI International is an organization that was founded in 1988 as the Disaster Recovery Institute in order to develop a base of knowledge in contingency planning and the management of risk, a rapidly growing profession. Since then, this organization has played a consistent role as a member in the larger business continuity community.

DRI International administers one of the industry’s premier educational and certification programs for those engaged in the practice of business continuity planning and management, and, have more than 3,500 individuals throughout the world who maintain professional certification through DRI International.

This website believes that news about this organization can be important to our readers.  And, with this point in mind, we have requested that Don Byrne, a contributing editor and reporter for this website, present some additional information about this organization to our readers.

Mr. Byrne has agreed and has offered his comments in the story below concerning an upcoming  first membership-wide election to the organization’s Board of Directors.  It is important to also note that Mr. Byrne himself is an eligible voting  member of DRI International.

An In-depth Look at Some of the Candidates for Election to the Board of DRI Int’l

by Donald Byrne, CBCP and contributing editor and reporter

Recent events in Iraq, the Ukraine, and my own country, have reshaped the image of elections. The word “voting” conjures images of courageous Iraqis holding up ink-stained fingers and the excitement and controversy of the last U.S. presidential election where more newly registered/ first-time votes were cast than in any previous election.

The opportunity to vote for Board of Director members of DRI International, while not in the same league as these other election breakthroughs is still a noteworthy event in the sense that this election represents the first time that the members of DRii are participating in the voting process, and thus,  those with an ongoing commitment to, and reliance on DRI International will now have a direct influence on this organization’s leadership, who in turn will have an effect upon the future policies of this institution.

As part of an  effort to help promote good governance, and present a fair reporting effort to the readers of continuitycompliance.org, I set out to gather more information on the people who are standing for this important position and bring that information to all of the eligible voting members of the DRii association.

As part of the interview process, each candidate was approached and offered an opportunity to speak “on the record” with us.

Some indicated that they were traveling or otherwise engaged and could not participate. This is understandable and the editorial team at CC.ORG agreed to extend the comment period from Monday (22 February) until the mid-day Wednesday 24 February, 2010. Unfortunately, this extension did not result in any additional opportunities for discussion.

Others were told by their firms to refrain from making public statements that might reflect back on the company.

Still others failed to respond to the invitation at all.

I should also note that some candidates submitted written comments.   And, after much discussion amongst our staff of contributing writers over whether it might be unfair to let candidates present a crafted and polished written response over others who were more limited to extemporaneous responses in a conversation, the decision was made to let our readers have both methods of response and then allow them to make the final determination of that decision.

We have gathered what information we could in the short time allowed and hope that this is of interest to not only the eligible voters in this election, but, also to the general readership of the CC.org website. Most importantly, if you are eligible PLEASE VOTE!

In addition and as part of this process, we invite our readers to give us and the candidates, constructive feedback on information presented in the responses to our questions.

So please share your thoughts and questions with us.

We have suggested that the candidates track this site for comments and have promised to post any responses they care to make to questions or inquiries.

As always, I welcome your comments, suggestions, and recommendations for improvement!

You can contact me at Don@continuitycompliance.org.

Enjoy – – – and VOTE!

Please note that the candidates are presented below in the same order they appear on the DRI International web site and the questions each candidate was asked were as follows:

  • Please tell us a bit about your experience in the BCP area and your current responsibilities.
  • How would you define your role if elected a member of the DRII BOD?
  • What other experiences do you have that is relevant to this type of position?
  • What do you see as the key challenges facing the DRII community?
  • What are the key controversies facing DRII over the next few years?
  • How do you see DRII relating to BCI?
  • What are your priorities if elected?
  • What else would you like the DRII community to know about you?

 The Candidates

             AnneMarie Staley, CBCP ,NYSE Euronext

AnneMarie has not responded to our request as of our release time.

             Tom Clark, Liberty Mutual

Tom is a member of the Liberty Mutual Insurance Company management team and provides D/R and BCM support for their Information Technology infrastructure.

Tom has over 35 years of experience in this field including a stint in law enforcement. Having lived and worked in 40 countries spread over six continents, he feels he has an international perspective on our profession.

In answer to questions about the major challenges he sees ahead for DRI International, Tom said the organization was losing ground to other credentialing organizations. He believes that by ignoring its core business and executing poorly against the core mission, DRI International has created a void in the marketplace that others are now beginning to fill. Developing a re-energized strategic vision is at the core of his program and, like the others interviewed on this assignment, he sees international expansion as a key area of opportunity.

When asked about the relationship between DRI International and the Business Continuity Institute (BCI), Tom believes that there should be one credentialing program and looks to open discussions with BCI about this initiative.

Tom points out that to be relevant the members of the BOD should have both theoretical and practical knowledge of our profession. He points to the key roles he has played in numerous wide-scale disasters such as Hurricane Ike, the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, and many others as examples of experiences that qualify him for a Board position.

Tom also admits that DRI International needs to do much more for the membership including helping to make the business case for continuity planning and emergency management.

             Daniel Mikulsky, MBCP CSC

Daniel has not responded to our request as of our release time.

             Kelley Okolita, MBCP

A former member of the DRI International Board of Directors, Kelly Okolita is a Master Business Continuity Professional. In addition to her work experience as a continuity professional she has served on several internal DRI International committees including Finance and the Credentialing Committees; and claims responsibility for some of the automation that has moved the application process from a manual to an automated system. She clearly articulates the challenges she feels are facing the organization.

Top in her list of priorities would be the recruitment of volunteers with keen business skills. Kelly believes some previous Board members struggled with business issues as simple as how to read and interpret a financial statement. She spoke at length of her commitment to the organization and pointed to her years of volunteer service to DRI International.

As with the other candidates, Kelly highlights the current weak organizational position the organization has internationally. She supports the idea of actively recruiting volunteers from outside the U.S. to staff key committees.

Kelly notes the success that competing credentialing organizations are having both in the U.S. and internationally and feels that DRI International has done little for the membership or to make the case for contingency planning as a process that should be core to every business.

Kelly presented herself as a very direct and transparent individual. “Ask me a question and I’ll give you a straight answer.” she promises. “I have the maturity, experience and dedication to help make DRII a better organization.”

            Brian P. Miller, CBCP Partner in Vanguard

Brian did contact us and explained that he was traveling and unavailable.

           Jason Herrington, MBCP

Unfortunately, Jason is traveling and not available for an interview, but, he did go to the trouble of sending us his comments in writing.  Those are as follows:

Q.  Please tell us a bit about your experiences in the BCP area and your current responsibilities….

A.  I have over ten years of experience in the business continuity and disaster recovery field.  Like most people in the profession, I didn’t start out as a business continuity planner.  I started out documenting processes that my team performed which ended up being the documentation for my team in the business continuity plan.  Eventually, I was asked to be a part of the mainframe recovery team to document a mainframe recovery plan.  Once that had been completed, I was pulled in to a team to document processes for business contiuity planning purposes.  Like they say, the third time is a charm; and I started to pursue business continuity as a career.

Since those early days of documenting plans, I have held various roles in business continuity.  These roles have included IT continuity, functional continuity, and corporate continuity.  I have experience building business continuity programs where none have existed, and experience reworking or retooling business continuity programs already in existence to gain maturity in the business continuity programs.

Q.  What do you see as your role as a member of the DRII Board of Directors?

A.  I would like to be considered “the voice of the people”.  I am passionate about my work in business continuity.  Over the years, I have heard many gripes and complaints about this or that.  I would pass these comments along to anyone I knew within the DRII organization, but, I would not hear if anything had been about it.  Going forward, I would like to bring those concerns to the attention of the Board of Directors for discussion and resolution where possible.

Q.  What other experience do you have that is relevant to this type of position?

A.  I have held leadership positions in business continuity and I come from an educational background.  I feel that this has helped me to be able to communicate and explain issues or concerns in a manner that can be understood by people from a variety of backgrounds.

Q.  What do you see as the key challenges facing the DRII-certified community?

A.  I think some of the key challenges we may face as certified professionals is to keep up with the ever changing landscape of regulations and standards.  I feel that DRII can be and will be the leader in tracking these changes and distributing key knowledge to all certified professionals.

Q.  What are your priorities if elected?

A.  I would like to have the education and certification process reviewed.  One of the biggest gripes I have heard is that certification takes too long.  I know there have been changes for the better over the past few years, but, I would like to review and see if there is anything else that can be done to simplify or speed up the process of education and certification.

Q.  What else would you like the DRII-certified community to know about you?

A.  Like many people, I would like to see some things changed in DRII, to continue to make DRII the premier body of knowledge and certification authority in business continuity, and I woudl like your vote so that I can work to better the DRII organization for certified professionals.  Thank you for taking the time to read this.

Jerome Ryan, CBCP Pfizer

Jerome is a senior member of the Pfizer BC Management Group. In this capacity he helps support Pfizer’s business around the world giving a distinctly worldwide perspective.  Rounding out his international credentials is his experiences living, working, and attending school outside of the US.

Prior to joining Pfizer, Jerome worked for both PWC and Marsh Risk Consulting.

Jerome’s feels his experiences will guide his decisions as a DRI International board member. He believes DRI International should be a voice for both the industry and certified professionals around the world. Jerome believes that much of DRI International’s growth will come from Asia and the developing countries and if the organization doesn’t actively market itself in these areas, its relevancy will be diminished. Jerome has three projects in mind which he believes will allow DRI International to flourish outside the U.S. First, he wants to see the appointment of an international member to the BOD. When asked if this would be an elected or appointed position he admits he must check to see what the bylaws would allow. However, he made it clear he feels having some non-U.S. citizen’s on the Board is important.

Next, he wants to work harder to support the growth of the Global Affiliate Program. This is an outgrowth of his experience as a member of the DRII International Development Committee. By working with local organizations that have relationships in the local communities around the world, he feels that DRI International’s relevancy to these markets will be improved.

Third, he is interested in expanding collaboration between DRI International and the Business Continuity Institute (BCI).

At the end of the discussion Jerome reinforced his interest in and commitment to the profession and DRI International.

            Vincent Orrico, CBCP, CGEIT, CISA, CISSP, PMP Director of Business Continuity and Information Security

Vince indicated that he was traveling and would not be available for the interview.

             Gary G. Wyne, CBCP BCP Coordinator

I would like to take this opportunity to apologize to Gary Wyne. He made every effort to be available for an interview. Unfortunately, my schedule prevented us from connecting. I appreciate his willingness to speak to us and take it as sign of his openness and sincerity.

            Robert Goldhammer, CEM, CBCP EMA Director

Robert has not responded to our request as of our release time.

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