Spotlight on Women in Business Continuity: Lynn Meadows

The Women in Business Continuity Management (WBCM) group shines a spotlight on accomplished women across the field of business continuity and related fields.

For the first series in Spotlight on Women in Business Continuity, we have interviewed each of the members of the Women in Business Continuity Management Charter Committee on their experiences in the field. The leaders of WBCM come from a diverse range of industries, and provide unique perspectives based on their experiences in the field.

Photo MeadowsLynn Meadows, MBCP, MSBC
WBCM Charter Committee Role: Development Committee
Current Role: IT&S Business Continuity, Hospital Corporations of America (HCA)

What business continuity related industries have you worked in?
My focus in business continuity has always been in healthcare, with a short stint at the beginning of my “real” career working for an offsite data management company.  My work for Hospital Corporation of America (HCA) is related to Information Technology Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity, which has 4 regional data centers that service approximately 177 hospitals and approximately 119 freestanding surgery centers in 20 states and London, England.  Prior to HCA, I worked in a similar, but smaller capacity, at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Tell us about your overall background and how you got into this field.
Like most people of my generation, I fell into Disaster Recovery, then Business Continuity through chance and good luck.  My early career started in office administration, while typewriters were still the thing and PC’s were just coming in to play in the business world.  I worked my way through office administration jobs while going to college at night full time, and raising my two daughters.  I had full intentions of becoming an accountant with information technology skills at that time, but realized after a stint as an auditor, that an accounting career was not for me.  I first got into the disaster recovery industry in the early 90’s working as an office manager at a company later bought out by Iron Mountain, then worked my way into the technical side of the Iron Mountain business, assisting customers with their records management systems, recovery exercises, and a few disaster responses.  My big break came with a job as Y2K Coordinator with Vanderbilt University Medical Center, my career moved from there into the medical center’s disaster recovery program, then to Hospital Corporation of America for the last thirteen years, during which I completed my master’s degree in Business Continuity Management from Norwich University.

What do you enjoy about your job?
I like knowing my work makes a difference, should something happen at one of our hospitals, to the organization as a whole, or the communities supported by our hospitals.  Ensuring the organization has all the information it needs to recover in an optimal fashion, if needs must, is an important aspect to the passion I feel for my work. Through my interactions with my particular “user-community” within organization, it is always enjoyable to help them through their planning processes, talk with them on a regular basis and commiserate about everything on our plates.  Seeing the plans in our planning tool, knowing they are all lined up, and ready to go is a joy.

What aspect of business continuity are you passionate about, and why?
Working in business continuity for healthcare makes me feel like I am giving back to the community.  Doing business continuity for healthcare, I feel like I have a role in protecting our patients and making sure their care is not interrupted.  We had our fair share of hurricanes this year – Harvey hit us hard in Houston and Irma affected us in Florida but operations continued with planned emergency responses working, as it should and was planned, to protect employees, patients and our facilities.  It is a lot of work, but there is such a feeling of accomplishment in doing your part to keep people safe.

Thank you for volunteering as a member of the WBCM Charter Committee.  What are your hopes for how the WBCM group will impact people or the industry?
I would like women to know that business continuity is a real job, with opportunity for real success and there are now formal education paths to this career.  My hope for Women in Business Continuity Management is that we encourage women to gain the skills and knowledge necessary for success, with a focus on formal education paths through undergraduate and master’s degrees in the field, as well as certifications.