Eliz White-Peters is a C-suite executive assistant, recipient of the DRI Foundation’s Women in BCM Scholarship, and as a result, is working towards certification with DRI International.
What is your professional background? How did you get there?
As proprietor of 4aVP, clients of administrative services have been asking about BCPs. With my past experience in coordinating site IMT and being a member of the corporate facility and security team, I found DRI to be an excellent resource.
What does DRI certification mean to you?
This certification means two things to me. First, it quantifies my experience and gives me credibility as a SME. Second, there is a career track to take the step from ABCP to CBCP.
What made you interested in business continuity?
2020 was a year of change. Becoming unemployed due to the pandemic gave me the opportunity to examine my career and determine what transitions I might be interested in. I realized that I was often the sole female in the field of corporate security, facility management and incident prevention training. My research led me to DRI. Business continuity was the big picture collaboration at the c-suite decision level for all of the projects I’d participated in for the past 10+ years. It connected all of my experiences with a passion to organize and coordinate helping others and their businesses.
Do you have any life experience that makes this field especially compelling?
I believe a childhood experience laid the foundation for wanting to help others and to practice organization in order to avoid chaos.
The event was a school bus accident where I was the bus monitor. I was in middle school and most of the students were of elementary age. The driver was knocked unconscious. Her baby in the front seat was injured. Everyone was scared. I had the clipboard and remembered the evac process. We were on our way to school on a 4-way roadway. Traffic stopped. As adults rushed to help, we were already getting out the emergency door and sitting in a circle holding hands “buddy-style.” By the time the emergency professionals arrived, we were all calm singing “ring-around-the-rosey.” (I received a special recognition from the school and town leadership.)
Then in high-school, I joined the Red Cross Volunteers. Not only was I a Candy-Striper at the hospital, I was a Junior Life Guard. I thought I’d go into the medical field. A motorcycle accident of a classmate changed that. I was a ride-along as part of a career selection program. I still recall the images, scents and feelings. I also recall the calm organization the police, EMT & fire department brought to the scene.
So, I became a C-suite Executive Assistant, helping individuals in their respective roles. As an administrator of seven buildings for a church, I learned about emergency planning and operational risk. The last 10+ years as part of the corporate office, my responsibilities included facility and security coordination with corporate communication and the key decision makers for global safety strategy, finance and accounting. I was assigned the task of site coordinator with responsibilities for identifying resources and site training. I was the key contact with local emergency entities and the Red Cross. (I am CPR/ 1st Aid/AED certified.)
Putting all of this varied experiences together led me to learning more about a career in business continuity. My research directed me to DRI and the Foundation awarded me a scholarship to move forward in this field.