WBCM Scholarship Spotlight: Jriya Van

Jriya Van is a recipient of the DRI Foundation’s 2021 Women in BCM Scholarship, and as a result, is on track to becoming a certified professional with DRI International.  

What’s your professional background? How did you get here?
For the past few years, I was working as an Assistant Office Manager for a reprographics company. My job required me to communicate with vendors and clients to ensure projects were completed as specified and in a timely manner. During my time there I also developed procedures and resources to increase workflow efficiency in both the production and the financial departments. I lost my job at the beginning of the COVID pandemic, and due to the circumstances surrounding that event, I decided at that point that I wanted to pursue a Master’s Degree in Homeland Security and Emergency Management. One of my professors referred me to the DRI Foundation to seek professional certification in business continuity, and I jumped at the chance to forge as path in a new rewarding career.

What does DRI certification mean to your life?
In my opinion, having a DRI certification is an important aspect of showing credibility in the professional field. As someone who is changing careers and stepping into a different field, DRI certification gives me reassurance that I will be a competitive applicant for employment in the business continuity field. I can be confident walking into my first interview for a new career, and that is amazing.

What made you interested in business continuity?
The concept of business continuity was unfamiliar to me until last March at the beginning of the COVID pandemic in California. The business at which I was employed was not prepared to respond to the situation, and although it was not my responsibility to do so, I took it upon myself to understand state policies and mandates regarding businesses that wished to stay open during stay-at-home orders. I held a meeting with the executive team to suggest options for remaining open, and although the president of the company decided not to consider any of my suggestions, I found that I enjoyed the problem solving and critical thinking process involved with maintaining or improving business functions during times of crisis.

Do you have any life experience that makes this field especially compelling?
I lost my most recent job due to my company’s lack of a continuity plan that could be used in response to the COVID pandemic. In the weeks leading up to unemployment, I made every effort to help our company President develop and execute an appropriate response to the pandemic’s effect on businesses. It was the first time that I had seen a company ill-prepared to respond to an emergent situation; there were no standard operating procedures in the employee handbook, nor any emergency protocols in any executive capacity. This particular experience made such a profound impact on my life. Although I lost my job, the fact that my suggestions were ultimately executed after losing my job compels me to believe that I do have what it takes to be successful in business continuity management.