Program’s Interactive Process Spikes Member Interest and Sponsorships
When BOMA Greater Cleveland (BOMA GC) was looking for a program they could offer for continuing education credits and for which they could easily find sponsors, they took the recommendation of another BOMA group. “In addition to credits and sponsorship, we wanted an interactive program that would prove interesting to our members,” said Janice Parham, executive VP for BOMA GC. “The Disaster Experience from Attainium Corp. made the grade on all levels. It was easy to sell sponsorships, so it was a financial success as well.
“My first impression during the session was, ‘Oh, my God! I would hate to be a property manager if my day went like that.’ The material was presented very effectively and really helped members develop an awareness of the strengths and weaknesses in their own plans,” Parham said. “The session received high marks on evaluations from those in attendance.”
“I’d never attended this type of exercise before,” said Chris Lindegarde, IT Director of Weston Inc. “I went with three of our property managers; we were in the process of setting up a disaster recovery plan and wanted to see what we were getting into. None of us had experienced a disaster recovery situation and we didn’t have a lot of training.
“I thought the session showed that we were more prepared than we thought,” she said. “Having the experience of being faced with the need to make constant decisions – and to make critical decisions quickly – was energizing and showed that we could work well together. The program helped me learn more about the building side of Weston and will help me develop a more comprehensive plan.”
Contessa Perez of IPC Real Estate Management liked the format – “better than just listening to someone speak.” IPC sent a property director, security manager, and chief engineer in addition to Perez. “We worked well together and came away with the knowledge that we need to review and update our processes periodically.”
According to session presenter Bob Mellinger, president and CEO of Attainium Corp, one of the biggest mistakes organizations make when it comes to business continuity planning is the failure to keep plans updated. “If just one key person leaves the organization, then a disaster occurs, you have a big hole in your plan, which could affect your ability to recover from a disruption. In addition to its emphasis on planning for recovery, the Disaster Experience is designed to reinforce the need for at least annual – if not twice-yearly – updates and testing of the plan.”
Kira Bush, BOMA GC’s Communication Manager, worked with Attainium to develop scenarios that would be appropriate to Cleveland’s property managers. “We used a task force of members, including emergency response personnel, building members, disaster folks, to brainstorm about what they have responded to or may need to respond to and put together a huge list of things that could be addressed in the 4-hour session. Cleveland’s environment also was taken into consideration – the RTA runs under one of our largest buildings - as were weather patterns and infrastructure,” Bush said.
“It’s the only meeting I’ve ever been to where people were encouraged not to turn off their pagers and cell phones, which added to the reality of the scenarios,” Bush said. “Participants also appreciated that we were sensitive to their need to remain available during the session.”
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