Associate Spotlight: VP of Business Continuity Management Beverly Schulz
In the midst of hurricane season in the Tampa Bay area, where Raymond James is headquartered, we talked with Beverly Schulz about what it’s like to lead business continuity at Raymond James.
Beverly Schulz leads the Business Continuity Management (BCM) group in Risk Management, which partners with senior leaders to improve the firm’s ability to effectively respond to threats and crises. Since joining Raymond James in 2014, she has helped lead responses to Hurricane Irma and COVID-19. Before joining the firm, she led responses to other major crises such as Hurricanes Sandy, Gustav and Ike.
What got you interested in BCM?
I stumbled into it, but it suits my personality. I studied production management in college, but I didn’t enjoy my first job in that field. I applied for a position at Capital One in 1995 that had a BCM component, but I didn’t know much about BCM at the time. I knew that it was about making a plan B, which I have always done in other aspects of my life. Worrying is a core part of my personality, so turning my worries for an organization into a plan that is tested and maintained comes natural to me.
What is the most enjoyable aspect of your work?
Sitting down with a business unit to think about business continuity in a way that resonates with them. For example, when I first started at Raymond James in 2014, most people worked on desktop computers instead of laptops. That was a risk because if something happened to the building and we couldn’t work in the office, we couldn’t continue to operate our business. So we met with business units and encouraged them to phase out the desktops and replace them with laptops. This helped us successfully transition to working remotely in 2020 — within a week of the decision, 80% of associates were working remotely.
What is the most challenging aspect?
My whole world is business continuity management, but not everyone understands the need for creating a business continuity plan until there’s a problem – and at that point, it becomes more about crisis management than business continuity planning. It can be challenging to engage everyone on the front end, when building those plans matters most.
It can also be a challenging – yet exciting – part of my job to try to predict what risks may come. While we couldn’t have predicted all that came with COVID-19, when I started leading Crisis Management back in 2015, I brought in epidemiologists to work with us on creating a plan for infectious disease outbreaks. So in January 2020, we were equipped to activate our plan.
What is your advice for anyone who is interested in pursuing a career in BCM?
Enroll in degree programs related to business continuity and emergency management, or get certified through the Disaster Recovery Institute. You can also reach out to me because I might have an opening on my team.