Susan Armstrong is a Vice President and Global Head the Business Continuity and Data Privacy Programs with State Street Global Advisors. State Street Global Advisors is the investment management division of State Street Corporation and the world’s largest asset manager. Susan has 20+ years’ experience in Program Management where she has spent a good portion of her career developing, implementing and managing all aspects of a comprehensive Business Continuity Program – Incident Management, Contingency Planning, and Disaster Recovery. Due in part to her increased awareness and innovative management of the BC program, Susan was tasked with formalizing a privacy program within the first line of defense to work in harmony with the corporate privacy office. We recently asked Susan a couple of questions regarding her role in Crisis Management:

1. As it relates to your current or a previous crisis management role, what’s one of the biggest challenges and why?

One of the biggest challenges that people or companies often fall short on is acknowledgement. Informing the customers what occurred, being sensitive to the issue, that actions are being reviewed to mitigate future occurrences.  Then once the issues have been identified, resolved and communicated, then taking care of the customers that may have been impacted.    Companies or employees often know of an issue sometimes well before the crisis occurs, and either hope that it resolves itself, or fear that they may give someone or their manager bad news.  Not informing is the issue that stems the acknowledgement – ensuring people are actively informed based on their role and responsibility of an event.  Early acknowledgement, effective communications and the proper planning can sometimes eliminate the issue before it becomes a crisis, but can also lead to a faster recovery following the crisis event.

2. What is the most rewarding part of your job and why?

I often conduct mandatory simulation exercises for our management team that involve multiple business and support functions, cover multiple countries and sometimes involve multiple regions simultaneously.    Developing the scenario to ensure it’s plausible and timed appropriately is stressful, especially when senior executives are involved and for multiple hours.  Although the nerves leading up to and throughout the exercise can be a bit much, the observations and active engagement during the session and feedback following the events are extremely rewarding.  Knowing that a simulation exercise was conducted creating thought provoking concepts and captures appropriate actions to be carried out prior to an event occurring is very rewarding.   Not all crisis events can be avoided, however ensuring that management is informed on what actions to consider and implement prior to an event occurring will create more effectiveness in responding to the crisis.

Susan will be discussing “ Navigating Crisis Management In An Ever Changing Landscape”, at this year’s conference.