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Volume 32, Issue 3

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Thursday, 08 August 2019 06:00

Career Spotlight - Michelle Herrle

Written by  STAFF REPORTS

EDITOR’S NOTE: The DRJ Career Development Committee is supporting this series of articles featuring the career paths of industry professionals. Throughout this series of candid interviews, we hope to provide career advice to our readers by highlighting lessons learned, highs and lows, opportunities and challenges. The DRJ Career Development Committee promotes education, opportunity, inclusion, and excellence surrounding the exploration and evolution of career paths in all aspects of business continuity and risk management. Key elements of our mission include promoting open and candid discussions of career opportunities, providing mentorship, resources, and guidance to equip our membership with the necessary knowledge, best practices, and tools to succeed in their chosen career path.

Herrle MichelleThree years ago, Michelle Herrle was lucky enough to work with a woman who offered her a job as a member of her performance management team. At that time, she wanted her career to focus on process improvement and knew she had Six Sigma experience. It turned out the role required more risk management, and a part of that was building out, reviewing, and updating their BIA and response plans and governing their business continuity processes.

“I am forever grateful to her,” said Herrle, “as she led me to a career I would have never thought I would find so enjoyable and interesting while also finding a great pride in the work I do.”

Herrle is a senior business continuity specialist and a member of the crisis management team at PNC Financial. She is new in her current role and focuses on the risk management elements such as policy and controls management, process governance, and builds out the monthly metrics.

As for challenges in her profession, Herrle went from having her heart set on working in nonprofits, to being thrown into the foreign world of IT, to feeling like she would never find her place career wise, to finding something to love.

“Some people know exactly who they are and what they want to be,” she said, “and have no problem staying on a straight path. Others, like myself, need to get lost a few times to find their way. It can be very daunting and discouraging but well worth the journey. I have picked up knowledge I would have never gained if I stayed focused on only one path.”

One thing Herrle is most proud of at this point in her career is the fact she never settled. She knew she would find work she was passionate about and knew she would have to do some jobs she wasn’t terribly excited about in order to find that passion.

“I have taken positions that felt ‘less than’ the one I was leaving simply because I knew it would send me leaps ahead in the future,” she said.

With that being said, she is proud of her education. She is the first person in her immediate family to earn a degree. She is one of only two in her extended family to earn a graduate-level degree. While in graduate school, she helped to launch a nonprofit for local farmers. Although the organization only lasted a few years, she learned a great deal from the experience.

Herrle is also very proud of her most recent career move. She set a focused goal of moving into business continuity/crisis management officially and achieved that goal by learning all she could in her previous position, earning her CBCP and making numerous connections within her company in order to build her network.

“Never be afraid of something you don’t know,” she said. “We have all started somewhere with every job, task, project, etc. It’s okay to ask questions and to not always have the answer when asked a question. Always help where you can.”

She said “it’s not my job” should never be a reason not to do something. The response “that’s not the way we’ve always done it” doesn’t work either.

“If you work for the same company, then you are a team, regardless of where your ‘official’ team sits.”

Herrle offered one final piece of advice to others in the business continuity and disaster recovery profession: read, read, read. There is much information available, and like any other industry, there are many different paths to take within the world of business continuity. “Study it, learn it, and get to know all that it has to offer for your career.”

She said it’s easy to get caught up in the idea of stepping up the ladder, but professionals should not get caught up in titles.

“Although it may seem like up the ladder is always the next step, sometimes a lateral move is just as important to learn and grow, and you may be pleasantly surprised by the direction it takes you in the long run.”

For more information on the DRJ Career Development Committee, contact Tracey Forbes Rice. Rice is a member of the Disaster Recovery Journal Editorial Advisory Board (EAB) and chairperson of the Career Development Committee. Rice has 20 years of experience in business continuity and risk management. As vice president of customer engagement at Fusion Risk Management, Rice brings customers together, partnering with them to develop innovative solutions and to achieve new levels of program success. Rice welcomes your feedback at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..