“…each of us play a significant role in promoting business resilience and community preparedness.” J.T. Laddaran
Ms. Joanna Rose T. Laddaran, of the UP Institute for Small-Scale Industries (UP ISSI), was named the “Continuity & Resilience Professional in the Public Sector” in the 2020 BCI Asia Pacific (APAC) Awards.
Every year, the BCI APAC Awards recognize professionals and organizations living and operating within the Asia Pacific region who have made significant contributions in the fields of Business Continuity, Risk and Resilience.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, Joanna had to attend the 2020 BCI APAC Awards Ceremony virtually on October 8, 2020. That did not however dampen her spirit. And rightly so. Because few minutes into the event, her name would be called in recognition of her efforts in promoting the practice of business continuity planning (BCP) in the micro, small, and medium enterprise (MSME) sector in the Philippines. In her acceptance speech, Joanna dedicated her award to all Filipino MSMEs, members of cooperatives and agripreneurs. She encouraged all those who attended the BCI APAC Awards Ceremony to “continue advocating for the promotion of the business continuity profession, as each of us play a significant role in promoting business resilience and community preparedness.”
Joanna’s “BCP Journey”
“…it is important that we teach our entrepreneurs and would-be-entrepreneurs how to make their business continuity plans as much as it is important that we teach them how to make their business plans.” J.T. Laddaran
The idea of disaster preparedness for MSMEs made an imprint on Joanna way back in 2013 when she, along with other colleagues, attended the APEC Train-the-Trainer Workshop on Promoting SME Business Continuity Plans in Taiwan.
“During the workshop, the speaker would always refer to our group when discussing natural hazards like typhoons. But when we were asked what kind of preparedness programs we have for MSMEs, we were only able to identify relief efforts, which would not even be considered a “preparedness program” as it would only come after the disruption. This made me wonder why I don’t hear much about disaster preparedness efforts to help MSMEs prepare for potential business disruptions. The UP ISSI promotes entrepreneurship in the country, empowering individuals to start and manage their own business. What the Workshop made me realize is that business continuity planning is integral to this goal. That it is important that we teach our entrepreneurs and would-be-entrepreneurs how to make their business continuity plans as much as it is important that we teach them how to make their business plans.”
With the learnings from the Workshop, Joanna got herself involved in developing and implementing ISSI’s BCP program, which was launched in 2014. Under this Program, the UP ISSI conducted BCP capacity-building workshops and awareness sessions nationwide with partners such as the Department of Trade and Industry (Session on BCP for the DTI SME Roving Academy and Small Business Counselors Course from 2014 – 2016, 2019), Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation (Business Continuity Planning for SME Partners of Economic Lifeline Industries in 2015), the Humanitarian Leadership Academy and PDRF (Business Continuity Planning Workshop for SME Partners of Unilever Philippines in 2016 – 2017). Joanna also encouraged the UP ISSI Program Managers to include BCP Awareness Sessions in the Institute’s regular programs such as the Start Your Own Business Course, the Advanced Leadership and Management Course, and the Managers Course.
In 2018, the Institute’s BCP program was renamed as “Honing Agents for National Disaster Awareness (HANDA)” Program. Anchored on the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, HANDA brings together MSMEs, cooperatives, representatives from local government units, and other stakeholders. Capacity building activities are centered on business resilience and safeguarding employees, customers & assets, among others.
Joanna has played an active role in the development and implementation of the HANDA Program, serving as a speaker in training programs, educational materials/modules developer (including the 2018 UP ISSI Smart Business Guide on How to Prepare a Business Continuity Plan), and a resource person in consultative meetings with partners and other stakeholders. Her research engagements also focus on MSME disaster vulnerability and resilience, as well as BCP practice and awareness amongst MSMEs.
Recognizing the importance of partnership and linkages in the promotion of BCP, Joanna’s BCP involvements extend beyond the UP ISSI community. In 2016, she joined the Business Continuity Managers Association of the Philippines (BCMAP), an organization built on the commitment to develop local standards and practices of business continuity and disaster risk and resilience through conducting forum, certification classes and seminars. Joanna currently serves as BCMAP’s Director for Public Sector Relations. She is the sole female board member for 2021.
Learning never stops for a Philosophy graduate like Joanna (she earned her bachelor’s degree in Philosophy from the University of the Philippines Diliman, graduating Cum Laude). Much more for a BCP advocate. She participated in the APEC Strengthening Government’s Role in Promoting BCP to Mitigate against the Impact of Disasters in 2016 in Malaysia. In 2017, she finished the Business Continuity & Disaster Recovery Course in Australia. The same year, Joanna passed the ISO 22301 Foundation Certification of the Professional Evaluation and Certification Board. In 2019, she completed the Asia Pacific Rim Universities International Research Institute of Disaster Science Multi-Hazards Summer School Program in Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan. In 2020, she earned her master’s degree in Education major in Philosophy of Education from UP Diliman.
Being a BCP advocate would sometimes entail personal sacrifices from Joanna, like missing her sister’s graduation because she was in an out-of-town BCP training on that day or serving as a resource person on her birthday. But for Joanna, the goal of her advocacy far outweighs these things.
“If one small sacrifice meant one MSME being able to develop a BC plan, then it is worth it.”
Re-echoing Filipino author Ricky Lee, Joanna added, “Dahil wala nang sasarap pa kaysa sa pakiramdam na hindi lahat ng ginawa mo ay para sa sarili mo lang.”
Learnings from the COVID-19 pandemic: BCP education for Filipino MSMEs
“I have always believed that resilient communities begin with resilient citizens.” – J.T. Laddaran
Last year, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused adverse economic downturn and major societal disruptions. The pandemic and the varying levels of community quarantine imposed by the Philippine government limited the activities of the Institute for 2020.
Staying true to the principles of business continuity however, the Institute carried on in promoting business continuity awareness among MSMEs. It aimed to maximize the opportunity the pandemic presented to emphasize the importance of BCP in the MSME sector. Joanna has been instrumental in the achievement of this goal.
In July, Joanna served as speaker in two sessions of the Communities of Practice for Entrepreneurship (COPE) Webinar Series conducted by the Institute, discussing the effects of the pandemic on MSMEs and business continuity strategies. Last October, Joanna and the HANDA Program Management Team composed of Ms. Glennis S. Uyanguren and Ms. Allysa Anne M. De Guzman kicked off the seven-day E-HANDA Webinar Series themed, “Promoting MSME Resilience for Sustainable Recovery Towards the Better Normal”. The Webinar Series focused on promoting business continuity, disaster risk reduction, and resilience of MSMEs.
Joanna also represented the Institute in various conferences and webinars conducted by other government agencies and institutional partners such as the DTI, ARISE Philippines, BCMAP, and the City Government of Santiago, Isabela, among others.
All these because of one underlying belief that while the COVID-19 pandemic has severely affected the MSME sector, it has also made entrepreneurs recognize the importance of having business continuity plans.
“During the COPE webinar last July, three graduates of the UP ISSI MSME BCP Workshop and the HANDA Program shared how their learnings helped them continue their business operations amidst the pandemic, emphasizing that if they had not put in in place business continuity strategies, they would not be able to survive and recover from the crisis. Such stories motivate me and the whole HANDA team to press on and further improve the Program and provide better and more relevant service to the MSME sector.”
This 2021, as Filipino entrepreneurs continue to grapple with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as a wide range of potential threats, Joanna pushes forward with her advocacy and remains committed to ISSI’s goal to help MSMEs embed the principles of business continuity management into the culture of their organization through capacity building and research activities.
“I have always believed that resilient communities begin with resilient citizens. As we train one MSME owner at a time, I hope that they share what they have learned not only to their co-workers but also their family members. And through these efforts, we can help develop a culture of preparedness in the country.”
The Business Continuity Institute (BCI). (2017). A Day in the Life of: Meet Affiliate Member Joanna Rose Telles Laddaran. https://www.thebci.org/membership/benefits-of-bci-membership/a-day-in-the-life-of/affiliate-joanna-rose-telles-laddaran.html
The Business Continuity Institute (BCI). (2020). BCI Asia Pacific Awards. https://www.thebci.org/comm/awards/bci-asia-pacific-awards.html
Ricky Lee, “Kulang na Silya”, 2020
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