Johanna Buchanan

Johanna Interview with Johanna Buchanan: Scotland 2014 Influential Women Series

Johanna Buchanan is the Project Manager for the Cross-sector Safety & Security Communications (CSSC) Scotland Hub; this is a collaborative initiative between Police Scotland, the Scottish Government, the Scottish Business Resilience Centre and a range of private sector businesses. It aims to help ensure that Scotland remains a safe place to do business during the major events planned for 2014.

Seconded from RBS, Johanna is now less than 100 days away from the Commonwealth Games and one of the largest cultural and sporting festivals in the World.

Johanna has worked for the Royal Bank of Scotland Group for over 9 years. She has held several roles in Financial Crime and Security including investigation, fraud analysis and project management as well as playing a key role in RBS Olympics Security Planning in 2012 and she is now seconded from RBS to the CSSC Hub. Johanna is interviewed for the3rdimagazine by Clare Logie.

Clare Logie
Can you summarise for us the focus of your current role?

Johanna Buchanan
I am managing the development of a security communications partnership in Scotland which brings together the public, private and third sectors in a mutually beneficial environment which will allow them to communicate with one another quickly whenever needed.

CL
Why should people / business owners be interested in what you are doing?

JB
The CSSC aims to ensure that businesses and organisations are able to keep operations running and keep their staff safe during major events and every day business as usual. This is of interest to every single business and organisation in Scotland, because the smooth running of their operations and the safety of their people is paramount.

CL
What are the benefits to businesses of engaging directly with your team / programme?

JB
The communications hub provides valuable and timely information for those who are signed up on the various issues that could cause problems of safety, security and continuity; this could be anything from demonstrations, traffic issues, security incidents, protests or severe weather. By connecting to us, businesses can be sure they are receiving timely, accurate information which will enable them to take better decisions. Those who are signed up will have a direct link into the police, government, Fire & Rescue services and other organisations which they may not otherwise be able to access. Additionally, each sector is represented in our programme by an Industry Sector Lead and those individuals have a rare opportunity to network across sectors and to learn from them.

CL
What can businesses do to make sure they are in the loop?

JB
We encourage every single business in Scotland to join us and it’s really easy to do; they simply go onto our website www.cssc.gb.com/scotland where they can register immediately. They will then be eligible to receive direct, relevant messaging. It is important to point out that we will only send out information that is relevant and important. We understand and appreciate that people are often reticent to sign up to distribution lists as they fear their inbox will be deluged with pointless information, but we commit only to sending out appropriate and useful information. If people prefer, they can email us direct at Scotland@cssc.gb.com

Finally, whilst we have 4 full time staff and 2 who work with us one day a week, we are still looking for people to join us as we get closer to the Games. There has been a lot of interest so far but there are still a few places left on the rota so if anyone would be interested in joining us, they should contact us as soon as possible. We are looking for a broad range of experience, as long as people have the commitment and time to help.

CL
There are a significant number of women involved at all levels of Commonwealth Games planning and delivery; do you think we still need to work hard to get more women to the top of Scottish organisations or do you think it will happen naturally?

JB
I think there are more and more opportunities for women these days and there is much more professional and personal development available too. Through my employer, RBS, I am part of the PEARLS programme which aims to provide networking and development opportunities specifically for women and to encourage and help them to succeed. RBS is a key sponsor of this initiative and is very much committed to developing its female staff. I think that this kind of activity really does help but I do also believe that things will improve over time. We will reach a tipping point when women get the confidence to aim high – though I appreciate it’s not for everyone, it’s not what every woman wants.

CL
What is the atmosphere like within your team, now that we are less than 100 days away from the Games?

JB
It’s gone so quickly! I joined back in January 2013 and we have worked so hard for the last 15 months, so we feel increasingly ready and increasingly excited. My team is great and so passionate about what we are doing. We genuinely feel that our programme is going to be of benefit to Scotland’s organisations and so we’re really looking forward to the Games. We have been testing and exercising for a long time so we are ready to implement everything we have developed; the Hub will chair daily ‘bridge’ calls through the Games, where we will advise everyone of key issues and messages and we’re confident that it will add real value. It’s really coming to life now that we are well into 2014.

CL
Your remit obviously extends beyond the Commonwealth Games to other major events; how can you keep the momentum going to engage businesses beyond the Games?

JB
We’re confident that organisations will derive benefit from the programme and so will actively want to stay involved. There was a CSSC in London for the Olympic Games and that still continues today and is a registered charity. We are currently seeking charitable status as part of that group and we have seen from the London team how valuable and popular it has proved to be.

CL
What keeps you awake at night currently – what are your key challenges?

JB
Reaching small businesses has been challenging. We want to engage with as many businesses across Scotland as we possibly can and we are focused on creating a truly 2-way process; this isn’t about the public sector directing information to the private sector, it’s about creating a flow of information that is 2 way so that everyone can share and learn. So we ask that everyone shares the message that we are here for them, so that the maximum number of businesses are able to engage.

CL
What is the most enjoyable aspect of your job?

JB
Meeting so many new people. Every day has been and continues to be completely different. I have had the opportunity to learn about so many different sectors and industries and I have had a real insight into the public sector and how it operates too. I have improved my security knowledge no end and continue to do so.

CL
Have you seen any notable difference in the way the private sector and the public sector operate?

JB
I think there is a different way of working and a different culture. Perhaps because the organisations tend to be structured differently; there is quite a lot of autonomy in a large private sector organisation, perhaps less hierarchy, which means there is a lot of flexibility in how you work. It’s not often you get to work with people from such varied backgrounds so I’ll certainly be taking away a lot of positive learnings from experiencing different cultures and different ways of working.

CL
What is the ‘stand out’ learning you will take away from this role?

JB
It may sound a bit cheesy, but it is that partnership working can actually work! We have demonstrated this; we have zero budget and yet we have created and developed a successful working programme because all parties have contributed their share of resource – people, premises, time, expertise – in a mutually beneficial way. That has been such a positive experience.

CL
Your role is a secondment; where do you see your career going next?

JB
I’d like to stay within security, as I find it so interesting. I enjoy helping to keep people safe and I also enjoy the feeling that I am doing something that adds real value to businesses. I will go back to RBS in October 2014 and will hopefully join the Customer Security Team there. Though I have to say it may be a bit of a shock going back, as I will have been away for the best part of 2 years and I’ve had a lot of autonomy – it’s been like running my own little business! But I’m sure I’ll settle back in soon enough.

CL
What is the character trait you most admire in others?

JB
Honesty, integrity and openness.

CL
And the trait you most deplore?

JB
Insincerity. People who only have their own agenda and don’t work or act collaboratively.

CL
What 3 things would you put in Room 101?

JB
i) Snakes. And eels. Basically any wiggly creatures!
ii) Cold weather.
CL But you’re Finnish!
JB Well yes, but I grew up in South Africa, in Cape Town, where it was sunny and warm. I’m definitely a summer person now….
iii) My Hoover. I’m not a fan of cleaning, but then I guess most people aren’t!

CL
What is your favourite song and why?

JB
‘Eternal Flame’ by the Bangles. It reminds me of a great friend in South Africa and it was also played at my wedding last year, so it always holds happy memories for me.

To register for these vital information updates, go to www.cssc.gb.com/scotland or email Scotland@cssc.gb.com

Contact Johanna on Scotland@cssc.gb.com if you are interested in joining the Hub rota to provide expertise to the team for the Commonwealth Games.

You can find out more about CSSC here

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