As Operations Director and working with Raven Controls since its inception, Jennifer has been key to ensuring the foundations for business systems and product are in place.
She has a wealth of experience of managing and coordinating crisis preparedness at all levels, and across a range of organisations, often with conflicting priorities.
We wanted to ask Jennifer some deeper questions about her background and her opinions on what’s next for the industry post-covid.
Can you tell us a little about your involvement in Raven?
Ian and I knew each other from when he worked in emergencies planning and counter-terrorism within the police and I was a Resilience Coordinator for the West of Scotland. I then joined Ian’s consultancy company, ID Resilience where we worked with a large number of events and venues delivering services around crisis management and incident response. Through this work, it became clear that technology could be utilised to vastly improve the command, control and coordination of issue management – and the concept behind Raven was born.
What does your job role involve?
I’m Chief Ops Officer and Board member and as with any start-up, I have multiple hats from defining and implementing strategy, through people management, product ownership, finance, marketing, sales and account management with varying degrees of direct ownership to oversight.
Working with our partners and clients is also a big part, listening to their needs and combining with my knowledge and experience to ensure that Raven delivers maximum value.
Where did you work before Raven?
Nine years working within the area of resilience in the public sector, writing national guidance, coordinating all joint efforts of public sector agencies in the West of Scotland from Argyll & Bute to Dumfries and Galloway for incident planning, preparation, response and recovery.
I contributed to the response to a range of major incidents including the almost annual severe weather response in Scotland and other major incidents across the years.
“The use of technology in highlighting and managing real-time risk definitely is on the increase so how those in the control room perform their role might be changing in that respect.”Jennifer McLean
This has been quite a big year in terms of the pandemic and its effects on events, sports and incident management. How have things changed within the control room of venues and events and is this a lasting change, in your opinion?
Beyond anything else, the desire of the sporting and events worlds to work together to meet the challenges presented by COVID and return to some kind of normality has been more than impressive. Fans want to get back to seeing live music and sports, and venues and promoters want to put on events safely and get the fans back there as soon as possible.
Not sure that the role of the Control Room has changed significantly, but the need for all those involved to have confidence in their actions and assurance of mitigating risk as far as possible is paramount, the use of technology in highlighting and managing real-time risk definitely is on the increase so how those in the control room perform their role might be changing in that respect. The tragic events in France and Vienna in the last few weeks and the recent rise in the UK threat level to ‘Severe’ show that terrorism is no less of a threat, and the planning and preparations for all risks need to be addressed holistically.
How have you adapted Raven to meet these new needs?
At Raven, we have sought to address the unique needs of all our partners through customisable features and simplicity of user experience, whether it be routine task checklists or meeting records and actions. Knowing the location of issues and being alerted to them as soon as possible is also key.
“An efficient and effective response is solely the role of a single party, all those responding need to have joint situational awareness, and empower those responding to do so competently and confidently.”Jennifer McLean
What’re the most important lessons we should carry forward within incident and emergency management?
So many, the one that really sticks out though is communication, I think it has been an identified lesson common to almost all of the debriefs I have known.
An efficient and effective response is solely the role of a single party, all those responding need to have joint situational awareness, and empower those responding to do so competently and confidently. Integrated emergency management is at the heart of what we do at Raven.