Putting Company Values Into Action

Recent natural disasters showcased how putting people first is in our nature. In just six weeks last fall, three back-to-back hurricanes – Harvey, Irma, and Maria – threatened the southeast United States and devastated communities in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. and British Virgin Islands.

Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst. This guiding principle shapes the Crisis Management Team’s response to help ensure associate safety in natural disasters. When Hurricane Irma made her way closer and closer to the Tampa Bay area, the team’s planning paid off. As the storm’s path evolved with each official update, the team adapted its strategy accordingly. And now that plans have been put into action, the experience will inform best practices in the future.

Commitment to Excellence Group
From left to right: Heather Knable, SVP, Chief Operational Risk Officer; Kim Jenson, SVP, Chief Operating Officer, Raymond James & Associates; Tracey Bustamante, SVP, Corporate Communications; Raymond LaCour, SVP, Office Services; Beverly Schulz, VP, Operational Risk Management; Stanley Duncan, Chief Human Resources Officer

Senior Vice President and Chief Operational Risk Officer Heather Knable recalled Chairman and CEO Paul Reilly reiterating the firm’s focus every step of the way – first and foremost, the safety of all associates and their families. “Our people-first approach started with Paul, and is a testament to living the firm’s core values,” she said. “Putting people first has always been part of our corporate DNA, and this is a great example of how our values came to life in a real-world scenario.”

The firm’s actions before, during and after the storms reflected those values. Under Heather’s leadership, the Business Continuity Planning group and Crisis Management Team worked around the clock to provide ongoing monitoring and communications regarding the storms, ensuring associates in the path of Irma and Harvey were well-informed.

To prepare for the storm, the firm proactively chartered a plane and relocated approximately 190 associates and their families – even their pets – from the corporate headquarters in St. Petersburg, Florida, to the firm’s Memphis, Tennessee, corporate office. Memphis, along with the Southfield, Michigan, and Denver campuses, supported critical business functions while the headquarters was closed during Hurricane Irma. Memphis associates ensured those from St. Petersburg were well taken care of – providing hotel rooms, food, transportation and places to work remotely. They also shipped supplies for St. Petersburg associates without power or access to water … coolers, batteries, diapers and more.

The firm also offered associates extra time to evacuate and prepare for the storm, as well as time to return and take care of their homes and families. Now, as part of Raymond James’ commitment to recovery efforts, Raymond James is continuing to support associates and the community. “We have heard from associates that it’s clear we care about them as people, and not just about the business,” Heather said. “It reaffirmed that this is so much more than a company; this is a family.”

After Hurricane Irma passed through St. Petersburg, the headquarters also became a safe haven for Florida associates and their families. The Office Services, Facilities and Business Continuity Planning teams not only prepared the buildings to brace for the storm – but quickly equipped them to serve as a temporary shelter for those without power or water, and in need of a hot meal once the storm had passed.

Giving Back Close to Home

As part of the hurricane recovery process, Raymond James provided robust donations and relief to associates and their communities.

firm's total gift toward American Red Cross relief efforts in the areas most impacted by the storms

total donations to Friend of Raymond James for associates and their families who were impacted by the storm
Paul and Rose Reilly and family pledged to match up to $100,000 of donations from associates to Friends of Raymond James. In response, the Executive Committee pledged to match another $135,000.

for Hurricane Irma relief

toward Hurricane Maria recovery efforts in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands

toward Hurricane Harvey relief

firm's hurricane relief award to all corporate and branch associates* in Texas, Florida, and the Southeast
To help with the cost of evacuation, travel, and other storm-related expenses

*Excluding executives, financial advisors and branch managers, this award went to associates located in areas most impacted by Harvey and Irma.