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2019 Member Nominee

Candidate statement:

The oversight and leadership of CIRA contributes to a robust internet landscape in Canada. CIRA is formed from innovation and holds a position of respect in Canada. The organization provides services to members and participates in a strong community that shapes the protocols used in the internet. I want to ensure that CIRA is investing in technologies, individuals, and organizations that are working towards a greater good.

Being a non-profit organization, CIRA exists to provide services and stewardship for the .ca ecosystem. As a proud Canadian, I want CIRA to provide excellent services and sometimes that means focusing on the core competencies of an organization. With my previous experience working with not-for-profit boards, I believe I can help ensure the success for years to come.

Board directors have responsibility to the shareholders and employees of the organization. It is the board that provides feedback to the CEO about performance and determines compensation. While boards need to ask questions about the state of the business such as profitability, holding the executive leadership team accountable for culture and employee satisfaction is also paramount to sustainability.

Internet growth is moving fast with technologies such blockchain, AI, and IoT rapidly maturing. Each of these technologies each have great benefits when applied to the correct problems. There is a significant risk of investing in these technologies when they are immature but that needs to be balanced with the risk of being late on the adoption curve. We need to learn to partner with leaders in these spaces to leverage their knowledge and invest in Canadian businesses that are providing services that meet the needs of our stakeholders. The growth of the internet worldwide means more opportunity to showcase the expertise of CIRA services and Canadian companies. I plan on inquiring how CIRA can provide guidance to build integrity and accountability into registrars around the world.

The strengths I bring to CIRA come from decades of work in IT and business. I have held leadership and strategy roles for most of the last decade where I oversee technology budgets and manage cash flow. Network, security and computing are still a passion in my life. I maintain several technical certifications and enjoy hands-on projects whenever possible. My governance experience in not-for-profit organizations has given me a perspective needed for this role. I believe in giving back to society and I see this role at CIRA as an amazing opportunity to provide expertise and oversight.

In both my personal and professional life, I strive for excellence. I began working in tech as a network professional and project manager where I have had the opportunity to work with world class organizations. I hold a MScIS through Athabasca University where I focused on network security. My wonderful family and I live in Victoria, BC, where we enjoy outdoor activities such as cycling, hiking, and combing the beaches. I look forward to the opportunity to support and be an advocate for CIRA.

Candidate resume:


Answers to mandatory questions:

1. Explain from your perspective what CIRA does and why it matters.

I believe that CIRA provides balanced, gentle guidance to the internet community in Canada and around the world. While the primary role is to maintain the .ca TLD registry, CIRA presents information to those interested in how the internet works. With the growth of both personal and business domains, education is important to ensuring digital safety.

CIRA represents the interests of stakeholders to the public. This can include governments, special interest groups, or key organizations such as ICANN. The message that CIRA conveys carries significant weight as a proxy to the reputation of Canada being an intelligent peace keeper. Attending technical conferences and hosting meet-ups help to broaden the awareness of issues that are being faced. The reports published by the organization bring attention to key topics and are referenced globally.
The special interest projects that CIRA undertakes are important to ensuring awareness and ensuring internet safety. The DNS SEC initiative is important to keep addressing as we continue to see DNS hijacking attacks. We need secure directions to legitimate websites to reduces the risk of compromise. The D-Zone DNS service that CIRA provides helps organizations maintain their online presence during a denial of service attack. The guidance being provided by CIRA can protect Canadian citizens and businesses from threats.

The Community Investment Program Fund has made significant contributions to dozens of organizations that directly benefit Canadians. Each year the grants lead to a more robust and diverse internet ecosystem. Many of the programs focus on youth and education which will come to fruition in the future. These strategic investments lead may buffer the impact of technology such as automation and AI, which are affecting the employment opportunities in rural areas. CIRA is making a difference where it matters.

CIRA maintains an understanding of market conditions to maintain excellent service to members. The participation in international decision-making arenas helps to solidify the value that CIRA adds. Our contributions shape the rules around how the internet evolves through our votes and opinions. While the general populous may never know the extent to which they are being represented, it is important to continue to pursue the best interests of CIRA members and to maintain the ethical standards held within Canada.

2. Why do you want to be on CIRA’s board of directors?

CIRA is a world class organization that leads innovation to deliver internet related services in Canada. It epitomizes Canada by its very name. Since I first became a member in early 2003, I have respected the attitude and quality service that CIRA provides. I would like an opportunity to share my skills and contribute to this amazing organization. With the rapid speed of technology change that is happening we need to adapt quickly and pay close attention to trends in the marketplace and our own businesses. I work with organizations to improve processes and enhance the speed with which enhancements can be made.
I see the platform that CIRA has developed over many decades being a key influencer in the Canadian internet space but it may be at risk of losing relevancy. With the competition between internet registrars increasing and driving costs down, the commoditization of many services that CIRA provides may erode the foundation that CIRA has created. It is my perception that CIRA is a world leader in its space and being a proud Canadian, I want to do what I can to ensure the stability of the organization.
I flourish as a member of high performing organizations that create benefits for stakeholders. The board brings together many incredibly talented individuals that share a passion to see CIRA succeed. I recognize that my success depends on improving the lives of those around me and I want to do that in as big of a way as possible.

3. What specific skills and experience do you have that makes you a qualified candidate for CIRA’s board of directors?

Providing a value as a director requires a strong composite of skills combined with person that has the confidence to stand for what they believe in. I continue to drive excellence in organizations I am a part of to improve process, business outcomes, and the lives of employees. With decades of experience working in information technology, I have learned many aspects of how the internet functions. My vision, insight, and the ability to paint a picture towards a goal, have helped me to build many successful strategic plans and see projects return far greater value than what was invested.

I considered it my job to know the organizations that I am a part of. In the past I have studied past decisions, meeting minutes, reports, and statutes to determine the personality of the business. The depth of history that I have uncovered has provided many great insights in the form of lessons learned. One example is researching and preserving the creation of a provincial society in BC that represents a shared services agreement between nine post-secondary schools. Through that work I could refine the board direction to better meet the original intent of the society. Knowing the past is a key to unlocking the future.

I believe that a test of expertise in a subject is the ability to teach a topic to others. I am now starting to teach and lecture at local colleges to give back and foster adoption, passion, and curiosity in current students. Despite being the most technically immersed generation in school, the logic used to construct the building blocks of the internet such as DHCP or DNS are almost unknown. I feel that giving back is exponential.

My specific skills are technical knowledge, strategic planning, and governance experience. I currently hold several industry technical designations that are relevant to future board work. I have been a contributor and built several strategic plans in multiple organizations. I am currently the National Board Representative for CIPS BC where we are advocates for professionalism in information technology. Over the last year, I have been a contributor to the Best Practices Forum for cyber-security for the UN Internet Governance Forum. We have just finished drafting a review of the multi-stakeholder agreements which impact cybersecurity around the world. I am versed in business skills and am becoming versed in legislation at Consumer Protection BC as we continue to adapt to the changing consumer landscape.

4. What do you think are the top 3 challenges and opportunities facing CIRA in the next 3 to 5 years? What approach would you take to addressing these issues?

With the vast changing marketplace and pervasive expansion of the internet there are many challenges and opportunities. The top that I see are cybersecurity, internet governance, and providing registry services. Each of these have an impact on all internet users while currently only representing a thin wedge of their possible impacts.

Cybersecurity has seen an incredible rise in attention in recent years with the monetization of malware attacks. In recent years we have seen botnets, cryptolockers, and advanced phishing attacks. The home user has little to no chance of being able to make an informed decision around how to protect themselves in one or more of these situations. ISACA estimates that there will be a skills-gap of over 65,000 Canadians needed to protect organizations by 2020. CIRA could contribute to campaigns and organizations focused on defending those at risk of attack. While the risk of compromise is low, the impact is high.

Internet users are finally understanding that the internet is a dangerous place and needs rules. CIRA has been leading the Canadian Internet Governance forum for many years. Through international partnerships and the established relationships that CIRA has, progress could be made towards making the Internet safer for Canadians.

CIRA is a clear leader in registry services and is internationally respected. Through the existing international customers, CIRA could expand it's offering as a provider to other countries and regions. Africa and Asia have rapid Internet adoption requiring experience and expertise to guide them as they on-board millions of customers.

The landscapes are constantly changing with new technologies being formalized each day. In the next decades, we will experience dramatic change as autonomous vehicles replace professional drivers and AI reaches levels beyond human comprehension. We need to consider where we need to be in that timeline.