2019 Member Nominee
I am adding my name as a candidate for the CIRA Board as this opportunity is one that I feel where I can make a true impact. As a rural community member, I am well aware of some of the key challenges faced by Canadians to have access to quality internet service. As a business owner, being a .ca domain owner provides me with the knowledge and understanding of the opportunities within site registry and maintenance operations. I have also had the opportunity to speak with federal government committees regarding the state of Canadian rural internet access and the challenges therein, and hope to see faster progress in this endeavor.
My background currently as a business and executive management consultant, helping entrepreneurs create and launch their businesses provides me with a wealth of experience that will be useful to the CIRA Board. I have worked across numerous of Canada's key sectors, primarily Life Sciences, but also Environmental, Energy, IT, Consumer Services, ICT and Natural Resources among others. I have also held several senior executive roles with government organizations and within the private sector. This breadth of management and sector knowledge and broad understanding of the unique challenges faced in each will also benefit the CIRA Board.
I have sat and continue to sit on numerous boards. In the Not for Profit sector, I sit on boards for social services and politic groups. In the private, for profit sector I sit on a Consumer Services board. In the past I have held seats on academic and with life sciences start-up boards. I also had an advisory board seat with a venture capital firm. My roles with these boards has been diverse, from general membership to Chair / Vice-Chair and Secretary roles. I have chaired and been member on numerous sub-committees - e.g. governance, human resources, community outreach and finance. This experience has allowed me to develop a deep understanding of governance challenges and will also provide strength to the CIRA Board.
I trust that you will agree that my background and experiences to date, coupled with a desire to impart change to our community, would make me an ideal candidate for the CIRA Board.
Answers to mandatory questions:
1. Explain from your perspective what CIRA does and why it matters.
CIRA is a member-based not-for-profit organization that is best known for managing the .CA internet domain. Additionally it develops and implements policies that support Canada’s internet community and it further represents the .CA registry internationally. CIRA works to develop products and services to improve Canada's internet capacity and to keep it safe for all users.
This matters because the world is rapidly shifting to an online economy and social interaction is also largely based on online presence. Keeping this safe is paramount to the well being of Canadians and our businesses. Having state-of-the-art capabilities in this area, whether you are in a big city, the remote north, or in a rural setting is critical for both ours and Canada's future successes.
2. Why do you want to be on CIRA’s board of directors?
I currently live in a rural location, so know only too well the challenges of having good internet connectivity. I also run several small businesses and effective, safe and secure internet is critical for current day operations. To be able to have some input into these issues and others of concern to Canada and Canadians would be very satisfying.
I have worked with political organizations in the past to prioritize quality internet access for all Canadians, but this is likely to be a slower process to results than working with CIRA. I am and always have been results oriented, so having a real impact on improving this critical resource for Canada would provide me with the satisfaction that the lives of Canadians has been improved.
3. What specific skills and experience do you have that makes you a qualified candidate for CIRA’s board of directors?
I have previously had the senior management lead and responsibility for a broad range of administrative functions, including the oversight for both IT and Communications professionals. I have developed a good understanding of the needs and challenges of a mandatory internet presence and the requirements of having policies and procedures in place for the effective and safe management of this resource. In my past management and board roles I have had significant exposure to finance, accounting and audit processes. I have an extensive background in contracts and IP management required to drive innovation in Canada. These have been identified as key skills and experience needed by the CIRA Board.
My board experience starts back in my College and University years where I was a member of student council and I also had a seat on the University’s Arts and Sciences Faculty Council. Since then I have sat on the board of several for profit life sciences companies (therapeutics development) and a direct to consumer services company board for which I still serve. On the not-for-profit boards side, I have served in numerous roles including Chair, Vice-Chair, Secretary, and Chair of Governance Committees, and further participate in several other standing committees of the Board. I have also had an advisory board role to a local Community Small Business Investment Fund (CSBIF) that financed life science start-ups in the Ottawa area
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?
1. Rural and remote internet access for Canadians at a fair price
This is a challenge not faced solely by communities, individuals, governments or service providers. All interested parties need to come together for a common understanding of the vision and challenges, and to develop a plan of action to deliver services in a reasonable time-frame and at a fair price.
2. Internet security
Canadians, both individuals and organizations or businesses, want to feel safe and secure when they are using the internet for social interactions or for business transactions. Canada needs to continue to work with our partners domestically and internationally to identify and mitigate risks for all. Clear and constant communications between partners must be maintained to avert security risks at the earliest possible stage.
3. Technological innovation
Canada needs to continue to invest in and develop novel technologies to ensure that we remain a technology leader and innovator. The more advanced our infrastructure is, the more opportunity it will provide to Canadians to capture e-commerce opportunities. CIRA has an opportunity to work with the granting agencies, universities, industry and individual innovators to develop, capture and deploy unique technologies that could benefit Canadians.