2019 Member Nominee
My name is Terry Drabiuk, I have worked in over 20 countries around the globe on 6 of the 7 continents and have travelled to almost 60 countries, many of them several times. Consequently, I believe I will bring a diversified, culturally aware, global perspective to the CIRA.
In terms of my board experience and governance, at one point in my career I used to facilitate boards of directors. I am currently a member of the Genesis Grain and Fertilizer board of directors; a director on FNA Fertilizer LP board; I also sit on the board of QMTI, Gentle Processing, as well as a senior board member on JBS Management Ltd. Over the past five years, I have been doing strategic planning for polytechnics, universities, and mining companies mainly in Africa.
In terms of my technology background, I do have a diploma in computer science and a commerce degree. I am an old programmer and systems analyst, but like to stay abreast of the latest technologies. I own a number of companies with websites, including my core business CPI Training, which has a LMS with over 250 on-line courses. I have held senior positions such:
• Country Manager Canada, CNH Industrial (New Holland);
• Vice President Business Development, AgraCity Crop and Nutrition;
• Vice President Operations, Farmers of North America (FNA); and
• Director, Corporate and International Training, NAIT
• Director, Regional Marketing Manager, AgPro Grain
At AgPro, NAIT, FNA, and AgraCity I led the implementation of a corporate wide CRM system.
For me life is continually learning. I believe I would learn a lot on the board of CIRA, as well as, provide experience and value.
Answers to mandatory questions:
1. Explain from your perspective what CIRA does and why it matters.
The CIRA is the watchdog and educator for Canadian .ca domains, to ensure a better internet environment for Canadian companies and organizations. They do this by educating members on their options and connecting them via networking tools and events.
The CIRA matters, because we need to keep on the forefront of technology and to keep Canada competitive in this global economy. CIRA also ensures integrity in our systems and keeps Canadian data safe.
2. Why do you want to be on CIRA’s board of directors?
To learn. Stay abreast of what is going on in technology in Canada and around the world. Try and help strengthen the CIRA with my experience.
3. What specific skills and experience do you have that makes you a qualified candidate for CIRA’s board of directors?
Governance - I have experience on boards. I know the fundamentals of Roberts Rules of Order. I have helped companies with governance, corporate structures, and strategic planning.
Global Perspective - I know how advanced China is in terms of their technologies and the struggles Africa has in staying abreast and competitive using the internet. I have worked all over southeast Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and to a lesser extent on the other continents, but I do believe it has provided me with "Big Picture" thinking and a global perspective that can help any organization.
Technology - I cannot say that my computer science background is current, however, that education has provided me with structure and the ability to accept new technology rather easily. My core background is education and we help developing nations build the capacity of the people. Computer technology is a critical component of education, especially in developing nations.
Project Management - I have lead projects from $10,000 to multi-million dollar projects, which includes grain terminals, feed mills, intensive livestock operations, and 13 industrial training centres around the globe. Managing projects is a skill that requires effective communications (good listening skills), build team, attention to detail, the need manage multiple items at the same time, and the flexibility to change course of action when required.
Management - I have managed large groups of employees across large geographic regions (i.e. the prairies, Canada, and the globe). I have managed unionized labour, out of scope professionals, educators, and people with doctorates. This experience is invaluable to any organization.
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?
I can only regurgitate what I have read. Challenges:
- Digital Literacy
- Infrastructure (Access)
Digital Literacy - My understanding in Canada is that the concern comes mainly from the aging population, new immigrants, and the indigenous communities. My approach would be face to face education. I don't think you are going to be able to educate "Digital Literacy" over the internet to these challenged demographic segments. Whether it is competencies or limited access, I believe you would have to go to the people. My approach would be to partner with organizations who cater to these groups already, like post secondary institutions, indigenous organizations and organizations for new comers. I would also partner or license curriculum or program content versus building from scratch. This approach uses best practices, increases your partners (reach), and lowers costs. I would also focus on educators, as it expands your reach exponentially. With educators you can use on-line education to expand reach.
Funding - If applications are inconsistent, cumbersome, the funding pool is small, and often do not go to priority areas of need, this is where the CIRA needs to take an active role in being the watchdog. Looking at your leadership team and that your HO is in Ottawa, do you have a government affairs position? My approach would be to obtain consensus on priority issues from organizations in the technology arena and lobby decision makers to ensure the priority issues are mandatory in every funding proposal. In terms of lack of awareness, I would take a multi-pronged approach; E-newsletters and push notifications to your network; awareness notifications on your/our members websites; obviously at your "Internet Governance Forum" and any other events; and through incubator departments at universities and polytechnics across Canada.
Infrastructure and Access - In your report "The gap between us: Perspectives on building a better online Canada", I agree with the majority of respondents that we rely too heavily on the three major telecom companies. I have worked around the world in a lot of countries. I know of no other country where data costs for companies and individuals is higher than it is in Canada. In fact, I spend a lot of time in Africa, where access is as good if not better for pennies compared to what I pay in Canada. I think this is a systemic issue in Canada that the CRTC needs to address. My approach again would be to advance policy to key decision makers such as institutions such as the CRTC, MPs, ministers, and opposition parties.