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2019 Nomination Committee Candidate

Candidate statement:

Montreal June 17, 2019

Dear members of the CIRA Board Nominations committee,

My name is Iris Almeida-Côté and I live in Montreal (Québec). It gives me pleasure to present my application to join the CIRA Board of Directors. I serve as President and Chief Executive Officer at INNOVACONNECT Inc. and I provide strategic management services to organisations in finance and audit, governance, executive leadership and strategic communications. In 2018, I was nominated to the Canadian Space Agency’s Departmental Audit by the Comptroller General, Treasury Board of Canada. I am also a member of the Council on the Status of Women and I represent the Quebec Network of Business Women and entrepreneurs. I am proficient in English, French and Spanish.

I specialise in finance, audit and executive leadership and I assist organisations in building robust strategic plans and establishing corporate and public sector partnerships across Canada. I am a Corporate Director (ICD.D) and I completed the Director Education training at the Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto and the Institute of Corporate Directors in 2016. I am trained in Financial Management and Governance at the Université Laval, Collège des Adminstrateurs de Sociétés (CAS) as well as in Health Sector Governance at the Institute for Governance of Private and Public Organizations (IGOPP). I completed my Advanced management training at the McGill Executive Institute, McGill University and at the Canadian Centre for Management. I hold a Master's Degree in Law from the Université du Québec à Montréal (2001) as well as a Master's Degree in Sociology from the University of Bombay (1982). I am an active member of the Institute of Internal Auditors. Over the past six years, I served on the Community Investment Committee of the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) in the selection of innovative internet related projects.

As a senior executive leading transformations in organisations over the past thirty-five years, I served as Executive Director at the Royal Society of Canada where I worked with a network of Canada’s leading scientists, scholars and artists. I also served as Strategic Executive Director at the International Association for Public Participation and worked with trainers around the world to refine the on-line content and methodologies for effective Stakeholder Engagement. I served as President and Chief Executive Officer at Canada World Youth, and President and Chief Executive Officer at the Canadian Pension & Benefits Institute. Earlier in my career, I served for over sixteen years as Director of Policy and Programs at the Canadian Parliamentary Centre Rights and Democracy, and as Director of Programs at Partnership Africa Canada. At the international level, I served as Assistant Secretary-General of CIDSE (Coopération Internationale pour le Développement et la Solidarité) an international organisation with consultative status and United Nations and the European Union in Brussels, and President of the International Movement of University Students in Paris.

I contribute to Board Governance as the Chair of the Finance and Audit Committees on the Board of Directors of Public Relations without Borders. I also serve as Strategic Adviser at the Institut d’études international de Montreal. I served as the Chair of the Audit committee and as a member of the Finance committee on the Board of Directors of the Saint-Justine University Hospital (CHUSJ). I also served as Chair of the Finance Committee on the Board of Directors of Lawyers without Borders Canada and as the Chair of the Governance committee on the Board of Directors of the Canadian Society of Association Executives. I was a member of the Conseil intercultural at the City of Montreal and a member of the jury for the Scotia Bank – UQAM Merit Scholarships. I served on the jury for the Women of Diversity - Inspiration Awards organised by the Chantier d’Afrique and I chaired the jury of the Fondation Y des femmes Women of Merit Awards.

I bring forward for your kind consideration my candidacy to serve on the CIRA Board of Directors as I am familiar with the corporate strategic plan and the objectives of CIRA namely to innovate, operate and donate. I believe my expertise in Finance and Audit, Cybersecurity, Governance and Risk Management can be valuable to CIRA’s Board Governance work. Over the past six years as a member of the CIRA’s Community Investment committee, project selection process and also as an active member of CIRA. I have connected with members across Canada frequently, including those living and working in remote communities. I believe in CIRA’s potential to have a significant impact on Canadians desirous to build a safe, secure and trusted online experience. I am proficient in English and French. I possess a good knowledge of indigenous communities, youth women and francophone communities in Québec and across Canada. I also believe that through my years of experience in leadership positions in the not-forprofit, public and private sectors, I can provide CIRA with robust oversight on financial management, the annual audit process as well as the reporting processes to the Canada Revenue Agency. As a jurist, I am very familiar with the laws and regulations governing not-for-profit corporations including policies related to Privacy, Intellectual Property, Risk Management, Cybersecurity, Conflict of Interest and Code of Ethics. As a strategic, agile and a collaborative leader with a high standard of integrity, I believe I can assist CIRA in continuing to build strategic partnerships globally, to explore new ways to diversify revenue streams, and focus on achieving outcomes and long-term impact.

I believe CIRA can further leverage its work on internet performance tests and strengthen the work started on developing Internet Exchange Points (IXPs) nation-wide. Good work has been accomplished by CIRA to expand the reach and capacity of the DNS infrastructure and the delivery of D-Zone Anycast DNS to the majority of Canadian universities and now is the time to grow within the public sector at both the federal and provincial levels as the incidents of cyber-attacks are likely to keep rising.

While CIRA manages the .CA internet domain on behalf of Canadians, the number of Canadians looking for a safe, secure and trusted online experience will see significant growth, as many rural and remote communities across our country are desirous to build the infrastructure to effectively connect with the rest of Canada and the world. I believe CIRA’s corporate plan can play a pivotal role in helping to bridge the internet divide. I believe that through the Community Investment Program as well as other member services, CIRA has enormous potential to be innovative and to expand the participation of Canadians in the conference of Canadians Connected.

Looking to the future, I believe it is important that CIRA maintain its global ranking as a world-class internet registry and I would like to contribute as a member of the Board to strengthen synergies between colleagues on the board and the staff to focus efforts in at least a few of the following areas:

• Ensure the financial management, the audit process and reporting to regulatory bodies is robust.

• Increase the research, development, program management, financial oversight and impact assessment capabilities of the organisation.

• Foster collaboration between the Board of Directors and Staff in the development and refinement of the upcoming strategic plan.

• With cyber-attacks on the rise, CIRA’s DNS infrastructure capacity and delivery of the D-Zone Anycast DNS, expand the reach to universities as well as other federal and provincial public sectors.

• Support the Internet Performance Test (IPT) to maximise the economic, social and learning opportunities the internet has to offer.

• Improve the IXP network expansion by peering Canadian companies and institutions.

• Partner with Canadian municipalities to support their internet growth.

• Prioritise the growth of domains registered.

• Expand the base of subscribers and invest resources to provide enhanced support to .CA especially those living in remote areas of our country, in indigenous communities, in francophone communities and among youth and newly arrived immigrants.

I bring balance and good judgement to decision-making in the organisations I serve. I arrived as an immigrant to Canada in 1988 and as a young woman from a visible minority community, I committed myself to learn about and love my country. My professional roles as a senior manager enabled me to travel and work with leaders in the business community, academia and governments from coast to coast to coast and serve Canada and Canadians with integrity and dedication. I am an active listener and also possess good time management skills.

I believe CIRA can benefit from embracing the expertise of community leaders like me with a robust knowledge and experience in financial management and oversight, enterprise risk management, yearend audit, strategic planning, governance and participatory methodologies in effective stakeholder engagement. I would be delighted to commit the time to serve as a Board member and contribute to this innovative effort of building an affordable, reliable, effective and secure online Canada.

Some examples of my Board experience include:

1. Finance and Audit Committees

Chair, Finance and Audit Finance committees, Board of Directors, Public Relations without Borders.

Chair, Audit committee and Member Finance committee, Board of Directors, Sainte Justine University Hospital.

Chair, Finance committee, Board of Directors, Lawyers without Borders Canada.

Member, Departmental Audit committee, Canadian Space Agency, Treasury Board of Canada.

I bring strong financial literacy and a proven track record in delivering financially healthy organizations, with oversight responsibilities on financials of up to $ CDN 1 billion.

- Contributed analysis and oversight of Financial Statements, Budgets and cash-flow and costing, meetings with auditors, hiring of the audits and reports to the Board and the annual financial report to the Annual general meeting of members.

- Reviewed costs of informational technology upgrades.

- Participated in selecting and evaluating external auditors.

- Organised in-camera sessions with the internal and external auditors.

- Reviewed special risk management and operational audits.

- Assisted the developed the investment policy.

- Developed the enterprise risk management framework

- Provided committee oversight by using risk registers and quarterly reports.

2. Governance, Human Resources Oversight and Nominations Committees

Member, Governance committee, Board of Directors, St. Justine University Hospital.

Chair, Governance Committee, Board of Directors, Lawyers without Borders.

Member, Orientation committee, The Institute for International Studies in Montreal.

Chair, Finance Committee and member, Governance and Nominations committees, Board of Directors, Canadian Society of Association Executives.

Facilitator for Board Training, Indigenous Advanced Education and Skills Development Council

Transformative Leadership trainer, National Indian Brotherhood Trust Fund, Nataka, IMA-Sante, Plakett Clinique Medicale, Law offices.

- Led the strategic planning process and provide oversight on plan implementation.

- Reviewed corporate governance policies and procedures and update the code of ethics.

- Conducted the Annual Performance appraisal of the President and CEO.

- Developed the action plan following the Annual Board Performance review.

- Proposed the Board competencies matrix to on-board new Governors.

- Lead the discussion on CEO and senior management succession planning.

- Established the criteria for setting remuneration plans, incentive programs and continuous improvement programs for the CEO and management.

- Provided strategic advice on collective agreement negotiations and costs of pensions and benefits programs.

- Proposed strategies for hiring, retaining and continuous improvement plans for the leadership team.

3. IT TECHOLOGIES, STRATEGY AND BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT

As Chief Staff Officer at the Royal Society of Canada, the Canadian Pension and Benefits Institute and Canada World Youth, I championed the integration of new technology solutions and cybersecurity by leading the discussions on the merits of transitioning to cost effective and cloud based technologies to engage with decision makers. At the International Association for Public Participation, I worked with forty trainers around the world to create up-to-date on-line training and accredited programs in stakeholder engagement being replicated in over 14 countries.

- Lead strategic contributor in establishing the strategic planning and communications process at the Institut National de Recherche Scientific (INRS).

- Oversight on audit of IT Technologies, Canadian Space Agency – Departmental Audit committee

- Updated on technology movements, cyber security and enterprise risk management.

- Assisted Not-for-profit organisations set up CRM, SharePoint, Razor’s edge and other IT tools to facilitate analysis for purposes of research, education and development.

Thank-you.

Iris A. Côté

Candidate resume:


Answers to mandatory questions:

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

The Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) is a not-for-profit organisation, known for managing the .CA internet domain on behalf of all Canadians. CIRA provides a safe, secure and trusted online experience to all Canadians.

CIRA is a membership-based organisation with over 15,000 members. It plays a leadership role in shaping Canada’s internet for the benefits of .CA domain holders. CIRA has registered approximately 2.7 million .CA domains and these numbers are growing. The team at CIRA develops and implements policies that support Canada’s internet community and represents the .CA registry internationally.

CIRA builds programs, products and services that leverage what the internet has to offer to help build a better online Canada. It conducted more than 280,000 internet performance tests in 2017. CIRA has developed 11 Internet Exchange Points (IXPs) nation-wide.

As a member of CIRA I am aware that over 100,000 cybersecurity threats have been blocked daily by DZone Firewall. In addition, CIRA gives back to the community and has funded over 102 projects through the Community Investment Program (CPI) over the past years. For well over five years now, I viewed my involvement with CIRA as an opportunity to shape the community and business aspects of the Internet. Through my volunteer contributions to the CIP I was able to share my expertise in project management, budgets, impact assessment of community projects.

I am also aware that CIRA is expanding the reach and capacity of the DNS infrastructure. CIRA is now delivering D-Zone Anycast DNS to the majority of Canadian universities, and has plans to expand this to the public sector. With cyber-attacks on the rise, this product offers is timely and relevant.

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

I am familiar with the corporate strategic plan and the objectives of CIRA namely to innovate, operate and donate.

I believe my expertise in Financial management and oversight, in Audit processes, in Cybersecurity, in Governance and in Risk Management can be valuable to CIRA’s Board Governance work.

Over the past six years as a member of the CIRA’s Community Investment committee, project selection process and also as an active member of CIRA. I have connected with members across Canada, including those living and working in remote communities. I believe in CIRA’s potential to have a significant impact on Canadians desirous to build a safe, secure and trusted online experience.

I am proficient in English and French. I possess a good knowledge of indigenous communities, youth women and francophone communities in Québec and across Canada.

I also believe that long experience in leadership positions in the not-for-profit, public and private sectors, I can provide CIRA with robust oversight on financial management, the annual audit process as well as the reporting processes to the Canada Revenue Agency.

As a jurist, I am very familiar with the laws and regulations governing not-for-profit corporations including policies related to Privacy, Intellectual Property, Cybersecurity, Conflict of Interest and Code of Ethics.

As a collaborative leader with a high standard of integrity, I believe I can assist CIRA in continuing to build strategic partnerships, to explore new ways to diversify revenue streams, and focus on achieving outcomes and impact.

I believe CIRA can further leverage its work on internet performance tests and strengthen the work started on developing Internet Exchange Points (IXPs) nation-wide. Good work has been accomplished by CIRA to expand the reach and capacity of the DNS infrastructure and the delivery of D-Zone Anycast DNS to the majority of Canadian universities and now is the time to grow within the public sector at both the federal and provincial levels as the incidents of cyber-attacks are likely to keep rising.

While CIRA manages the .CA internet domain on behalf of Canadians, the number of Canadians looking for a safe, secure and trusted online experience will see growth, as many rural and remote communities across our country are desirous to build the infrastructure to effectively connect with the rest of Canada and the world. I believe CIRA’s corporate plan can play a pivotal role in helping to bridge the internet divide.

I believe that through the Community Investment Program and member services, CIRA has enormous potential to be innovative and to expand the participation of Canadians in the conference of Canadians Connected.

I would like to enure that CIRA maintains a world-class internet registry. I would be able to bring a unique contribution in the following areas:

- Ensure the financial management, the audit process and reporting to regulatory bodies is robust.

- Increase the research, development, program management, financial oversight and impact assessment capabilities of the organisation.

- Foster collaboration between the Board of Directors and Staff in the development and refinement of the upcoming strategic plan.

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

I bring significant expertise in finance and audit, risk management, not-for-profits reporting to the Canadian Revenue Agency, governance and strategic communications. My governance experience serving on numerous boards and oversight bodies, would be an asset and help me make a unique contribution to the CIRA Board.

My proficiency in English and French, my knowledge of francophone communities in Québec and across Canada, my expertise in strategic planning and in building business partnerships globally could also be useful to CIRA.

I also believe as a person who has served over the past thrity-five years in senior management positions in not-for-profit, public and private sectors, I can help CIRA ensure robust financial systems are in place. Having set up strategic partnerships in over eighty countries over the past thrity-five years, I can assist CIRA look for new ways to diversify revenue streams, to partner with like-minded organisations nationally and globally.

I believe I am a strategic and a collaborative leader and can contribute my talent and commitment to ensure that CIRA continues to do pioneering work with a focus on outcomes and long-term impact. In addition my friendly attitude, my networks and my relationship building skills and my knowledge of the regulatory frameworks in which not-for-profits organisations work in Canada can be put to good use at CIRA.

I am a Corporate Director (ICD.D) and I completed the Director Education training at the Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto and the Institute of Corporate Directors in 2016. I am trained in Financial Management and Governance at the Université Laval, Collège des Adminstrateurs de Sociétés (CAS) as well as in Health Sector Governance at the Institute for Governance of Private and Public Organizations (IGOPP). I completed my Advanced management training at the McGill Executive Institute, McGill University and at the Canadian Centre for Management. I hold a Master's Degree in Law from the Université du Québec à Montréal (2001) as well as a Master's Degree in Sociology from the University of Bombay (1982). I am an active member of the Institute of Internal Auditors.

I serve as Chair of the Finance and Audit Committees on the Board of Directors of Public Relations without Borders. I also serve as Strategic dviser at the Institut d’études international de Montreal.

I served as Chair of the Audit committee and member of the Finance committee on the Board of Directors of the Saint-Justine University Hospital (CHUSJ). She was Chair of the Finance Committee on the Board of Directors of Lawyers without Borders Canada and Chair of the Governance committee on the Board of Directors of the Canadian Society of Association Executives. I served as strategic adviser at the Conseil interculturel City of Montreal. In 2018, Iris was member of the jury for the Scotia Bank – UQAM Merit Scholarships. She also served on the jury for the Women of Diversity - Inspiration Awards organised by the Chantier d’Afrique.

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. Many Canadians are aware that the unprecedented growth in internet technologies, can offer us new opportunities. We also know that there are communities across Canada who still do not have the adequate infrastructure to provide for their affordable and reliable access to the internet. CIRA’s corporate plan can play an pivotal role in helping to bridge the internet divide. Through the Community Investment Program as well as other programs and services including the member services and expanding participation of Canadians in the conference of Canadians Connected, CIRA can make a strategic contribution.

2. Over the last years CIRA has taken effective steps to adapt to the changing market by rejecting the downward curve in domain growth that many of its global peers are facing. Through the implementation of new business processes, new products and strategic partnerships CIRA has been able to diversify its revenue streams. Business has grown and some of it has been invested wisely in giving back to Canadians through the Community Investment Program.

2. CIRA has accomplished a lot in the past years, and the next three to five years, should be focussed on operational efficiency, increasing the market and customer focus, measuring the outcomes and impacts of the programs and sharing best practices with the internet community in Canada.

I believe CIRA needs fresh talent on its Board that understands key performances indicators, internet connectivity in rural and remote areas, knowledge of serving indigenous communities to promote the agenda of renconcilation using the internet technologies to foster dialogue and cooperatio. I believe CIRA's Board needs more persons who have expertise in strategy and able to provide oversight to financial management, to ensure the annual audit is smooth with no management letter, and to increase strategic partnerships with business, with communities, with municipalities and with the public sector.

To maintain CIRA’s global ranking as a world-class Internet registry some opportunities include:

- Continue to build a robust financial management and oversignt of ressources.

- Grow the current 2.5 million domains registered must be a priority - expansion to rural, remote areas, indigenous communties, to youth and new immigrants.

- With cyber-attacks on the rise, CIRA’s DNS infrastructure capacity and delivery of the D-Zone Anycast DNS needs to expand its reach beyond universities and to the federal and provincial public sectors.

- Provide high quality Internet Performance Test (IPT) for Canadians to maximise the economic, cultural and social benefits the Internet offers.

- The transfer of .CA to the Fury registry platform needs the Board’s unwavering support and commitment to ensure a smooth transition and future growth.