2019 Nomination Committee Candidate
I’m passionate about developing a strong Internet in Canada. My years of experience and education in the domain, DNS, web development, and hosting industries uniquely position me as a highly qualified and motivated candidate to support the CIRA Board of Directors.
I began my career as a software developer in web technologies in 1999, propelled by my degree in Computer Science with High Honours from Carleton University. It has been my honour to serve .CA members, registrants and Canadian Internet users since 2013 as a member of CIRA’s Board of Directors. During these last 6 years I’ve earned the support of my peers on the board and serve the board as chair of the Market Strategy Committee (since 2015), and as the board’s Vice-Chair (since 2017). I believe my industry experience and entrepreneurial attitude have had a positive impact on CIRA’s diverse board and the organization as a whole.
For 9 years I’ve led the .CA accredited registrars Rebel.ca, Rebel.com and internic.ca as CEO. In this role I have worked actively alongside CIRA on multiple fronts to best position .CA within a growing marketplace. Through these registrars I work directly with CA Registrants, helping them to achieve their goals, and understanding the challenges they face with domains and DNS. Additionally, I have attended 20+ ICANN meetings, working to ensure that registries, registrars, and registrants remain actively involved as we shape the policies that will determine the future of our industry.
It takes time to develop strong board members and I have worked actively with CIRA’s leadership, It’s important for CIRA to have consistency and continuity within their Board of Directors in order to maximize the organization’s long term effectiveness. I take every opportunity to share my industry experience and insight with our board and CIRA’s leadership team.
I’m honoured to have the opportunity to continue this work, and to share pride in contributing to a such key and valuable internet resource for all Canadians. I cannot think of a more effective way to marry my skills, experience, and passion than to contribute to the board of directors of this organization while it faces the challenge of developing tomorrow's internet in Canada and worldwide.
Answers to mandatory questions:
1. Explain from your perspective what CIRA does and why it matters.
CIRA’s current strategic mission is to make a better online Canada. CIRA pursues this mission through three strategic objectives which are to be the steward of .CA, to innovate in the DNS and internet space, and to donate our knowledge, expertise, and financial support to initiatives aim to accomplish this shared mission. These three objectives not only work to serve our primary mandate to care for, grow, and promote the .CA namespace, but also serve to promote a healthy, strong, competitive, and accessible internet in Canada.
CIRA’s primary work, when done well, can go unnoticed. People don’t often consider the pipes. But imagine .CA without its world leading policies, infrastructure, and tools which CIRA has built. Would .CA be the national resource we have today? Would it be Safe, Stable, and Secure? Would CIRA be poised to lead Canada into the next wave of DNS innovation and beyond? Would .CA withstand security threats and DDOS attack? Would Canadians be proud of .CA and consider it a world class domain? CIRA’s work may go unnoticed by most everyday internet users but this work is critically important to the internet in Canada, and to Canadians.
CIRAs impact isn’t limited to .CA and Canada’s DNS. CIRA achieves the broader goal of building a better online Canada through connectivity initiatives like IXPs, Internet performance Testing, and municipal Smart City support. CIRA also furthers internet innovation, supports digital skills development, and supports others who aim to build a better online Canada through its Community Investment Program. This high impact work is highly rewarding as it accomplishes our goal while building others up and enabling them to make a difference.
2. Why do you want to be on CIRA’s board of directors?
The impact the internet has had on society and individuals over the past 25 years is unparalleled by any other technological advance, and these transformations are only the beginning. Its impact and influence are hard to overstate. But most internet users do not even begin to understand the philosophies, policies, and technology which made today's internet possible.
There are very few organizations like CIRA which have such a tremendous responsibility to Canadians. Its role is not often understood by those who visit a CA domain, but CIRA's impact on the internet landscape in Canada is undeniable. The CA namespace is trusted, safe, secure, and recognized by Canadians. It is so ingrained in us today that it is difficult to imagine it any other way, however; the success of the CA namespace was not a sure thing. It took the tremendous effort of many volunteers, stakeholders, employees, members, and internet visionaries to get us here.
I am honoured to have the opportunity to continue this work, and to share pride in contributing to a such key and valuable internet resource for all Canadians. I cannot think of a more effective way to marry my skills, experience, and passion than to contribute to the board of directors of this organization while it faces the challenge of developing tomorrow's internet in Canada and worldwide.
3. What specific skills and experience do you have that makes you a qualified candidate for CIRA’s board of directors?
Starting with my role as a CIRA board member, I bring to the table six years of board experience, 4 years committee chair experience, and most recently 2 years of board vice-chair experience. I have been privileged to participate in CIRA’s larger initiative of improving the Internet infrastructure in Canada through IXPs, state of the Internet, community investment and leveraging CIRA’s respected position in the industry to further these drives.
As the CEO of three growing registrars, I bring valuable domain and Internet industry experience and insight to the table. As a registrar speaks directly with .CA registrants, I have unique insights into frontfacing pain points and how they can be improved.
I have over a decade of leadership experience, managing lead development and information technology teams in a dynamic and ever-evolving industry. From strategic and operational planning to building an authentic corporate culture, I understand the importance of constantly learning and pushing yourself and others to achieve lofty goals.
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?
The most pressing issue is for CIRA to continue to fight against the trend of declining growth. With nearly 3 million CA registrations we know the market is not saturated – there is plenty of opportunity in this sphere to find innovative ways to grow CA. CA’s Domains Under Management has been slowly declining toward 0% growth. The battle for market share and mindshare in Canada is one key, but our challenge is to continue to educate Canadians and Canadian Businesses on the value of using your own CA domain. The board must continue to prioritize the CA namespace as CIRA’s primary objective, and must direct the organization to focus on strategies which innovate and differentiate CA from its direct and indirect competition.
CIRA’s board must also prioritize focus on innovation within the domain and DNS industries. CIRA holds a respected position as a technological leader amongst its peers, and CIRA must seek to amplify its position via innovation to remain a leader. Current initiatives like Fury Registry, D-Zone Any-cast, and DNS Firewall will allow CIRA to serve grow as registry operator and DNS provider both domestically and abroad. These projects not only diversify CIRA’s revenue stream, they also directly improve internet infrastructure in Canada while accelerating innovation of the product and platforms that underpin the .CA registry and DNS.
The board must continue to ensure CIRA does what is necessary to remain trusted, safe, and secure in an environment where security threats and digital attacks are increasing in both volume and severity. Security, safety, and privacy have never been more important and are driving innovations like DNSoverHTTPS which threaten CIRA’s current role. However; These challenges are real and within them lies the opportunity to evolve the next generation of DNS. Distributed ledger technology, like blockchain, similarly threaten to disrupt CIRAs role but also provide opportunities to innovate.
Finally, CIRA is a member organization whose aim is to strengthen the internet in Canada. To do this CIRA must remain open, transparent, and approachable. Further, CIRA also has an advocate role to play within Canada, and a role to play in internet governance worldwide. The board must ensure CIRA continues to participate along these fronts, and continue to support internet development in Canada with programs like the Community Investment Program.