Thank you for taking the time to consider my candidacy for the CIRA Board of Directors.
I fell in love with the Internet while attending University where I got access to my first dial up connection. It amazed me that I could interact and share information on projects I was working on with people around the world and help them with projects they were working on. Back then 2400bps was fast and the web was barely understood. I had fallen in love with the Internet and wanted to help connect people to it.
Ironically I used the Internet while at University to research and interact with people to learn the skills I would need to start a business with a goal to connect people easily and economically to the Internet. I continued to run that business for 18 years until its successful acquisition in March of 2014.
I am lucky that the Internet has allowed me to earn what I need while still doing what I love. I have found it important in these last few years to utilize the deep knowledge of the inner workings of the industry to ensure that Canada becomes a leader in its growth and use of the Internet. It is my love of the Internet that has motivated me to accept this nomination and give back to the Internet that has allowed me to prosper both financially and intellectually.
CIRA manages a small but critical slice of the Internet in Canada. I would be honoured with the opportunity to continue to help guide CIRA as it re-examines its scope and mission in the face of the growing threats to the Domain Name space and the world of Internet Governance as a whole.
Explain from your perspective what CIRA does and why it matters.
CIRA is a member-based organization whose main goal is to manage the .CA namespace on behalf of all Canadians. Beyond managing the .CA namespace, CIRA's goals are to build a better online Canada by building programs, services, and products that take advantage of all the internet has to offer.
CIRA's current strategic plan uses four strategic pillars to allow the organization to reach its goals. Those strategic pillars are ".CA Stewardship", "Product "Expansion, "Community "Investment", and "Organizational Enablement".
Through the .CA Stewardship pillar, CIRA manages and maintains a world class registry and DNS infrastructure to ensure that the .CA domain is run in a safe, stable, and secure manner. Maintaining the position of .CA in the Canadian marketplace is part of CIRA's primary mandate.
Through the Product Expansion pillar, CIRA creates and brings to market new products. Amongst other things, these products allow Canadian residents, businesses, and governments to leverage new technologies to enhance their online security and safety. The goal is to strengthen CIRA's business through successes in other commercial areas. Through the Community Investment pillar, CIRA gives back to the Canadian internet community by investing in programs that strengthen the internet in Canada and globally. To date CIRA has funded over 170 projects through the Community Investment Program and many more by way of company directed activities.
By way of the Organizational Enablement pillar, CIRA focuses on the organization's ability to deliver on its strategic objectives. Through commitment to operational excellence, the organization ensures its process, structure, and people are nimble and adaptable.
All of these activities are crucial to making the internet a better, safer place for all Canadians.
Why do you want to be on CIRA’s Board of Directors?
Over the past 25 years I have been very thankful for all the internet has given to me, not only from a professional perspective but also in my personal life. Organizations like CIRA have played a monumental role in making the internet a better place, not only for myself but for all Canadians. For that I am truly thankful and want to continue to give back to the community.
I believe that the unique skillset and perspectives that I have can continue to be an asset to CIRA as it continues to fulfill its goal of building a better online Canada.
Serving on the Board of Directors of CIRA has allowed me to be part of the team at CIRA that is making a difference for Canadian businesses, governments, and citizens. I want to continue to be a contributing member of that team that strives to enhance the lives of all Canadians, both online and in day to day life.
Together we can continue to make a difference.
My professional experience has equipped me with a wide range of skills that make me an ideal candidate for the CIRA Board of Directors.
As an entrepreneur with two decades of experience in the Internet and Telecommunications Industry in Canada, I have been required to juggle and master a large number of skills and technologies in a team setting.
My background is by nature technical where I started hands on building out the networks and systems to support our customers. Our organization grew and I oversaw the entire team who supported over 15,000 customers across the country. We also built facilities across the country to support our Internet Service Provider (ISP) and Competitive Local Exchange Carrier (CLEC) operations. During my tenure our company became one of the largest independent telecommunications companies in Canada.
As my career has evolved I have gained deep-rooted experience in the finance, business strategy, legal, and marketing aspects of the industry. Although our organization grew to eventually include experts in these fields, my role required me to have the knowledge to allow me to constantly challenge the senior management to help them excel and ensure we kept our competitive edge.
Outside of my own business and in addition to my experience as a CIRA Board Member, I have served on the boards and advisory councils of other organizations that are similar in structure to CIRA. My governance and corporate experience gained elsewhere is a key asset to me as a CIRA board member.
I have also participated heavily in various standards setting bodies such as CISC and in technical peer organizations such as:
* the American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN) as a member of its advisory council and Board of Trustees,
* the North American Network Operators Group (NANOG) as a participant
* the Toronto Internet Exchange Community (TorIX) as its Vice-Chair,
* the Canadian Network Operators Consortium (CNOC) as its founding Chair and President,
* the MetaSwitch users board as its chair
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?
Number 1 – A changing competitive landscape
CIRA must ensure that the dot-ca domain continues to enjoy both the domestic and international relevance that it has worked very hard to achieve. Until recently there were only a few dozen other generic domain name extensions that CIRA competed with as it continued to become the preferred choice of Canadians.
Several years ago the International Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) introduced thousands of new domain name extensions into the market place.
CIRA faces several risks as this untested market tries to find its place and could see market conditions rapidly change. CIRA's own CEO has stated he believes that almost half of new domain extensions will likely fail. Such uncertainty could see a dilution of CIRA's ability to communicate with the marketplace as other TLD's scramble to get the attention of the market.
Number 2 – Increased Stakeholder Participation
The Internet has continued to become intertwined in all aspects of daily life at a rapid pace with no signs of that pace slowing down.
CIRA has an important role in the development of the Internet landscape in Canada. It must continue to operate the dot-ca resource, a critical infrastructure, with no room for failure under growing security threats and increased growth.
It is also likely that as CIRA continues to grow that it will generate excess resources that it can continue to use to fulfill its mandate towards other Internet related activities in Canada.
As CIRA grows it needs to ensure it continues to have the legitimacy it requires from its stakeholders. Such stakeholders include: Government, Registrants, Registrars, Law Enforcement, Privacy Advocates, Service Providers and the Technical Community. This legitimacy must come from meaningful engagement of these stakeholders. No single approach will engage all stakeholders and strategies must be put in place to take this approach to the next level.
Number Three – Opportunity
CIRA is in a unique position to work with its stakeholders to increase the security and trust the Canadian Internet User has when using the Internet in its daily lives.
CIRA has begun offering new products into the marketplace in this regard. CIRA should continue to examine the feasibility of other new services that it can offer to its customers. Such services would be signed by CIRA and carry the trust the organization has gained over the last decade. It would also help to continue to diversify the organization from its current product line.
CIRA should continue its efforts to educate all stakeholders on the need to adopt and enhance new security technologies and the growing threats from areas such as malware, botnets, and phishing.