Greetings and Salutations,
In support of my candidacy, I would like to highlight a few details about myself that will make me a valuable addition to the board.
Through several decades of working with technology in several capacities, I currently find myself the director of a cloud operations department for an exciting Canadian internet startup. As a result, I've come to appreciate the importance of the internet infrastructure and its opportunities to Canadian businesses and citizens. As you might expect, that would make me a strong voice for the end-users of the internet, which is a critical voice to have on a board of directors of an organization whose mission is to improve the state of Canadians online. As a working technologist and technological manager, I also view the specific working pain points and requirements that Canadian businesses require to make the best use of the internet.
Outside of practical and technical considerations, I will highlight some of my governance experience. I have some degree of board governance experience, though I am still actively working towards obtaining more. I also make a point of joining governance committees whenever possible. It may also be worth pointing out that there is a movement towards including younger voices in board positions. As a professional younger than age forty, I typically fall into that category, which also does allow me to bring perhaps a different perspective. Diversity of thought and experience makes for a healthier governance body.
Finally, I would like to speak to my philosophical suitability for the position. In this particular case, I am not looking to join this board as a means to power or prestige. On the contrary, I am a firm believer in the power of the internet to make everyone's lives better and feel that the importance of the internet as a system and a global network cannot be understated. I am attempting to join this board because I honestly believe that it is important for me to put my voice out there as strongly as possible to ensure that the safety and freedom of the internet are not impinged on either by private enterprise, by the government, or even by organizations like CIRA itself. It remains such an important topic that morally, I feel that this is something that I must attempt to assure that the internet remains free, open and secure to Canadians and everyone else for that matter. Therefore, I have a personal, philosophical, and moral responsibility to do everything I can to direct the internet in a safer direction every way I can, which is also why I make a point of becoming a member of every internet organization I reasonably can. As a result, I can assure you that I will take this position as deadly seriously as I possibly can.
Thank you for your consideration.
Explain from your perspective what CIRA does and why it matters.
At its core, CIRA is the registrar for Canada's top-level domain and an organization that advocates for Canadians online. As you might imagine with the events of the last year and a half, this is important for any number of reasons. In addition to "What it says on the tin" and managing the registry for the .ca domain, which incidentally is an important task in its own right, CIRA is an important part of working to making sure that Canadians are connected to secure, high quality, internet. As we move more and more of our lives online, it is becoming more important than ever for organizations to rise to the challenge and ensure that end-users are secured. Additionally, CIRA's work to ensure that under-served Canadian communities are granted the same privilege of high quality, fast internet, which is becoming more, and more of a necessity as our lives and jobs move online, leaving such communities behind only serves to make all of us poorer.
Why do you want to be on CIRA’s Board of Directors?
I want to be on CIRA's Board of Directors because I truly believe that the internet is essential for Canadians. This past year of everyone trying to find ways to live their lives online has only proved to highlight just what the internet can accomplish and demonstrate exactly what those who aren't to have fast, reliable access to it are missing. This divide costs all Canadians, and we should all work to bridge that gap, and CIRA seems best situated to do that. Similarly, the benefits we've already worked so hard to establish for those who do have good access to the network will need to be protected, both from corporate interests trying to concentrate control and power of the internet into ever-shrinking spheres, but also more importantly, from the government and government agencies looking to control the internet for their own purposes.
While I will certainly bring a passion for the cause listed above, I have many other important skills and experience to bear to achieve this. I have spent several decades working in the private sector on internet-connected applications ranging from games to enterprise applications to not-for-profit societies, all of which depend on the promise of the internet remaining available to everyone. From this experience, I can speak very concisely to the needs of the end-users of the internet, and this is a group whose voice should be very closely listened to. Additionally, I have a wealth of experience developing internal policy analysis and analysis of government policy as it affects private enterprise, so I am well capable of understanding the intended and unintended results of policy decisions across all levels. Through several professional and volunteer activities, I also have governance and leadership experience at various levels, including professional, committee, and board levels.
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?
Perhaps the largest challenge, which coincidentally also has the largest opportunity, is managing and securing the rapid, largely unplanned migration of many aspects of life into the online sphere. As can be expected, since this all occurred so rapidly due to the pandemic, there are almost certainly many details that we did not consider and unknown security concerns. The challenge is straightforward, there is a distinct increase in risk from having so much more activity happening online than there used to be, and doubly so because we did so much of it in such a hurried fashion, this leaves Canadians exposed to malicious actors. CIRA already has a critical program in Canadian Shield, which can be leveraged not just to protect Canadians from those actors. Still, if CIRA can properly communicate it, it can make Canada an online destination for anyone who wants to take their online protection seriously.
The second challenge is likely to be one that will require continuous improvement over time. It also still ties in closely with the first item raised. Now that so much of our life occurs online, the lack of high-speed connectivity for so many Canadian communities is now more important than ever. CIRA is the group best suited for advocating and building consensus around how to improve this lack of connectivity for so many Canadians. The most obvious and straightforward approach would be to do regular and continuous policy analysis of government proposals to ensure that they would have the intended effects. A second approach that CIRA could take in parallel would be to establish strong partnerships with private organizations and demonstrate the value of improving connectivity to remote communities.
The third challenge that I would identify is probably not the most exciting. Still, it remains crucial for CIRA as an organization, and that would be continued evangelism of .ca as a domain and a location for Canadians online. It's worth noting the success already been had in this area, but there remains a lot of work to do. My preferred approach would be to increase the effort spent and the budget for online advertising, working closely with creative teams to develop campaigns to spread the awareness of the benefits of having a .ca domain. Much has already been done in this area, and this effort should absolutely continue.