Dear Nomination Committee:
I‘m a CIRA member and Canadian Shield user. I'm also an experienced Board director and executive, and ICD.D designation holder passionate about technology and serving in the public interest. I hope to guide CIRA in its role as steward for the .CA domain and ensure its ongoing provision of high-quality registry services (Anycast DNS and City gTLDs) and cybersecurity services (DNS Firewall, Anycast DNS, Canadian Shield...). I also support CIRA's engagement in community activities related to the internet through grants, initiatives, and projects.
Board committees in which I have experience include: Governance; Human Resources; Health, Safety and Environment; and Capital Oversight. My board experience includes oversight of human resources best practices pertaining to attracting diverse talent (including Indigenous), talent retention, and fostering healthy and safe work cultures. Other HR committee duties include overseeing executive compensation and CEO recruiting.
I have Board and executive experience with strategic planning and enterprise risk management, especially as it pertains to organizations balancing for-profit and not-for-profit motives. I'm knowledgeable with respect to cybersecurity including data asset identification, commissioning data and system audits, creating and executing incident response plans, participating in tabletop exercises, and working with external vendors to troubleshoot issues.
I've also served on not-for-profit boards and completed the ICD Not for Profit Board Governance course.
I was a VP at the Land Title and Survey Authority of BC (LTSA). I worked at the LTSA's for-profit subsidiary, LandSure Systems, and was part of a team monetizing existing online services, led the conceptualization of new online systems for third parties, and de-risked these endeavors. I led the business development, marketing, communications and UX Design functions for these online services.
Currently, I help technology entrepreneurs position themselves, their companies, and their products to maximize awareness and drive leads.
I've worked with legal counsel on IT vendor contracts, privacy, trademark, and patent issues. I've implemented frameworks such as gating and milestones (relating to vendor payment subject to Board approval), performance penalties, holdbacks and warranties, and IP ownership. I am experienced with website privacy policies, and website terms and conditions. All of these activities are linked to web-based offerings and activities requiring .CA domains.
I hope to assist CIRA with some challenges it may be facing over next few years to:
• Increase the growth in .CA registrations and generic-top level domains (TLDs)
• Offer new and existing robust registry, DNS, cybersecurity services, and education on digital literacy to ensure the security, reliability and performance of the .CA domain system
• Ensure communicators who manage online presence know the benefits of .CA domains and integrate them into other digital platforms
And, a bit about the personal me. I'm from Quebec and grew up in a trilingual Arabic/West Asian household. My passions outside of work are social media, visual art, and enjoying BC's great outdoors.
Thank you for considering my candidacy to serve CIRA.
Liza Aboud, MBA, ABC, ICD.D
Explain from your perspective what CIRA does and why it matters.
CIRA is the trusted steward for Canada's .CA domain, and offers high quality registry services (platforms, Anycast DNS, City gTLDs, Internet Performance Test) and cybersecurity services (DNS Firewall, Anycast DNS, Canadian Shield...). CIRA also supports and engages in community projects related to the internet through grants, initiatives, and projects.
CIRA's role is becoming more critical each year as Canadian businesses, governments, and NGOs increasingly shift to online commerce and service delivery to deliver most of their services, especially in the COVID-19 era. Without robust registry, DNS, and cybersecurity services, the security, reliability, and performance of the .CA domain system could be compromised, putting the internet community using the .CA domain and users accessing these domains at risk. The outcome would be the loss of integrity and trust in Canada's very own .CA domain, an asset that is integral to Canada's economy and the exchange of information across Canada.
Why do you want to be on CIRA’s Board of Directors?
I am interested in serving on CIRA's board as I offer executive and board experience at organizations operating in the public interest, some of which have had mandates to become multi-service, multi-product organizations and drive revenue (offer some services at no cost, and others for a fee). I have positioned myself at the integration of product and service development, IT, customer experience, change management and communications, and would offer CIRA a unique vantage point.
- 2020 CIRA Elections -
I came in third in 2020 CIRA member slate elections behind a current and former board member. Members valued my experience, education, and thoughtful responses in the discussion forums. In addition, I was endorsed by former CIRA board member Rowena Liang during the member slate elections.
- Board Experience -
• I currently serve on the boards of the member-based BC Real Estate Association advocating for 23,000 Realtors, the Vehicle Sales Authority of BC overseeing retail sales of personal-use motor vehicles by engaging and educating consumers and industry, and the Society of Notaries Public of BC, the regulatory body for notaries public in BC who are providers of non-contentious legal services.
• I served on the board of directors of Ridley Terminals, a former federal for-profit Crown corporation.
• I served on not-for-profit boards, and was co-founder of a not-for-profit association.
• I completed the ICD Directors Education Program and Not for Profit Governance program.
- Executive Experience -
• I currently provide strategy, branding and marketing consulting services for technology entrepreneurs.
• I was a VP with the Land Title and Survey Authority of BC (LTSA). I also worked at the LTSA's for-profit subsidiary, LandSure Systems, and led the business development, marketing, communications and UX Design functions. I worked with my peers to monetize existing online information services and was a key player in the development of new online services for third parties, and de-risking these endeavors.
• As an executive at the LTSA, I gained experience making complex decisions, usually involving large amounts of technical information, and the need to balance the interests and rights of a diverse range of stakeholders.
• I am savvy in areas such as government, media and stakeholder relations.
- Internet Knowledge -
In terms of internet knowledge, I currently have a .CA domain. I:
• Understand website development, hosting, and hosting concerns which have been a critical part of my communications roles for years.
• Am familiar with areas of law related to CIRA's business, such as contracts, privacy, and IP.
• Understand issues of concern around cybersecurity having crisis-managed attempted system intrusions, information scraping, and other issues affecting systems operations and customers.
I understand CIRA's critical role in building a trusted internet for Canadians, am impressed by its community engagement, and would be honoured to serve as a CIRA board director.
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?
Here are the top challenges and opportunities facing CIRA over the next 3 years:
1. Challenge: Slowing growth in .CA registrations and the increase in generic top level domains (TLDs)
Solving the challenge:
-Continue to communicate the value of the .CA domain via marketing campaigns. Offer services to support new focused TLDs for Canadians. Offer support to make the general population aware of these new domains and ensure that companies update validation algorithms to permit all valid Canadian domains.
-Encourage strategic domain .CA purchasing for buyers (with a Canadian presence) who already own other domains to protect and promote their brands.
2. Challenge: Increase in global quantity and complexity of cybersecurity threats like hijacks/domain thefts, botnets, etc.
Solving the challenge:
-Continue to leverage CIRA's efforts and investments to counteract cybersecurity threats into services that can be offered to other organizations.
-Improve Canada's internet infrastructure, safe and secure access to the internet, and digital literacy by funding and non-monetary support of community organizations/NGOs, increasing the number of Internet Exchange Points across Canada, promoting best practices across Canada, and other activities proposed in the Gap Between Us report (CIRA, 2018).
3. Challenge: The increase in the use of social media and apps may make domain names less relevant.
Solving the challenge:
-Encourage the understanding of communicators and others who manage platforms about the benefits of each platform and the benefits of integrating them with temporary and enduring .CA websites.