With over 25 years of industry experience, it is time for me to give back. I think that joining the CIRA board is a perfect opportunity for me to do so. This board position would allow me a unique opportunity to bring my strong finance, governance, information technology and entrepreneurial skills together for the benefit of CIRA.
What I bring:
· International experience having lived and worked in France, South Korea, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, and Florida. Through these assignments, I have brought teams of diverse geographical and cultural backgrounds together to deliver successful results.
· Since first being appointed as CFO of a $1B Joint Venture in South Korea in 2008, I have gained strong board experience for joint ventures between public companies, large private companies, as well as a high growth tech company going through an M&A and IPO process.
· As CFO, I have led board review processes targeted at improving the quality of board discussions and disclosure.
· As an entrepreneur, I understand the challenges related to starting a business in the Canadian market. Three years ago, I launched a software company to address financial reporting needs for mid-market companies by significantly improving their agility and decision-making process.
· As a passionate leader, self-starter and mentor, I will contribute in setting CIRA's strategic direction, counsel senior management in order to develop the potential of individuals within the organization.
· As a Chartered Professional Accountant and Certified Information Technology Professional I am focused on continuous learning. I view this as an opportunity to share my own governance, finance, and business experience with my peers on the board, and to also expand my knowledge by learning from them.
Explain from your perspective what CIRA does and why it matters.
At its core, CIRA provides Canadians the opportunity to utilize best in class, reliable internet services. This means ensuring security, effectiveness, and integrity of all aspects of the .CA domain. This is particularly critical as year after year, more and more people are connected to the internet globally and with the multiplication of connected devices, the vectors for potential attacks increase exponentially.
For CIRA to provide best in class internet experience to Canadian it must first fulfil its core mandate which is to administer and protect the .ca brand itself, including the .ca reputation and integrity that has been built since its inception. Over recent years, CIRA has built a bolt-on offering: Cybersecurity Services. Through these services, CIRA provides tailored services that add yet another layer of security to both individuals and corporations of various sizes and helps distinguish the .CA brand vs. its competition (other TLDs).
As a result of the reputation and talent developed by CIRA since its inception, other registrars are requesting help from CIRA in establishing their own domains, and sometimes even contracting with CIRA to manage their domains on their behalf.
By building its reputation within Canada and internationally, CIRA can attract and retain talent and influence stakeholders whether in private, public spheres to help improve the overall internet experience for Canadians.
Why do you want to be on CIRA’s Board of Directors?
What I bring to the CIRA Board of Directors as a Board Member:
* Having worked for Networking Companies (Nortel, Ericsson, Ericsson-LG) for much of my professional career and having completed a Certified IT Professional (CITP) designation through the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) I can easily bridge technology and business imperatives.
* With 7 years of international experience, having held short- and long-term assignments in Asia and Europe, I have had to adapt to new cultures and help international teams work efficiently together. As CIRA looks to continue to expand its offer outside of Canada, I would share my learnings with the team to help it in its reflection as it considers this aspect of its growth strategy. This would hopefully help accelerate its expansion and avoid pitfalls.
* I have been attending and presenting at Board of Director meetings for over 15 years. Through this time, I have had the opportunity to see what makes a Board of Directors' meeting function well, and how Board of Directors' meeting can become inefficient. I am a strong advocate for good governance and try to stay on top of best practices through self learning. I am particularly found of Richard Leblanc's book "The Handbook of Board Governance", first published in 2016. I would bring my experience to CIRA, and work with peers on the Board and with management to help bring continuous improvement to Board meetings.
* Having directly led large teams (100+) across multiple geographies and having been in senior leadership positions for companies with thousands of employees, I understand the importance of diversity, inclusiveness, communication and of having a strong HR function. As required, I would draw on my experience to provide insights to my peers on the board, and to management.
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 top three challenges facing CIRA:
1. Talent retention Without the right people in the right positions, it will be difficult for CIRA to continue to maintain its current level of service, let alone deliver on its strategic ambitions. An ageing population and increased competitiveness in the marketplace for good talent, it is critical that CIRA maintains low attrition rates and that they can attract new talent to fill openings. I would ensure that we have proper KPIs tracked and presented at the board level, and that management has a plan develop and retain talent internally. I would encourage CIRA to partner with Canadian universities, colleges, and even high schools to ensure that a talent pipeline continues to be available for years to come. This would not only benefit CIRA, but also all companies in the Canadian marketplace that are searching for good IT talent.
2. Security We have seen bolder usage of the internet for state backed cyber-attacks, and ransomware. The Covid pandemic has accelerated the move towards digital solutions whether for personal banking, online meetings, and online commerce. With an ageing population, this acceleration is creating for bigger surface of attack for criminals. It is paramount that ISPs, and governments take necessary steps to help protect Canadian citizens. I think that CIRA can play a vital role in this by continuing to educate Canadian companies and individuals as to how they can minimize their exposure. CIRA also needs to influence public policy, and industry practice to ensure that Canadians can "trust" their online experience as they would a "face to face" transaction.
3. Continued relevance of the .CA domain. There is an increased offer for TLDs in the marketplace. As an entrepreneur, until applying for this position on the CIRA board, I was not aware of all the benefits that existed with using a .CA TLD. To ensure that the .ca domain continues to be relevant, I would increase the marketing, and brand awareness for the .ca domain, by specifically reaching out to entrepreneurs, and Canadian companies where they meet: i.e., Chamber of commerce meetings, Webinars, Participation in professional association meetings etc.
Top three opportunities:
1. Further increase brand awareness for .CA domain As mentioned, there is an opportunity to help make the .ca a greater competitive advantage for Canadian companies.
2. Build on strong knowledge of Team to expand offer. I would encourage management to continue to build out the international service offering to proving opportunities for employees to work to support Registrars in other jurisdictions. This would increase overall quality of the Internet, and increase staff retention by offering interesting, challenging assignments.
3. Partner with university and colleges to play larger role in educating Canadians about Cybersecurity. Increasing the base knowledge of Canadians as it pertains to IT, and more specifically Cybersecurity, CIRA and the Canadian public all benefit. This increases the talent pool to fill job openings in the future and will help ensure that Canada continues to play a leadership role in this space.