As a dependable, imaginative communications practitioner with 12 years of professional experience, I work with organizations and individuals to shape their unique stories, protect reputations, foster genuine relationships with stakeholders, and build trust.
Prior to opening an independent practice in February 2020, with the help of CIRA, I was an associate partner at a B2B communications firm where I led and collaborated on business development, budgeting, hiring, and the establishment and realization of the goals and priorities of the firm and its clients.
This means evaluating, pursuing, and taking ownership of risks and opportunities, building rationale and being responsible for decision-making, and executing on ideas that serve the objectives and aspirations of the firm, its clients, and their stakeholders as a writer, director, strategist, and connector.
–Experience in Governance and Technology–
I have represented legacy and emerging Canadian technology companies in the public, including Toronto-based app developer Clearbridge Mobile, Calgary-based XR educator Circuit Stream, Montreal-based tax software UFile by Thomson Reuters, safe-driving app Texi by The Dilawri Foundation, Toronto-based venture capital fund Disruption Ventures, Vancouver-based SaaS product ePACT, and related practice areas at corporate law firm Cassels, with offices across Canada.
This means being responsible for refining and facilitating the delivery of these organizations' messages and ideas, securing their voices in well-respected news publications, high-volume media channels, and well-aligned events in local markets, across North America, and in priority markets globally. This includes connecting individuals and organizations to others with shared objectives in order to bring their mutual interests and ideas to life.
–Contributing to CIRA's Success–
As a CIRA board director, I will evaluate and express complex material as easy, actionable insights and advise on the most effective avenues for disseminating insights to reach intended audiences. I will come to every meeting prepared to participate, ask and answer questions, and be supportive to others.
With a regular set of eyes and ears on the ground and in the public, I will articulate and explain news-of-the-day and longer-term projected trends that are relevant to the technology, innovation, internet-service, and public-policy sectors in Canada.
I will also be a sounding board for CIRA-related communications by providing thoughtful insights on how ideas, expressions, and decisions may be received by audiences, and share ideas for how to do so in the most genuine, clear, and effective way possible.
–Interest in Joining CIRA's Board–
After completing a research piece on the internet for proactivecitizen.org, a media-literacy and civic-participation project about imagining new relationships to society's structures, I became interested in understanding and defining the boundaries between a free, open internet and an ecosystem that motivates citizens to think critically, act responsibly, and explore their interests.
While I thrive in the creative freedom of collaborating on projects in an entrepreneurial setting, I would like to share my skills and network with an entity focused on driving initiatives forward that bring more stability, prosperity, and trust into society: building a better online Canada is at the top of the list!
Explain from your perspective what CIRA does and why it matters.
The Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) creates and provides internet-related products, services, and programs made by Canadians, for Canadians.
Specifically, CIRA sells, registers, optimizes, and safeguards the .ca country code top-level domain, currently used by 3 million entities, by providing enterprise-grade infrastructure and cybersecurity products and services to Canadian businesses, municipalities, schools, and other entities. This matters because it helps Canadian entities achieve a secure, effective presence online.
Additionally, CIRA organizes community-based programs, such as the Community Investment Program, which funds innovative community internet projects focused on infrastructure, digital literacy, cybersecurity, and community leadership, as well as industry-oriented initiatives, such as The Canadian Internet Governance Forum (CIGF), a multi-stakeholder steering committee that brings together Canada's top thinkers and encourages cross-sector collaboration. This matters because it helps drive initiatives forward and realize ideas into concrete action and changes in society.
Interestingly, CIRA also manages research-focused ventures, such as CIRA Labs, which researches and develops new technologies for managing cyber attacks, supporting new global standards worldwide, and increasing Canada's internet resilience. This matters because it helps to keep Canada on the global-innovation map and strive toward self-reliance.
Why do you want to be on CIRA’s Board of Directors?
Overall, my interest in CIRA was piqued after registering a domain for my independent communications practice, ventres.ca. While it wasn't necessary to use the .ca domain, I chose it for two reasons. The first reason was to pursue a creative play on words with my last name being Ventresca. The second reason was being drawn to CIRA's unique personality; after pursuing other domains and web development avenues in the past, CIRA's informative and responsible, yet light-hearted and entertaining, personality resonated with me instantly. It was CIRA's vibrant personality that ultimately drew me in to pursue a .ca domain–a decision further affirmed by reading CIRA's newsletters, attending virtual events, and becoming a member!
Specifically, from a skills and experience perspective, I have represented legacy and emerging Canadian technology companies in the public for over 12 years. This means being responsible for refining and facilitating the delivery of these organizations' messages and ideas, securing their voices in well-respected news publications, high-volume media channels, and well-aligned events in local markets, across North America, and in priority markets globally. This includes connecting individuals and organizations to others with shared objectives in order to bring their mutual interests and ideas to life. In addition, after completing a research piece in December 2020 about the internet for proactivecitizen.org, a media-literacy and civic-participation project for imagining new relationships to society's structures, I became interested in understanding and defining the boundaries between a free, open internet and an ecosystem that motivates citizens to think critically, act responsibly, and explore their interests.
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?
First, until public-education catches up to the speed of advancement in technology and the online world, CIRA is uniquely positioned to lead digital-literacy and online-safety initiatives in the public. This supports the Canadian businesses, municipalities, schools, and other entities that lean on CIRA for internet-related support but may struggle to relay digital-literacy to their audiences. With a clearer picture of the complexity and necessity of regulation and centralized efforts, faster adoption of ideas, plans, and laws can follow, making it easier to realize a truly trusted and better online Canada.
Second, as individuals increasingly migrate from country of origin and world societies face shared issues, clarifying the role and value of the .ca domain, and reflecting on the pros and cons of a Canada-focused internet-ecosystem model (ie. made by Canadians, for Canadians), will be important for affirming, and solidifying, CIRA's role as a Canadian not-for-profit and globally-engaged entity focused on building a better Canadian internet.
Lastly, as individuals grow wary of institutions and turn to individuals and grass-roots initiatives for information and perspectives, CIRA provides a unique link between citizens and government. Leaning into its expertise on topics related to the internet, this unique connection can be leveraged for encouraging trust in our institutions, as well as helping to imagine new structures that are supportive undisputedly to citizens.
One approach that can help with addressing each of these themes is communication.
Overall, this starts with developing internal key messages that address each issue and opportunity, and ends with exploring and pursuing unconventional channels of communication to externally articulate the value of the opportunity and importance of the challenge. Key is to arrange words and pair them with visuals that are easy-to-follow and relatable to resonate with as many Canadians as possible.
Specifically, CIRA can create and nurture streams of fun-to-look-at, bite-size insights by way of networks with a wide and diverse reach, including social-media channels like TikTok and Instagram. To pique curiosity and retain interest, CIRA insights would be visually appealing, plainly-written or verbalized, and streamlined through established key themes. This could include fascinating facts and findings from the Quarterly Insights Report and Canada's Internet Factbook; defining technical terms, such as SSL and DNSSEC, in an entertaining and interactive way; describing how CIRA's Canadian Shield works and why it's valuable; fast facts and safety tips for search; and the 5Ws on Canada's Digital Divide. This can include the promotion of community initiatives in search of applicants, such as the Pow Wow Pitch program.
Most importantly, communication is simple, attention-catching, and uplifting!