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Gwen Beauchemin

Slate: Nomination committee
Province: Ontario

Candidate Statement

I am seeking nomination to be on the CIRA board, for a 2nd term. I joined the CIRA board in October 2021, and it has been a very rewarding experience. My whole professional life is geared towards forwarding the adoption of the internet to all – as a common good. From the first private partnership company I stood up in 1985, introducing Ottawa small business to bar code readers and database inventory systems, through to being on the core team that produced Canada’s first national cyber security strategy in 2006, to today, where I am an independent board member, and a security consultant, with a focus to better human experiences through the use of technology, and the internet.

I am focused on engaging with organizations that have a goal to improved citizen access and security to the telecommunications and data networks in Canada. I currently hold board positions with Canadian Administrator of VRS (CAV), Canadian Internet Registry Authority (CIRA), Quantum Safe Canada (QSC) and the Human-Centric Cybersecurity Partnership (HC2P). I chair the Technology committee on CAV, co-chair the Community Investment Committee at CIRA, sit on the Finance & Risk committee at CAV, and the Services Strategy Committee at CIRA.

I have had a varied technical background, spanning over 35 years, including roles at Bell Northern Networks, Nortel, the Canadian Federal Government, Payments Canada, and now Tillet Consulting, where I provide boutique cyber security advice and services on a part time basis. The breadth of experience spans executive and management roles in IT development, IT operations, product release management, operational and strategic policy, strategic planning, diplomatic international experience, including having been Payments Canada first Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) in 2016.

I believe the CIRA Board role is such an wonderful opportunity to provide governance to one of the most important pieces of Canadian critical infrastructure to lead the prosperity in Canada. Those last mile projects in the far north and remote regions of Canada are excellent examples of such work, as is seeing CIRA’s platforms being known as International leaders, and ensuring those domains under management continue to be a focus and a bedrock service. I would be honoured to be part of CIRA’s next chapter – and to see where we can take this Canadian gem next.

I hold an Honours Bachelor of Computer Science from Carleton University, in Management & Information Systems. I continue to learn, and I have embraced the independent board role, with certificates from the iGP L1 &2 program at Council of Canadian Innovators (2022), ICD Governance Essential Program (GEP) (2017), EC-Council’s C|CISO (2016) , Canadian Forces Staff College Executive Leaders’ Program (2008), Government of Canada School of Public Service Dixerion leadership program (2008), and the Queen’s School of Business Strategy program (2007).

I am fluently bilingual and make my home in Ottawa, Canada. I would be honoured to be nominated and voted for a second term on the CIRA board.

Mandatory Questions

1. Explain from your perspective what CIRA does and why it matters.

CIRA, in short, manages the .ca on behalf of or delegated by the Canadian Federal Government and its members. There is no other entity that provides this .ca service in Canada. CIRA must operate this .ca so that it remains strong and available for all Canadians to have access to the internet. Yes, there are many other domains in the world, and Canadians may apply abroad to have other domains, but fundamentally, CIRA is a backstop so that a Canadian internet address space is available for Canadians.

In order for CIRA to provide this service to a level of quality and security for Canada, CIRA must engage with stakeholders, both internationally and domestically, to advance the needs of .ca on behalf of its members and aligned with the Federal Government of Canada. It can be an unfriendly place in those global spheres of influence, and it is important that Canada has their strong place at the table to engage to support the transparent free global infrastructure of the world wide web.

CIRA has added to the services, beyond the .ca domain management, in part to encourage more Canadians to have access to the internet, in a fair and transparent manner. This is seen in the Community Investment Granting Program, their policy engagement with the various international and national fora, and their variety of internet services to increase safety and security of accessing the internet in Canada.

CIRA’s cyber security services as well as their IXP nodes, provides an ability to have a trusted domestic route within Canada as well as services to keep every enterprise, whether public, private or not-for-profit, as well as home users, safe as we engage online.

CIRA is fundamental to Canada’s internet fabric, and to its end, has made this Strategic Plan about how to strengthen the business of CIRA – so that it is diversified enough to provide the means to invest in its core.

CIRA is fundamental and essential for Canadians in this age of the internet – and it is only getting more entrenched in all parts of our lives – with the IPv6, 5G and soon 6G coming to Canada.

As I have heard for over 35 years in the technology field – the speed of change continues to increase. CIRA is strong and trusted today, and they have their focus on being stronger and more trusted to more Canadians in the future.

2. Why do you want to be on CIRA’s Board of Directors? In responding, please indicate how you would contribute as a CIRA Board Member and what specific skills and experience you bring that makes you a qualified candidate.

I am just finishing up my first term on the CIRA board. This experience, for me, is just beginning. These first two years were focused on being a member, and now co-chair of the Community Investment Committee and a member both years on the Services Strategy Committee. As well, at the Board table, I come with an increased knowledge of the internet/domain management space, ESG strategy, Internet Security regulation and legislation as well as other areas of exposure we’ve had over the last two years.

I have also invested in my Governance roles in the last two years by completing the iGP program Level 1 & 2, from the Council of Canadian Innovators, which built off my ICD Governance Essentials Program. The iGP focus, which aligns nicely with CIRA’s diversified services strategy, is on intellectual property and the economy of information. This knowledge allows me to engage at the CIRA board at a deeper level for the Services Strategy and Business investment focus areas.

I am in my post-fulltime executive career, and can dedicate the time and thought leadership to CIRA that it rightly deserves from its board members. My experience has allowed me to engage with CIRA board and management on files such as Strategic Policy – Government Legislation and Regulation, with the upcoming C-26 bill; The Federal Government Cyber Security community, with the refresh of the Critical Infrastructure National Strategy and the updated Canada National Cyber Security Strategy. I have extensive experience in the IT field – whether research, design, test, product launch, product support, release management, IT operations and IT Security. All these fields are fundamental in understanding the complexities of the reports from operations – as CIRA continues to diversify in the field of cyber security.

I would enjoy continuing in my roles within the CIC and SCS as well as having opportunities to expand my experience through the Governance or/and Finance/Risk committees.

CIRA has invested in my ability to be a strong member of the board, and I wish to return that service with a 2nd term, in order to provide a more seasoned voice at the table.

3. 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 address these issues?

3 challenges for CIRA:

  1. Global Internet Governance – The world governance organizations need CIRA’s voice to continue the work of internet transparency and openness. It is very apparent that there are some countries focused on moving this governance in another direction, resulting in a splintering effect, leaving nations to choose sides. It is critical for CIRA to be at the table.
  2. Domains under management – This market is saturated, and very competitive. CIRA needs to be promoting .ca as a first choice to select for Canadians. In order to do this, extensive work needs to continue to grow the .ca brand in all markets, including the Canadian French market. Works is also required to engage with members and align incentives to keep renewal rates high. As the new pricing for DUM comes in, close monitoring of the effects of that increase will be needed to ensure the market share is maintained.
  3. Brand Management – a Cyber Event: It is a very high probability with high impact that CIRA could face a cyber event – whether a DNS service denial or Ransomware, would have a significant to deadly impact on CIRA. The brand CIRA brings to Canadians is a trusted internet. CIRA needs high vigilance to ensure their resilience to a cyber event, meaning their ability to instantly recover, is maintained and strengthened.
View Gwen Beauchemin’s CV