1. Explain from your perspective what CIRA does and why it matters.
CIRA’s current strategic mission is a trusted internet for Canadians. CIRA pursues this mission through three strategic objectives which are to be the steward of .CA, to innovate DNS, and to provide high quality cybersecurity services. A purpose driven organization, to succeed CIRA must actively support the community by offering knowledge, expertise, and support to initiatives aiming to accomplish this shared mission.
These three objectives not only work to serve the primary mandate to care for, grow, and promote the .CA namespace, but also serve to promote a safe, healthy, strong, competitive, and accessible internet in Canada.
CIRA’s primary work, when done well, can go unnoticed. People don’t often consider the pipes. But imagine .CA without its world leading policies, infrastructure, and tools which CIRA has built. Would .CA be the national resource we have today? Would it be Safe, Stable, and Secure? Would CIRA be poised to lead Canada into the next wave of DNS innovation and beyond? Would .CA withstand security threats and attacks? Would Canadians be proud of .CA and consider it a world class domain? CIRA’s work may go unnoticed by most everyday internet users but this work is critically important to the internet in Canada, and to Canadians.
CIRA achieves the broader goal of a trusted internet for Canadians through cybersecurity initiatives like Canadian Shield, its support of Canadian internet exchanges, and Internet performance Testing. CIRA furthers internet innovation, supports digital skills development, and supports others who aim to build a better online Canada through its Community Investment Program. This high impact work is highly rewarding as it accomplishes our goal while building others up and enabling them to make a difference.
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.
The impact the internet has had on society and individuals over the past 30 years is unparalleled by any other technological advance, and these transformations are only the beginning. Its impact and influence are hard to overstate. But most internet users do not even begin to understand the philosophies, policies, and technology which made today’s internet possible.
There are very few organizations like CIRA which have such a tremendous responsibility to Canadians. Its role is not often understood by those who visit a CA domain, but CIRA’s impact on the internet landscape in Canada is undeniable. The CA namespace is trusted, safe, secure, and recognized by Canadians. It is so ingrained in us today that it is difficult to imagine it any other way, however; the success of the CA namespace was not a sure thing. It took the tremendous effort of many volunteers, stakeholders, employees, members, and internet visionaries to get us here.
Starting with my role as a CIRA board member, I bring to the table nine years of board experience, 6 years committee chair experience, and most recently 3 years of board vice-chair experience. I have been privileged to participate in CIRA’s larger initiative of improving the Internet infrastructure in Canada through Canadian Shield, IXPs, state of the Internet, community investment and leveraging CIRA’s respected position in the industry to further these drives.
As the former CEO of three growing registrars, I bring valuable domain and Internet industry experience and insight to the table. As a registrar speaks directly with .CA registrants, I have unique insights into front-facing pain points and how they can be improved.
I have over a decade of leadership experience, managing lead development and information technology teams in a dynamic and ever-evolving industry. From strategic and operational planning to building an authentic corporate culture, I understand the importance of constantly learning and pushing yourself and others to achieve audacious goals.
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?
The most pressing issue is for CIRA to continue to fight against the trend of declining growth. With 3 million CA registrations we know the market is not saturated – there is plenty of opportunity in this sphere to find innovative ways to grow CA. CA’s Domains Under Management is approaching 0% growth. The battle for market share and mindshare in Canada is one key, but our challenge is to continue to educate Canadians and Canadian Businesses on the value of using your own CA domain. The board must continue to prioritize the CA namespace as CIRA’s primary objective, and must direct the organization to focus on strategies which innovate and differentiate CA from its direct and indirect competition.
CIRA’s board must prioritize innovation within the domain and DNS industries. Emerging technologies like AI, web3, and blockchain are poised to disrupt the web and with it the domain ecosystem. Blockchain based domain names do not rely on traditional DNS infrastructure and governance. Web3 aims to shift the value proposition of the internet from advertisement to identity and data exchange. Finally, AI will be a great enabler, but has already eroded trust and diluted the web. All threats are opportunities as they shift the status quo like the wave of mobile, apps, and social media which preceded them. CIRA must invest and innovate to remain a respected technological leader.
Cybersecurity, and more broadly trust, privacy, and safety are top concerns for Canadians online. CIRA is uniquely positioned as a national DNS provider to have a positive impact. Services like Canadian Shield and DNS Firewall provide a highly effective layer of security for Canadians. The board must continue to ensure CIRA does what is necessary to remain trusted, safe, and secure in an environment where security threats and digital attacks are increasing in both volume and severity. Simultaneously, CIRA must sensitively balance the privacy of CA registrants and users. It must be open and transparent on how data is collected, protected, and shared. It must also not shortcut due process or overstep its role in enforcement.
Finally, CIRA is a member organization whose aim is to strengthen the internet policy in Canada. Currently Canadians contemplate the impact of C-11 and C-18 which will shape the internet ecosystem. CIRA must not be passive, it must lean in on its experience and values to advocate for an open internet. CIRA is a community builder, and must remain open and transparent to foster rich and diverse perspectives. The board must ensure CIRA continues to participate along these fronts, and continue to support internet development in Canada with programs like the Community Investment Program.