Change is needed on the CIRA Board. To be precise, more change.
In the next Board election, I urge you to look beyond the incumbents and reach deep into the community to find and elect as many experienced, interesting and passionate new candidates as we can.
CIRA has the potential to lead change and support Canada’s vibrant Internet community. Year after year, the Board claims to have abided by “best practices” and engages in endless tweaks to its governance model yet it has failed to make any appreciable progress outside of its original formative efforts. The organization itself continues to gain scale and credibility and the staff and CEO would benefit from the skills, experience and mentorship that a strong Board can provide.
Canadians deserve more from CIRA’s Board of Directors. We need energy, enthusiasm and leadership that can create connections with Canada’s Internet community and foster and promote a truly Canadian Internet agenda.
Canadians deserve a Board populated by professionals that are qualified and enthusiastic about the richness of the Internet and what we can achieve with it. Seeking professionals means looking deeper than middle managers from IBM who have a passing knowledge of the ICD. We need Directors who are hopeful and curious. Any who are motivated by fear of change should be replaced. Canada is diverse, vibrant and progressive – CIRA’s Board should reflect this. The outcome of this election should be a Board representative of Canada’s diversity – not a panel of advocates for special interest groups.
I’m not saying that CIRA’s Directors are all lacking. They are not. Many are making a strong individual contribution and could be an integral part of a well-functioning Board. The key lies with developing a strong Board and eliminating the apathy, inexperience and lack of vision that populates the periphery.
Furthermore, the current process of Board self-assessment doesn’t generate sufficiently unbiased information to allow the Nominating Committee to do its work effectively. The Nominating Committee can and should take a deeper look at the dynamics of the Board and seek to form its own opinion how each individual Board member contributes to the whole. The Nominating Committee should actively seek to unify the Board around the Directors who are demonstrably making a positive contribution to the work of the organization and reinforce their ranks with new faces who can make a similarly strong contribution.
I write this from a position of concern and care. I have always believed that CIRA has the potential to be a truly special organization – more than just a steward of an important public resource, it could be a cornerstone in a progressive national Internet agenda.
I also now believe that more change is required before this can happen.