ICANN Meetings in Lisbon Portugal
Transcript - Nominating Committee Workshop
28 March 2007
Note: Although transcript output is largely accurate, in some cases it is incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors. It is posted as an aid to understanding the proceedings at the session, but should not be treated as an authoritative record.
>>ADAM PEAKE: Good afternoon. Probably noticed that I'm not George Sadowsky, who is the chair of the Nominating Committee.
My name is Adam Peake, and I'm George's associate chair.
I woke up this morning to look for George because I was going to tell him that I didn't feel particularly well and thought I might not join this meeting. But the first person I saw said George was sick and wasn't going to join the meeting. So he got his sick notice in first.
It's not because I don't want to be here. I'd rather be sitting here than wherever I might run to.
The purpose of the meeting is to try to describe the Nominating Committee process and to introduce to you, to try to add some transparency to what is -- we know to be a difficult process to understand.
We're recruiting candidates and try to protect the confidentiality of candidates very closely.
And at the same time, we want to try to make our procedures as open as possible.
And this is -- results in an opaque process.
It's also a rather long process with lots of gaps and silences in it.
So what we'll try and do is at least hold workshops at the ICANN meetings to give you an update of where we are and what the process -- where we are in the process and what progress we are making.
So today, I will try to give a brief introduction of what George would have said and then my own comments on the Nominating Committee. And then we have some members of the 2007 committee here today, four members who will introduce themselves. And you can have an opportunity to hear what they think about the committee process and ask for your help in it.
On the screen is a typical slide, it's ICANN Nominating Committee and briefly introducing that we're established to function independently of the board, independently of the supporting organizations, the advisory committees, and our task is to select people who place the broad public interest ahead of any particular interests in serving in ICANN leadership positions.
And selecting is important, because while we're called the Nominating Committee, we do go through the process of recruiting candidates and building a candidate people. And then we make selections. So we are more than a simple Nominating Committee. We are a selecting committee as well.
The Nominating Committee's overall task, we select eight members of the 15-member ICANN board. We select three members of the 21-member GNSO Council, we select three members of the 18-member ccNSO Council, and five members of the 15-member ALAC.
So this is a significant contribution to these leadership positions, these policy-making positions in ICANN.
This year's Nominating Committee, we have 22 members this year, 17 are voting. You'll see them all listed on the screen. And I won't read them.
But they're listed there to give you an idea of the constituencies that they come from.
They come from all of ICANN's constituent bodies, from the ALAC, the SO, the IETF, the RSSAC and security groups, ccNSO, all of the GNSO constituencies are represented by delegates, an academic and R & D constituency, and Technical Liaison Group.
Unfortunately, at the moment, we don't have a delegate from the GAC. But we may get one one day soon. And we're supported by ICANN staff.
What you can see is it's a large committee, but it gives us diversity in geographic scope, in knowledge and background so that we can build a comprehensive pool of candidates. We bring, hopefully, amongst the committee itself, we bring a knowledge of a good set of candidates.
And I think it's important to see that because the whole of the ICANN community is represented, you also have some protection against capture and perhaps misbehavior of some kind. There are enough of us there that I think we're going to find an honest body amongst the 22.
So there is some protection built into that process.
And this is the important part. What are we doing in 2007?
We have nine positions to select, to fill. There are three ICANN directors, two members of the GNSO Council, three members of the At-Large, and those are for citizens from the African, Latin American, Caribbean, Asia, Australia, and Pacific regions, and one member of the ccNSO.
And a very important thing is that the closing date is the 1st of May, 2007. So we are hoping very much that applications will all be received by 2007, and we need quite a lot of them.
Our timeline for work.
Well, we opened our recruitment for candidates on the 1st of February. So we've been going now for a little over six weeks. And the closing date, as I said, is the 1st of May.
And during that period, simply, we go out as a committee asking for people to become candidates. And you do that by completing what we call a statement of interest. And you will find that on the Nominating Committee Web site, which I'll flick to, hopefully, if my computer allows me to. We should be on the screen there. It's a very simple address. It's nomcom.ICANN.org. And NomCom is N-O-M-C-O-M, ICANN.org.
And all the information you need to become a candidate or to encourage somebody to become a candidate is on that Web site.
So that's what we're doing between now and May the 1st, is trying to get you to become candidates and for you to encourage your friends and people would you like to see in these leadership positions to become candidates.
From May the 1st to mid-July, we're collecting additional information. We ask every candidate to submit three or four references, people who will vouch for them and describe their skills and knowledge and experience.
And that takes a lot collecting. If we end up with 80 candidates, then we're looking for a couple of hundred additional pieces of information that we have to get through e-mail. I don't know if you've tried to write to people who have not spoken to you before in e-mail, but they tend to think it's spam. And it's really very hard work to collect these things.
So if you're a reference, please help us by completing a reference. And if you're a candidate, help us by informing your references that they're to help us by completing this form.
But that's what we're doing between 1st of May and mid-July.
And then from the 10th to the 12th of July, we'll be having a selection meeting, where the 22 members of the committee will get together in a darkened room, I guess, in Toronto this year for three days, and we will make our selections. That selection process is going around the table and discussing and discussing and discussing, and reaching conclusion on who we think the nine best candidates are across that slate of positions I described earlier.
And from -- once we've made that decision on the slate, we will be recommending -- well, the Nominating Committee's decisions are final. So it's not a recommendation; it's our selection. Then due diligence begins. And this is particularly important for the directors, who have responsibilities to the corporation. But we also have to find out that everybody really is who they say they are and that they have the degrees they say they have, and generally aren't misleading us in any way. And that due diligence process will probably take until September.
We have a commitment to always provide the outcome of the committee's process one month before the annual general meeting. All Nominating Committee appointees take their seats at the annual general meeting of the year. This year, it will be November the 2nd.
So we must make our selections by the 2nd of November, one month prior. If we can, we'll do that before November the 2nd to give people more time to make sure they can get to that meeting. Because none of us actually know where that meeting is going to be. So that's helpful.
>>TONY HARRIS: I think so.
>>ADAM PEAKE: And that's about it.
November the 2nd, we'll be done for the year. And about that time, the 2008 Nominating Committee will have its first meeting, get to know each other, and begin the process of selecting candidates for 2008.
We could -- Because it's a long and lengthy question -- well, long and lengthy process, we do take questions throughout. And that address is info-NomCom2007@ICANN.org. And we'd welcome questions, comments, anything you wish to say to the committee during that period. It's also particularly helpful to remind us that we might be going too quiet and not commenting on things.
My last comment before passing on to my colleagues from the committee is just to say that so far, while we started recruitment on February the 1st, so we've been going for about six weeks, and so far, we have three candidates. We've got nine positions to fill, and three candidates, which means we're looking for people who can multitask and be in three meetings at the same time, I think.
So that's going to be a problem. We do need candidates. And we need your help in finding us good people to serve in these positions.
Right now, we really are struggling. Three is the slowest recruitment we've ever had. And it's quite a concern, because if at the end of May we might be able -- sorry, the 1st of May, we may be able to extend for a couple of weeks, but not for too long. Because we have a lot of other work to do. And if we don't have a good candidate pool, then I don't know what we're going to do to fill those positions. It's not very easy.
So we need your help in making these -- in encouraging people to become candidates for these important positions.
And with that, I would like to pass it along to my colleague, Karen banks, who will introduce herself and say why she's enjoying every moment on the Nominating Committee.
>>KAREN BANKS: Thanks, Adam.
My name's Karen Banks. A little bit about myself and the organization I'm from, which will give you some idea of the kind of perspective that I'm hoping to bring to the NomCom process.
I'm the NCC GNSO delegate to the Nominating Committee. I work for an organization called the Association for Progressive Communications, APC. It's an international network of about 50 small- to medium-sized independent organizations who all work in one way or another using the Internet, technology, media in social change work, development work, and most of our membership is in what we refer to as the global south, but primarily Africa, Latin America, Asia. And we have a significant membership in central and eastern Europe.
The organization works in three broad program areas. The one that's probably most relevant to the world of ICANN would be the communication information policy program. And in that work, we do a lot of outreach, capacity-building, and collaboration with civil society organizations, media, small business, government in developing countries trying to increase participation in ICT policy processes.
ICANN is one of the organizations that we target in particular, in the sense that we try to encourage particularly people who aren't part of the ICANN world but certainly will become much more important, I think, as ICANN itself becomes far more relevant globally, as all of the issues that we're dealing with, particularly issues like IDNs and participation in general become more relevant.
So I'm particularly interested in trying to encourage people from communities who maybe aren't the usual suspects that you tend to find in the ICANN world from, in particular, developing countries to get a little bit more involved in a public-policy process which they can actually influence. And that is one thing that you can say about ICANN.
So I'm also very keen to encourage women to get more involved in the ICANN world. And I'm quite hopeful that we will be able to encourage more women to apply.
So that's probably enough about me.
If you -- I wanted to just add something to Adam's sort of informational introduction.
You would have all received a little packet in your ICANN bags that have NomCom brochures. If you can think of useful gatherings or meetings or simply feel your organization's or network's a good place to distribute them, then please do. And if you need more, I'm sure they can be made available.
And if you have any questions, then please feel free to approach me or contact anyone on the NomCom. Thanks.
>>TONY HARRIS: Hello. Yes, my name is Tony Harris. I am part of the ICANN proceedings as a member of the GNSO, representing the ISP constituency. My day job is, I am executive director of the Argentina Internet Services Industry Association and I am also executive director of the Latin America and Caribbean Federation of the Internet and Electronic Commerce, a new organization which is steadily growing.
And I am part of the Nominating Committee. I was on the Nominating Committee last year. This is my second term.
And I can tell that you selecting candidates is not an easy task. We tend, when we get together to work, as Adam was saying, this probably isn't a darkened room, but it certainly sees long hours. We usually work from 8:00 in the morning until maybe 9:00 at night, unfortunately.
And there is a wide array of very different profiles and backgrounds in the room at all times, which makes selecting candidates a very arduous process. We are in need of more applications, more people coming forward. This year, it seems to be a bit slower. But all of us on the committee are working to resolve this. And I encourage anybody in the room who has knowledge of potential interested candidates to please stimulate them to come forward.
>>WOLFGANG KLEINWAECHTER: Okay. My name is Wolfgang Kleinwaechter. I'm a professor at the University of Aarhus, the Department for Meta Information Studies in Denmark, but I'm a German citizen.
And I'm -- was appointed by the At-Large Advisory Committee to participate in the NomCom.
Let me start with this. I'm very, let's say, veteran in the ICANN process. I belong to the small group of people meanwhile who have participated in all the ICANN meetings since the very first one in Singapore in March 1999. So I have participated in this process always as an academic observer primarily. So I went through all the different phases of the ICANN development. And a lot of people do not remember that, originally, the ICANN board was planned to have 19 members, nine members should be -- come from the at this time three supporting organizations and nine from the At-Large, which are called members of the Internet at-large community. Nobody had an idea when ICANN was established what a member of the Internet, what an at-large member is, and though there was a membership advisory committee, which then proposed to have elections to elect Internet users into the board.
And as the first test, there were elections organized in the year 2000 for five at-large directors. And these elections were partly successful, but they created also a lot of problems and questions. And as a result of the critical evaluation of the election, you know, a new model was developed. And so the final decision was then to have -- to reduce the board from 19 voting members to 15 voting members and to have six directors coming from three supporting organizations and eight directors selected by the nomination committee.
This was then adopted in the year 2002/2003. So that is the background for the nomination committee.
I tell this story because one should have in mind that the original idea was to give the Internet users a strong voice in the board. At the moment, the Internet users have only one nonvoting director in the board, though that's their right, and the At-Large Advisory Committee nominates this one nonvoting director on the board.
So if Internet users, if people from this stakeholder group, at large, civil society, want to come to the board, then they have to go to the nomination committee. And that's why, you know, it's also the responsibility of the nomination committee to look at the composition of the whole board is balanced so that all stakeholder groups are represented in the ICANN board.
So my appeal goes insofar directly to the constituencies here which have a close relationship to at-large, civil society, consumer groups, Internet user organizations, and all this. So that means we need the best people from these groups so that it can improve ICANN.
In the last couple of years, there was very often a lot of criticism against ICANN, different groups said, you know, ICANN makes mistakes or is bad in this respect or another respect.
My position always was, okay, if you criticize ICANN from outside, that's fine. But the best thing is, you know, then to join ICANN and to work inside ICANN to make it better. ICANN is a process. So ICANN is not a fixed box. It's very lively. And if I personally look back in the last -- for the last seven, eight years, it's really remarkable, you know, how many things have changed in these seven, eight years within ICANN. And the feedback which came from the community has been translated in new policies, actions, procedures, and a lot of things which have happened the last couple of years, regardless of all the criticism, which is still there.
So my appeal goes to the people who have a critical approach to ICANN, and to consider, you know, if they should apply, then, you know, to have a chance to translate their criticism into constructive engagement into ICANN.
So this is not -- the board and we as the community, it is more or less our organization, and so a commitment from you to take responsibility and to join ICANN and to have a say and a vote in the board or in the councils or in the committee, the At-Large Advisory Committee. I think this is important.
So far, so good.
Thank you very much.
>>ADAM PEAKE: So, Bill, if you would give some comments, please.
>>BILL MANNING: It's technology. I'm not sure I know how to do this.
My name is Bill manning. I am a nonvoting liaison member from the root server system advisory committee.
The constituents, if you want to call us that, that I represent, we are where the rubber hits the road. This is where the technology, where the policies and processes and procedures that ICANN chooses to implement, we are responsible for making sure that the Internet abide- -- well, to some degree is aware of and takes advantage of those.
So the impact on the domain name system, we are the publishers of that data.
That being said, like Wolfgang, I have been involved with ICANN activities since the inception of ICANN and somewhat before that.
So, to a degree, I represent some of the stability for which ICANN is so desirous of.
What we are looking for, I believe, in the board is consistency, continuity, the ability for ICANN to evolve and represent new stakeholders, because new and emergent communities are out there. And from my perspective, I do not see them adequately represented inside ICANN or on the board.
And so people who are aware of these emergent constituencies are important.
The existing constituents are going to have to help these emerging new markets grow. If we are after growth with stability, selecting the right candidates is important. And sometimes we have to look outside of the -- our comfort level and our comfort area to find people who are willing to have the idealism and the commitment to give to ICANN to help ICANN evolve and maintain its level as a relevant organization for Internet governance.
That's, I think, about my five minutes.
>>ADAM PEAKE: That's our attempt at introducing what the 2007 NomCom is doing. The tasks before us are on the screen, three ICANN directors and two members of the GNSO, three members of the at-large, one member of the ccNSO. Our application closing date is the 1st of May. So far, we have three applicants.
So we definitely need more than three applicants because we have nine positions to fill.
I think ideally, in previous years we have had between 70 and 90 applicants is the usual candidate pool we have been looking at.
So we have a lot of work to do in recruitment, but we really do need a lot of help, and I can't emphasize that enough.
This year, we are concerned that we are behind in schedule. We simply aren't getting the candidates coming in as they normally do.
This meeting has been quite promising. People are saying, yes, I'm thinking about submitting a statement of interest, but until we see them, we have no -- well, we're not that confident. And it's a nervous, nervous position to be in.
The microphones are open, and we really do want to take questions, because I think this process has been going on for some time, four years, and the more comments we can try and help in answering questions, the better.
And please give your name.
>>STEPHEN LAU: Questions now?
>>ADAM PEAKE: Please.
>>STEPHEN LAU: My name is Stephen Lau, L-a-u, from Hong Kong. I have a question. Earlier on, Wolfgang was talking about the ICANN board should be a balanced representation of the various stakeholders so in a sense the work is balanced. I do agree with that. I am in resonance with that because a global organization like ICANN, on the board level, should have as much balanced representation as possible to ensure the issues have understanding from the stakeholders.
So my question is expanding on this, balance could mean also gender kind of balance, geographical kind of balance, and there have been some perception regarding this overall balance.
So my question is of the three ICANN directors that the NomCom is selecting, are there any particular preferential, perceptionwise, of the kind of balance you are looking for?
>>ADAM PEAKE: Would anybody like to take that?
>>BILL MANNING: Sure, I'll go for that.
Stephen, if you remember, Adam said that we have three submissions against nine slots. I believe that we cannot achieve balance unless we have a larger candidate pool.
It would be uncomfortable to have to have one candidate for each slot and have no way to weigh divergence and best fit.
So without a better candidate pool, we cannot have good balance.
>>ADAM PEAKE: Yeah, please.
>>TONY HARRIS: I would like to add to that -- please.
>>VINT CERF: No, go ahead.
>>TONY HARRIS: In our last selection, the three elected directors come from very different backgrounds. They do not come from the same environment or the same field of interest.
So there was a lot of difference brought in their perspectives between each of them.
>>ADAM PEAKE: That was the point I was going to make. That if you look at the directors on the previous slates, and I wish I could switch to a previous slate and show you the type of balance that we are trying to achieve, not just between the directors but across the whole nine positions that we are trying to fill, then you'll see that we have, for example, a director with technical background, a director from a business background from another region, a director with a different set of experiences from a consumer background or a --
And so we are trying to use the opportunities we have with the spread of positions to achieve that balance, but it's very true, if we don't have the candidate pool, we don't have the diversity in the pool to even start thinking about what that might mean.
But balance can mean different things to different people as well, and that's an interesting problem within this very diverse committee.
>>VINT CERF: Vint Cerf, chairman of ICANN.
First of all, I want to thank the NomCom for a thankless task. This is a really hard job to try to find committed people who are willing to spend a substantial amount of their time serving ICANN and its community.
Balance is a complex matter, and it may not be the case that for every possible balance metric that a sitting board represents balance.
You can achieve balance over time. You can have board members cycling through from different regions if you are looking for regional balance. You can achieve some balance in experience base. But sometimes it's over time. So times you will find a board with heavy emphasis on technological background and sometimes with business, and sometimes with other matters.
So I would say that we can't expect perfection with a relatively small-sized board.
Don't forget, there are something like 18 people on the board, some of them liaisons without vote, but still representing an important input into the process.
One thing I would say is that we need board members with experience, not just in the matters that are of concern to the ICANN community but also, frankly, sitting on the boards of corporations. I don't necessarily mean for-profit corporations, but ICANN is a corporation in addition to being this multistakeholder thing, and it's important that the board have people on it that have experience, for example, in financial matters, in audit matters, because that's another important part of operating the corporation.
So the NomCom has a very significant range of skill sets that it is trying to satisfy when it looks at the set of members that are sitting on the board or who have now recently been nominated by the Supporting Organizations, and then attempt to fill that out with its nominations to provide an adequate set of skills to operate the board.
I couldn't agree more that having a larger collection of people to populate the candidate set would be helpful. It will be really valuable to know from the NomCom what the inhibiting facts are that seem to limit the candidate pool.
I certainly ran into the problem myself in attempts to recruit possible candidates, some of them say "I don't simply don't have the time." It takes anywhere from a quarter to a third or more time to be an effective board member, in my opinion.
Some people say, "Well, I am self-employed and every hour I spend on ICANN I am not spending earning a living and that is a concern to me." That has in fact denied us access to some very capable people.
I don't necessarily argue that the consequence of that is that we should begin paying board members. I'm sure there are many side effects of that practice, which we'd have to understand more deeply.
It's also unusual, I think, for non-profits to compensate board members other than for their expenses. However, I have asked the general counsel to examine what the practices are on a global scale for not-for-profit organizations with regard to compensation. Primarily out of a concern that we may be limiting the candidate pool unnecessarily.
I'd like to know from the participants in the panel today whether you feel you have gotten sufficient information from ICANN or from the board directly as to its needs in terms of skill sets. And if the answer is no, or if you haven't got ten adequate information about the time required to serve effectively, that's an important piece of feedback. If you don't have enough information in order to do your job, I would like to know that.
The other thing you may have already talked about, of course, is my term as chairman will end at the end of the annual meeting in late October, early November. And many people have suggested that that might be a serious problem.
The board has asked me to prepare a document describing my responsibilities and activities in support of that position.
I'd like to suggest to you that some people have imagined a person who doesn't exist serving that role. I think there's probably a lot of fantasy and myth associated with my role and responsibility. And I hope with this document to dispel the belief that I am doing more than I actually am because I think there are others who can fulfill this responsibility as well or better than I have.
>>ADAM PEAKE:Tony, you have a comment and then I would like to add something.
Thank you, Vint.
>>TONY HARRIS: Yes, getting to the question of this concern that we're hearing about the slowness in receiving applications this year, my observation is perhaps for the previous few years when we have been selecting people by the Nominating Committee, there are many excellent candidates, people -- many of us know them personally, who have come forward and not been successful. And I think this tends to discourage them from reapplying. It is not easy to take rejection, let's put it that way. It's not a question of ego. It's something which is not easy to assimilate.
Perhaps the way to encourage people who I might call runners-up in the final selection, we always come to, in discussing elections -- I was on the Nominating Committee the last time. You end up with a slate of preferred candidates and you choose from them. Perhaps we could devise some system similar to what happens when you apply for a grant in InfoDev and the World Bank. You are told if you are a runner up you may not qualify for the grant you are looking for for your project, but you are probably two slots away from getting it, and next year when you have a round of projects you reapply again because you are encouraged. You know you are very close. And people who are rejected don't know exactly how close they were. If they did know, they might be more apt to reapply the next year.
It's just an idea.
>>VINT CERF: Actually, the opposite effect could occur. Namely, if they knew how close they were and they missed, they might be really pissed off
[ Laughter ]
>>ADAM PEAKE: These are great ideas for the Nominating Committee review, which is hopefully going to be starting soon. The Nominating Committee is in its fourth or fifth year now, and a review process should be starting anytime soon.
And these kinds of ideas from the community on how we can improve the process are extremely important.
We can't do anything about it this year. We're working under the current conditions, and that's where we are.
Have we had enough information about what ICANN needs or the positions that ICANN needs and the work that's involved? I think the board has been very helpful this year in telling us how much work really is involved in being a board member. And I think we got down to about 17 hours a week, averaged out over the year, including -- Steve is waving which is good news. Oh, up. That's bad news.
So this is a learning curve. Steve, be quiet. Thank you very much.
Sorry, I didn't mean that.
>>VINT CERF: Just, I wanted to comment on this 17-hour thing. I don't know what it is. I've never actually added it up. But I will say that most of the board members have -- seem to be 60-hour work week kinds of people. So if it really was 17 hours, it's only a third time.
>>ADAM PEAKE: I'll come to you in a second. We worked out that it was probably you were doing a couple of days a week. And that was e-mails and teleconference calls and on top of that you would come to these meetings. And that's a pretty significant amount of time because it's more than you would do as an executive director of any Fortune 500, I believe. They don't tend to invite me to those positions. I think it's a pretty significant amount of time.
Do you want to come and stand at the mike, Steve?
But that comes to a point about what kind of candidates and what kind of people do you think should be coming into ICANN to help reform perhaps this process. Is it somebody who understands corporate governance and how to look at this organization and how to reform it so that not just the board but so the GNSO who do probably as much work, if you speak to the GNSO representatives without some of the cachet of being on the board, perhaps, they do just as much. And this is an awful lot to ask of a volunteer organization and this is a major struggle we face in ICANN. And the people we get are extremely dedicated, and we're grateful to all the candidates who are willing to be considered to this because it's a very significant commitment.
But perhaps I suppose a question I have is what kind of qualities should we be trying to look for in the people to try to help ICANN improve in the future, in the board, in the GNSO, in the ccNSO, and the ALAC? Not just in terms of its governance but in policy processes and skill sets.
So we would very much like to hear from you not just the names of candidates but general qualities of people we should be bringing in.
So those kinds of comments are also very helpful.
Sorry. Steve, please.
>>STEVE GOLDSTEIN: Thank you, Adam. I came in very late because I was caught in another hall conversation, so I don't know what you have already discussed. But when somebody said 17 hours per week, I just had to speak up.
It's true, I'm on a learning curve, but every time I think I'm almost read up on what I have to read to keep up with the various committees I'm on and the board itself, two or three new documents come in that are densely packed with 10, 12, 20 pages worth of information that he I need to read.
And I am spending at least 30 hours a week on things, not counting the time that I spend coming to the meetings.
Now, perhaps if I were higher up on the learning curve it would be 25 hours a week, but I don't think it would be less.
When I was told about what my job would entail, I think I was told, well, maybe one day a week. And so that was a lie. And George said, "Yes, I lied." And that's okay. I'm enjoying it so far.
But I think we do have to be realistic with people.
Now, as to your question you just asked about what kind of skill sets and traits and so forth are we looking for, I'm looking for the proper words for this, Vint is a unique person with a skill set that I don't -- and a breadth throughout the world that would be very difficult to duplicate. So it's pretty clear to us as a board, and we have been discussing this, that we will have to change the way we do business, we will have to change the leadership, we will have to undergo some leadership training within the board. And things will definitely change.
With that in mind, the kinds of things that you just mentioned, bringing on board some people, and that Vint also mentioned, bringing on some people with some good, solid board experience. Bringing on some people who are willing to think beyond the limits or beyond the structure that we now have. People with fiscal training or fiscal experience. People with governance experience. All those things I think are quite necessary.
Add to those that there's got to be at least some appreciation for the technology and business of the Internet.
So thank you very much for letting me speak.
>>BILL MANNING: So, Steve, I think you just described my mother. She's got good Internet experience a point of view. She's been on a couple of boards. In particularly, she's run a couple of different households so she understands finances.
You just described my mother.
>>STEVE GOLDSTEIN: So how would you feel if your mom were here on the board?
>>BILL MANNING: I would be afraid for the rest of the board members.
>>STEVE GOLDSTEIN: And what about the Internet?
>>BILL MANNING: Actually, that's an interesting question, because that's a different perspective.
Going back to Wolfgang's earlier point about the end user, I mean, that's my mother. And having my mother come and actually present the end-user perspective would, I think, change the dynamic of how the board operates.
Reiterating my earlier points. And Vint, this may speak a little bit to you as you finish checking your Blackberry. As you step down, Vint, you are a strong individual. Finding a replacement Vint Cerf is nearly impossible. I'm not saying it's impossible, but it's not something that I think we want to do.
And so as the dynamics of the board change, it's important for us to actually get the right kinds of people to be able to rebalance, to borrow Stephen's earlier term about balance, we need to rebalance the sets of assignments and tasking so that the board functions effectively and efficiently and can take ICANN forward.
We don't want it to stagnate.
And it is going to take a lot of time and energy.
I have heard mostly the time constraint is the biggest problem. I've heard a little bit about money.
I have heard almost nothing about education, or grounding. I've heard some of that from you, Steve, but to a large degree I think I've heard more what Vint was talking about, which is that there is a gap, or there is a spread of information or understanding, and we may have people who are very experienced in the ICANN process and people who are relatively new. And those new people could bring a fresh insight.
So I'll leave that. And I think Wolfgang actually had the next talk so --
>>STEVE GOLDSTEIN: On this fresh insight thing and so forth, you talk about mom, and mom may have had a lot of experience in many -- and be quite good as regard to some of the qualities you mention. But is mom capable of suggesting and helping to implement new ways of doing thing that would be appropriate for the board? And I think that's where some of the grounding and the experience is necessary that perhaps mom doesn't have, although I don't know your mom, so I could be wrong.
>>ADAM PEAKE: So would anybody have any more? Please, Vint.
Any comments, please.
>>VINT CERF: So thinking for a moment about what Bill has said, I think that there is also an element of -- let me call it style. I don't know how else to refer to it. But getting people to do things isn't always easy, especially if they have different views of things.
Making that happen, helping that to happen, is a skill and it's not exactly one that I foe how to quantify. It's not like, hey, gee, have you had experience in financial matters? Do you know how to do board governance? Do you know something about the way the domain name system works?
So there's that element. And it's often hard to predict who will have that capacity until you see what the chemistry is in the collection of board members.
And so one of the things which I think you are not able to guess at, at least I wouldn't if I were in your shoes, is what the chemistry of the board will be after you place people on it.
I think that your comment about replacing Vint Cerf really goes to this -- what I think is a mythological belief that there is something special about what I do. And I would like to disabuse people of that. I think there are competent people who could run the ICANN board, and it doesn't have to be me or someone with my specific background.
Let me come back to this other question about how we find people.
It seems to me that it is inescapable that you need people on this board that have an appreciation for the areas in which ICANN has responsibility. So when you refer to mom, who might be actually quite good at, for example, using e-mail and have a lot of opinions about what user interfaces are like, that is not necessarily relevant to the decisions that have to be made by the ICANN board.
So we come back to relevance you of experience to the kinds of things a board must do. Some of that is relevance to the area that ICANN is responsible for, the domain name system, IP address allocation, the functions of IANA.
The others have to do with the functions of ICANN as an organization. And the third part, which is the hardest, has to do with the ramifications of the decisions that get made. It's awfully easy to say, gee, all I have do is put this domain name into a table called the root zone and that's trivial. I can do that with a notebook. Why is this a problem?
And of course the problem is figuring out which top-level domain to put in the root zone file, who should operate the associated top-level domain registry, what should be the structure of the market that is developed or has developed around domain names.
All of those things are not part of the fundamental technical structure of the Internet. They are part of the business environment and the political environment around the Internet. And the ICANN board cannot escape those parts of its decision-making responsibilities.
That takes a kind of skill set that is beyond just the technical, just beyond the appreciation for what IANA has to do. It involves trying to aggregate very diverse advice coming from different parts of the ICANN stakeholder community.
When we try to do policy development and we try to achieve consensus, even if we achieve that within one Supporting Organization, it's often the case that the advice that we get from the public and from other Supporting Organizations and committees is at odds with that which was consensus, and still the board has to come to a conclusion.
So I'm sorry, I don't mean to just ramble this way, but I think that we really need people with a lot of experience in board-related matters and some understanding and appreciation of the business and political environment as well as the technical one.
>>ADAM PEAKE: We're looking for quite special people, aren't we, really. I think that's one of our struggles is that we really are looking for quite special people who are willing to devote so much time to doing it.
We talked a bit about the board. Would anybody like to make some comments about the GNSO and particularly the ALAC which, to be honest, is always one of our greatest struggles, is to bring people into the ALAC. And it's great that the ALAC now is populating the council with people from the RALOs and we are seeing new people coming into that process.
So the people we are looking for now are somewhat changing. In the past, we've always tried to look for people who would help build those at-large structures. Now we are looking for new people. People who can perhaps directly represent Internet users' interests in some ways.
And this is our only geographic limited set of positions, and so we're looking for people from the African region, from Latin America, and from Asia-Pacific and Australia.
So if you have specific thoughts on skill sets for those positions, and particularly people and ideas, then we really do need them. And I'd love to hear comments on what you think about the other positions we're selecting for and advice that people may have.
So please rush to the mike.
>>VINT CERF: It occurs to me -- I can't predict this, of course, but it occurs to me that if we are successful with the rapidly forming RALO structure that some day we might imagine that board members might be appointed by those RALOs.
We're not there yet. But is it possible that we can now go to the formed RALOs and say, in emulation of what might ultimately occur, can you supply recommendations for people to serve on the ALAC.
It seems to me that they have all committed to an interest in ICANN by forming the RALO in the first place.
So I'm sure you've already either done this or thought of this. But what would be my first thought is to go to the RALOs and say, "It's time now for you to exercise a responsibility that you've implicitly accepted by the creation of the RALO in the first place."
Now, you also pointed out that we need now not people who are focused on building the RALO structure, but, rather, people who can channel important perspectives about the decisions that ICANN has to make so that that comes to the board not simply from the ALAC members alone, but also from the RALOs, who could be contributing that perspective.
>>ADAM PEAKE: Thank you. Yes, we -- I wonder if we can go back on the slide.
Oh, yes, the membership, we're lucky that we do have representatives from the five geographic regions from the ALAC. And they do do outreach to the at-large supporting organizations in forming RALOs. But it's really -- it's still a limited pool of people. And my concern is particularly for the African region this time around. We do need more people from Africa I think in all our -- all the positions, all the policy decision-making bodies.
Anybody want to make any comments on skill sets and so on?
We really would like advice on what you think are the skills that we need for some of these other positions, whether it's GNSO, ccNSO, or if there are other comments from down the table here.
>>WOLFGANG KLEINWAECHTER: If there is no question from the floor, I want to make a comment.
You know, we have heard now, you know, how many hours somebody has to work, you know, how many skills he has to have, and all this. And probably a potential candidate feels discouraged by this high standard, you know, to have all this different knowledge and dimensions summarized in this one person.
I think one of the responsibilities of the NomCom is to see the boards and the councils as a whole and, you know, to make the right mixture of the different individual capacities of the people so that the whole criteria we have just formulated comes through the board or the committee as a whole. We know from Mr. Hagel that the whole is more than the sum of its parts. And it will be, then, the wisdom of the whole team of the board which brings these different perspectives we have just discussed into a common process and comes to a wise decision, you know, which goes beyond the capacity of an individual.
But it means if you feel that you have something to contribute but not everything which is on the criteria list, feel encouraged to write a statement of interest, because probably, you know, exactly this specific knowledge and skill is needed under specific circumstances. And as Vint has also said this is the rotation principle, you know, always creates a new constellation in the board. And so we have to reconsider this again and again and again, because people come to the board and to the councils from different constituencies. So it's always a permanent process of rebalancing.
And having the floor, I want to also ask the board, you know, to look forward, even if the review of the nomination committee has not yet really started, but this is extremely needed. There is meanwhile a body of experience that should be analyzed, and so the NomCom can be improved. But time is running, and the experience from the last year's is that we need rather early to start as a nomination committee.
And so my recommendation to the board would be already, because the chair of the nomination committee is very important, and the procedure is that the board nominates the chair for the nomination committee, and the members come, then, from the different constituencies. So my recommendation to the board is probably already in the next ICANN meeting in Puerto Rico to have -- to nominate the chair. That means to use the time from here until Puerto Rico, you know, to look for a good candidate. Because the chair of the nomination committee is really a very, very important position. And then it's -- for the members, they have a little bit more time. But the chair is important.
>>KAREN BANKS: A thought about how we can broaden the pool, particularly, I think, with regions and communities that we're not communicating with at the moment. I'm wondering if there's something more -- and I'm going to speak directly to Kieren, who's sitting there -- that there are some very important meetings happening in the next month or so. And I've mentioned this before, the example of the AfriNIC, AfNOG, Africa ISOC meeting in Abuja. I would think that's a critical space to reach out to probably one of the most important communities where we're likely to find potential candidates.
And it would be good if we could get a little bit more not just information. I mean, we have a lot of information. This is my first year on the NomCom, and I'm nowhere near as experienced as these guys with the ICANN process, although I'm familiar enough.
But what I think would be useful is more news about ICANN and the leadership positions, news that would get people -- would pique their curiosity and interest in terms of stories.
And what I find most useful is hearing -- and I am listening very carefully -- to people like Vint Cerf and people who are serving in these positions now. And I think that's probably one of the most powerful ways to communicate to people, is through, obviously, those who have the experience.
And maybe we can't do it this year, but maybe for next year's process would be to have a workshop like this with NomCom and people who are serving on those -- on those -- on the board and the councils together so that, you know, you can have a conversation around these issues.
And I think that that would be quite interesting as well as to maybe a large number of people.
>>ADAM PEAKE: It's important to remember, this Nominating Committee process is quite unique. We -- a lot of us deal in Internet governance areas of whether it used to be WSIS and WGIG and so on, and now the Internet Governance Forum. And we talk about a lot of policy processes, whether for developing standards or whatever, international bodies. And this is unique to have an open nominating process with the community going through a process of selecting part of its leadership and the majority of the board of ICANN.
So I hope it's not one where we're going to be left with just the three candidates for nine positions. We really do need you to make the opportunity of making this process work, because, well, it's too unique to overlook, even if it is hard work at the end of the day.
I think -- are people going to rush to the microphones and ask questions?
Kieren, please. Good.
>>KIEREN McCARTHY: Hello. Yes, Kieren McCarthy, ICANN's new general manager for public participation.
I think NomCom is basically sort of the most difficult subset within a difficult organization to get the public to participate with, mostly because of the past and because of the secretive nature of the NomCom, I think that makes it extremely difficult and it makes it the only people you could get were people who were new and people who didn't get it didn't apply. So you basically used up the pool of people that NomCom was able to get.
I'm developing as many ways as I can to involve the public. The problem with the NomCom at the moment is there's a deadline on this, quite an important deadline, because these are very important positions.
I'm actually doing an interview with Vint later today in which, hopefully, he will expand, in his Vint style, on ICANN and review that and suggest what he like to see in people. And the intention is to stick that up YouTube, to use the transcript, or just to put that out there, because Vint is a unique character, despite him threatening that he isn't.
It's very difficult, because there is a fear in the ICANN community to make the job sound sexy. It's a technical fear and it's a fear that ICANN's always had. It doesn't like to stretch beyond the technical remit.
But I see it the other way. I do have an engineering background, I did journalism, and I got sucked into ICANN because the issues are fascinating, and you start learning the technical side. And I think what we need is bright people that you drag in that are fascinated by this. I don't think -- I don't know, for example, for the board, you need a particular range of skills. Like Wolfgang said, you won't have all of them in one person, apart from a few people on the board at the moment. You just have to be intelligent and passionate, and you'll be good for the board. With the ALAC, you have to be intelligent and passionate, and they will do a terrific job for the ALAC.
That's all we need.
I will try and develop ways as fast as possible to get people to get involved. But I think my message would be to tell people that this is exciting. This is a chance to do something -- have input into an important organization.
>>ADAM PEAKE: So if there's not too many more comments, I think we should probably close, let you get back to other meetings that are going on at the moment.
I would like to say that we know that the statement of interest form that we ask all candidates to complete is a complex form. Some people will find it difficult in a sort of cultural or -- we ask you to explain what your experiences are and what qualities you will bring to ICANN.
Please be bold in doing so. Be candid and don't feel as if you're boasting. It's okay to tell us that you're going to be really good, because, otherwise, we can't guess.
And so be as candid as possible. Be as open and tell us what you will really bring to this organization. And that will help us become informed about you through the statement of interest form.
And if you ask for references, then ask them to be as candid, an open, as informative as possible.
The process itself, very much like to hear from you either in the hallways here or wherever we are around about possible names that we can approach, just even qualities of all these different positions and what we should be looking for. So please continue to talk to us over the next few days.
>>STEVE GOLDSTEIN: Just a word about the statement of interest and people reapplying if they had not been selected the first time.
In my own particular case, I was very careful about my choice of references. These are people whom I probably would have been loath to approach a second time around, had I not been selected in the first round. And I'm wondering if it's at all possible for a person who might submit a statement of interest a second time around to leave the references from the first application standing. That could make it somewhat easier for some people.
>>ADAM PEAKE: We are considering something like that, so that the process is that you submit a statement, which is your candidate, your information about yourself. And then everybody that -- you're asked to submit three or four references. These are people who provide background information about you.
But each NomCom, at the end of the year, we're meant to clear our memories, so that the new NomCom starts afresh, particularly about information about candidates.
We think that the information should be confidential, or -- I shouldn't say "we." The process has decided that the information should be confidential.
So to date, we have cleared that information, promised to delete it from all our hard disks and so on.
I believe that this year the chair does have a copy of all the references and all the information we gathered from previous years. And what you are suggesting, Steve, is something that we may be putting to the full committee at -- within the next couple of weeks.
So what you're -- you're actually anticipating something we're thinking of doing, and it's a very good idea.
But we do have this tension between confidentiality of information, trying to maintain a candidate's personal data and information they've given us, and then, you know, whether we pass it on to continuing years and so on.
So that's quite a difficult tension.
>>VINT CERF: I wanted to add something to that, because I had attracted a number of candidates over time. And in one particular instance, the candidate was not selected the first year, was asked to once again make his candidacy available and said, gee, I don't have time to or don't want to fill out that statement of interest form again, what happened to it?
And when we said, well, we threw it away, he was very reluctant to respond.
Understanding the concerns about confidentiality, I still think we might need to find some method for dealing with renewed candidacies to make it easier rather than to make it harder for someone to serve.
Second point I want to make has to do with the learning curve and the amount of time it takes to serve as a board member.
This is probably true, by the way, of the other councils and other things that you're trying to fill.
Experience and memory probably help. Familiarity with history probably helps.
There's a tension between changing the membership of these groups on a rapid basis and retaining them for purposes of having continuity and ease of operation. I've found that the board members who have served, for example, twice in a row seem to have an easier time of it because of their familiarity with the past service period.
So there's some tension between wanting to bring new ideas and new perspectives into the system and keeping it stable and keeping it efficient. So I actually think that we might even err in the direction of having two-term kinds of profiles, at least for some of the candidates, just for continuity's sake.
>>ADAM PEAKE: Just one point about the statements of interest.
Because it's a new process, we've been changing the statement of interest form over years. And from when you applied, Vint, three years ago, I think if you looked at the statement of interest form now, it's a very different form, asking very different questions.
So it would be difficult even from last year to this year to carry on that data, because the questions have changed, and you'd be asking different -- you know, you'd be evaluating different forms.
But the reference material is close enough the same. And so we are thinking of that. And it does save people having to go back to someone they've asked to provide a reference and say, "Hey, I wasn't successful, but I'm going back again," and they think, what a strange guy you are for -- being unsuccessful in this process, because we're looking for a slate of positions, it's not necessarily -- you can just be unlucky in a year, because it didn't work out in terms of how these things balance out across the nine positions, not just the one or two that you might have been particularly interested in.
>>MARIA FARRELL: Hi. I'm Maria Farrell. I'm the GNSO policy officer, a member of the ICANN staff.
And I just wanted to make two comments based on my experience interacting with many of the NomCom appointees to the GNSO Council, many of whom in my couple of years have been absolutely superb additions to the council.
Firstly, it's happened several times that the NomCom councillor has been made the chair of a working group and it's a practice that has worked out extremely successfully. So it might be something to keep in mind just as a factor, and somebody who has the ability or experience to chair a group is extremely valuable when you're talking about qualifications. And secondly, just a comment really. I know you get a wide range of applications. I'm reminded of a friend who is a recruiter for a university, undergraduate university programs in the U.S. And over time, they used to always try to recruit students, individual students, who were very, very well-rounded, but over time they have, in fact, changed what they call the well-rounded who can do many, many different things, a jack of all trades, to a student to a class that is well-rounded. So you may have somebody who is excels at a particular thing.
I may well be reinventing the wheel for you but it just occurred to me it might be a useful insight to share.
>>ADAM PEAKE: Thank you.
Anybody else who would like to comment either from down there or up here? Or then we can take you away.
I think we can finish for today, and I want to send George Sadowsky's apologies. He is not feeling well and in his room.
So we'll probably go and get a doctor to him now. Thank you very much for coming. And candidates, please, we would love to hear your ideas.
(NomCom meeting concluded)