IETF 98 Chicago: Welcome the new IETF Chair, Alissa Cooper

By on 30 Mar 2017

Category: Tech matters

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Alissa Cooper is the newly elected IETF Chair.

One of the nice things about the IETF is that it has a built-in process to recognize the need for change “at the top”.

Senior leadership roles are rotated continually through a nominations committee process, which allows community input and discussion in a dignified, consultative manner. I know because I was nominated for a role, and (luckily for you lot) wasn’t successful; though the feedback and encouragement I got from the committee, led this year by Lucy Lynch, was exemplary.

Earlier this year, Alissa Cooper was elected to the role of IETF Chair, the first woman to be so.

Alissa is a distinguished Cisco engineer who has a PostDoc from the Oxford Internet Institute, which I’ve mentioned before provides high value ethical reviews of Internet activity. She has a body of work in the RFC series on important technical and social justice issues, including end-to-end security, privacy considerations, congestion control, IPv6 addressing models, and work in SIP.

Science and engineering, in general, and the Internet, in particular, has a big gender gap problem. It’s nice to belong to a member body that recognizes the importance of change to a more equitable balance, and there is no shortage of strong, skilled, competent and visibly active women at IETF to choose for these roles. Alissa will be working with the 13 Internet Engineering Steering Group (IESG) Area Directors over the next four year, five of whom are women.

Jari Arkko, whose term ends in two months, posted a blog noting Alissa’s appointment, and much that I have enjoyed his time in the role, I echo his sentiment: this is a great appointment.

I welcome the new IETF Chair, and I wish her, and her fellow IESG members well.

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