Cybera announces new leader

After a decade of serving the digital needs of Alberta’s public sector, Robin Winsor has announced that he will be retiring from his position as President and CEO of Cybera. He will be replaced by Dr. Barb Carra, Cybera’s Chief Operating Officer, who brings over 10 years of leadership, government relations, and collaborative partnership experience within the research, education and innovation landscape.

“My time at Cybera has been filled with exciting challenges and opportunities, and I’m immensely proud of how much we’ve grown, and the diversity of the community that we now serve,” says Robin. “Cybera has a great team committed to making a difference in the lives of Albertans. I know that with Barb leading Cybera, Albertans will have the best possible partner in exploring an amazing digital future for the province and the country.”

As Cybera's Chief Operating Officer, Barb spearheaded the development of the organization's policy, strategic and operational initiatives, including the ShareIT procurement program and Cybera’s new cybersecurity portfolio. She also led the development of the State of Alberta Digital Infrastructure Report, the most comprehensive review of the province’s vital computing and networking infrastructure.

In 2018, she served on the Government of Alberta’s Talent Advisory Council on Technology, which provided advice and input on strategies, investments, and outcomes to grow Alberta’s tech talent. These insights, and the collaborations she has built with government and academia over the past nine years at Cybera, will be vital to the future of the organization.

“Alberta’s public and innovation sectors are facing many unique challenges today, including growing and retaining their technical talent, utilizing next-generation technologies — like machine learning and AI — in everyday operations, and finding efficiencies in a budget-constrained environment,” says Barb. “I’m excited for the opportunity to collaborate more with our members to address these challenges. My goal for Cybera is to continue growing and evolving its services to meet the needs of Alberta’s educators, researchers, and innovators.”

Under Robin’s leadership, Cybera has undergone a major transformation, expanding its services from simply managing Alberta’s Research & Education Network for post-secondary institutions, to providing advanced networking, cloud computing and data science resources to K-12 schools, libraries, municipalities, start-ups, and the general public. Since 2009, Cybera’s membership has grown from 21 institutions to 101, representing over 850,000 Albertans. 

As a team, Robin and Barb also led Cybera’s advocacy efforts, which brought staff before provincial and federal government panels to speak about the need for improved internet and computing access for all Canadians.

“As a partner in the Canadian National Research and Education Network, Cybera supports the governance and strategic evolution of this essential infrastructure,” says CANARIE President and CEO, Jim Ghadbane. “We’re excited to continue to work with Barb to strengthen the systems, partnerships, and expertise that thousands of Canadian researchers, educators, and innovators have come to rely upon.”

In early 2019, Robin announced his plans to retire from his position, and the governance committee of the Cybera Board of Directors set out to find his replacement.

“After analyzing the skills and experience that the next CEO of Cybera will require to successfully lead the organization into the future, we determined that Barb was, by far, the most suitable candidate to take over leadership of the organization,” says Board Chair Darryl Vleeming. “In her time at Cybera, she has been a strong champion and advocate for the digital needs of Albertans, and has led several teams within the organization to successfully push out new tools and services. Her taking on the role of President and CEO is a natural next step.”

Robin will stay on as an advisor to the new CEO until the end of 2019. His pioneering and enduring work in Alberta’s digital landscape will be celebrated at the 2019 Cyber Summit in Kananaskis this October 29-30, 2019.