Black Out Speak Out Protest Creates Internet Blackout Over C-38
Some of the Internet’s most popular nature conservancy websites today are blacking out in protest of the Harper Government’s proposed bill C-38. Claiming the bill is an attack on democracy and nature, over 500 organizations are participating in the Internet blackout.
Speculated to be introduced from pressures from the oil industry, Bill C-38 is set to replace the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, allow the federal government a heavier hand when auditing charities, overrides National Energy Board decisions, and creates a weakened environmental review process when approving new projects.
The Black Out Speak Out campaign was launched on May 7th in an effort to get the word out about bill C-38 and has grown its support to include non-profit organizations, social justice organizations, trade unions, First Nations, scientists, businesses and more. The campaign is coming to a head today with the launch of its Internet blackout in hopes to raise awareness and action encouraging Canadians to speak out through online petitions, via email and on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
"The darkening of web sites and the thousands of letters, blogs, tweets and other actions by landowners, businesses, First Nations, trade unions, scientists and citizens, reflect the grave concern and deep frustration Canadians feel about the direction the federal government is heading," said Alex Neve, Secretary General, Amnesty International Canada. "Fundamental human rights such as Freedom of Expression are at stake."
“A big reason why there’s such a rush is oil interests at play. Working in close coordination with oil company lobbyists and industry front groups, the Harper government is attempting to silence public interest groups – all the while working to rollback longstanding Canadian environmental protections, slash environmental enforcement, and eliminate independent oversight of the environmental decision-making process,” said an official statement by the Sierra Club, 350.org and the NDRC.
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Participating groups in the Black Out Speak Out campaign include Oxfam, Amnesty International, and the Canadian Labour Congress. The Black Out Speak Out Campaign was started by the following leading environmental organizations: Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment (CAPE), Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS), David Suzuki Foundation, Ecojustice, Environmental Defense, Equiterre, Greenpeace, Nature Canada, Pembina Institute, Sierra Club Canada, West Coast Environmental Law and WWF Canada.
"Today, hundreds of organizations and individuals -- representing millions of citizens -- are speaking out in support of two core Canadian values: the protection of nature and democratic discussion," said scientist and activist Dr. David Suzuki. "These values are the foundation of the peace, order and good government that define our nation, yet they are threatened by the federal government's omnibus budget bill, C-38."
Marketing matters: from IBM to Kyndryl
Prior to joining Kyndryl as Chief Marketing Officer, Maria had a 25-year career at IBM, most recently as the tech giant’s CMO where she oversaw all marketing professionals and activities across North America, Canada and Latin America. She has held senior global marketing positions in a variety of disciplines and business units across IBM, most notably strategic initiatives in Smarter Cities and Watson Customer Engagement, as well as leading teams in services, business analytics, and mobile and industry solutions. She is known for her work with teams to leverage data, analytics and cloud technologies to build deeper engagements with customers and partners.
With a passion for marketing, business and people, and a recognized expert in data-driven marketing and brand engagement, Maria talks to Business Chief about her new role, her leadership style and what success means to her.
You've recently moved from IBM to Kyndryl, joining as CMO. Tell us about this exciting new role?
I’m Chief Marketing Officer for Kyndryl, the independent company that will be created following the separation from IBM of its Managed Infrastructure Services business, expected to occur by the end of 2021. My role is to plan, develop, and execute Kyndryl's marketing and advertising initiatives. This includes building a company culture and brand identity on which we base our marketing and advertising strategy.
We have an amazing opportunity ahead at Kyndryl to create a company brand that will stand apart in the market by leading with our people first. Once we are an independent company, each Kyndryl employee will advance the vital systems that power human progress. Our people are devoted, restless, empathetic, and anticipatory – key qualities needed as we build on existing customer relationships and cultivate new ones. Our people are at the heart of this business and I am deeply hopeful and excited for our future.
What experiences have helped prepare you for this new opportunity?
I’ve had a very rich and diverse career history at IBM that has lasted 25+ years. I started out in sales but landed explored opportunities at IBM in different roles, business units, geographies, and functions. Marketing and business are my passions and I landed on Marketing because it allowed me to utilize both my left and right brain, bringing together art and science. In college, I was no tonly a business major, but an art major. I love marketing because I can leverage my extensive knowledge of business, while also being able to think openly and creatively.
The opportunities I was given during my time at IBM and my natural curiosity have led me to the path I’m on now and there’s no better next career step than a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity to help launch a company. The core of my role at Kyndryl is to create a culture centered on our people and growing up in my career at IBM has allowed me to see first-hand how to prioritize people and ensure they are at the heart of progress in everything Kyndryl will do.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I believe that people aren't your greatest assets, they are your only assets. My platform and background for leadership has always been grounded in authenticity to who I am and centered on diversity and inclusion. I immigrated to the US from Chile when I was 10 years old and so I know the power and beauty that comes from leaning into what makes you different from other people, and that's what I want every person in my marketing organization to feel – the value in bringing their most authentic self to work every day. The way our employees feel when they show up for themselves authentically is how they will also show up for our customers, and strong relationships drive growth.
I think this is especially true in light of a world forever changed by the pandemic. Living through such an unprecedented time has reinforced that we are all humans. We can't lead or care for one another without empathy and I think leaders everywhere have been reminded of this.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
When I was growing up as an immigrant in North Carolina, I often wanted to be just like everyone else. But my mother always told me: Be unique, be memorable – you have an authentic view and experience of the world that no one else will ever have, so don't try to be anyone else but you.
What does success look like to you?
I think the concept of success is multi-faceted. From a career perspective, being in a job where you're respected and appreciated, and where you can see how your contributions are providing value by motivating your teams to be better – that's success! From a personal perspective, there is no greater accomplishment than investing in the next generation. I love mentoring younger professionals – they are the future. I want my legacy as a leader to include providing value in work culture, but also in leaving a personal impact on the lives of professionals who will carry the workforce forward. Finding a position in life with a job and company that offers me a chance at all of that is what success looks like to me.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
I've always been a naturally curious person and it's easy for me to over-commit to projects that pique my interest. I've learned over years of practice how to manage that, so to my younger self I’d say… prioritize the things that are most important, and then become amazing at those things.