When she was 15 years old, Doreen Bogdan-Martin, current Director of the ITU Bureau of Telecommunication Development, would bite the inside of her cheek before giving a presentation at school. Over 40 years later, the New Jersey native’s cheeks may need to get ready for a big task: hold tight as Bogdan-Martin gives a speech as the first female ITU Secretary-General.
It all depends on how Bogdan-Martin fares in this year’s election, of course. The director, the first woman to ever be elected an official at the ITU in 2018, has been working her career as an ICT expert from the ground up since the late 1980s.
In 1989, she joined the Office of International Affairs at the National Telecommunication and Information Administration, a subdivision of the US Department of Commerce. Five years later, in 1994, Bogdan-Martin started her journey at the ITU. She went from a policy analyst to director of the Telecommunication Development Bureau, the department responsible for ensuring policies and programs for universal connectivity.
Making the World Digital
Connectivity, by the way, is the leading theme of her candidacy. “We must deliver universal connectivity underpinned by resilient and secure networks for the 3.7 billion people still offline. This is at the heart of my vision for our organization,” she said in the campaign brochure detailing her proposals.
According to the document, she aims to focus on regulatory practices that attract investments, something that has marked her tenure as a director. She also wants to bridge the digital gap from a gender perspective, making internet access available for more women.
Another idea for a future mandate touches upon developing the next generation of mobile connectivity. “We must be at the vanguard of understanding transformational technologies such as 5G and then 6G, the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, and machine learning,” she noted.
Bogdan-Martin also plans to establish a “crisis team” to engage with scenario planning, contingency planning, and strategic forecasting exercises to be ready in case any situation similar to the COVID-19 pandemic takes place.
In addition to the regulatory works, the Director proposes an internal change. “As Secretary-General, I will build on the organization’s results-based approach to professional management and our working methods. We will produce clear and measurable outcomes and communicate our results clearly to our members, especially our conference outputs,” she promised.
One of the solutions the candidate envisions to fulfill this vision is making better use of “shared internal platforms and common procedures for ITU meetings and their preparatory processes in order to maximize our collaborative efforts.”
Resources distribution would have a change in her mandate as well. Doreen Bogdan-Martin promised to improve the regional distribution of resources to meet members’ needs, reduce duplication, and improve coordination across the Bureaus.
“We will identify, propose, implement, and monitor measures across the institution that ensure our financial management and preparation systems are robust, and that our reputation is rock solid,” she finished.
Featured picture by ITU
Journalist since eight years old, when I would read the newspaper out loud and pretend it was a radio show. Based in São Paulo, I have worked for Brazilian websites as reporter and editor before joining 6GWorld