CIO of Correctional Service of Canada (CSC)
The Correctional Services of Canada (CSC) is the Canadian federal government agency responsible for administering sentences of two years or more imposed by the courts. As part of the criminal justice system, CSC actively encourages and assists offenders in their rehabilitation and reintegration journey of becoming law-abiding citizens.
To ensure the organisation is well equipped to do so and provides offenders with the best possible tools for rehabilitation, Simon Bonk, CSC’s Chief Information Officer (CIO) looks at ways technology can facilitate the management of offenders.
“In my role, I engage with my business partners to identify opportunities where technology and information management services can address business challenges. Within CSC, I'm responsible for application development, enterprise architecture, IT security, business transformation, and information management. A lot of my role today is really about managing all things IT within the federal prison service,” explained Bonk.
Having joined CSC six years ago, Bonk brought a new perspective to the team with his diverse experience and wide skillset, he said: “I come from a background of border services and tax administration previously, and I've occupied many different roles. I haven't come up in the technology stream per se.”
When he joined corrections, Bonk had limited experience in the area as he had never worked in the department before.
Bringing knowledge gained from leading the Service Transformation Directorate with the Information Service and Technology Branch at Canadian Border Services, Bonk did explain that he is “not necessarily your traditional CIO that's come up through programming, or database management or whatever, so I really commend the organisation for bringing me in with a bit of a diverse background.”
By bringing a different set of skills and perspectives to the role, Bonk has been able to support CSC as it looks to innovate and adopt new technologies.
The CIO explained that as he is a less than traditional CIO, he doesn’t “come with any bias from a technology perspective.”
“So when we make decisions, it's based on merit. We bring the business case, we evaluate the pros and cons, and we end up making the best decision. We end up making decisions based on need, as opposed to wants,” he continued.
With this unique perspective, Bonk has been able to work with many team members in many departments of CSC.
He said: “In my role today, I can easily talk with the Chief Financial Officer. I was a Deputy Chief Financial Officer for three years at Canadian Border Services. I can go talk to our policy folks about the legislative or regulatory agenda because I was in charge of that for a year, and it really brings a breadth of experience.”
Bonk looks to emulate his wide range of experience within his own team at CSC. Striving to create a diverse team in terms of culture, gender and religion, Bonk also is passionate about diversity elsewhere: “We also need diversity of ideas, diversity of thinking and inclusion. The more open you can be in that respect, the better results that you'll get.”
He concluded: “I try to surround myself with people that aren't like me. My leadership style is very much around understanding my strengths and weaknesses and then augmenting them with a team that compliments them. I look at complementary skills and folks that are innovative, hardworking.”
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