INFORMATION SECURITY EXPERT SEEKS POLITICAL OFFICE
Originally published in the Gleaner (North America) on August 24th, 2013
BY NEIL ARMSTRONG
A JAMAICA-BORN woman has thrown her hat in the political ring to become the candidate for the federal Liberal Party in the riding of Toronto-Centre in the by-election expected in the fall.
This follows the resignation of Bob Rae, former member of parliament for the area, earlier this year. Diana Burke immigrated to Canada from Jamaica over 40 years ago and was hired by the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) straight out of high school. Burke said she was able to increase her education, through lots of hard work, and took some risks and opportunities to excel and become a senior executive of RBC with some global responsibilities.
She was able to sponsor some of her family and her parents to come to Canada. “I believe that the Liberal policies at the time enabled me to reunify with my family and I also believe that my family who are successfully employed and enthusiastic Canadians, like myself, embody the values of the Liberal Party of hope and hard work that Justin Trudeau, the Liberal Party and Canada support,” she said.
She has lived in Toronto-Centre for over twenty-five years and has done a lot of community work in the riding. “I think it’s time for me to give back to Canada and to give back to this community. And, I believe I have the expertise and the business and technology knowledge that would be very beneficial in government,” she said. Burke is the second Jamaican to seek representation of this riding. In 2008, Don Meredith, now senator, sought the candidacy of the Progressive Conservatives for the area but lost to Rae, the Liberal Party candidate.She follows in the footsteps of Jamaicans, Rosemary Brown and Lincoln Alexander.
She was the chief information security officer in her last position at RBC. Because of her unique background and talents, Microsoft named her to its global advisory body on information
security. In a world increasingly operating through cyber-networks and threatened by cyber-terrorism, these knowledge and skill sets have become invaluable. Burke is a hard-working and charismatic person whose ability to attract and manage large numbers of volunteers and employees is well established both in business and in community endeavours. Traits, which she said, transfer well to electoral politics.
Her many community and charitable commitments are diverse. In 2007, she was part of the Festival Management Committee to reinvigorate Caribana, the Caribbean carnival festival in Toronto.
She was the president of the International Women’s Forum – Toronto Chapter, a global organisation of outstanding women leaders. Burke said when she was at RBC, she was one of few women in the very maledominated technology department but that did not deter her from working hard to be successful and being a role model for other women in technology