Who am I?
I am Avneesh Singh, AC representative from the DAISY Consortium.
A strategic leader with a drive for leading a life of purpose.
Strategy, diversity, developing countries, disability, accessibility
I am Chief Operating Officer (Strategy and Operations) at the DAISY Consortium, the consortium which earned a worldwide reputation for developing the first international standards for accessible digital books. DAISY Consortium has been a member of the W3C since 1997 and has participated in many standards activities especially in the WAI arena.
Thank you for electing me to AB first time two years ago. It has been a journey full of learning, analysis and strategizing. W3C is in one of the most crucial stages, stepping down of Tim – the originator of all decision frameworks of W3C, transition to a new legal entity, the transformation of governance model and that too in the historical moment when the world is in a critical stage. I believe that the right strategic decisions at this time can transform this crucial point into a historical inflection point for W3C.
I am based in New Delhi, India. Originally I am a computer engineer with extensive experience in developing international standards and reference implementations of technologies for people with disabilities. Soon I realized the need to work at a strategic level on international partnerships in order to effect worldwide change. Consequently, I earned an Executive MBA in Strategy and Marketing from the prestigious Indian Institute of Management (K). I then built on these analytical and strategic skills through executive education at the highly regarded Harvard University, studying approaches to mobilizing non-profit Boards and the board management frameworks for optimizing governance.
I have gained enormous relevant experience in non-profit governance, international strategy development and operational management by working with the executive management team and the Board of Directors of the DAISY Consortium. DAISY Consortium is a community-based non-profit organization with members and network partners spread in more than 100 countries around the world. It has a lot of similarities with W3C, like structure, diverse membership, revenue model etc.
Furthermore, I have gained experience at the grass-root level by leading the development of nationwide strategy and the governance model on the board of DAISY Forum of India.
On the technical side, I am heading DAISY’s international technical team, and chairing industry-wide collaborative initiatives for inclusive publishing. At W3C I chair accessibility task forces in EPUB 3 WG and Publishing CG. I participate in WAI Accessibility Guidelines development and contribute to other accessibility initiatives. At the national level, I am a member of the LITD 15 committee of the Bureau of Indian Standards, which is a founder member of ISO.
Soon after joining AB in 2019, my experience in managing a non-profit similar to W3C helped me in discovering the crucial strategic issues, which are likely to continue to disrupt us even in the new incarnations of W3C. Therefore I initialized the collaborative work on organization strategy (purpose, vision, values, principles, and strategic goals) with three-way collaborations, the advisory board, the W3C community and the W3C team. This is because my experience in managing a non-profit consortium has taught me that effective change can only happen if all the key stakeholders come on the same page. This is why we did all the work on organization strategy in the open, from inviting the input on members issue tracker to the preparation of the first draft of the AB public wiki which ultimately moved to the vision and strategy repository.
Another important area that caught my focus in the early days was the governance model of the new legal entity. W3C really needs a well-engaged supervisory board with excellent skills, diversity and inclusion. Therefore I contributed to improving the board structure especially for increasing diversity, inclusion and worldwide participation, along with collaborating with the knowledgeable members of the advisory board for making other important strategic decisions.
AB Points for Consideration
W3C is going through a transition phase, and we need to make crucial decisions for the legal entity, strategic direction, governance model and structure while evolving the organization to reinforce its worldwide leadership.
On the basis of the knowledge that I gained about W3C governance, strategic planning and finances, I will be instrumental in the following:
- I will continue to bring my knowledge of strategy, governance and experience of managing community-based non-profit organizations to the development of structure and the governance model of W3C.
- I will continue the collaborative work on organization strategy (purpose, values, principles and strategic goals) for developing a robust direction for W3C, and help in the implementation plan.
- Equally important is work towards diversity and inclusion. I am committed to working to ensure that our worldwide consortium creates worldwide standards with worldwide participation, diversity and inclusion, which also include appropriate representation of people from developing countries and people with disabilities.
I have extensive experience in accessibility, managing an organization with a diverse community, and developing strategy and governance models for non-profits, and at the same time, I have a silent listening personality. I believe this gives a good balance of relevant experience with the ability to apprehend and synthesize the diverse views of highly knowledgeable people.
I trust many of you believe in worldwide participation, more inclusion of diversities, and transforming the crucial point into an inflection point for W3C. When you cast your vote in the AB election, please vote for me, Avneesh Singh. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with me at asingh at daisy.org.