Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation

CTO appoints first female secretary-general

02 November 2020 | Melanie Mingas

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The Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO) has appointed the first female secretary-general in its 120-year history.

Bernadette Lewis was appointed as head of the Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU) in 2003 and was also its first female secretary-general. She is also credited with raising the profile of the CTU as the foremost information and communication technology inter-governmental institution in the Caribbean at a time when rapid technological innovations were disrupting the telecommunications industry.

An award-winning exec, Lewis holds 25 years of experience across the public and private sectors and has worked in both national and international ICT organisations.

Lewis is described as a passionate and strong advocate for ICT-enabled development and believes every citizen of the Commonwealth and beyond should have affordable access to ICT and be able to use technology effectively to improve the quality of their lives.

She said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the world forever. I believe that the CTO has a very important role to play in supporting its members in making effective use of ICT to transform their nations and to become more resilient in the face of the impact of Covid-19 and the other challenges that will assail us all in the 21st Century.”

CTO said of Lewis’s appointment: “This is indeed a major accomplishment that should encourage women everywhere to strive for the mastery of whatever profession they may choose and especially in science and technology.

“For the CTO, surviving, indeed thriving in this environment will necessitate innovative leadership, a deep understanding of ICT and faith and courage to deviate from the beaten paths of 20th Century thinking to build a 21st century organisation that is relevant and serves its members with integrity and excellence. Ms. Lewis brings these qualities to the CTO.”