Leadership Connect – Government Relations with Eric Black, Senior Director
As part of our ongoing Leadership Connect Series with Teranet’s thought leaders, we speak with Eric Black, Teranet’s Senior Director, Government Relations, Registry Solutions.
Q. Can you explain your role? Can you talk about what government relations looks like from Teranet’s perspective?
My role is really unique and that is what I love the most about it. Most of my work is driven by four key imperatives:
- To monitor Teranet’s compliance with our contractual obligations to government;
- To facilitate issue resolution between Teranet and the Province of Ontario;
- To foster a trusting and productive partnership between Teranet and our government partners;
- To provide land titles expertise and a customer/lawyer perspective to the product development team.
Our contract with the Province of Ontario includes obligations that must be fulfilled. Every person at Teranet, in some way, has a role to play in ensuring we deliver what we promise. I need to maintain relationships across Teranet to ensure I can confirm that what IS being done is what NEEDS to be done and then report that both internally and externally.
I maintain trusted relationships with our government partners. These relationships help to ensure an understanding of and respect for the government’s perspective on the issues that impact the work we do together and to propose solutions that can be a win/win for us and our partners.
I get a great deal of satisfaction out of talking to Teranet employees to describe Teranet’s history and the successes we have had in the delivery of digital services. Very frequently I’ve been told that such discussions have enhanced their understanding of their own roles with the company.
Q. How has your role changed over time? Give us a bit of background on your career path.
I began my career as a real estate lawyer. The senior member of the firm I was with was well known for his knowledge of real estate and so I can honestly say I was mentored by one of the best. For seven years I worked with clients to close their purchase, sale and mortgage transactions and this was my first exposure to the province’s Electronic Land Registration System.
I still remember the first time I printed off a parcel register from Teraview® – in the middle of a client meeting – and brought it into the boardroom in real time. This was a task that, until then, would have required a day’s effort to visit the Land Registry Office. It was then that I realized how the electronic land system would forever change the industry.
When Teranet was looking for a lawyer, I realized that it could be a great opportunity to continue to grow and learn in the area that I loved while applying that knowledge in a different way.
I joined Teranet and became involved in a multi-year project to convert Ontario’s paper-based land records into a digital system. The role afforded me the opportunity to acquire new business/corporate skills related to running a large, operations-based project. This was also my first exposure to working with government and I soon came to appreciate that very complex world. I was inspired by how our work at Teranet improved the services available to the people of Ontario.
As Teranet completed the digitization project and celebrated a significant extension of its partnership with the Ontario government, I was offered my current role in the area of government relations. I had the opportunity to apply the core skills that I acquired through my education in a new way and strengthen new career muscles.
Q. How has the Registry Solutions division evolved over the course of your tenure?
Teranet is a pioneer and a world leader in the delivery of digital land registration services. In earlier days, the Registry Solutions team was focused on ensuring Teranet met its obligations in connection with core product delivery. I am excited by our commitment to evolve the Registry Services division and expand our focus beyond search and registration. SureFund™ is the most recent example of this and I am very excited by its possibilities.
Q. What do you think is the most notable innovation in your division in recent years?
I am impressed by how our product and development teams are moving toward an Agile delivery approach for our core products. I am even more excited that we are starting to bring the government along on this journey as I believe that it can drive better and more cost-effective results for everyone. Influencing governments to realize the benefits such an approach can deliver has been quite remarkable. We are definitely making impressive strides.
Q. What can customers expect in the future?
Our customers can expect unparalleled quality and user experience out of the Ontario Land Registration and Writs systems. They can also expect Teranet to expand our product offerings in ways that enhance and drive efficiencies to their businesses. What has kept me here at Teranet over the years has been an unshakeable confidence in the opportunities that lay ahead of us and our remarkable culture.