Susan Chalmers

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Country: New Zealand / USA

LinkIcon.png   [Chalmers & Associates Chalmers & Associates]

LinkedIn: LinkedInIcon.png   [Susan's profile on LinkedIn Susan Chalmers]
Twitter: TwitterIcon.png   @susan_chalmers

Susan Chalmers is the Principal at Chalmers & Associates, a boutique Internet Governance and policy consulting firm based in Wellington, New Zealand. Susan is also an active member of the IGF Multistakeholder Advisory Group at the United Nations.

Her personal interests include downhill skiing, cycling, yoga, and music of all kinds.

Early Life

Susan was born and raised in Kalamazoo, Michigan and developed two passions early on in life: music and skiing. From the age of 8, until leaving Kalamazoo to pursue a degree in music at 17, Susan spent her summers either at the keyboard or practicing the cello at various performing arts institutions, including Interlochen, the Brevard Music Festival, and the Aspen Music Festival. During high school she worked as a ski instructor at the local “ski hill” in Southwest Michigan.

Education and Career History

The University of Michigan

Susan gained entrance to the University of Michigan School of Music piano department in 2000. The following year she began parallel studies in French, eventually spending a year abroad in Aix-en-Provence, France, where she studied at the Faculté des Lettres, the Conservatoire Darius Milhaud and the Institut d’Etudes Politiques (IEP). Courses at the IEP provoked her interest in French politics, leading to her honor’s thesis on the Front National and xenophobia the following year. She graduated with dual degrees in Music and French in 2004.

Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival

Upon graduating, Susan moved to Cape Cod, Massachusetts, to work with the Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival, eventually becoming its Executive Director. She led the Festival through two successful seasons, working with artists from around the world to bring chamber music to towns, and to schools, across the Cape. During this time she oversaw the commissioning of original compositions to be performed during the Festival, which sparked her interest in copyright law. Susan then decided to attend law school.

Loyola University Chicago School of Law

After spending her first year of studies at the John Marshall Law School, Susan transferred to Loyola. Her interest in intellectual property and copyright only grew, which led to a summer internship with the World Intellectual Property Organisation in New York. She was selected as a Chicago Intellectual Property Colloquium fellow and clerked with the Lawyers for the Creative Arts. During her legal studies she also held internships in the Cook County Circuit Court and the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. Susan graduated in May 2010 from Loyola, magna cum laude, and successfully sat for the Illinois State Bar that summer.

Old Town School of Folk Music

While studying for the bar, Susan worked with another law graduate at the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago to develop its sound recording licensing program.

Due to the perilous economic climate in the wake of the Global Financial Crisis, like the vast majority of her peers, Susan was hard pressed to find employment with a law firm. Her 732 applications to firms and judicial clerkships around the country were responded with 732 rejection letters. Determined not to “settle” for a job that she was not passionate about, Susan applied and was accepted to the LLM program at the University of Auckland Faculty of Law, in New Zealand.

University of Auckland Faculty of Law

Susan gained her LLM by thesis, writing on the graduated response, or “three strikes,” copyright law. She graduated with first class honours in 2012.

Internet New Zealand

While writing her thesis, Susan began work as the Policy Lead at Internet New Zealand - her introduction to the world of Internet Governance and policy. She took quickly to the environment and was nominated in 2013 by the Technical Community to be a member of the IGF Multistakeholder Advisory Group, to which she devotes much of her free time today. She has attended the IGF since 2011 and has spoken on numerous panels on intermediary liability and copyright policy. She joined the New Zealand delegation to the 2013 World Telecommunications Policy Forum, participated as a moderator and panelist at various WSIS-related events, and represented InternetNZ within the At Large Advisory Group at the 2013 ICANN meeting in Beijing. On the domestic front, Susan led InternetNZ’s advocacy efforts on a variety of issues, including the Trans Pacific Partnership agreement, the graduated response, surveillance, privacy, cyberbullying and software patents. Susan elected to return to the US in late 2013 to spend time with friends and family, and start her own consulting practice, before moving back to Wellington in 2014.

Chalmers & Associates

Susan is currently the Principal of Chalmers & Associates (C.A). A permanent resident of New Zealand, Susan spends most of her time in Wellington, working with a variety of clients, both "at home" and abroad. C.A values education and information-sharing in multistakeholder Internet Governance, and is the current administrator of the Friends of the IGF project. C.A has recently teamed up with the great folks at ICANNWiki to help spread the word about this tremendous informational resource and encourage greater content contribution and participation from the Internet community.