Thank you, Patricio, the board, and thank you Katherine. In the unhappy
circumstances we have come to, this brings much hope for rebuilding.
Katherine has the values and the skills to make WMF do better at adhering
to its stated principles, and the good sense to trust expertise in others
and delegate appropriately.
As some of you know, I have been quite vocal about our problems, and I am
glad to say I look forward with enthusiasm to helping Katherine bring about
long-needed changes while operating, as she said, "at the speed of trust".
Here's to hope, and truth.
On Thu, Mar 10, 2016 at 6:59 PM, Katherine Maher <kmaher(a)wikimedia.org>
Thank you, Patricio.
I want to thank the Board for this opportunity, and for their confidence
in the Foundation. I also want to thank community members and staff for
continuing to be such committed advocates for our future -- your passion
and belief in our movement and purpose have been tremendous things to
As a movement, we’ve had some challenges lately. We’ve started on a
process of change, but as Lydia Pintscher (User:Lydia Pintscher (WMDE))
recently reminded us, “Change happens at the speed of trust.” We will
need to work together over these coming months to build that trust, and
open critical lines of communication and accountability. I get the sense
from many people that that’s exactly what they’d like to do: absorb the
lessons we’ve learned, re-engage with each other, and get back to advancing
our global movement.
At the Foundation, we have an opportunity to center around our values, and
practice open and collaborative communication. During the interim period, I
want to get things working well and improve transparency and communication,
both internally and with the communities. We will work to create a
supportive, fair environment where people can get things done, engage with
their colleagues and community members, and understand how their work has
an impact on our mission. This includes delivering on important deadlines
for the Annual Plan and strategy, filling key roles, and making progress
on issues raised in our recent engagement survey.
We are committed to delivering the first version of the 2016-2017 Annual
Plan no later than April 1st for community and FDC review, and are on track
to meet this deadline. The WMF 2016-2018 strategy development is also
underway, with a draft version open for comments until March 18. Over
the coming weeks, we’ll be moving forward with our Chief Technology Officer
(CTO) search, and working with the Talent and Culture team to reinvest in
our culture. As new other emerge, we’ll work together to prioritize them.
To accomplish all of this, we are going to need your help. I want to hear
from you about what you would like to achieve in this interim period. This
includes how we can collaborate together to prepare the organization and
movement to welcome our next Executive Director. The Foundation is prepared
to actively support the Board in the search, and we will work closely with
them to share important information and create opportunities to give
feedback throughout the process.
Just a few weeks ago, we marked the 15th birthday of the movement.
Millions of people around the world shared their love for Wikimedia. It was
a celebration of why we do what we do, and how much joy the movement brings
people everywhere. That’s something I try to keep in mind every day.
On Thu, Mar 10, 2016 at 6:55 PM, Patricio Lorente <
I’m happy to announce that the Wikimedia Foundation leadership team has
proposed an interim Executive Director, and the Board has given our full
support. Starting on March 14th, current Chief Communications Officer
Katherine Maher (https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Katherine_(WMF)
will step into the role of interim Executive Director. We thank the
C-levels for their careful consideration in this process, and Katherine for
stepping up during this period of transition.
In choosing an interim ED, the C-levels started by identifying immediate
priorities for the coming months, including building trust, improving
communications, and filling key leadership positions. They felt, and we
agree, that Katherine is the right person to lead the organization while it
addresses these and other important issues. Additionally, this will allow
the rest of the executive team to focus on critical organizational
functions, including community and engineering management, fundraising, and
strengthening our human resources function. You can read more about our
process and thinking here:
Katherine has been with the Foundation as Chief Communications Officer
for about two years now. During that time, she has developed a versatile
and effective team that serves the needs of the organization and movement,
collaborating closely with other departments and the community. She has
thoughtfully introduced new capacities and led her team through
transitions, and played a critical role in shepherding the strategy process
and the annual plan, in collaboration with other C-levels. She is known for
listening to and empowering the people that she works with.
For those who don’t know Katherine, she’s been a longtime advocate for
global open communities, culture, and technology. She previously led
advocacy for the international digital rights organization Access Now,
where she worked on freedom of expression, access to information, and
privacy. She has supported the efforts of citizens and governments around
the world to deepen transparency and participation in her roles at the
World Bank, National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, and
UNICEF (where her team built wikis for youth participation in major global
issues). She is a member of the advisory board of the Open Technology Fund.
With interim leadership in place, our next step as the Board is to move
quickly to plan and implement the search for a permanent Executive
Director. We will be working together over the coming weeks to clarify
roles and responsibilities in this search, and identify the best way for
community and staff to participate. We want this process to be inclusive
and incorporate many voices. We look forward to sharing an update on our
progress toward the end of next week.
As interim Executive Director, Katherine will report to the Board. Geoff
Brigham will continue serving as Board Secretary, and Jaime Villagomez as
Board Treasurer, reporting to the Board in those capacities. As of March
14, Katherine's reports include the C-team: Geoff Brigham, Jaime
Villagomez, Maggie Dennis, Lisa Gruwell, Joady Lohr, and Wes Moran. The
Communications team will continue to report to Katherine for the time
being, with support from the leadership of Juliet Barbara and Heather
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