I wanted to share with you some changes in WMIL. This weekend, after more
than 6 years of service, Michal Lester will conclude her position as WMIL's
Michal, WMIL’s first ED, joined us more than 6 years ago, and was our
second employee. Michal’s joining marked the transition of WMIL from an
organization operated and managed by volunteers only to professional hired
staff supporting and leading the activity with the volunteers.
Michal started to initiate and lead large-scale projects and raise the
resources needed for the activity through collaborations, donations and
fund grants. From a one-employee organization with a limited budget, she
brought us to the current position as an established NGO, with varied
activity, hired staff to support it, volunteers and a sufficient budget to
support all of that.
Under her leadership, we initiated the education project in Hebrew, and
later in Arabic. We guided tens of thousands of teachers on how to work
with (and for) Wikipedia. We created training tools and tutorials, formed
years-long collaborations with dozens of organizations, and hosted the
international hackathon and later the GLAM conference. We represented WMIL
and our movement values in Parliament discussions and in discussion with
archives; and when they failed to cooperate we did not hesitate to “force”
them to give back to the public the photos that belong to them by law. The
list of projects and achievements is too long to summarize in one email.
We are proud to say that WMIL turned not only to a leading and recognized
organization in Israel, but also to one of the important and active
affiliates of the global movement.
Michal’s activity in WMIL was beyond that of an employee, but true
recruitment and belief in Wikimedia’s activity and values. Her
round-the-clock investment and great love to the movement, organization,
its employees and volunteers, serves proof. Many volunteers benefited from
Michal’s attention, advice and support at all times.
The Board, and I personally, would like to thank Michal for this
significant contribution that brought us to our current dignified position,
and we wish her the best of luck in the future. We will remember you as the
first ED who saw the hardship and labor pains of WMIL, and as WMIL’s
“mother” in its professional role. We extend to you our greatest thanks.
While Michal is leaving, I would like to congratulate Revital Poleg,
replacing Michal in her position. Revital is a former diplomat. She was one
of the founders of the Peres Peace Center, she served as Chief of Staff for
the Knesset Speaker; VP Business Development of a lobbying company;
External Relations and Resource Development Director for the Ruppin
Academic Center; and in her last position – Chief Executive and Head of the
Jewish Agency Mission to Brazil.
Revital brings extensive experience in large organizations, both local and
international, and a vast network of contacts in the private and public
sectors. She speaks Hebrew, English, Portuguese and Spanish.
We wish her good luck in her position, in filling Michal’s big shoes, and
we are positive she continues to advance WMIL forward.