I’m so excited to join you all, and I am grateful to Maryana and the many
people I’ve met on my journey to today’s announcement. Thank you for this
opportunity to introduce myself!
My grandfather was a TV repairman and I grew up watching him tinker and fix
things, but college was when I decided to explore electronics and
computers. I started college thinking that I would play jazz violin and
maybe get a chemistry degree! A year later, I’d learned about the Internet
which resulted in skipping classes to install Linux from floppy disks, and
landing a job at a help desk.
My first programming language was TI-Basic
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TI-BASIC>, and my second was C++. I spent
many years with Perl (I’ve had dreams in Perl!), SQL
and later Python, and I’ve dabbled with wikis, including Federated Wiki and
MediaWiki. I admire Ursula Franklin
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ursula_Franklin> and love her book The Real
World of Technology.
As I explored computers back in college, I felt compelled to share. The
experience didn’t feel complete if I was alone. I vividly remember the
people I connected with – who mentored me, who I wrote software with and
who just listened. My love for the internet, its freedoms and
connectedness, came from discovering a world of knowledge freely shared
beyond anything I had imagined before.
During my interviews with Wikimedia, I felt that strong connection again. I
heard each person share their reasons for joining this movement and their
hopes for its future – often in the form of very challenging questions!
In the last few years, I’ve worked on problems at the intersection of
Mozilla’s mission to help create an internet for the benefit of
individuals, and its business. Very recently, this work resulted in
shipping Total Cookie Protection, making several major changes to the UX of
Firefox and launching a small advertising business called Firefox Suggest,
designed with lean data practices from the start. I loved doing this work
because of the difficulty of it, how intensely those involved had to work
to understand one another and the communities they served, and that my
pragmatic optimism had a part to play in getting things shipped.
I also reflected on this moment in my own life: I grew up in Montana
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Montana>, where I attended public school. I
love talking about, reading about
and sometimes doing weightlifting. I’m hapa
<https://www.janm.org/exhibits/hapa-me>, and I met the Chinese part of my
family as an adult. I think privacy and freedom
intimately connected, and that exercising freedoms is a good way to keep
them. I’m married to a high school teacher, and I have two kids who love to
crash video meetings, including my interviews with the Wikimedia
All of that, together, is why I’m joining the Foundation. Wikipedia is the
promise of collaboration on the internet and the movement for free
knowledge made good on, in practice not in theory. I believe that Wikimedia
projects have successfully demonstrated a model that produces trustworthy
knowledge, and have created a home on the internet that the world
profoundly trusts. I want to help make and ship things to advance free
knowledge using the skills I have, while also continuing to learn from this
ever expanding community of people all around the world.
I plan to follow Maryana’s lead, and will start by meeting many people to
really understand what we collectively need to create a global, equitable
and inclusive future for free knowledge.
Although I will join officially in August, I would love to hear from
anyone interested in sharing directly with me at sdeckelmann(a)wikimedia.org.
On Mon, Jun 13, 2022 at 10:09 AM Maryana Iskander <miskander(a)wikimedia.org>
When I started in January, I shared with you that one of my top
coming to the Wikimedia Foundation was to actively step in and support the
Foundation’s product and technology teams while we recruited executive
leadership of these mission critical functions with a new Chief Product and
I am delighted to introduce you to Selena Deckelmann, who will be joining
the Wikimedia Foundation on August 1. She is based in Portland, Oregon in
the United States.
Selena is currently the Senior Vice President at Mozilla, where she has
been for the last nine years. She leads the Firefox organization of more
than 400 people responsible for all Firefox product and technology
functions including desktop, mobile, web platform, and browser services.
I have gotten to know Selena over several months and also learned from
people who have worked with her over many years. She is known for
successfully driving change by getting stakeholders aligned around what’s
needed, and being seen as a trusted partner. Selena has built strong
credibility over many years with colleagues and also with a broader
developer community. She is described as a leader who can make the tough
decisions, develop skills, grow diverse contributors, and inspire teams.
She also has a great laugh and looks for joy in her work!
As context for the recruitment process: given the critical need to get
this right, we used two firms with global search expertise who
specialized in product/technology executive leadership roles. This meant
double the work, but allowed us to more quickly build a large, globally
diverse pool of over 500 candidates. Once we identified a smaller number of
finalists, they participated in real-life case studies of some of our
current challenges and met with Wikimedia stakeholders over the course of
As you all know, we have a highly unique and sometimes difficult
environment with a multifaceted mission, complex structure, and often
competing stakeholders. This is going to be a challenge for anyone,
especially given the steep learning curve at Wikimedia (which I can confirm
from my own experience!). I hope you will sign up to help me successfully
onboard Selena as she gets started!
Selena will share her own message with you shortly, and she can be reached
directly at sdeckelmann(a)wikimedia.org.
Wikimedia Foundation CEO
Wikimedia Foundation welcomes Selena Deckelmann as Chief Product and
13 June 2022, San Francisco — The Wikimedia Foundation today announced
the appointment of Selena Deckelmann as Chief Product and Technology
Officer. Selena is currently serving as Senior Vice President of Mozilla,
where she was responsible for Firefox. She will officially join on August
Selena will lead the product and technology teams at the Wikimedia
Foundation. These teams support the technology infrastructure and
innovation that powers Wikimedia projects, including Wikipedia, one of the
most visited websites in the world with more than 16 billion pageviews per
month. They also enable more than 300,000 global volunteers to edit
Wikimedia projects each month.
“Selena has a proven track record of delivering results by enabling
individuals and teams to tackle unique and often complex challenges,” said
Maryana Iskander, CEO of the Wikimedia Foundation. “She has dedicated her
career to open source technologies for empowerment and inclusion.”
At Mozilla, where she has been for nearly a decade, Selena currently leads
the Firefox organization of more than 400 people responsible for all
Firefox product and technology functions including desktop, mobile, web
platform, and browser services. She oversaw some of the company’s most
significant achievements including performance projects like Quantum Flow,
architectural changes like Project Fission, key features like Enhanced
Tracking Protection and Total Cookie Protection, and services such as
Firefox Monitor. In her nine years at Mozilla, Selena held various other
roles including Vice President for Firefox Desktop, Senior Director for Web
Platform Engineering and Gecko Runtime, and Senior Manager for Gecko
Selena also brings experience from her previous roles as co-founder of
Prime Radiant, a software as a service business that explored how to
improve business processes at scale with checklist automation software, and
as Consulting Director of Development for The Ada Initiative, an
organization that was dedicated to increasing the participation of women in
open source and technology communities. She was a major contributor to
PostgreSQL, one of the largest free and open source databases in the world.
“Open collaboration produces better solutions for the world, and
technology is a critical enabler of making this true,” said Selena. “I look
forward to contributing to Wikimedia’s inspiring free knowledge mission.”
As Chief Product and Technology Officer, Selena will work with Wikimedia
Foundation staff, technical contributors, volunteer developers,
researchers, and communities to support Wikimedia’s 2030 Movement Strategy
to advance free and open access to knowledge. The majority of the
Foundation is focused on product and technology development in service of