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, 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 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, where I attended public school. I love talking about, reading about and sometimes doing weightlifting. I’m hapa, and I met the Chinese part of my family as an adult. I think privacy and freedom are 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 Foundation. 

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@wikimedia.org


On Mon, Jun 13, 2022 at 10:09 AM Maryana Iskander <miskander@wikimedia.org> wrote:

Hi all,

When I started in January, I  shared with you that one of my top priorities 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 Technology Officer. 

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 many months. 

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@wikimedia.org


Maryana Iskander

Wikimedia Foundation CEO 



Wikimedia Foundation welcomes Selena Deckelmann as Chief Product and Technology Officer

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 1, 2022.

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 Security Engineering. 

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 our mission.