I'm pleased to announce we've hired a Chief Communications Officer for the
Wikimedia Foundation, replacing Jay Walsh who left us in October. Our new
head of communications will be Katherine Maher, and she will join us on 14
April, reporting to me.
Katherine comes to the WMF from Washington DC, where she was Advocacy
Director for the global digital rights organization Access. At Access, she
was responsible for all media and communications work, including
communications between the organization and its 350,000 members. She also
handled coalition work and advocacy efforts and urgent global threats to
digital rights, participated in the organization's strategic planning, and
was deeply involved with the production of RightsCon.
Before Access, Katherine worked on the launch of the Open Development
Technology Alliance at the World Bank, and was a program manager for
internet freedom projects at the National Democratic Institute. Earlier,
she worked on the UniWiki initiative for the UNICEF Innovation team,
intended to improve MediaWiki's usability for people who were new to
computer use, using early-model technology, or connecting in low-bandwidth
environments. Through her career she's been a frequent media spokesperson
and writer of op-eds and other media materials.
Katherine has lived and worked in nine countries and visited many more. She
is a native speaker of English, and has a basic knowledge of French, Arabic
The purpose of the CCO role is to ensure fast, easy information flow about
Wikimedia in multiple languages, both internally within the movement and
outside of it, and I think Katherine will be a wonderful fit for that work.
Her experiences advocating for the rights of ordinary internet users and
communicating with a large global volunteer community are both rare and
directly relevant. She's got a solid understanding of internet
technologies. She's a crisp, clear communicator, and an experienced
I want to thank the people who helped with the interviewing process: Geoff
Brigham, Jove Oliver, Gayle Karen Young, David Gerard, Erik Moeller, Lisa
Gruwell, Frank Schulenburg, and Jimmy Wales. A special thanks to Geoff,
who's ably overseen our communications functions for the past several
years, and to Jay, who's generously filled in when it took us longer than
we expected to hire for this role. Geoff and Jay will be helping Katherine
get on-boarded, and I know she'll benefit enormously from their guidance
Please join me in welcoming Katherine, who's on CC.