***Resending this note because the earlier version seemed to have
really broken formatting. Hope this is better.***
I’m delighted to tell you that the Wikimedia Foundation has a new
Chief Talent and Culture Officer, Gayle Karen Young.
Recapping: the purpose of the CTCO role is to have a person on staff
dedicated to continually strengthening and improving all our practices
related to people --such as recruitment, on-boarding, skills
development, organizational design, goal-setting, compensation and
performance assessment-- with the overall goal of ensuring that the
Wikimedia Foundation’s work culture is healthy and high-performance.
I created the role because I believe that for organizations to be
effective, it's critical that they have good talent and culture
practices. Most non-profits skimp on funding HR because they want to
be cautious with donors’ money, and they think investing in people is
a bit of a luxury. I disagree. At the Wikimedia Foundation, half our
spending is on salaries -- in other words, on people. So it seems to
me that recruiting great people and creating the conditions in which
they can flourish, is an excellent investment. That’s why the
Wikimedia Foundation has a CTCO.
Back to Gayle. A few months ago, Cyn Skyberg told Wikimedia she’d be
leaving us. I then hired Lisa Grossman of m|Oppenheim to find us a
successor for Cyn. Lisa spoke with hundreds of candidates, and brought
six to be interviewed by me, Erik and Garfield Byrd. Our finalist
candidates then spoke with Cyn, Barry, Geoff and Zack, and worked on
projects for us which involved interviewing Aaron Schulz, Alolita
Sharma, Asher Feldman, Brandon Harris, CT Woo, Dana Isokawa, Howie
Fung, Jay Walsh, Kul Wadhwa, Leslie Harms, Melanie Brown, Rob
Lanphier, Steven Walling and Tomasz Finc. They were also interviewed
by Jan-Bart de Vreede, the vice-chair of the Board and the chair of
the Board’s HR committee.
It was an extensive search! And I am really happy about the outcome.
Gayle Karen Young is a seasoned HR consultant and organizational
psychologist with expertise in leadership development, change
management, facilitation, group dynamics, and Agile team effectiveness
training. She has worked with a wide variety of non-profit and
for-profit organizations across industries including tech,
hospitality, restaurants, airlines, healthcare, and education. She is
the board president of Spark, a non-profit organization that engages
young people in global women’s human rights issues. Gayle is also a
facilitator for the Stanford Graduate School of Business for their
Interpersonal Dynamics course and their Women in Management program.
She mentors for the Thiel Foundation’s 20 Under 20 Fellowship program,
and generally supports futurist causes because she likes audacious
ideas and grand challenges. She has designed and facilitated
conferences for the Singularity Summit, BIL (TED’s un-conference
sibling), and the Seasteading Institute. She has a BA in psychology
from the University of San Francisco, and an MA in organizational
psychology from Alliant International University.
I think Gayle will be a really great culture fit for the Wikimedia
movement. She's an iconoclastic geek who goes to ComicCon, but unlike
most geeks she is warm and people-centred: when she was a kid, she
wanted to grow up to be Deanna Troi from Star Trek. She’s insatiably
curious and reads widely. She was born in the Philippines and travels
annually with Spark, most recently to China and Cambodia. You can read
more about Gayle here on her userpage on the English Wikipedia:
, and you can see some of
the work she’s done for us here:
I want to thank everyone who was involved in this long and elaborate
hiring process, and I want to especially thank Cyn. As the Wikimedia
Foundation's first CTCO Cyn had the unenviable task of breaking lots
of new ground – she leaves us in much better shape than she found us,
and I’m grateful to her for everything she's done for us.
Gayle will start work January 3. She’s a foundation-l subscriber, so I
believe she will see any replies to this e-mail. I'm on holiday for
the next three days, so if there are any replies to this note that
need a response from me, you'll hear from me Friday.
415 839 6885 office
415 816 9967 cell
Imagine a world in which every single human being can freely share in
the sum of all knowledge. Help us make it a reality!