[Foundation-l] Announcement: New Chief Program Officer: Jennifer Riggs
wikipedia at verizon.net
Wed Apr 15 03:56:43 UTC 2009
Sue Gardner wrote:
> I am delighted to announce that this week, Jennifer Riggs begins work
> as the Wikimedia Foundation's first-ever Chief Program Officer.
I am really happy to endorse the decision to hire Jennifer as Chief
Program Officer for the Wikimedia Foundation. Sue asked me to sit on the
hiring board for the position, along with fellow board member Kat Walsh,
because of the impact this role can have on our future development. It
was a good opportunity for the board to participate, even though hiring
staff is Sue's area of responsibility, and I think Jennifer is an
excellent choice for CPO.
To add to what Sue said in her note - this was a long process and a
difficult decision. Each of the candidates we met with had impressive
accomplishments and appealing ideas for what to do with the role. We had
both the luxury and the challenge of developing that role from scratch,
because this is a new position for the Wikimedia Foundation. That
enabled us to do some really good thinking about the skills and
experience the organization needs the most at this point in its
development. And ultimately, Kat, Sue, Erik and I agreed: what the
organization really needs now is experience supporting volunteers.
That's because at heart, Wikimedia is a volunteer-centric organization.
Volunteers like you and me are the people who create the value in our
projects, by collaborating to create free informational resources for
everyone around the world. As volunteers, we have done an amazing job of
self-organizing, but historically this has happened largely on its own
without much active, sustained support from the Wikimedia Foundation.
The foundation has been in "keeping the lights on" mode, focused on
paying the bills, acting as a host, and doing a little bit of software
I would like to change that. I want to see Wikimedia create programs
that recruit new volunteers, as well as support, motivate, and retain
current volunteers. This is the important work being done by people like
Frank Schulenburg, Head of Public Outreach. And it's why we need to add
someone like Jennifer to the team.
As an example of what I mean - in February, Sue and the team kicked off
the Chapters Funding Request Process
allows chapters to request funding for mission-related activities.
Chapters are invited to ask for money to commission MediaWiki
development work, to print up outreach brochures or posters, or to
support content liberation activities. (These are just examples, it
could be basically any activity that supports our shared mission, or
lays the groundwork to better fulfill it in the future.) In future
months, Sue intends to expand that project to invite funding requests
from individual volunteers as well as the chapters.
That's important work, and I want to see more of it, as I'm sure we all
do. Right now it happens sometimes, but only haphazardly. It needs to be
better organized and supported, and Jennifer will help us do that.
So please join me, along with the board and staff of the Wikimedia
Foundation, in welcoming Jennifer to Wikimedia. With her help, the
Wikimedia Foundation will be better able to support all of us in the
mission we share.
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