[Wikimedia-l] Wikimedia Foundation's search for a new ED kicks off

Jay Walsh jwalsh at wikimedia.org
Tue May 21 22:39:11 UTC 2013

Dear all,

This afternoon Kat Walsh, Chair of the Board of Trustees for the
Wikimedia Foundation announced the kick-off of the search for the next
ED of the Wikimedia Foundation:

Please take a moment to read through Kat's note, and please support
this process by sharing the news of the ED search throughout your
networks (be they digital or analog :). We are hoping to get
significant, international coverage of this opportunity, something
that will help us reach a wide range of amazing candidates.

We'll also be sharing the opportunity via twitter/identi.ca
(@wikipedia and @wikimedia) and on Facebook and LinkedIn.

Thanks for your help,

Jay Walsh

Kicking off the search for our next Executive Director

Posted by Kat Walsh on May 21, 2013

Today we launch our search for the next Executive Director of the
Wikimedia Foundation.

About six weeks ago, the Wikimedia Foundation’s Executive Director Sue
Gardner told us she will be stepping down from her role. Happily, she
is staying on until we find her successor, and we are now launching
that search.

It will be a challenge to find someone who is able to fill Sue’s
shoes, but I am glad to say that the Board of Trustees, Sue and the
senior staff of the Wikimedia Foundation are aligned in our quest for
a successor who will build on Sue’s considerable accomplishments, and
steer the Wikimedia Foundation toward even greater success in the

The Wikimedia Foundation is the internationally-active San
Francisco-based non-profit organization that operates Wikipedia, the
free encyclopedia. It supports a global community of tens of thousands
of volunteers in collecting, developing, and making the sum of all the
world’s knowledge freely available. Over half a billion people use
Wikipedia and its sister projects every month. We are the fifth most
popular website in the world, and the only donor-supported site in the
top 100. We’re widely recognized as the most influential and important
organization in the free knowledge movement.

Our Executive Director reports to the Board of Trustees and acts in
partnership with the global volunteer community, providing the
leadership and setting the strategy for the Wikimedia Foundation,
while managing its day-to-day operations and activities. The Executive
Director is responsible for modernizing the user experience and
nurturing, growing and diversifying the community of people who write
our projects. He or she also ensures our grantmaking supports
innovation across the Wikimedia movement and enables contributor
growth in underrepresented demographics and geographies.

Our Executive Director needs to understand and advance the Wikimedia
movement’s core values. They need to have proven management skills in
technology and product development in order to effectively lead a
high-traffic website, and have experience designing and implementing
planning processes with a high built-in assumption of fast and
iterative change. He or she will need to have exceptional
communication skills, and possess both a drive to achieve
transformative results and a deep respect for collaborative processes.
The Executive Director’s ability to effect change in partnership with
Wikimedia’s community will be decisive not just to their success, but
to Wikimedia’s lasting impact.

It’s impossible to know where our next Executive Director will come
from: there is no career path that makes running the Wikimedia
Foundation somebody’s obvious next step. The right person might or
might not currently work at a big web site. They might or might not be
in the non-profit sector. They could have a background in education,
or product development, or media, or community development, or
something entirely different. They may live in the United States, or
outside it. In this search, we want to cast a wide net for candidates,
so that we can find the person with the rare mix of skills,
experiences and values needed for this important role.

If you’re reading this post you know how much the work of the
Wikimedia Foundation matters. I’m asking you for your help in
spreading the news of this unique opportunity. Please share this post
widely in your networks.

For more information, to suggest potential candidates or to put
yourself forward, please write to info at moppenheim.com.

Some details on the recruitment:

We have retained the search firm m/Oppenheim Associates to assist in
finding and screening candidates. We’ve worked successfully with
m/Oppenheim in the past to fill senior roles at the Foundation. They
know us well, and we trust they’ll do a great job with this hire.
The full position description is available on the Wikimedia Foundation
site,  hosted at jobs.wikimedia.org.
The hiring process will unfold over the next three to six months; we
hope to have a new Executive Director in place by October. That said,
we’re going to take the time we need to find the best possible
candidate. We are glad to restate that our current Executive Director,
Sue Gardner, will stay with us throughout the recruitment process
until we have a new Executive Director in place.
Following initial screening of the candidates a short-list of
applicants will be interviewed by Board members and members of the
senior staff, and we will encourage them to get involved with the
Wikimedia community (if they aren’t already) to learn more about our
movement. (We would also encourage anyone interested in the role to
take a look at our guiding principles, or to pick up one of the books
documenting and describing the Wikimedia movement.)
We’ve set up some pages on meta wiki, the central collaboration wiki,
where Wikimedia community members can find more information and also
get involved in a public discussion about the role and the recruitment

Thanks in advance for helping spread the word about this rare and
important opportunity.

Kat Walsh
Chair, Board of Trustees, Wikimedia Foundation

Jay Walsh
Senior Director, Communications
+1 (415) 839 6885 x 6609, @jansonw

Jay Walsh
Senior Director, Communications
+1 (415) 839 6885 x 6609, @jansonw

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