[Wikimediaindia-l] Welcome to the India Team! : Shiju & Nitika

Hisham Mundol hmundol at wikimedia.org
Fri Jul 29 07:11:38 UTC 2011

Hi Folks,

I'm really pleased to send out this email welcoming the first 2 new members of the India Programs team.  Just before I introduce them, I thought I'd share with you the background of their selection.


As you might be aware, the Foundation had decided to undertake a catalyst operation in India to promote the growth of the community and projects here.  The team is expected to be a small, nimble 5 person group.  We had put out 2 job postings - for Indic Initiatives and for Participation.  (Please refer: http://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikimediaindia-l/2011-May/003007.html)  We posted them on linkedin and on the Indian FOSS community list as well as announcing them on various Facebook pages and Twitter feeds.

The response was wonderful.  >110 applications for Indic Initiatives and nearly 175 applications for Participation.  These were short-listed to 10 (3 for Indic Language and 7 for Participation.)  These were a mix of existing & previous Wikipedians, Wikipedia newbies and open source advocates.

In June, the shortlisted 10 were interviewed and further down-selected to 4.  These 4 were then further interviewed by a group of other staff members from the Foundation.  I am pleased to inform the community of the final selected 2.

Shiju Alex - Indic Initiatives

Most of you already know Shiju. For those who don't, Shiju is a long-time Wikipedian [User: shijualex] and is active on Malayalam Wikipedia, English wikiprojects and Wikimedia Commons, as well as Wikisource and offline.  He has been passionately involved with the establishing and building of Indic language Wikipedias.  He's participated in a series of outreach activities and is also (jointly) undertaking a grant from the Foundation for outreach across India.  He's a regular member of the Bangalore community.  

Shiju is from Palakkad, Kerala and is married with a 2 year old baby.  He currently works as a Senior Technical Writer with ABB in Bangalore.  

Even those of you who know him might not know the following 2 things that I was lucky to discover during the selection process.  Shiju is an MSc in Physics with a specialisation in Astronomy and Astrophysics - and he retains a deep interest in anything astronomical.  Feel free to quiz him vigorously on this!  He also enjoys trekking and misses his time in Pune where he could be up & close the gorgeous Sahyadri Hills.

Shiju is going to lead our work on promoting Indic language projects across India.  The challenges are enormous - from technical constraints to low levels of awareness of these projects to vibrant but nascent communities.  However, these only point to the massive size of the opportunity for Indic language projects - which is the joint top-2 strategic priority of the movement in India.  After he joins, he'll collaboratively put together a plan for Indic language projects and work towards quality execution of high-impact initiatives.

Shiju is currently serving out his notice period so will be able to join us only around September - October.

Nitika Tandon - Participation

Nitika [User:nitika.t] is relatively newer to the community - and has been brushing up her editing.  She's been immersing herself in the Wikimedia world and attended community meet-ups as well as reviews of the Wikipedia India Education Program.  She is from Delhi - and is currently based in Mumbai - where she works as a Strategic Partnerships Manager with Directi. (If you're not aware, they are one of the most prominent internet domain & solutions providers in India.)

Nitika has an MBA and has also worked on research analytics.  A fascinating detail I discovered about a previous assignment of hers - and you must ask her about it - is how African drums can be used for management coaching!  She also reliably informs me that there are 7 Spanish dance forms and she instructs in all of them!  

Nitika is going to be working on Participation - which is primarily focussed on increasing the contributor base of non-Indic language projects, primarily Wikipedia.   One of her first tasks will be to expand the Wikipedia India Education Program from the Pune pilot to a more national footprint.  She'll also work on other initiatives to promote participation - and I can foresee Wikimedia Commons being a potential initiative.

Nitika will join us on August 1st. 


I'm going to be scheduling the August Monthly India Programs IRC on Thursday August 18th to introduce them both to you.  Please do join us.  I'll send a reminder closer to the date.  Also, needless to say, they'll be attending a series of community meet-ups over the next months.

In the meantime, please do join me in welcoming them onboard. I'm really excited because this means that we will now have the capacity and capability to dramatically accelerate our activities in India.

Warmest Regards,

Hisham Mundol

Wikimedia India Programs
skype	: hisham.wikimedia
gtalk		: hmundol at wikimedia.org
twitter	: @mundol

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