Re: [Wikimedia-l] Announcement *please read*

2013-03-28 Thread Sydney Poore
Planning this graceful exit as Executivenu Director is exactly the
professional and nurturing way that Sue has provided leadership for the
Wikimedia Foundation. Although I have personal sadness to see Sue move on,
I fully understand why and so very much respect the thoughtful way that she
is implementing the transition.

As a community we have work to do as we look for a Executive Director to
replace Sue. It is on us as a movement to rally together to support the
transition plan.

Sydney

On Wed, Mar 27, 2013 at 6:12 PM, Kat Walsh k...@wikimedia.org wrote:

 I'm not sure it could be any easier to write this message, but I'm not sure
 it could be any harder either.

 It is a great privilege to be able to say, as she is moving on, that this
 is not a sign of any trouble or strain between Sue and the board, or any
 sign of trouble at Wikimedia. It would be hard to be in a better condition
 to have a calm, angst-free transition, which reflects the professionalism,
 leadership, and real concern for the organization that Sue has shown all
 throughout her time in the position; I was incredibly sorry to hear she
 would be moving on from this role even as she goes on to find new ways to
 further the values we both believe in.

 When we hired Sue, we knew it was for a tremendous task, one that we could
 hardly have asked of anyone, especially at the stage in our history while
 we were small and struggling. We had no idea how lucky we were to connect
 with her, someone who had the unusual mix of skills needed to take us from
 where we were as an organization to where we are now, and who had the
 passion for our movement and the values it holds to become its best and
 strongest advocate. Now we are lucky to have her as a full part of the
 transition team, as the one who best knows the specific demands of the
 role, and to continue to lead the organization until her successor is in as
 strong as possible a position going forward.

 As Chair, I recognize that she's been a great leader of the organization,
 and that we have a challenging task ahead in finding a successor--but that
 she will be leaving us in an excellent position for another outstanding
 leader to take up where she left off.

 In a personal capacity, I have truly valued being able to work closely for
 these past years with someone I consider a mentor and a friend, and with
 whom I was able to have a great deal of mutual trust, respect, and candor.
 And so even recognizing this as a decision that was bound to come sometime
 and makes perfect sense, I am sad to know she will be moving on, and to
 have to write this message. Fortunately, this isn't yet goodbye, and given
 that she'll be closely tied to our movement in whatever new role she
 chooses, even that will only be a see you later.

 I look forward to working with her, and with all of you, to search for and
 prepare the next amazing person to lead the organization into the future.

 -Kat

 On Wed, Mar 27, 2013 at 3:04 PM, Sue Gardner sgard...@wikimedia.org
 wrote:

  Hello Wikimedia community members,
 
  This is not an easy e-mail to write, and it’s been a very hard
  decision to make. But I’m writing to tell you that I’m planning to
  leave my position as the Executive Director of the Wikimedia
  Foundation.
 
  My departure isn’t imminent -- the Board and I anticipate it’ll take
  at least six months to recruit my successor, and I’ll be fully engaged
  as Executive Director all through the recruitment process and until we
  have a new person in place. We’re expecting that’ll take about six
  months or so, and so this note is not goodbye -- not yet.
 
  Making the decision to leave hasn’t been easy, but it comes down to two
  things.
 
  First, the movement and the Wikimedia Foundation are in a strong place
  now. When I joined, the Foundation was tiny and not yet able to
  reliably support the projects. Today it's healthy, thriving, and a
  competent partner to the global network of Wikimedia volunteers. If
  that wasn’t the case, I wouldn’t feel okay to leave. In that sense, my
  leaving is a vote of confidence in our Board and executive team and
  staff --- I know they will ably steer the Foundation through the years
  ahead, and I’m confident the Board will appoint a strong successor to
  me.
 
  And I feel that although we’re in good shape, with a promising future,
  the same isn’t true for the internet itself. (This is thing number
  two.) Increasingly, I’m finding myself uncomfortable about how the
  internet’s developing, who’s influencing its development, and who is
  not. Last year we at Wikimedia raised an alarm about SOPA/PIPA, and
  now CISPA is back. Wikipedia has experienced censorship at the hands
  of industry groups and governments, and we’re --increasingly, I
  think-- seeing important decisions made by unaccountable
  non-transparent corporate players, a shift from the open web to mobile
  walled gardens, and a shift from the production-based internet to one
  that’s 

[Wikimedia-l] Announcement *please read*

2013-03-27 Thread Sue Gardner
Hello Wikimedia community members,

This is not an easy e-mail to write, and it’s been a very hard
decision to make. But I’m writing to tell you that I’m planning to
leave my position as the Executive Director of the Wikimedia
Foundation.

My departure isn’t imminent -- the Board and I anticipate it’ll take
at least six months to recruit my successor, and I’ll be fully engaged
as Executive Director all through the recruitment process and until we
have a new person in place. We’re expecting that’ll take about six
months or so, and so this note is not goodbye -- not yet.

Making the decision to leave hasn’t been easy, but it comes down to two things.

First, the movement and the Wikimedia Foundation are in a strong place
now. When I joined, the Foundation was tiny and not yet able to
reliably support the projects. Today it's healthy, thriving, and a
competent partner to the global network of Wikimedia volunteers. If
that wasn’t the case, I wouldn’t feel okay to leave. In that sense, my
leaving is a vote of confidence in our Board and executive team and
staff --- I know they will ably steer the Foundation through the years
ahead, and I’m confident the Board will appoint a strong successor to
me.

And I feel that although we’re in good shape, with a promising future,
the same isn’t true for the internet itself. (This is thing number
two.) Increasingly, I’m finding myself uncomfortable about how the
internet’s developing, who’s influencing its development, and who is
not. Last year we at Wikimedia raised an alarm about SOPA/PIPA, and
now CISPA is back. Wikipedia has experienced censorship at the hands
of industry groups and governments, and we’re --increasingly, I
think-- seeing important decisions made by unaccountable
non-transparent corporate players, a shift from the open web to mobile
walled gardens, and a shift from the production-based internet to one
that’s consumption-based. There are many organizations and individuals
advocating for the public interest online -- what’s good for ordinary
people -- but other interests are more numerous and powerful than they
are. I want that to change. And that’s what I want to do next.

I’ve always aimed to make the biggest contribution I can to the
general public good. Today, this is pulling me towards a new and
different role, one very much aligned with Wikimedia values and
informed by my experiences here, and with the purpose of amplifying
the voices of people advocating for the free and open internet. I
don’t know exactly what this will look like -- I might write a book,
or start a non-profit, or work in partnership with something that
already exists. Either way, I feel strongly that this is what I need
to do.

I feel an increasing sense of urgency around this. That said, I also
feel a strong sense of responsibility (and love!) for the Wikimedia
movement, and so I’ve agreed with the Board that I’ll stay on as
Executive Director until we have my successor in place. That’ll take
some time -- likely, at least six months.

Until then, nothing changes. The Wikimedia Foundation has lots of work
to do, and you can expect me to focus fully on it until we have a new
Executive Director in place.

I have many people to thank, but I’m not going to do it now --
there’ll be time for that later. For now, I’ll just say I love working
with you all, I’m proud of everything the Wikimedia movement is
accomplishing, and I’m looking forward to our next six months
together.

Jan-Bart’s going to write a note in a couple of minutes with
information about the transition process. We’ll be hosting office
hours this weekend as well, so anybody with questions can ask them
here or turn up to talk with us on IRC.

Thanks,
Sue

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Announcement *please read*

2013-03-27 Thread Jan-Bart de Vreede
Dear members of the community.
 
As they say… all good things must come to an end…
 
It’s hard for me and the rest of the Board to imagine the Wikimedia Foundation 
without Sue at the helm, but we’re confident, as is she, that we can make this 
transition positive for everyone. Sue is going to continue to work in what we 
broadly think of as “our space”, and we know she’s going to continue to be our 
friend and supporter. So, this isn’t goodbye.
 
I understand and respect Sue’s reasoning here, and know she’s going to continue 
to do important work. Although I’m tempted to write a big note of praise and 
love, I want to respect her request that we not move into thanking mode just 
yet.  She’s right, we have lots of work to do, and she’s not going anywhere 
right away. There will be lots of time for thanking later.
 
But I do wish to make the general statement that her contribution to the 
movement through the position of Executive director (and very active editor) 
has been and will continue to be incredible. As a board member I will forever 
be grateful that she was willing to bet on a small organization with a lot of 
potential… and then continued on to build on that potential to make it one of 
the most powerful examples in the space of open knowledge and learning.
 
Here’s what will happen next.
 
The Board has appointed a Transition Team which consists of the Chair of the 
Board of Trustees Kat Walsh,  and HR Committee member Alice Wiegand, Sue, Sue’s 
deputy and the Wikimedia Foundation’s Vice-President of Product and Engineering 
Erik Moeller, Geoff Brigham our General Counsel, and Gayle Karen Young, our 
Chief Talent and Culture Officer. I am the final member and am the Chair of the 
Transition Team, and Sue will be facilitating its work on my behalf.
 
(In case you don’t know, non-profit organizations often have outgoing EDs 
support the recruitment of their successors. The Board is of course ultimately 
responsible for appointing the Executive Director, but we want our search to be 
supported by our staff members, including Sue. Sue , Erik, Geoff and Gayle have 
done a lot of hiring for the Wikimedia Foundation over the past number of 
years, and we know they will bring experience and wisdom to the process.)
 
I will also be responsible for making this a transparent (where possible) and 
confidential (where needed) process and will set up the corresponding pages on 
Meta in the coming days (please give me some time to do so :). First step will 
be the office hours with Sue and myself this Saturday.
 
We haven’t yet defined exactly what the process will look like, although we do 
know that we will be engaging a search firm to help us. The Transition Team 
will be meeting informally over the next several weeks, and will have our first 
face-to-face meeting together in mid-April in Milan, as part of the Wikimedia 
Conference. I will give a status report shortly after that.
 
I’d be very happy to answer any questions you’ve got. To that end, Sue and I 
will be having office hours this Saturday, 30 of March, at 11AM PST [6PM UTC]. 
Or, we can talk on this list.

Jan-Bart de Vreede
Vice Chair
Wikimedia Board of Trustees

On Mar 27, 2013, at 11:04 PM, Sue Gardner sgard...@wikimedia.org wrote:

 Hello Wikimedia community members,
 
 This is not an easy e-mail to write, and it’s been a very hard
 decision to make. But I’m writing to tell you that I’m planning to
 leave my position as the Executive Director of the Wikimedia
 Foundation.
 
 My departure isn’t imminent -- the Board and I anticipate it’ll take
 at least six months to recruit my successor, and I’ll be fully engaged
 as Executive Director all through the recruitment process and until we
 have a new person in place. We’re expecting that’ll take about six
 months or so, and so this note is not goodbye -- not yet.
 
 Making the decision to leave hasn’t been easy, but it comes down to two 
 things.
 
 First, the movement and the Wikimedia Foundation are in a strong place
 now. When I joined, the Foundation was tiny and not yet able to
 reliably support the projects. Today it's healthy, thriving, and a
 competent partner to the global network of Wikimedia volunteers. If
 that wasn’t the case, I wouldn’t feel okay to leave. In that sense, my
 leaving is a vote of confidence in our Board and executive team and
 staff --- I know they will ably steer the Foundation through the years
 ahead, and I’m confident the Board will appoint a strong successor to
 me.
 
 And I feel that although we’re in good shape, with a promising future,
 the same isn’t true for the internet itself. (This is thing number
 two.) Increasingly, I’m finding myself uncomfortable about how the
 internet’s developing, who’s influencing its development, and who is
 not. Last year we at Wikimedia raised an alarm about SOPA/PIPA, and
 now CISPA is back. Wikipedia has experienced censorship at the hands
 of industry groups and governments, and we’re --increasingly, I
 think-- seeing 

Re: [Wikimedia-l] Announcement *please read*

2013-03-27 Thread Manuel Schneider
Dear Sue,

thanks for the honest and open mail. This is not a farewell mail either,
we still have much time to share.

But I'd like to reply to this point:

Am 27.03.2013 23:04, schrieb Sue Gardner:
 And that’s what I want to do next.
 
 I’ve always aimed to make the biggest contribution I can to the
 general public good. Today, this is pulling me towards a new and
 different role, one very much aligned with Wikimedia values and
 informed by my experiences here, and with the purpose of amplifying
 the voices of people advocating for the free and open internet. I
 don’t know exactly what this will look like [...]

In the context of the problems you listed in your mail I can only
recommend in trying to get a position at ICANN.

By the way Wikimedia CH and Wikimedia Österreich are members of ICANN
but due to our nature we are only part of the ALAC, so we don't have a
lot of impact. Much in the contrast of having you in a management
position there. That would be really interesting!


/Manuel
-- 
Wikimedia CH - Verein zur Förderung Freien Wissens
Lausanne, +41 (21) 34066-22 - www.wikimedia.ch

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Announcement *please read*

2013-03-27 Thread Kat Walsh
I'm not sure it could be any easier to write this message, but I'm not sure
it could be any harder either.

It is a great privilege to be able to say, as she is moving on, that this
is not a sign of any trouble or strain between Sue and the board, or any
sign of trouble at Wikimedia. It would be hard to be in a better condition
to have a calm, angst-free transition, which reflects the professionalism,
leadership, and real concern for the organization that Sue has shown all
throughout her time in the position; I was incredibly sorry to hear she
would be moving on from this role even as she goes on to find new ways to
further the values we both believe in.

When we hired Sue, we knew it was for a tremendous task, one that we could
hardly have asked of anyone, especially at the stage in our history while
we were small and struggling. We had no idea how lucky we were to connect
with her, someone who had the unusual mix of skills needed to take us from
where we were as an organization to where we are now, and who had the
passion for our movement and the values it holds to become its best and
strongest advocate. Now we are lucky to have her as a full part of the
transition team, as the one who best knows the specific demands of the
role, and to continue to lead the organization until her successor is in as
strong as possible a position going forward.

As Chair, I recognize that she's been a great leader of the organization,
and that we have a challenging task ahead in finding a successor--but that
she will be leaving us in an excellent position for another outstanding
leader to take up where she left off.

In a personal capacity, I have truly valued being able to work closely for
these past years with someone I consider a mentor and a friend, and with
whom I was able to have a great deal of mutual trust, respect, and candor.
And so even recognizing this as a decision that was bound to come sometime
and makes perfect sense, I am sad to know she will be moving on, and to
have to write this message. Fortunately, this isn't yet goodbye, and given
that she'll be closely tied to our movement in whatever new role she
chooses, even that will only be a see you later.

I look forward to working with her, and with all of you, to search for and
prepare the next amazing person to lead the organization into the future.

-Kat

On Wed, Mar 27, 2013 at 3:04 PM, Sue Gardner sgard...@wikimedia.org wrote:

 Hello Wikimedia community members,

 This is not an easy e-mail to write, and it’s been a very hard
 decision to make. But I’m writing to tell you that I’m planning to
 leave my position as the Executive Director of the Wikimedia
 Foundation.

 My departure isn’t imminent -- the Board and I anticipate it’ll take
 at least six months to recruit my successor, and I’ll be fully engaged
 as Executive Director all through the recruitment process and until we
 have a new person in place. We’re expecting that’ll take about six
 months or so, and so this note is not goodbye -- not yet.

 Making the decision to leave hasn’t been easy, but it comes down to two
 things.

 First, the movement and the Wikimedia Foundation are in a strong place
 now. When I joined, the Foundation was tiny and not yet able to
 reliably support the projects. Today it's healthy, thriving, and a
 competent partner to the global network of Wikimedia volunteers. If
 that wasn’t the case, I wouldn’t feel okay to leave. In that sense, my
 leaving is a vote of confidence in our Board and executive team and
 staff --- I know they will ably steer the Foundation through the years
 ahead, and I’m confident the Board will appoint a strong successor to
 me.

 And I feel that although we’re in good shape, with a promising future,
 the same isn’t true for the internet itself. (This is thing number
 two.) Increasingly, I’m finding myself uncomfortable about how the
 internet’s developing, who’s influencing its development, and who is
 not. Last year we at Wikimedia raised an alarm about SOPA/PIPA, and
 now CISPA is back. Wikipedia has experienced censorship at the hands
 of industry groups and governments, and we’re --increasingly, I
 think-- seeing important decisions made by unaccountable
 non-transparent corporate players, a shift from the open web to mobile
 walled gardens, and a shift from the production-based internet to one
 that’s consumption-based. There are many organizations and individuals
 advocating for the public interest online -- what’s good for ordinary
 people -- but other interests are more numerous and powerful than they
 are. I want that to change. And that’s what I want to do next.

 I’ve always aimed to make the biggest contribution I can to the
 general public good. Today, this is pulling me towards a new and
 different role, one very much aligned with Wikimedia values and
 informed by my experiences here, and with the purpose of amplifying
 the voices of people advocating for the free and open internet. I
 don’t know exactly what this will look like 

Re: [Wikimedia-l] Announcement *please read*

2013-03-27 Thread Michael Snow
As others have already said, it will be difficult to see Sue leave the 
organization (but not the movement). I thank her for the years of effort 
that have gone into first stabilizing and then building the Wikimedia 
Foundation. While I don't predict that this transition will be 
completely painless (that's okay, it's a good thing), I'm sure that it 
will be much less painful than it might have been (that's also a good 
thing).


During my time as chair of the Board of Trustees, I had some extended 
conversations with Sue about succession planning, partly because this is 
something the board always has to be thinking about, and partly because 
at that point we would have faced tremendous challenges if Sue were to 
leave and we were forced to find a successor. The issue has remained in 
the back of my mind ever since. As I have watched the organization 
develop, it has been good to observe how she has built the capacities of 
those around her, bringing us to a point where I feel much more 
comfortable that all of the good work can continue on without her 
personal involvement. There's a long list of things Sue has accomplished 
as Executive Director, but making an organization capable of surviving 
her departure is a critical one.


One of the things I believe we all try to do with the work on our 
projects is to leave things - a Wikipedia article, MediaWiki code, the 
culture of our movement, everything - in better shape than we found it. 
Sue has done that on an organizational scale, and impressively so. For 
that, Sue, and all of the other things on which we have worked together, 
thank you.


--Michael Snow

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Announcement *please read*

2013-03-27 Thread Steven Walling
On Wed, Mar 27, 2013 at 3:08 PM, Jan-Bart de Vreede jdevre...@wikimedia.org
 wrote:

 The Board has appointed a Transition Team which consists of the Chair of
 the Board of Trustees Kat Walsh,  and HR Committee member Alice Wiegand,
 Sue, Sue’s deputy and the Wikimedia Foundation’s Vice-President of Product
 and Engineering Erik Moeller, Geoff Brigham our General Counsel, and Gayle
 Karen Young, our Chief Talent and Culture Officer. I am the final member
 and am the Chair of the Transition Team, and Sue will be facilitating its
 work on my behalf.

 (In case you don’t know, non-profit organizations often have outgoing EDs
 support the recruitment of their successors. The Board is of course
 ultimately responsible for appointing the Executive Director, but we want
 our search to be supported by our staff members, including Sue. Sue , Erik,
 Geoff and Gayle have done a lot of hiring for the Wikimedia Foundation over
 the past number of years, and we know they will bring experience and wisdom
 to the process.)

 I will also be responsible for making this a transparent (where possible)
 and confidential (where needed) process and will set up the corresponding
 pages on Meta in the coming days (please give me some time to do so :).
 First step will be the office hours with Sue and myself this Saturday.


Thanks Jan-Bart.

I suggested to Gayle earlier this afternoon that it would be ideal for
staff and community members to have some place where we can write out
recommendations to the transition team about what kind of attributes and
experiences we'd like from a new ED. A simple Request for Comment, where
people can post thoughts, is likely to grow very large, but is one idea. In
any case, the huge advantage of having this public announcement far in
advance is clearly the opportunity for this kind of transparent feedback
for the Board on selecting a new ED, and in that light I just want to say
thanks to the Board and to Sue for doing this the right way.

Steven
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