Board recruiting has been demanding. We launched our first truly global
search. It was far more work than we expected. But I am glad to say that we
have significantly expanded our talent network and are engaged in
conversation with four, uniquely talented finalists.
We have missed some deadlines given our focus on movement strategy and the
“all fronts” nature of the search for talent at the executive and board
Now, I am able to present you with the new timeline and process, as we
decide among final candidates. We hope they will be able to join the Board
for our November meeting (the original plan was to have them join the Board
for Wikimania 2017).
Below is the last published timeline with comments and explanations at each
1) Application and referral submission period (January 23 - August)
We asked applicants to apply online:
accepted applications and referrals by email at
The overview: We decided to start from our own networks and expand outward.
We reached far and wide, proactively, looking in Africa, Latin America,
Asia. In the course of our work, Katherine met a non-profit executive
recruiter. She volunteered to look for us. She delivered many very strong
and exciting candidates from multiple continents, one finalist. Slowly, our
networks then also produced three, very strong finalists as well.
Initially we planned for this stage to be over by March 6 , but the
timeline was ambitious It took us longer to find the right fit. We decided
the right fit is worth the wait. So we extended the deadline to May 6 .
It took us longer. The process required more networking.
At the end of May, Katherine was introduced to a non-profit recruiter. They
volunteered to look for us and they sourced a pool of very promising
additional candidates - 23 people with very diverse backgrounds - for the
BGC to evaluate on June 3.
We accepted referrals until August 10. For the record: we should always be
constantly looking for potential candidates, so it would not take so much
time for us in the future.
2) Application and referral review, proactive candidate recruitment, and
interviews (January - ongoing)
2a) Initial application review and screenings (January - August)
This stage was entirely conducted by Wikimedia Foundation staff. By
mid-April Katherine Maher and Anna Stillwell had spoken to 21 people,
either potential candidates themselves or people who could recommend
candidates. We also considered some of our former Trustees. They did not
have capacity, and required travel time seemed to be an issue.
We identified 4 candidates for the Growing a Global Movement and 4
candidates for Engaging New Communities, and 2 candidates for Social Sector
One of the tangible results for this stage was structuring an emerging
talent network and gathering a pool of potential candidates, that we can
reach out to in future searches.
2b) Board Governance Committee
(BGC) discussions with candidates
The BGC (as a whole group) did not meet with the candidates. Instead,
people spoke one on one.
2c) BGC meets and makes short list (May - June)
We all agreed to reach out to candidates consecutively.We did not want to
reach out to all of the potential candidates at once, because we do not
want to incentivize unhealthy competition. If we are talking to someone, we
are interested. We are not interested in playing people against each other.
The BGC prioritized the list, Katherine reached out to them in that order
to understand if they are interested, and take it from there. If they are
not interested in working with us, or they do not fit, we shall move to the
next candidate in the relevant pool.
It turned out to require a lot more time than we planned for this stage: we
had to wait some time before we could assess genuine commitment and
interest in the position, so we could schedule further calls. And moving to
the next candidate seemed justified only after enough time passed between
our letters of offering this position and the response. This is not
2d) Second-round interviews (May - August)
This stage was not conducted as a group interview. Rather, we organised
one on one meetings for all voting members of the BGC with the finalists.
The meetings with a candidate from Engaging New Communities took place from
the end of May till the beginning of August, given the vacation / travel
times for some of us.
We are still scheduling interviews for our top candidate for Growing a
Global Movement profile.
After the meetings (interviews) with the voting members of the BGC, I wrote
a letter to the Board if there are any “red flags” they find in this
candidacy, and if they do not find any, the BGC recommends running a
2da) Background check conducted by BGC and Wikimedia Foundation staff
2daa) Criminal and financial background check conducted by outside firm
2dab) Thorough review of online and public coverage of candidates
This background check was started in August 2017, after the Board meeting.
The results were ready at the end of September. It is not unusual, this
process takes from 1 to 2 months.
3) Executive Director and BGC meet to determine recommendations and provide
recommendations to the full Board (June)
We did not have a special meeting for that, after the meeting on June 16,
2017  we coordinated our efforts via emails.
4) Board vote to confirm candidate (September)
The draft resolution was posted on Board wiki on Thursday, September 28.
5) Announcement of new candidates (October)
We plan to announce a candidate next week. And we are working on scheduling
meetings for voting members of the BGC for another potential candidate.
I am aware that this letter is a bit long to read. Please ask questions if
something is confusing or not clear.
antanana / Nataliia Tymkiv
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