Hi everyone,

I am excited to share with you all the results of our search for permanent
leadership of the Wikimedia Foundation's Communications department.

Our own Heather Walls will transition from interim Chief of Communications
to leading the department full-time, in the newly created role of Chief
Creative Officer. She will be joined by a new Vice President of
Communications, Kui Kinyanjui, who will join us from her home in Nairobi,
Kenya in early March. Please join me in congratulating Heather and
welcoming Kui!

*The new roles*

As Chief Creative Officer, Heather will remain at the Leadership team, with
responsibility for the Communications department operations, and a mandate
that focuses on helping people better understand our values and mission
through our brand. She will oversee the organization and movement’s voice,
tone, and visual assets, and how they are incorporated into everything from
our recent awareness videos to our press statements. What do we sound and
look like? How do you feel when you interact with us, as an editor, a
reader, a donor? How do we spread and share our values? She will be
responsible for new and creative initiatives that seek to expand the way
people think about Wikipedia and Wikimedia, not only as an encyclopedia but
an essential part of the way we understand the world.

As Vice President of Communications, Kui will report directly to Heather
and oversee our traditional and digital communications efforts. She will be
responsible for our overall media positioning and coverage, critical issue
management (also known as crisis communications), extending our digital
media strategy, products, and presence, and supporting organizational
leadership, such as myself, the Leadership team, and the Board, with
effective and clear public communications. Kui also brings new and valuable
skills that we’re sure to appreciate: first, a background in internal
communications, which should help with improved information flows in our
ever-more distributed organization, as well as a deep background in
communications, campaigns, and marketing for emerging markets -- sure to be
a critical skill for our efforts around improving awareness about Wikimedia
in places where we want to reach more people.

*About Heather Walls*

Since joining the Foundation in 2011, Heather has been a driving force in
our creative and brand efforts at the Foundation. Under her stewardship,
the Foundation has dramatically reduced barriers to community usage of the
trademarks under our care while also helping increase consistency in their
usage. A member of the team before Communications was its own department,
Heather was one of the first people I met and worked with when I joined as
Chief Communications Officer. She graciously stepped in as leader of the
department when I transitioned to Executive Director and has since grown
into the role while making it her own. During that time, she has helped
find the organization's place in the growing social media channels,
modernized the Foundation’s brand, bringing it into greater alignment with
our movement's values and workflows, and overseen pioneering
community-supported awareness campaigns.

Prior to joining the Foundation, Heather worked in design roles at
organizations across California, Massachusetts, and the Midwest. She
developed a special collections room and exhibit for California Academy of
Sciences, and her work has been included in Architectural Record and
exhibited at Harvard as well as Detroit and New York.

*About Kui Kinyanjui*

Kui will join the Foundation in March after concluding her current position
as Head of Corporate Communications for Safaricom Limited in Kenya.
Safaricom is one of the leading mobile network operators in Africa, and one
of Kenya’s leading companies, providing mobile and banking services to more
than 28 million Kenyans. She brings deep communications skills, an
incredible wealth of knowledge around emerging markets, and a passion for
our efforts to reach beyond English-speaking audiences in our organization
and movement communications.

Kui is from Nairobi, Kenya. Her background is as a journalist and has
worked for Business Daily and other platforms within Nation Media Group
(the largest independent media organization in Eastern and Central Africa),
PC World, EA Magazine, Executive Magazine in Kenya, and 360 Magazine in
Washington, DC. She has also worked in communications for IBM, Ogilvy PR
Worldwide, and Media Moguls. Kui will be relocating from Nairobi to the San
Francisco Bay Area in the summer of 2018.

*How this came about*

This outcome may come as a surprise after we began an external search for a
Chief Marketing and Communications Officer (CMCO), but like many surprises,
this outcome feels entirely obvious in retrospect. Heather and Kui have
essential skills and experiences that are highly complementary and will
serve to elevate and push the work of both the Communications department
and the Foundation overall. We will retain an accomplished and intuitive
advocate for our mission, community, and identity in Heather while
welcoming Kui’s fresh perspective and powerful communications skill set.

The evolution of my thinking, and this decision, was not hasty. Over the
process of looking for a CMCO, we conducted a long and thorough search with
an external firm Chaloner Associates. We reviewed applications from more
than 1200 applicants, from all sorts of backgrounds and experiences, and
brought three people through to the final rounds. While all of this was
going on, the Communications department was also undergoing a deep
consultation on its immediate and future needs, led by Heather, and with
the support of an external expert, Sabrina Hersi Issa.

Over six months of the search and consultation, a few things became clear.
The first was that Heather was doing a great job as interim chief. The
department was producing excellent results, and the team was small but
strong, united under Heather’s leadership. Her contributions to movement
strategy and the Leadership team were pragmatic and valuable. She has an
astute but understated understanding of how Wikimedia should speak, sound,
and appear to many different audiences. Her knowledge of the community was
borne out of hard-won experience over many years, with the ability to push
when we need pushing, while never losing sight of who we are.

The second was that we absolutely needed and wanted new skills and
experiences in service of our mission. We needed someone with deep
experience in traditional communications areas, from public relations to
internal communications. We wanted someone with experience in traditional
marketing and product marketing. The Communications team members who worked
in these areas were looking for someone to learn from, a strong manager and
mentor with a breadth and depth of experience. We were also committed to
finding someone who had worked serving audiences we still struggle to
reach. We wanted someone who would bring a fresh voice, an understanding of
emerging markets, and practical experience outside our current

Kui and Heather together bring the best of both worlds. Creative and
communications, deep experience, fresh perspective, and a strong sense of
our mission and community. Together, they will work in the year to come to
develop a plan for staffing our growing marketing efforts.

*Next steps*

We will be sharing this information publicly on the blog closer to Kui's
start in March, but I wanted to share this news with you all as soon as
possible. I want to offer my appreciation to hiring committee for their
dedication through the process, and insights that led to this surprising
and exciting outcome. Thank you Anna Stillwell, Joady Lohr, Zack McCune,
Juliet Barbara, and Mel Kramer, Amy Segelin of Chaloner Associates, the
travel team for getting Kui to San Francisco, and of course, Liz Verlade
for ensuring it all come together.

Again, please join me in congratulating Heather and welcoming Kui!


Katherine Maher

Executive Director
Wikimedia Foundation

1 Montgomery Street, Suite 1600
San Francisco, CA 94104

+1 (415) 839-6885 ext. 6635 <(415)%20839-6885>
+1 (415) 712 4873 <(415)%20712-4873>

Katherine Maher

Executive Director
Wikimedia Foundation

1 Montgomery Street, Suite 1600
San Francisco, CA 94104

+1 (415) 839-6885 ext. 6635
+1 (415) 712 4873
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