This is great! Welcome Kui and Heather Congrats! I am excited about the
direction the team is taking and look forward to working with you both!


Michelle Fitzhugh-Craig
Wordsmith | Communications
Wikimedia Foundation
1 Montgomery St., Suite #1600
San Francisco, CA 94104
* <>*

On Fri, Jan 5, 2018 at 12:58 PM, Katherine Maher <>

> 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
> competencies.
> 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!
> Cheers,
> Katherine
> --
> 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 <(415)%20839-6885>
> +1 (415) 712 4873 <(415)%20712-4873>
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