Hi everyone,

Just over a month ago, we let you know that we had the reached the final
stages of our search for a new Chief of Community Engagement.[1] Today, I
am thrilled to let you know that we have appointed Valerie D’Costa to the
role. Born and raised a citizen of Singapore, Valerie speaks fluent Malay
and Indonesian, in addition to English. She will join the Foundation
starting January 22, 2019, working remotely from Washington, DC.

Valerie joins us after a decade at the World Bank Group, where she was
charged with leading international initiatives to support communities of
entrepreneurs in emerging markets around the world. Most recently, she led
the Bank’s Women’s Economic Empowerment Program, where she helped female
entrepreneurs and women-led businesses in developing countries grow and
gain access to new market opportunities. Previously, she was the program
director of infoDev, a Bank program that supported innovation hubs and
technology incubators for entrepreneurs in developing countries. Prior to
the World Bank, Valerie spent 15 years working with the government of
Singapore on issues of international information and communications
technology (ICT) policy and trade.

Valerie has worked her whole career in the intersection between technology
and improving people's lives around the world. She brings a deep
understanding of the importance of local ownership, collaboration and
communication, and program sustainability. She emphasizes the importance of
collaboration with local communities in designing programs and approaches,
believing that local voices represent the best understanding of their own

We were looking for someone with a global perspective, international
experience, fluency in technology, and a deep empathy for community. We
wanted a diplomat: Valerie has struck the fine balance between being an
advocate for the people and communicating their needs to governments and
partners. We hoped for an ambassador: Valerie brings with her years of
experience in creating meaningful conversations with communities around the
world on behalf of those who have been traditionally excluded from
development planning. We found a dedicated leader who is keen to work in
service to our community and who understands the uniquely global,
multicultural nature of collaboration in our movement. Valerie knows that
we can not attempt achieve our 2030 strategic direction unless we bring
everyone along, and so she will be charged with building on our approach to
community engagement, and ensuring that we meet our aspirations for our
community growth, health, diversity, values, and program outcomes.

This means that Maggie Dennis, our current Chief of Community Engagement,
will now transition to her role as Vice President of Support & Services,
having set a (reluctant) personal best and Foundation record as the
longest-serving CCE! I truly love working with Maggie and am so glad she is
staying close by in such a critical position. After nearly three years (!)
of collaboration and cooperation, I’d like to once again express my deep
appreciation for Maggie’s understanding, friendship, support and dedication
as she patiently curated this essential role in our movement.

I am truly excited as we embark on this new journey. We are deeply
fortunate to now have two community leaders who are purpose-driven and
inspirational on a number of levels. Please join me in congratulating both
of these phenomenal women!


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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