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Hi everyone,

I’ve started my ninth official month as CEO of the Wikimedia Foundation.
Based on feedback from this list and elsewhere, I am trying to proactively
communicate every few months on my priorities and what I continue to learn.

I regularly return to the five ‘puzzles’
I identified in my original letter to you. For me, these continue to pose
big questions about our role in the world and our ways of working with each
other. I’ve mentioned that one highlight of the year so far has been
bringing colleagues together – volunteers, editors, affiliates, Foundation
staff, board members – to reconnect at a human level. Many of you have
shared with me the need for more spaces that can help us build (and
rebuild) relationships and trust.

As more communities return to in-person events, I have benefitted from
spending time with volunteers at WikiCon Brasil and at the Wikimania meetup
hosted in Cape Town. I look forward to participating in-person and
virtually at many more regional gatherings in the months ahead.

I am writing today to provide you with an update on the three priorities I
identified in January.

Priority 1: Strategy and Planning

My first priority remains focused on strategy and planning. In June, we
shared the successful adoption of the Wikimedia Foundation’s Annual Plan
It is now anchored in the strategic direction of our movement – knowledge
equity and knowledge as a service – and it identifies the Foundation’s
strengthened focus on regions and on projects. This plan benefited from the
contributions and feedback of hundreds of volunteers who provided input
on-wiki and through other multilingual channels of communication. We’ll
share updates on progress before the end of the calendar year on the Annual
Plan meta page and in other forums. Our intention is to continue asking for
guidance and input from volunteers, affiliates, and communities.

I mentioned in my April message that the Wikimedia Foundation has grown
very rapidly over the past 3 years as part of its medium term plan – increasing
its budget by more than 30% in the past year with the addition of more than
200 new people since 2020. This growth will not continue as we stabilize
and make sure that new resources are delivering maximum impact for our
mission. The Foundation’s approved budget represents a 17% increase, most
of this is inflationary and other year-on-year costs. Funding to other
movement entities (individual and affiliate) grew by 24% percent.

While the annual plan is an important start, it does not address all of the
significant strategic issues facing Wikimedia – none of which can be solved
in a single year. Within the framework of our movement strategy and
emerging charter, I plan to continue partnering with Foundation
stakeholders and communities in co-planning approaches to tackle strategic
issues that an annual plan cannot fully address. The Board of Trustees will
help kick this off with strategic planning engagements at the board’s
upcoming meeting in Berlin. This will be followed by important
conversations about strategy implementation at the Wikimedia Summit
<> (returning for the
first time since 2019).

Priority 2: Leadership

I highlighted in January that CEO transitions are disruptive for most
organisations and change often continues after a new leader has arrived. I
have been trying to build a broader leadership team at the Wikimedia
Foundation as I focus on successfully onboarding new hires, investing more
in internal talent management, undertaking succession planning for key
roles, and providing stronger communications support for the Foundation’s
senior team.


My top priority when I joined was to actively step in and support the
Foundation’s product and technology teams while we recruited executive
leadership of these mission critical functions with a new Chief Product and
Technology Officer. This goal has been achieved
as Selena Deckelmann is now officially on board at the Wikimedia Foundation
after a successful nine-year career at Mozilla, most recently as the head
of Firefox. She is reaching out to learn from our technical contributors
and volunteers, and can be contacted directly at


Having assessed the Wikimedia Foundation’s leadership structure, I have
decided not to create or resurrect any additional C-level roles at this
time. Instead, we will add more organization-wide responsibilities to
existing leadership roles in order to increase accountability, improve
coordination, and reduce silos. I am pleased to share that Lisa Gruwell ( will assume additional responsibilities as a Deputy
to the CEO while also remaining the Chief Advancement Officer. I believe
this will provide the Foundation with further leadership stability as well
as provide important institutional memory given Lisa’s 12+ years of
Wikimedia experience.

In that time, Lisa has delivered an unparalleled track record of results
throughout every chapter of the Foundation’s history since its inception.
She has supported communities around the globe and engaged allies in
embracing the vision of Wikimedia. Lisa is always looking to the future and
asking how we can deepen the impact of our work. She often channels the
voices of our contributors, readers and donors – I have seen firsthand how
deeply Lisa cares about this mission and the people who make it possible
from those at the Foundation, in our movement, and around the world.


Working closely with General Counsel Amanda Keton, we recently
appointed Stephen
LaPorte ( as Deputy General Counsel. This is a key
role that the Foundation’s legal team has had for several years. In
addition to leading the Legal Affairs and Public Policy teams for the last
decade, Stephen has built a track record of effective partnership with
communities to support our technical aspirations, while seeing around the
corners of the policy landscape to protect and expand free knowledge. We
will all benefit from Stephen’s experience and wisdom in this role.


The Foundation’s communications department is led by Vice President Anusha
Alikhan ( to support strategic efforts for external,
movement, and Foundation audiences. Anusha joined Wikimedia in 2019 from
the Knight Foundation and has prior experience as a freelance journalist,
editor and lawyer. Her leadership of the communications team recognizes
Anusha’s capabilities as a consummate communications professional, her
embodiment of Wikimedia’s values, and her unwavering commitment to equity
and inclusion.

Finance & Administration

Jaime Villagomez ( remains our Chief Financial
Officer, very capably overseeing the Foundation’s finance and
administration teams to steward our finances, strengthen the operational
infrastructure of our movement, and enable the Foundation to better meet
its strategic objectives.

Talent & Culture

Alongside an experienced team of leaders, I am temporarily heading up our
Talent & Culture department in order to learn more about what is needed at
this time – I plan to make further leadership decisions by the end of the

Chief of Staff

Finally, I have redefined the Chief of Staff role to support the broader
organization and movement, not only the CEO. Communicating regularly and
effectively, not just to relay information but to create shared
understanding across diverse stakeholders, is one of the most important
capabilities we need at the Foundation, and this role is intended to help
us all. Nadee Gunasena ( recently became Chief of
Staff after four years of executive communications support at the Wikimedia
Foundation. Many of you may already know Nadee as someone who stands ready
to help affiliates and community members with communications and other

Priority 3: Values and Culture

Strategy, planning and leadership are necessary ingredients for success. My
experience has taught me that values and culture often matter more. I have
been on a journey seeking to understand how the Wikimedia Foundation’s
organizational values
<> are lived in
practice. And how values can clarify what others should expect of us. This
feels like an important question now, especially given how much has changed
at the Foundation since these were first penned in 2016. We are beginning
those conversations between now and December following input from employee
groups, our Board of Trustees, as well as data from a recent all-staff
survey. I am always interested to hear from others who also think about
values and how they shape organizational culture and performance.

I haven’t stopped asking for time to keep learning from all of you - thank
you to those who have reached out for more conversations and to share
perspectives. I can always be reached directly at


Maryana Iskander

Wikimedia Foundation CEO
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