Dear Wikimedians, Among the WMF’s top priorities for 2015 is strengthening our engagement with Wikimedia editors and volunteers. Today we are taking the first step by bringing together the people who know our communities best and asking them to break barriers and improve engagement. Everyone at the WMF who carries responsibilities directly related to the communities will join a new Community Engagement department.
I have asked Luis Villa to lead the Community Engagement organization as the Senior Director of Community Engagement, reporting to me. Promoting from within the WMF for this critical role will allow us to leverage the knowledge and experience with our communities and reinforce the strengths of our people. Luis’s experience with communities is lengthy and deep. He has been involved in open communities since the late 1990s, from communities as small as the Lego Mindstorms hackers to those as large as Mozilla. He worked in open communities as a lawyer, a programmer, a bugmaster, an engineering lead, a community leader, and a board member. Luis has performed exceptionally within the Foundation and supported some of our most fruitful community engagements. The Grantmaking, L&E, Education, Community Advocacy and Community Liaisons teams will join the new Community Engagement department  under his leadership. Unfortunately, Anasuya Sengupta -- our beloved leader of grantmaking -- will be leaving us due to personal health concerns at the end of March. We will invite you soon to celebrate her time with us, her work at the WMF and the deep insight she brought to the Foundation. We are saddened to see her go. The team she has nurtured will provide an important foundation for our upcoming work. Siko Bouterse will move up to lead the day-to-day work of the Grantmaking team as Director of Community Resources, supervising all department Grant programs and the Global South strategy. Siko has been instrumental in innovating programs at the WMF, including initiatives like the Teahouse and the IdeaLab combining vision with strong support for volunteer community, tough decision making, and great project management skills. These changes are an opportunity to improve the coordination of our work supporting the communities. To accelerate this, I have asked Luis to lead an internal “tiger” team to better understand the needs, concerns and priorities of our volunteers, and to develop recommendations for future programs. This work will be shared with all of you as it becomes available. Please join me in congratulating Luis and Siko and in supporting our teams. The Wikimedia communities are what makes the projects strong, unique, and irreplaceable. This is the next step forward in our support to them, and in service of our mission. ~~~~Lila  As Director of Community Resources, Siko will oversee the IdeaLab, Annual Plan Grants, Project and Event Grants, and Travel and Participation Support. Her team will include Katy Love, Winifred Olliff, Alex Wang, Janice Tud, Jonathan Morgan, and Asaf Bartov. Asaf will also take on a new title as Senior Program Officer, Emerging Wikimedia Communities.  Rachel DiCerbo, Philippe Beaudette, Siko, and Anasuya’s other direct reports, and their respective teams (CL, CA, and Grantmaking/GLEE) will report to Luis. The Engineering Community team will be part of the tiger team but will continue to report to Engineering.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Teahouse  https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Grants:IdeaLab
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