[Wikimedia Announcements] [PRESS RELEASE] Wikimedia Foundation announces Board of Trustees appointments and leadership at Wikimania 2017 in Montreal

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[Wikimedia Announcements] [PRESS RELEASE] Wikimedia Foundation announces Board of Trustees appointments and leadership at Wikimania 2017 in Montreal

Samantha Lien
This press release is also available online here: 

Wikimedia Foundation announces Board of Trustees appointments and leadership at Wikimania 2017 in Montreal

Wikimedia Foundation Board appoints Wikimedia community-selected Trustees, and confirms Chair and Vice Chair leadership

(Montreal, Canada) 11 August 2017 — Today the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees confirmed the appointments of three community-selected trustees including the reappointment of María Sefidari and Dariusz Jemielniak, both current Board members, and James Heilman, former Trustee. The Board also reappointed as Chair, Christophe Henner, and Vice Chair, María Sefidari, to lead the Board. The announcement was made at Wikimania 2017 in Montreal, the annual Wikimedia gathering celebrating Wikipedia, its sister projects, and the Wikimedia volunteer community.

The Wikimedia Foundation’s Board of Trustees oversees the Wikimedia Foundation and its work, and serves as the organization’s ultimate corporate authority. The three appointed trustees, all of whom currently serve or have served on the Foundation's Board, were selected by the international community of volunteers who create and develop Wikipedia and its sister projects.

The three open Board seats were filled through an on-wiki election process in which individual Wikimedia volunteers submit their candidacy and the broader Wikimedia volunteer community offers support to their preferred candidates. Wikimedia community members participated in the election process online in May 2017, during which more than 5,100 people voted from more than 170 individual project wikis.

As community-selected Trustees, María Sefidari, Dariusz Jemielniak, and James Heilman will each serve a three year term. As incoming Chair and Vice Chair, Christophe Henner and María Sefidari will serve as officers for one year terms. This will mark the second consecutive term as Chair and Vice Chair for both Henner and Sefidari, respectively.

María Sefidari began contributing to the Wikimedia projects in 2006 and has since served in several roles across the Wikimedia movement. She was a founding member of Wikimedia España and Wikimujeres Grupo de Usuarias, and she also helped create Spanish Wikipedia's LGBT Wikiproject. She has served on several Foundation governance committees, including the Affiliations and Individual Engagement Grants committees. María is a professor in the Digital Communications, Culture and Citizenship Master's degree program of Rey Juan Carlos University at the MediaLab-Prado in Madrid, Spain. She has previously served on the Board from August 2013 to July 2015, and most recently joined the Board once again in January 2016. She has been selected for a second term which will conclude at Wikimania 2020.

Dariusz Jemielniak has held a variety of roles on Wikimedia projects, including administrator, bureaucrat, checkuser, steward and ombudsman. He served as the chair of the Wikimedia community’s Funds Dissemination Committee for three terms and is the author of “Common knowledge?: An Ethnography of Wikipedia.” Dariusz is a full professor of Management, the head of the Center for Research on Organizations and Workplaces, and a co-founder of the New Research on Digital Societies (NeRDS) group at Kozminski University. Dariusz has been re-appointed for a second term as a Trustee after first joining the Board in July 2015.

James Heilman, M.D., has helped to found both Wikimedia Canada and WikiProject Med Foundation. As an emergency physician in Cranbrook, British Columbia, and a faculty member of emergency medicine at the University of British Columbia, James is an active member of the medical community on Wikimedia projects. James has also been involved in establishing collaborations with several organizations, including Translators Without Borders and the World Health Organization, to improve Wikimedia’s coverage of medical content. James previously served on the Board of Trustees from July to December 2015.

Christophe Henner has been a leader within the Wikimedia community for more than 12 years. Prior to joining the Foundation Board in 2016, he served as Board Chair of Wikimedia France, and had been a member of the chapter’s Board since 2007. During this time, he spent nearly three years in Vice Chair and Chair positions. Christophe is currently the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the Blade Group, a cloud computing company headquartered in France. At Blade, Christophe is scaling up operations to support the company's transition from a start-up to a global company.

The Wikimedia Foundation and Board of Trustees are pleased to announce the appointed Trustees, Chair, and Vice Chair, who collectively bring many years of service and commitment to the Wikimedia community and mission.

Other seats on the Board include one seat for Wikipedia’s founder Jimmy Wales, two seats selected by Wikimedia affiliate organizations, and four seats appointed by the Board for specific expertise and other needs.

Terms for the community-selected Trustees start today, August 10th, 2017, and will continue for three years. The newly appointed members join Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, Chair Christophe Henner, and Board members Kelly Battles, Nataliia Tymkiv, and Alice Wiegand.

The Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees

  • Christophe Henner, Board Chair
  • María Sefidari, Vice Chair
  • Jimmy Wales, Wikipedia founder
  • Kelly Battles
  • James Heilman
  • Dariusz Jemielniak
  • Nataliia Tymkiv
  • Alice Wiegand

The Wikimedia Foundation Board was formed in 2003. Today, the Board consists of up to ten Trustees. Its work is captured in part in resolutions and votes. It appoints four officers: a Chairand Vice Chair, and a Treasurer and Secretary. Other work is delegated to its committees, including Board Governance, Audit, and Human Resources committees.

About the Wikimedia Foundation

The Wikimedia Foundation is the non-profit organization that supports and operates Wikipedia and its sister free knowledge projects. Wikipedia is the world’s free knowledge resource, spanning more than 40 million articles across nearly 300 languages. Every month, more than 200,000 people edit Wikipedia and Wikimedia projects, collectively creating and improving knowledge that is accessed by more than 1 billion unique devices every month. This all makes Wikipedia one of the most popular web properties in the world. Based in San Francisco, California, the Wikimedia Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charity that is funded primarily through donations and grants.

About Wikimania

Wikimania is an annual conference centered on the Wikimedia projects (Wikipedia and its sister projects) and the Wikimedia community of volunteers. It features presentations on Wikimedia projects, other wikis, free and open source software, free knowledge and free content, and the social and technical aspects which relate to these topics. Wikimania 2017 marks the 13th year of the conference.

Wikimedia Foundation press contact

Juliet Barbara
[hidden email]

Board profiles

María Sefidari

María Sefidari Huici is a professor in the Digital Communications, Culture and Citizenship Master's degree program of Rey Juan Carlos University at the MediaLab-Prado.

Born in Madrid, Spain, where she still lives today, María graduated with a Psychology degree from Universidad Complutense de Madrid, and later a Master's degree in Management and Tourism at the Business faculty of the same university. She was a 2014 Techweek Women’s Leadership Fellow, which showcases, celebrates, and supports emerging female leaders in business and technology.

María started contributing to the Wikimedia projects in 2006, and has since served in many different roles across the Wikimedia movement. Maria was a founding member of Wikimedia España and Wikimujeres Grupo de Usuarias, and also created Spanish Wikipedia's LGBT Wikiproject. She has served on several Wikimedia governance committees, including the Affiliations and Individual Engagement Grants committees. In her time on the Affiliations Committee, María served as the first Treasurer of the committee, effectively overseeing and monitoring disbursement of the committee's budget. From 2013 to 2015, she was also a member of the Wikimedia Foundation Board.

María re-joined the Wikimedia Foundation Board in 2016 to fill an community-nominated seat vacancy, and was later re-confirmed for a second term in August 2017. Her current term will continue until Wikimania 2020.

In her spare time, María travels around the world, runs wiki-workshops to engage new editors, and supports Real Madrid Club de Fútbol.

Dariusz Jemelniak

Dr. Dariusz Jemielniak is a full professor of management, the head of the Center for Research on Organizations and Workplaces, and a founder of New Research on Digital Societies(NeRDS) group at Kozminski University.

Originally from WarsawPoland, Dariusz studies open collaboration communities, the phenomenon of organized sharing (including piracy), and political memes. He has conducted research projects on related issues at Cornell University, Harvard University, Berkeley, and MIT. In 2014, he published Common knowledge? An Ethnography of Wikipedia at Stanford University Press. He has been the recipient of many academic merit awards, including a 2004 Fulbright Foundation scholarship and the 2009 Polish Ministry of Science outstanding young scholar award.

Dariusz has held a variety of different roles on Wikipedia, including administrator, bureaucrat, checkuser, steward, and ombudsman. He served as the chair of Wikimedia’s Funds Dissemination Committee for three terms.

Dariusz has served as chairperson of the "Inkubator" network for rising literary talent in Poland, chairperson of the Collegium Invisibile academic society, and as a member of the the advisory boards of the Copernicus Science Center and the English Teaching program of the Nida Foundation. He is also the founder of Ling.pl, the largest Polish online dictionary.

James Heilman

Dr. James Heilman is an emergency physician in Cranbrook, British Columbia, and on the faculty of emergency medicine at the University of British Columbia.

James was born and raised in rural Saskatchewan, Canada. He completed his medical degree in 2003 in Saskatchewan, followed by his residency in British Columbia. James began editing Wikipedia in 2008, after he came across an article needing improvement in the middle of the night. Realizing that he could fix the Internet, he quickly became hooked, and later went on to help found both Wikimedia Canada and Wiki Project Med Foundation.

He has been involved in establishing collaborations to improve Wikipedia’s medical content, with organizations such as Translators Without Borders, the Cochrane Collaboration, the National Institutes of Health, the World Health Organization, and the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) School of Medicine. He is a frequent speaker at medical schools and conferences to encourage his colleagues to engage with Wikipedia.

James has a background in both distance running and adventure racing, having completed Morocco’s Marathon Des Sables and the Adventure Racing World Championships.

Christophe Henner

Christophe Henner is the former Board Chair of Wikimedia France and current Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the Blade Group, a cloud computing company headquartered in France. At Blade, Christophe is scaling up operations to support the company's transition from a start-up to a global company.

Originally from Lavaur, Christophe studied economics and law at the University of Toulouse. He has deep and varied experience across the marketing sector, holding a variety of leadership positions including Head of Marketing at the online media group, L'Odyssée Interactive, Chief Marketing Officer at an international digital media group, Webedia, and later deputy Chief Executive Officer of Webedia's gaming division.

Christophe has been an active member of the Wikimedia community for more than 12 years. In 2007, he joined the Board of Wikimedia France and has remained an active Board member in various positions for the past ten years. Nearly three of those years on the Board were spent in leadership roles, including Chair and Vice Chair of the Board.

During his time on the Board, Christophe helped lead Wikimedia France through a significant period of growth. This included leading the development of the chapter’s brand and supporting the development of a clear organizational strategy and vision for the chapter.

Samantha Lien
Communications Manager 
Wikimedia Foundation 
149 New Montgomery Street 
San Francisco, CA 94105

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