Board of Trustees

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The Wikimedia Board of Trustees manages the foundation and supervises the disposition and solicitation of donations. The Board is the ultimate corporate authority for the Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. (cf. article IV, sec. 1 of the Wikimedia Foundation bylaws) and currently consists of ten Trustees.

History

Main article: History of the Board of Trustees

The Board of Trustees began sometime in 2003 with three members. Over time, it expanded in size to its current ten members. Much of the body's history can be found in Board resolutions and votes.

Roles and structure

As defined in the bylaws, Board officers have one of four roles:

As announced in 2008, the Board now consists of ten Trustees:

Current members

Ting Chen

Ting Chen
Ting Chen
Member until July 2013
Current position Chair

Ting Chen was named as Chair of the Wikimedia Board in July 2010 after being elected as Trustee by the Wikimedia Community in June 2008 with his term officially starting in July 2008.

Ting Chen was born in Shanghai, China in 1968. He grew up in Harbin, China, in the northeast corner of the country, where he attended elementary school and middle school. In 1989 he went to Braunschweig, Germany and began his study of Electrical engineering. He was especially interested in semiconductors and their physics. He graduated in 1993 with a diploma and now he works as an IT specialist in Mainz, Germany.

His first experience with a virtual community was during his university time in the German Fido-Net, where he moderated a forum about science and knowledge for many years. He learned of Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects through a news article about the German Wikipedia achieving a milestone in 2003. From then on Wikipedia became a new hobby of his. He started on the German Wikipedia and changed soon to the young Chinese Wikipedia, which was at that time still starting. Ting Chen attended the first Wikimania (Wikimania 2005) in Frankfurt, where he took part on a panel discussion and introduced the Chinese community. He also helped organize the third Wikimania (Wikimania 2007) in Taipei.

Jimmy Wales

Jimmy Wales
Jimmy Wales
Member until December 2013
Current position Member

Jimmy Wales is an Internet entrepreneur and wiki enthusiast, and founder of the Wikipedia project.

Jimmy was born in Huntsville, Alabama in 1966, and is a graduate of Auburn University and the University of Alabama. He worked as Research Director at Chicago Options Associates, a futures and options trading firm then located in Chicago. In the mid-1990s he started Bomis, a search portal focusing on aspects of pop culture, one of the first users of the freely licensed data of the Open Directory Project.

In 1999, Jimmy had the concept of a freely distributable encyclopedia and founded Nupedia, by hiring philosopher Larry Sanger as editor-in-chief and assigning two programmers to write software for it. Nupedia failed, perhaps due to being a top-down cathedral model, as opposed to Wikipedia, which is the ultimate bazaar. After two years of working with the Nupedia concept, that team opened Wikipedia to help channel content into Nupedia; Wikipedia became an instant success, but not in the envisioned way, and Nupedia was shut down. In 2003, Jimmy set up the Wikimedia Foundation, a non-profit organization, to support Wikipedia and its sister projects.

In 2004, Jimmy founded Wikia. He was appointed a fellow of Harvard Law School's Berkman Center for Internet and Society in mid-2005, and in October of 2005 joined the Board of Directors of Socialtext, a provider of wiki technology to businesses. He lives in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Stu West

Stu West
Stu West
Member until December 2013
Current position Treasurer

Stu West joined the Wikimedia Board and has served as its Treasurer in April 2008; he also served as Vice-Chair from July 2010 to August 2011. He brings over 18 years of financial experience, including senior executive roles at publicly-traded companies including TiVo, Yahoo!, InfoSpace, and in investment banking at J.P. Morgan. He also worked with the United States Mission to the United Nations. Stu's educational background includes a B.A. in History from Yale University, where he focused on 20th century diplomacy. He is a dual citizen of the United States and the United Kingdom, and lives in the San Francisco bay area.

Samuel Klein

Samuel Klein
Samuel Klein
Member until July 2013
Current position Member

Samuel Klein (born in 1978 in New York) was elected to the Wikimedia Board in August 2009. He currently lives in Cambridge, where he leads local content creation and develops global advocacy for One Laptop per Child, a non-profit educational organization dedicated to providing access to knowledge and communication networks to children everywhere. He has worked with children and teachers in Peru, Uruguay, and Nepal to organize content and software jams and to teach others what they learn.

Samuel has been involved in Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects for 6 years. He has spent much of that time writing and speaking about the Projects. In 2005 he published a Wikimedia newsletter in 6 languages, and served as a cross-project translation lead. He also served on the Communications and Special Projects Committees in their first year. He founded the Boston-area Wikipedia group, and organized the bid and local team that hosted the Wikimania conference there in 2006. He works on offline Wikipedia distribution, including the WikiBrowse project.

Samuel studied Math and Physics at Harvard University, and is an Associate of Harvard's Berkman Center for the Internet and Society. He spent time teaching and developing software for facilitating translation and community-building before working on universal education.

More information about Samuel is available on his Wikipedia user page.

Jan-Bart de Vreede

Jan-Bart de Vreede
Jan-Bart de Vreede
Member until December 2013
Current position Vice Chair

Jan-Bart de Vreede joined the board in December 2006 and currently serves as Vice-chair of Wikimedia Foundation since August 2011, a position he also held from January 2007 until July 2010.

Working at the Kennisnet Foundation allowed Jan-Bart to spend time promoting the use of wiki software and Wikimedia projects in education, amongst other things. The Kennisnet Foundation is a publicly funded Dutch organisation. At Kennisnet Jan-Bart is responsible for the Kennisnet communities. He has been involved with Wikimedia since 2004, through his role as a Board member and his work at Kennisnet. He has attended and spoken at all of Wikimania conferences.

He is currently involved with the Wikiwijs project within the Netherlands. This is a countrywide initiative aimed at encouraging teachers to develop and share Open Educational Resources.

Jan-Bart de Vreede spent most of his childhood in the Netherlands, also living in Sri Lanka, the Maldives, Kenya and the United States. He studied Business Administration at the Rotterdam School of Management. He has three children: Anna (1), Matthias (6) and Ruben (9).

Kat Walsh

Kat Walsh
Kat Walsh
Member until July 2013
Current position Member

Kat Walsh is a Wikimedian from Herndon, Virginia, just outside Washington, DC. An attorney and legal researcher, she is licensed to practice before the US Patent and Trademark Office, and has a focus on copyrights, patents, and technology policy. Her particular interests are free content licenses, software freedom, access to knowledge, and freedom of speech.

Kat has been a volunteer since 2004, and member of the Wikimedia Board of Trustees since 2006. She has been a speaker and workshop presenter at numerous conferences on topics including Wikimedia, privacy, copyright, volunteerism, and online collaboration. She is also a classical bassoonist and violist, performing regularly in orchestras and chamber ensembles around the Washington, DC area. Kat has a JD from George Mason University and a BA from Stetson University.

Arne Klempert

Arne Klempert
Arne Klempert
Member until July 2012
Current position Member

Arne Klempert was born in 1972 and studied social sciences at the University of Frankfurt in Germany. He has 15 years of professional experience in traditional and digital communications. He's now working as Director Digital for Fleishman-Hillard Germany.

Arne joined Wikipedia in 2003 as an editing community member. A few months later he became press contact of the German Wikipedia (2004-2008). Arne was co-founder and Vice President of Wikimedia Deutschland (2004-2006), co-organizer of the first Wikimania (2005), and the first employee of a Wikimedia chapter - as Wikimedia Deutschland's Executive Director from 2006 to 2008.

Matt Halprin

Matt Halprin
Matt Halprin
Member until December 2012
Current position Member

Matt Halprin was appointed to the Wikimedia Board in August 2009. Matt has more than 20 years of business experience. Currently, Matt is Executive Vice President, Strategy and Corporate Development at Ning, the world's largest platform for creating custom social networks. Previous to Ning, Matt was Partner at Omidyar Network, the founder of eBay's philanthropic investment firm. There he led the firm's investments in technology platform organizations in Social Media, Marketplaces, and Government Transparency. Prior to Omidyar Network, Matt spent six years at eBay. As Vice President, Global Trust and Safety at eBay, he led a team of 90 statisticians, policy managers, and product managers. Prior to eBay, Matt served as a Partner and Vice President at the Boston Consulting Group, where he worked with technology clients on issues of strategy and corporate development.

In addition to the Wikimedia Foundation, Matt serves on the board of Management Leadership for Tomorrow, which supports the next generation of minority leaders in the United States. He has previously served on the boards of the Sunlight Foundation, DonorsChoose.org and Goodmail Systems. He graduated with High Distinction as a Baker Scholar from Harvard Business School and holds a BS in mechanical engineering from Stanford University.

Bishakha Datta

Bishakha Datta
Bishakha Datta
Member until December 2012
Current position Member

Bishakha Datta joined the Wikimedia Board in March 2010. Currently the leader of India-based non-profit Point of View, she brings two decades of diverse, international experience as a non-profit practitioner, journalist and filmmaker dedicated to disseminating women's perspectives through media, art and culture. She has worked with organizations from around the world including Kenya, Uganda, the United States, Denmark and the United Kingdom. Bishakha received an MA in Communications from Stanford University, as well as an MA in English Literature and BA in Economics from Mumbai University. She lives and works in Mumbai.

Phoebe Ayers

Phoebe Ayers
Phoebe Ayers
Member until July 2012
Current position Executive Secretary

Phoebe Ayers joined the board in July 2010 and has served as Executive Secretary since August 2011. She is a reference, instruction and collections librarian at the University of California, Davis, specializing in computer science and engineering information resources. Her interests include open access and access to scientific knowledge, the effective use of collaborative tools (such as wikis) within communities, and how trustworthy information and knowledge is created and used both on- and off-line. She has a BA in English literature and history and a MLIS from the University of Washington, Seattle.

Phoebe has been a Wikimedian since 2003, when she made her first edits on the English Wikipedia. Starting in 2006 she has been heavily involved in the planning of the annual international Wikimania conference, assisting with organization and facilitating the jury that chooses the conference location. She was also a member of the Special Projects Committee in 2006, has been a contributing writer for the English Wikipedia newsletter "The Signpost", has organized local meetups and events, and has given many talks about Wikipedia for library groups and others. She has also been involved in the wiki research community, chairing WikiSym 2010.

In 2008, she co-authored a book about the English-language Wikipedia titled "How Wikipedia Works: and How You Can be a Part of It" (No Starch Press). The book covers using, understanding, and contributing to Wikipedia; it is freely licensed and is only the second book in English to be published about the site.

Former members

Main article: Former Board of Trustees members

Further reading