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, the Board elects officers which have one of four roles:

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

Current members

Kat Walsh

Kat Walsh
Kat Walsh
Member until July 2013
Current position Chair

Kat Walsh is an attorney and Wikimedian in the Washington, DC area, with a focus on free content licensing, software freedom, access to knowledge, and freedom of speech. She is currently part of the legal team at Creative Commons, and was previously a technology policy analyst at the American Library Association. She is an alumna of George Mason University School of Law and of Stetson University, and is currently a member of the Virginia State Bar and the US Patent Bar. She is currently Legal Counsel for Creative Commons.

Walsh has presented at numerous conferences on topics including privacy, copyright, volunteerism, and online collaboration, including all but the first Wikimania, Computers, Freedom, and Privacy, the Library of Congress, a few universities and government agencies, and the Creative Commons summit. She is also an accomplished bassoonist and violist, performing regularly in orchestras and chamber ensembles.

Walsh first became involved with the Wikimedia Foundation by volunteering on the email response team, where she helped resolve some of the legal issues the Foundation faced. Her efforts here sparked her interest in copyright and internet policy and led to her interest in internet law.

Walsh was appointed to a partial term on the Board of Trustees in December of 2006 when the board expanded to 7 members. She was then chosen as a community-elected Trustee in June 2007, re-elected in August 2009, and most recently in 2011. She currently serves on the HR committee, and was the Executive Secretary from 2008-2009. In 2012, Walsh was elected Chair of the Board.

While on the board, Walsh has focused her attention on strengthening the Licensing Policy and the updated Terms of Use. She was also instrumental in guiding Wikimedia Foundatin messaging during the SOPA/PIPA discussions and she co-authored an important Op-Ed with Jimmy Wales in the Washington Post.

Walsh edits primarily on English Wikipedia, where she has over 11,100 edits and where she is a sysop. She has created 74 articles. Her curent term on the board will continue until 2013.

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).

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.

Bishakha Datta

Bishakha Datta
Bishakha Datta
Member until December 2012
Current position Secretary

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.

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.

Ting Chen

Ting Chen
Ting Chen
Member until July 2013
Current position Member

Ting Chen was born in Shanghai, China in 1968. He grew up in Harbin, 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. He can speak Chinese, German, English, French (un peu), and he reads Japanese.

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 2003 news article about a German Wikipedia milestone. From then on Wikipedia became a new hobby. He started on the German Wikipedia and changed soon to Chinese Wikipedia, which was at that time still a young project.

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. After Wikimania 2007, he and his peers decided to put a Chinese community member up for election to one of the vacant community selected board seats.

Chen was elected as Trustee by the Wikimedia Community on June 26th, 2008, with his term officially starting in July 2008. He was re-elected in 2009 and again in 2011, and he was named as Chair of the Wikimedia Board in July 2010. He has served on the Audit Committee since 2010, as well as Board Governance Committee, both as part of his ex oficio duties.

While on the Board, Chen has focused his time on the growth of the Wikimedia movement. He is proud that the Wikimedia Foundation and chapters have become so successful in fundraising and that the Foundation has succeeded in meeting its obligations under several financial audits. He also considers the 2012 new Recognizing Models of Affiliation resolution to be an important step in embracing the growth and diversity of the Wikimedia movement. Finally, he advocates for openness throughout the community and he is pleased the Board adopted its 2011 Openness Resolution.

Chen believes his multicultural and multinational life experience give him a unique perspective within the Wikimedia community. He travels extensively to visit local and regional Wikimedia communities, where he hopes he makes them feel important to the movement and well-represented on the Board.

Chen has user accounts on numerous Wikipedias, including Chinese (95000 edits), German (2600 edits), English (330 edits), French (130 edits) and Dutch (110 edits). He is a bureaucrat on, and serves as an ambassador for, Chinese Wikipedia, and he also contributes to Wikimedia Commons and Meta-Wiki. His first edit was on German Wikipedia on January 21, 2003. Chen’s current term on the Board will continue until 2013.

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.

Matt Halprin

Matt Halprin
Matt Halprin
Member until December 2012
Current position Member

Matt Halprin is a native of Menlo Park, California in the United States. He has lived in Evanston, Illinois, Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Tokyo, Japan. He is married and the father of four children. Halprin graduated with High Distinction as a Baker Scholar from Harvard Business School and holds a BS in mechanical engineering from Stanford University. He has more than 25 years of business experience and has served on an array of boards of directors, both non-profit and for-profit. In addition to WMF, he currently serves on the board of Management Leadership for Tomorrow (which supports the next generation of minority leaders in the United States) and on the Advisory Board of Stanford's Institute for Research in the Social Sciences (iRiSS).

Professionally, Halprin was a Partner and Vice President at the Boston Consulting Group, where he worked with technology clients on issues of strategy and corporate development. Subsequently, he spent six years as Vice President, Global Trust and Safety at eBay, where he led a team of 90 statisticians, policy managers, and product managers. Halprin was also 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. After, Omidyar Network, Halprin returned to an operating role leading Strategy, Corporate Development and Analytics at Ning, which was sold to Glam Media in late 2011. Currently, Matt leads Business Operations and Analytics at Yelp (NYSE).

Halprin was appointed to the Wikimedia Board in August 2009 and has been re-appointed twice to additional terms.

Halprin has worked on the board to promote effective Board Governance and has served of Chair of the Board Governance Committee for more than two years. In this capacity, Matt helped introduce a Trustee peer evaluation process, effective Board Committee processes and transparency in board voting. In addition, Matt attempted to champion a more independent board and greater user choice via an opt in image filter to help parents and educators.

His current term continues until December 2012.

Alice Wiegand

Alice Wiegand
Alice Wiegand
Member until July 2014
Current position Member

Alice Wiegand lives in Duesseldorf, Germany, where she is a personal aide to the Mayor of Meerbusch. Previously she ran Meerbusch’s IT department as a specialist for system administration in the public sector.

Wiegand has made various detours before she reached her current occupation. Originally she studied economics for a few semesters before she decided to become a tailor. After that she jumped at the chance to be trained in software development, followed by training and study for the German senior civil service.She has recently begun her extra-occupational Master’s studies in Public Policy and Governance.

Wiegand started editing German Wikipedia in 2004, following one of the first major series of media reportage about the site. She was looking for something meaningful to do besides her job and started to work on topics like contemporary art and comics. Soon her activities switched to administration, organization and contributor support. In recent years, she has organized several workshops and skills trainings for contributors, the volunteer response team OTRS and for Wikipedia administrators.

She has extensive experience as a board member of Wikimedia Deutschland (WMDE, the German chapter of the Wikimedia movement), which she joined in 2008. At WMDE, she served as secretary and vice president, and she was involved in strategy development, organizational structuring and executive accounting and assessment.

Wiegand is convinced that offering free knowledge to people is an essential condition to facilitate free and independent decisions. She believes in the strength and advantages of decentralized structures and wants to improve the mutual understanding of all parties involved in Wikimedia. In times where the movement faces fundamental changes in resource allocation, new models of affiliation and the interaction of the chapters she sees the need to provide some reliability and stability.

Wiegand served as administrator and bureaucrat on German Wikipedia. Her edit count is 22860, but the curve shape has rapidly decreased since 2008, when she joined the board of Wikimedia Deutschland.

She joined the Wikimedia Foundation Board as a Chapters' selected Trustee in 2012. Her current term will continue until July 2014.


Patricio Lorente

Patricio Lorente
Patricio Lorente
Member until July 2014
Current position Member

Patricio Lorente was born in 1969 in La Plata, Argentina. He studied at La Plata National University, where he currently works as General Prosecretary.

For several years he worked in the field of Development Cooperation, managing the implementation, monitoring and evaluation of local development projects funded by the Italian government and the European Union. At the core of these experiences, he worked to strengthen local capacity as a condition for development, transcending the traditional approach of North-South cooperation, promoting South-South, as well as decentralized cooperation by building horizontal networks of exchange between different cities and regions of Argentina.

Since 2004, he has served in the National University of La Plata, first as Prosecretary of Administration and subsequently as General Prosecretary. In his current position, he manages the strategic planning and the everyday issues and conflicts of a large and restless community, including both academics and student organizations. The National University of La Plata is a public university in Argentina and the second largest in the country, both in size (with 100,000 students and 15,000 teachers) and measured by scientific production. As with all other public universities in Argentina, there is no tuition and enrollment is free.

He joined the Spanish Wikipedia as editor in 2005 and he has been an admin (sysop+bureaucrat) since 2006. He is also a founding member of Wikimedia Argentina and was its President from 2007 to 2012. As such he was responsible for the organization of Wikimanía 2009 in Buenos Aires and has participated as an organizer or speaker in numerous conferences, seminars and workshops on Wikipedia/Wikimedia in Argentina and other Latin American countries (Colombia, Ecuador, México, Perú). He was one of the primary organizers of the 1st Ibero-American Wikimedia Summit, held in Buenos Aires in 2011, which helped bring together representatives from both established Wikimedia chapters and informal working groups throughout Latin America, Spain, Portugal and Italy.

Lorente has devoted efforts to outreach activities in education, with particular interest in off-wiki activities. He is the author of a booklet published by Wikimedia Argentina called "Wikipedia in the classroom" and, representing Wikimedia Argentina, he was a member of the Advisory Board of Conectar Igualdad, a government program that is delivering more than three million netbooks to all public high school students in Argentina. As a result, many wiki-related activities were launched and the National Ministry of Education opened a special site with tutorials, documents and guides about Wikipedia and education. There is also a special pilot program in more than 200 schools across the country, “Escuelas de Innovación” (Innovative Schools), that is directly training teachers on possible uses of Wikimedia projects for their classes, not only in terms of creating content but also regarding notions of relevance, content verification and discussions on neutrality issues.

He joined the Wikimedia Foundation Board as a Chapters selected Trustee in 2012. His current term will continue until July 2014.

Former members

Main article: Former Board of Trustees members

Further reading