Board of Trustees
The Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees oversees the foundation and its work, as its ultimate corporate authority.
The Board was formed in 2003 with three Trustees, and now consists of up to ten Trustees. Its work is captured in part in resolutions and votes. It appoints four officers: a Chair and Vice Chair (who have to be Trustees), and a Treasurer and Secretary (who do not). Other work is delegated to its committees, including Board Governance, Audit, and Human Resources committees.
Since 2008, the Board has seats for ten Trustees:
- one founder's seat (reserved for Jimmy Wales);
- two seats selected by the Wikimedia chapters;
- three seats elected directly by the Wikimedia community; and
- four seats appointed by the rest of the Board for specific expertise
Contacting the Board
A Board portal and noticeboard on Meta offer recent updates and a place to share requests and recommendations. To contact the Foundation, see our contact information. To contact the Board directly, post to the noticeboard, or write to WMFboardwikimedia.org.
Jan-Bart de Vreede
Jan-Bart de Vreede
|Member until||December 2015|
Jan-Bart de Vreede is from Gouda in the Netherlands. de Vreede spent most of his childhood in the Netherlands, but he also lived 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 (5), Matthias (10) and Ruben (13).
For the past 10 years, he has worked at the Kennisnet Foundation in the Netherlands, a publicly-funded Dutch organization tasked with the promotion of IT use in education to help solve some of the major challenges in the field. At Kennisnet, de Vreede is responsible for the Kennisnet communities and Wikiwijs. Most of his time at Kennisnet is spent on the Wikiwijs project within the Netherlands. This is a countrywide initiative aimed at encouraging teachers to develop and share Open Educational Resources by offering them a platform to find, create and share OER materials.
He has been involved with Wikimedia since 2004, through his role as a Board member and his work at Kennisnet, and he has long been involved with the community aspects of the various projects. He has attended every Wikimania (an experience he describes as both exhausting and invigorating). After attending his first Wikimania, he was quickly convinced that this was a special group of people who were doing something extraordinary. When the chance came to be a part of the movement, he jumped at it.
In December 2006, de Vreede joined the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees. He has served as Vice-chair since August 2011, and he also held the position from January 2007 until July 2010. He was instrumental in hiring the Wikimedia Foundation Executive Director and he considers this process as an important element in transitioning from an operating board in the early days to one that could manage larger meta issues. He also notes that restructuring the Board gave them the opportunity to include chapter-selected board members, which has increased the diversity of the board as a whole.
de Vreede was re-elected Vice Chair of the Board in July 2012, and he was elected as Chair of the Board in August 2013. His current term will continue until December 2015.
|Member until||August 2016|
|Current position||Vice Chair|
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. He worked to strengthen local capacity as a condition for development, transcending the traditional approach of North-South cooperation by promoting South-South. He also supported 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, measured both in size (with 100,000 students and 15,000 teachers) and by scientific production. As with all public universities in Argentina, there is no tuition and enrollment is free.
He joined the Spanish Wikipedia as an 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. 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 first 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 his time 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 of this work, 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, and was re-selected in 2014. His current term will continue until August 2016. In August 2014, he was elected Vice Chair of the Board.
|Member until||July 2015|
Phoebe Ayers is a reference, instruction and collections librarian at the University of California, Davis, specializing in computer science, physics 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 had been at UCD since 2005, and has been served in UC-wide, regional and national library organizations. 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. Most recently she's been involved in efforts to help libraries work effectively with the Wikimedia projects, including founding a mailing list devoted to the topic, planning training workshops, and sitting on the North American Glam-Wiki advisory board. She continues to be an active editor, contributing to the English Wikipedia and other projects.
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.
Phoebe was selected as a trustee by the Wikimedia chapters in 2010, and served a two-year term. She was selected to serve as Board Secretary in 2011. After her term ended in 2012, she ran for a community-elected seat in 2013 and was re-elected for a two-year term. She was elected Vice Chair of the Board in August 2013, serving until August 2014.
|Member until||December 2015|
Stu West joined the Wikimedia Board in April 2008 and served as its Treasurer from April 2008 to October 2012; 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.
|Member until||December 2014|
Bishakha Datta is a non-fiction writer and documentary filmmaker with diverse, international experience. She is dedicated to disseminating women's perspectives through media, art and culture, particularly the perspectives of women who are marginal or invisible. She received a BA in Economics and an MA in English Literature from Mumbai University, as well as an MA in Communications from Stanford University.
Datta is the co-founder and Executive Director of Point of View, a nonprofit organization in Mumbai, India, that promotes women’s points of view through media, art and culture. She is also on the boards of various non-profits from around the world, including Breakthrough, CREA, Dreamcatchers Foundation, and Majlis. Her first book, And Who Will Make the Chapatis?, focused on rural women’s participation in politics, while her first independent documentary film In The Flesh explored the lives of three people in prostitution from their own perspectives. Her latest book 9 Degrees of Justice documents new perspectives on violence on women in India, while her latest film, Taaza Khabar, explores a rural newspaper run by women, many of whom are Dalit or tribal.
Datta joined the Wikimedia Board in March 2010. She was on the controversial content committee and was part of the Movement Roles project and working group, which developed the framework for new models of affiliation within the Wikimedia movement. Datta has been the Chapters Committee liaison for the Board since 2010. She served as the Secretary of the Board from July to October 2012.
She has spent a great deal of time and energy working with the growing Wikimedia movement in India, facilitating connections between Wikipedia editors in the country and the Foundation. Datta considers herself a community-oriented trustee with extensive prior movement experience outside of Wikimedia, which she used to nurture the budding community there. She helped organize the first community meetup in Mumbai and was an advisor to WikiConference India 2011, which had over 600 attendees. She is proud that her first community barnstar resulted from that conference.
Datta considers editor retention and editor growth to be the most significant challenges facing the Board and the Wikimedia Foundation, as well as the greatest opportunity to sustain the Wikimedia movement. In addition to technical solutions like a visual editor, she will continue to encourage the Foundation to focus on the priority geographies of Brazil, India and Arabic language countries, as well as smaller wikis like those in Indic languages. She also plans to continue to focus support at the Board level on work to increase the number of female editors on Wikimedia projects, while linking that work to larger strategic objectives.
Datta lives and works in Mumbai, India and edits on English Wikipedia and on Meta-wiki. Her current term on the Board continues until December 2014.
|Member until||December 2015|
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.
|Member until||July 2015|
Sam Klein was elected to the Wikimedia Board in August 2009. He currently lives in Cambridge II, where he is a Fellow at Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet & Society. He is an advisor for One Laptop per Child and the Digital Public Library of America, as well as a number of education startups. He has been involved in Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects for many years, including work on a multilingual newsletter, translation, and special projects. He founded the Boston-area Wikipedia group, and organized the Wikimania conference there in 2006. He has also worked on offline Wikipedia distribution, including the WikiBrowse project.
Sam studied math and physics, and spent time teaching and developing software for facilitating translation and community-building before focusing on universal education. More information is available on his Wikipedia user page. He can be reached there or by email.
|Member until||December 2016|
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, then 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 Master’s studies in Public Policy and Governance.
Wiegand started editing German Wikipedia in 2004, following one of the first major series of media stories about the site in Germany. She was looking for something meaningful to do besides her job and started to edit 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, for 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 the Wikimedia movement. She sees the need to provide reliability and stability at a time when the movement faces fundamental changes in resource allocation, new models of affiliation and the interaction of the chapters.
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 WMDE.
She joined the Wikimedia Foundation Board as a Chapters' selected Trustee in 2012, and was appointed to serve the remainder of Ana Toni's term until December 2014, as well as a subsequent full term until December 2016.
|Member until||July 2015|
María Sefidari Huici was born and lives in Madrid, Spain. She graduated with a Psychology degree from Universidad Complutense de Madrid, and she afterwards got a Masters' degree in Management and Tourism at the Business faculty of the same university. She is currently a Computer Science Ph.D candidate at Universidad Rey Juan Carlos.
Sefidari started contributing to English Wikipedia in 2006, after her younger sister introduced her to the online encyclopedia. She started editing articles related to psychology, but soon expanded to other topics, including computer science, literature, science fiction and LGBT articles. She currently has the rollbacker user right there.
Almost a year later, she started contributing to Spanish Wikipedia, where she founded the LGBT WikiProject and became an administrator and bureaucrat within her first six months. Because of an unreliable internet connection, she was never able to suffer from editcountitis, but instead aspired to make quality contributions. She has +2000 edits on English Wikipedia, where she significantly contributed to a Featured Article (FA), and +18000 edits on Spanish Wikipedia, where she has significantly contributed to 14 FAs and 9 GA's. She also contributes sporadically to sister projects like Wikimedia Commons and Wikinoticias, and is an accredited reporter for English Wikinews.
She is a founding member of Wikimedia España (WMES), the Spanish chapter of the Wikimedia movement, and she served on its Board as its first Vice President. In 2012, she was elected a member of the Chapters' Committee (ChapCom), the Wikimedia community committee entrusted with advising the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees on the approval of new national or subnational chapters. In mid-2012, following a community discussion and a resulting Board of Trustees' resolution, the scope of the Committee was expanded and it transitioned into the Affiliations Committee (AffCom), and now includes thematic organisations and user groups.
As a member of AffCom, she has acted as liaison with many groups seeking recognition, and has helped guide them through the process of successfully becoming affiliates. To do this she has helped in community organising, cross-cultural communication, reviewing bylaws, and providing governance advice for emerging organisations. In September 2012 she was elected the first Treasurer of AffCom, tasked with overseeing and monitoring disbursement of the Committee's budget, and she was re-elected in March 2013.
Sefidari has also served on the Individual Engagement Grants (IEG) committee for its first round. Through funding individuals or small teams that organize, build, create, research or facilitate something that enhances the work of Wikimedia's volunteers, the IEG supports Wikimedians to complete projects that benefit the Wikimedia movement, focusing on experimentation for online impact. As a member, she has reviewed proposals, read and researched submissions, scored proposals according to a rubric determined by selection criteria, and recommended proposals for funding.
Sefidari believes deeply in the importance of making knowledge available to everyone in the world. She also believes in the importance of diversity, and of encouraging women to contribute to the creation and availability of human knowledge. In her spare time she helps run Wiki-workshops and supports Real Madrid CF.
Sefidari was elected to the Board by the Wikimedia community in June 2013 and her current term continues until July 2015.
|Member until||August 2016|
Frieda Brioschi is a Wikimedian, computer scientist and digital communication consultant working on tech projects, web strategy, community creation and management, and social media. She has been working with startup companies since 2012, acting as coordinator of Kublai, a community for startup entrepreneurs hosted by the Italian Ministry of Economic Development. Currently she is teaching courses in startup entrepreneurism at IED (the International Higher Educational Network in Design, Fashion, Visual Communication and Management of creative industries), both in Italian and English.
She started contributing to Wikipedia in May 2003, and was one of the first members of the Italian Wikipedia community. She subsequently gained administrator and bureaucrat status on several projects, including Italian Wikipedia, Wikinews, and Wikisource. She was also a Wikimedia OTRS admin and a regional press contact for the Italian Wikimedia projects.
In 2005 she was one of the founders of Wikimedia Italia, the official Wikimedia chapter in Italy. She is the first and the longest running president of Wikimedia Italia, and played a key role in turning the small chapter to a solid, structured and well-known organization. She also served in the role of interim chapter Executive Director.
From 2007 to 2008 she was a member of the board of Wikimedia Foundation. She took part in hundreds of congresses to share both her professional Wikimedia community experience. Frieda has given three TEDx talks, two about Wikipedia and one about lateral thinking applied to problem solving (I and Wikipedia, Wikipedia and me, Captain Courageous).
She studied computer science at Università di Milano and is proud mother of Celeste. Frieda lives and works close to Milan in Italy.
She re-joined the Wikimedia Foundation Board as a member selected by chapters and thematic organizations in 2014. Her current term will continue until August 2016.
- Main article: Former Board of Trustees members