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Wikimedia Foundation appoints new Vice President of Communications, Vice President of Product Design

Margeigh Novotny and Anusha Alikhan

Two new VPs bring extensive communications and product development experience to lead growing departments

8 October 2021, San Francisco, California — The Wikimedia Foundation today announced the appointment of two new Vice Presidents: Anusha Alikhan as Vice President of Communications, and Margeigh Novotny as Vice President of Product Design. The Wikimedia Foundation is the nonprofit organization that supports Wikipedia and other free knowledge projects. With this news, both Anusha and Margeigh build on their established tenure at the Foundation and step into expanded leadership roles supporting the broader free knowledge movement.

“I’m thrilled by this opportunity to recognize the deep bench of leaders we’re developing at the Wikimedia Foundation,” said Robyn Arville, Wikimedia Foundation Chief of Talent and Culture. “Anusha and Margeigh both excel at articulating long-term strategy for their respective functions. They are creative thinkers who have the experience and the operational skills to work across rapidly expanding teams and broaden the ways in which Communications and Product support our global movement.” 

Anusha Alikhan brings more than 14 years of communications experience spanning the areas of human rights, technology, international development, journalism and media innovation. She started her career as an employment and human rights lawyer in Toronto, Canada. She expanded her focus on advocacy by building a career around social good with communications leadership roles at the UN, the National Parkinson Foundation, and Knight Foundation. Technology has been core to her focus in communications; at the UN her work centered on promoting technology solutions to advance global peacekeeping, and at Knight Foundation she led strategies that emphasized the power of technology to inform and engage.

Anusha Alikhan
Anusha Alikhan, Wikimedia Foundation Vice President of Communications

In her two years at the Foundation, Anusha has led an expanding team and strengthened Wikimedia’s strategic communications focus. Her emphasis on targeted-campaign building has increased the Foundation’s media impact, particularly around key initiatives including Wikipedia’s 20th birthday, the Foundation’s partnership with the World Health Organization and our approach to misinformation. She also stewarded the restructuring of the Foundation’s digital strategy to expand its visibility, increase brand alignment, and attract new and global audiences. Her focus on diversity, equity and inclusion has advanced new approaches to engagement and outreach, combining storytelling with data-driven insights.  

As the new VP of Communications, Anusha will oversee communications activities across media, brand, marketing, movement and internal communications functions, with the goal of educating and engaging global audiences on Wikimedia work. She will move forward the department’s strategy to expand communications within regional markets, advancing the Foundation’s equity, advocacy and growth goals, and creating campaigns that meet people where they are. 

“Communications has a vital role to play as the Wikimedia Foundation seeks to grow and support a diverse, global movement, while pushing the understanding of what it takes to keep knowledge free,” said Anusha. “Wikimedia is a technology and social good organization working to advance a movement that is human at its core; our stories and unique perspective have the power to connect and influence. I could not be more excited to collaborate with a talented group of staff to continue and expand this work.” 

Anusha has a master’s degree in journalism from New York University, a law degree from Queen’s University in Ontario and an honors bachelor of arts from the University of Toronto. She is also a Board member at the Communications Network, First Draft News, and Awesome Foundation Miami, and a member of the Communications Network working group for diversity, equity and inclusion.

Margeigh joined the Wikimedia Foundation in 2018, building on an expansive career as a product strategist, designer and inventor. An architect by training, she has led the development of many first of category consumer technology products, including  the design of polite intelligent systems that are able to build trust through transparency with the users they serve. She is also the first inventor on several patents related to user-centered machine learning, video content delivery and other hardware-software interfaces.

Margeigh Novotny
Margeigh Novotny, Wikimedia Foundation Vice President of Product Design

During her tenure at the Foundation, Margeigh has led the Product Design and Design Strategy teams, with an emphasis on modernizing the reading experience across Wikimedia products, and streamlining the editing experience to make it more accessible for newcomers. She has expanded design research capabilities to make it possible to reach users in emerging contexts, and to engage with them in their preferred language. Margeigh has also co-led the development of Wikimedia’s Product Platform Strategy and been an active contributor to the broader Movement Strategy effort, working closely with Wikimedia volunteer communities on recommendations for the future of the Wikimedia movement.  

In her new role as the VP of Product Design, Margeigh will focus on making inclusive product development methodologies a best practice at the Wikimedia Foundation. She will expand the department’s capability to design with, not for – prioritizing products and features which will empower emerging communities to scale. She will ensure that human-centered design continues to influence organizational practice at the Foundation, and will continue to support design thinking in the free knowledge movement.

“I joined the Foundation because I believe the Wikimedia projects are critical cultural infrastructure,” said Margeigh. “I want to help ensure the resilience and relevance of the projects in these times of global uncertainty and change. I’m honored and grateful to work with such a talented and mission driven team on products that truly welcome all people to participate in the sum of all knowledge.”

Margeign has a Bachelor’s of Architecture, Philosophy minor, from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo. She did her masters’ studies in architecture, anthropology and continental philosophy at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and University of California, Berkeley. She is a registered Architect in the state of California.

About the Wikimedia Foundation

The Wikimedia Foundation is the nonprofit organization that operates Wikipedia and the other Wikimedia free knowledge projects. Our vision is a world in which every single human can freely share in the sum of all knowledge. We believe that everyone has the potential to contribute something to our shared knowledge, and that everyone should be able to access that knowledge freely. We host Wikipedia and the Wikimedia projects, build software experiences for reading, contributing, and sharing Wikimedia content, support the volunteer communities and partners who make Wikimedia possible, and advocate for policies that enable Wikimedia and free knowledge to thrive. 

The Wikimedia Foundation is a charitable, not-for-profit organization that relies on donations. We receive donations from millions of individuals around the world, with an average donation of about $15. We also receive donations through institutional grants and gifts. The Wikimedia Foundation is a United States 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization with offices in San Francisco, California, USA.

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Photo credits

Margeigh Novotny and Anusha Alikhan

Margeigh and Anusha

Myleen Hollero Photography / Wanterlust678

CC BY-SA 4.0