Ryan Merkley is the Chief of Staff to the Executive Director at the Wikimedia Foundation, where he increases the reach, capacity, and efficacy of the executive office, managing critical executive office functions that include special projects, Board relations, external relations, staff meetings and materials, and executive and Board development. Prior to joining the Wikimedia Foundation, Ryan was Chief Executive Officer at Creative Commons (CC) for five years, the nonprofit dedicated to expanding the availability, re-sharing, and accessibility of creative works.
CC licenses are the global standard for sharing, supported by an international volunteer community. While at Creative Commons, Ryan led the collaborative development of the organization’s five-year strategic plan, the Global Network revitalization, and built a more sustainable organization. In 2018, Ryan launched CC Search, with a goal of indexing all 1.6 billion licensed works online, across 9 million websites; and the CC Certificate, the first comprehensive learning program for using CC tools and working openly.
Before joining CC, Ryan was Chief Operating Officer of Mozilla, served as Director of Corporate Communications for the City of Vancouver for the 2010 Winter Games, and was a Senior Advisor to Mayor David Miller in Toronto, where he led the Mayor’s budget policy and initiated Toronto’s Open Data project. Ryan is an experienced campaigner and advocate for social causes, and has advised political campaigns at the local and national levels. He is an affiliate of the Harvard Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society for the 2019–20 academic year.
Ryan lives in Toronto with his daughter, his wife Kelsey, and their dog Barkley.