Board of Trustees

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The Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees oversees the foundation and its work, as its ultimate corporate authority.

Structure

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:

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 WMFboard@wikimedia.org.

Current members

Patricio Lorente

Patricio Lorente
Patricio Lorente
Member until August 2016
Current position Chair

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. 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, Patricio 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.

Patricio 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.

Patricio 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.

Patricio 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.

Alice Wiegand

Alice Wiegand
Alice Wiegand
Member until December 2016
Current position Vice Chair

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.

Alice 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.

Alice 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.

Alice 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.

Alice 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.

Frieda Brioschi

Frieda Brioschi
Frieda Brioschi
Member until August 2016
Current position Member

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.

Dr. James Heilman

Dr. James Heilman
Dr. James Heilman
Member until July 2017
Current position Member

Dr. James Heilman is an emergency physician in Cranbrook, British Columbia, and on the faculty of emergency medicine at the University of British Columbia.

James was born and raised in rural Saskatchewan, Canada. He completed his medical degree in 2003 in Saskatchewan, followed by his residency in British Columbia. James began editing Wikipedia in 2008, after he came across an article needing improvement in the middle of the night. Realizing that he could fix the Internet, he quickly became hooked, and later went on to help found both Wikimedia Canada and Wiki Project Med Foundation.

He has been involved in establishing collaborations to improve Wikipedia’s medical content, with organizations such as Translators Without Borders, the Cochrane Collaboration, the National Institutes of Health, the World Health Organization, and the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) School of Medicine. He is a frequent speaker at medical schools and conferences to encourage his colleagues to engage with Wikipedia.

James has a background in both distance running and adventure racing, having completed Morocco’s Marathon Des Sables and the Adventure Racing World Championships.

Dr. Dariusz Jemielniak

Dr. Dariusz Jemielniak
Dr. Dariusz Jemielniak
Member until July 2017
Current position Member

Dr. Dariusz Jemielniak is a full professor of management, the head of the Center for Research on Organizations and Workplaces, and a founder of New Research on Digital Societies (NeRDS) group at Kozminski University.

Originally from Warsaw, Poland, Dariusz studies open collaboration communities, the phenomenon of organized sharing (including piracy), and political memes. He has conducted research projects on related issues at Cornell University, Harvard University, Berkeley, and MIT. In 2014, he published Common knowledge? An Ethnography of Wikipedia at Stanford University Press. He has been the recipient of many academic merit awards, including a 2004 Fulbright Foundation scholarship and the 2009 Polish Ministry of Science outstanding young scholar award.

Dariusz has held a variety of different roles on Wikipedia, including administrator, bureaucrat, checkuser, steward, and ombudsman. He served as the chair of Wikimedia’s Funds Dissemination Committee for three terms.

Dariusz has served as chairperson of the "Inkubator" network for rising literary talent in Poland, chairperson of the Collegium Invisibile academic society, and as a member of the the advisory boards of the Copernicus Science Center and the English Teaching program of the Nida Foundation. He is also the founder of Ling.pl, the largest Polish online dictionary.

Guy Kawasaki

Guy Kawasaki
Guy Kawasaki
Member until
Current position Member

Guy Kawasaki was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii. He is a noted author, entrepreneur, and internet evangelist. He currently serves as chief evangelist of Canva, an online, graphic-design service, and as an executive fellow of Haas Business School at the University of California, Berkeley.

Prior to joining Canva, Guy served as special advisor to the CEO of the Motorola business unit of Google. He is perhaps most widely known for his time at Apple, where he developed and popularized the concept of “secular evangelism” for Apple’s brand, culture, and products. At Apple, he served first as chief evangelist for Macintosh software, and later as an Apple fellow.

Guy left Apple to start Garage.com (Garage Technology Ventures), now a venture capital firm for direct investments in early-stage technology companies. Guy has started several other companies throughout his career. In 1987, Guy formed a Macintosh database company called ACIUS, which created the 4th Dimension database. In 1989, Guy co-founded another software company called Fog City Software, which produced an email product called Emailer and a list server product called LetterRip.

Guy is passionate about writing, speaking, and consulting on topics in which he believes. He is the author of The Art of the Start 2.0, The Art of Social Media, Enchantment, and ten other books about change, innovation, marketing, and disruption. He gives more than fifty keynote speeches a year and is a frequent public commentator on subjects such as innovation, enchantment, social media, evangelism, and entrepreneurship.

Guy holds an MBA from the University of California, Los Angeles, a BA from Stanford University, and an honorary doctorate from Babson college. Born in Honolulu, Hawaii, Guy is an American who resides with his family in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Dr. Denny Vrandečić

Dr. Denny Vrandečić
Dr. Denny Vrandečić
Member until July 2017
Current position Member

Dr. Denny Vrandečić is a computer scientist specializing in semantic web and structured data. He is currently an ontologist at Google, where he has helped with the release of several key datasets, including releasing the collaborative curated database Freebase to Wikidata.

Originally from the island of Brač, Croatia, Denny received a degree in computer science and philosophy from the University of Stuttgart and a PhD from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology. He has written more than 70 publications on ontologies and the semantic web, and has worked at research projects the University of Southern California and the Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, and has lectured extensively at universities around the world.

Denny has been a Wikipedian since 2003. He is the co-developer of Semantic MediaWiki and was the first administrator of the Croatian Wikipedia. In 2010, he worked with various Wikimedia stakeholders to develop the first proposal and secure funding for the structured data project Wikidata. In 2012, he became the founding project director for Wikidata, recruiting and leading the first Wikidata team out of Wikimedia Deutschland.

Denny now lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife, a Wikipedian whom he met at Wikimania, and their baby daughter.

Jan-Bart de Vreede

Jan-Bart de Vreede
Jan-Bart de Vreede
Member until December 2015
Current position Member

Jan-Bart de Vreede is from Gouda in the Netherlands. He 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, Jan-Bart 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, he 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.

Jan-Bart 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, Jan-Bart 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.

Jan-Bart 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.

Jimmy Wales

Jimmy Wales
Jimmy Wales
Member until December 2015
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.

Stu West

Stu West
Stu West
Member until December 2015
Current position Member

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.

Former members

Main article: Former Board of Trustees members

Further reading