A few weeks ago, Jay Walsh stepped down as head of Communications for the Wikimedia Foundation. I was sad to see Jay leave — for nearly six years he’s guided WMF communications activities with unerring judgement and poise. He’s been a trusted colleague and a good friend to the movement.
Today, we’re announcing an international search for his replacement: a Chief Communications Officer (CCO) to lead the WMF’s small communications team.
It’s a unique job. Wikipedia is super-famous and the press and general public are highly interested in us. We’re likelier to turn down press opportunities than to seek them out. Unusually for an organization representing a famous brand, we tend to speak freely, rather than aiming to restrict access to information about us, and we do it in collaboration with a decentralized global network of volunteer spokespeople. We don’t try to significantly control or shape people’s perceptions of Wikipedia because we believe brand perception emerges organically out of users’ day-to-day experiences with a product. People love Wikipedia, and so do we: that means we’ve got no reason to be overly controlling about our public image.
We want a CCO who believes in the WMF vision and shares our values. He or she will manage communications at the WMF and across the projects we operate, ensuring a fast and easy flow of information in multiple languages, both internally within the Wikimedia movement and externally with the press, readers, donors and general public. The full CCO job description, including required qualifications, can be found here.
To help in the recruitment process, we’ve engaged Chaloner Associates, an executive search firm specializing in communications roles. If you’re interested in the role, or want to suggest potential candidates, you can write to Amy Segelin (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Kassie Wilner (email@example.com) at Chaloner. You can also apply online here. If you’re a Wikimedia community member, please say that in your application since it’s a plus for us. Also please note we don’t discriminate on the basis of ethnic origin, nationality, religion, political perspective, sex, age, disability, gender identity or sexual orientation, and we particularly value international experience and fluency in languages in addition to English.
We expect to begin interviewing candidates in December, and hope to have a new CCO in place in January.
Please join me in thanking Jay for his many years of service to the Wikimedia movement, and please share this post with your networks.