Affiliate-selected Board seats/2016/Nominations/Christophe Henner

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Christophe Henner

Wikimedia username:


Questions for all candidates - Questions for this individual candidate that do not apply to other candidates


WMF has been going through, for many months now, an important crisis with huge stakes.

It shows through many things:

  • A difficult internal reorganization
  • A huge trust deficit with the other actors of the movement (volunteers and orgs alike)
  • Its impact questioned by the FDC
  • Brutal changes within the board

I believe our movement could achieve its best if we're all pushing in the same direction, which, at the moment, we're not.

The movement brought me a lot, I developed skills and learned knowledge that allow me at 30 to be in a C-Level position in a global company.

Today, the challenges WMF faces are "aligned" with my skills and I believe I can be of some help.

I believe I have to give back as much as the movement gave me. With what I did for the movement, what I am, I cannot stand aside idle in the warmth of a well going WMFr when WMF is going through a crisis that impacts us all.

That is why I'm nominating myself for the Affiliate-selected board seats.


Nothing is black or white, there are thousands (not fifty) shades of grey

It is hard to synthesize what I've done in so little words.

I value debate and discussions: argue, negotiate, rationalize and find compromises.

Challenging ideas is at the heart of how I work, think and move forward.

I believe we should always put things into perspective, we're not performing open-heart surgery. At the end of the day we should be able to share beers and jokes together. We all have the same vision at heart. Those traits are what got me into strategy, impact evaluation and change management.

They also brought me to where I am today, a C-Level, chief marketing officerdeputy CEO, in the first digital media group in France, Webedia, with a strong global development (Germany, Spain, Brazil, and Middle-East). And in a group going through a lot of merger&acquisition, leadership and vision are more than needed.

I love analyzing organizations: what makes them tick, their limitations, strengths,…. And I use that to design a clear vision, a plan and an adapted structure so that people working there enjoy it, feel empowered and recognized and do their best to reach our goals.

Passion is key to greatness

I'm in love with our movement, and spent more than 12 years as a volunteer.

Why am I involved in our movement? Because I believe we have the power to have an everlasting impact on mankind.

I came into our movement in 2004, as a young man I got drawn by the shiny light of this so stimulating and rich movement that was echoing my personal beliefs.

Our movement is way more than websites:

  • It allows deep global social change through the free access to knowledge
  • It provides bonding on large scales with people getting involved the way they want, as awesome editors, skillful photograph, crazy-genius developers,…
  • It also is a way to safeguard, promote and increase knowledge on a global scale

I believe mankind is good and can achieve great things. But the only way to do that, is to get all those cultural barriers/constructs down. And the way to achieve that is through knowledge leading to better understanding of each other.

Early on, I believed that we had to be a global movement and not an addition of independent agents (volunteers/chapters/thorgs/WMF). I co-organized the Multimedia Usability Project Meeting in Paris, the Finance Meeting in Paris again, which gave birth to the FDC, and attended almost all Wikimedia Conference (it took an Icelandic volcano to stop me from getting there). I was part of the advisory group designing and setting up the FDC.

But more than what I achieved, I cherish all those awesome people I met. Some were mentors, some are friends, some are kindred spirits and some are sparring partners. All of them shaped me into the person I am today.

Success is not the endgame, failure is not fatal: what matters is the will to always push forward

For the last 10 years I served as a board member and led a successful Wikimedia France reorganization.

I believe local organizations and THORGS are essential to our movement. We often see ourselves as a tech movement, or a content movement, I believe we are a people movement.

If we want to grow and last, we need people involved, sharing a vision, and working toward the same goals. Of course, we need strong tech assets, and great contents, but the key to success lies within people. And local and thematic organizations are great to strengthen the links between people and to find new editors.

But to do so, we need to have a movement that increases possibilities and not hinders them. Wikimedia France's story has been bumpy to say the least and I went through most of it up to this day. We went through a quick growth, failures, internal drama, drama with our members, deep reorganization.

We had ambitious goals to reach quickly in order to become the organization we dreamed of:

  • A clear political strategy inclusive of volunteers
  • The board focusing on strategy and stepping away from operations
  • A strong employer brand
  • Clear organizational structure meeting all legal and moral expectations

During the last 3 years, we got things straight, we designed a new vision, set goals, and structured a clear plan of action and at same time remain agile to adapt to new opportunities. We totally transformed our organization, we questioned everything, but we came out stronger. During this ride, we all stuck together, we had decided to go through the hard way, change everything, but we did that as a group, supporting each other.

I believe we succeeded. Today Wikimedia France is strong and efficient and a really cool organization to be part of.

An organization with a clear purpose, that support and enable local volunteers. Not a single project starts without volunteer involvement would it be Wikicheese, or WikiMooc, or any other project.

We succeed, but even more important, we learned a lot.


I am eligible to serve as a trustee of the Wikimedia Foundation.


  • Christophe's candidacy is endorsed by Wikimedia UK. On behalf of the WMUK board of trustees --MichaelMaggs (talk) 08:18, 19 February 2016 (UTC)
  • Endorsement from Wikimédia France:
Wikimedia France believes that accountable leadership, political courage, and effective communication, can help to address the current challenges at WMF. We have been watching for months how the situation at WMF is degrading and we know this situation has not only serious consequences on individuals but also on affiliates' activities and on the movement in general.

Christophe, volunteer for the last 12 years and a Wikimedia France Board member for the last 10 years has demonstrated all the qualities that we believe are necessary to create change in a positive way. We also believe that change can only come from people external to the current situation. It is imperative that the WMF Board strongly repositions its objectives in terms of governance, regarding both its employer branding and overall strategy.

Our past governance issues which he managed to solve, his involvement in international affairs and his time dedication to our organization and the movement when we needed him demonstrate Christophe’s exemplary leadership and care for the well-being of the greater movement.

We are confident that his personality and experience will be a great asset for the Wikimedia Foundation Board. The entire board at Wikimedia France supports Christophe’s nomination for the open position on the WMF Board.

On behalf of Wikimedia France Board of Trustees.-- ShreCk / Emeric Vallespi (talk) 17:45, 18 February 2016 (UTC)..

  • On behalf of the board of Wikimedia Austria I express our endorsement for Christophe's candidacy. -- Alexander Wagner / AleXXw (talk) 17:34, 29 February 2016 (UTC)
  • Wikimedia Argentina has approved endorsing Christophe's candidacy at our February 27 board meeting, unanimously. Christophe's experience, vision and lasting commitment with the Wikimedia movement and its organizations would be an invaluable asset for the WMF Board at this crucial time. --Galio (talk) 19:09, 29 February 2016 (UTC)
  • Wikimedia Mexico has trust and confidence on Cristophe's skills and capability to take this challenge. We trust that he can represent the diversity of the movement including the Global South affiliates. His candidacy is endorsed by Wikimedia Mexico. On behalf of the board, --ProtoplasmaKid (WM-MX) (talk) 04:07, 3 March 2016 (UTC)
  • On behalf of the board of Wikimedia Chile I express our endorsement for Christophe's candidacy approved on March 3, 2016 at the WMCL Board meeting. --Warko (talk) 22:59, 3 March 2016 (UTC)
  • At the Wikimedia NYC March 2016 public meeting, attendees took part in an open vote to endorse Christophe's participation as a candidate in this election. This is part of our chapter's policy to encourage a more diverse and more transparent process for the WMF board elections.--Pharos (talk) 17:34, 18 March 2016 (UTC)