Affiliate-selected Board seats/2016/Nominations/Jan Ainali

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Picture of Jan Ainali


Jan Ainali

Wikimedia username:


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


The most important issue now is to find a new Executive Director. It will be a tough job for the board to do that hire, but it will set the tone for the future.

When that is done, there is still a number of big issues to be dealt with. Christophe already put it very well in his statement and I agree that the board will need to address a number of issues. An updated strategy is important for everything that follows. Becoming an inclusive and transparent organization is something that is rated very high on my list. And, as always, we need to make the movement work less as separate entities (i.e. staff vs. community) and more as a connected whole. It is important that we move forward as a movement, which means that interactions between employed staff and volunteers should be seen as common practice and everyday business, not as "consultations" held at certain points in time. If there is some sort of value I would work to deploy from the board of trustees to the staff, it is just that. To be able to do that, the transparency at Wikimedia Foundation must be exceptional, so that volunteers easily can get involved.

I was a bit hesitant at first to nominate myself. But the movement has already given me so much, and I too love it so much, I cannot help myself from offering my services in a time where there seems to be a need of level-headed and community-based persons on the board.


Born in 1976, I came into the movement in 2006. I helped start the chapter in Sweden in 2007 and have served on the board as a regular member, secretary, treasurer and chairman. It was an exciting time, and we managed to go from being entirely volunteer driven to having a staff of five amazing persons. Then I had the privilege to serve as the chapter ED from 2013 to 2016. When I left, our budget had nearly doubled thanks to efforts in our fundraising and the projects that got funded are pretty awesome. Right now I am running my own company Open by default.

I value debates and arguments and I am not afraid of changing my standpoint if the counterargument is good. I believe we need to be less opinionated and more open to good arguments. As an active member of Mensa in Sweden, I have had some really good experiences of arguments being done right, some ending in me changing the position, and some where my opponent switched views. I believe that being open for facts, data and rationality is an important quality in a board member and I do my very best to adhere to it.

I have a background as an ED, project manager, systems engineer and product designer. I have a couple of years experience as a board member in a company larger than the Wikimedia Foundation (i.e. larger budget and more employees). My academic background is a B.Sc. in Innovation and Design engineering.

For all the details of my CV, please look at my LinkedIn profile:


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


  • At the Wikimedia NYC March 2016 public meeting, attendees took part in an open vote to endorse Jan'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) 17:37, 18 March 2016 (UTC)
  • Wikimedia Australia endorses this candidate Gnangarra (talk) 10:43, 19 March 2016 (UTC)
  • We, the board of Wikimedia Sverige, hereby endorse Jan Ainali for one of the affiliated-selected board seats on the Board of Trustees of the Wikimedia Foundation and support his nomination.
Jan Ainali is a long term wikimedian, who has long experience from the Swedish Wikipedia. He was one the founders of Wikimedia Sverige in 2007, and was board member for several years where he served as board member, secretary, treasurer and chairman until he in 2013 became Executive Director of the chapter. He resigned in January 2016 after three successful years.
Jan Ainali has a passion for open knowledge and is interested in how new technology can be used innovatively, including how for example Wikidata can be used to improve and extend the Wikimedia projects.
He has excellent and well established contacts in the global Wikimedia movement. This gives him a deep understanding of our global community.
By this we endorse Jan Ainali and think that he is the right person for the board in a situation when the Wikimedia movement faces several challenges.
--Mattias Blomgren (chairman) for the Board of Wikimedia Sverige
  • Wikimedia Danmark endorses Jan Ainali, as per discussion on WMDK's board mailing list. --Ole Palnatoke Andersen (chairman) for the Board of Wikimedia Danmark