Wikimedia Foundation Executive Director
Katherine Maher is the Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation, the nonprofit organization that supports Wikipedia and its sister projects. She is a longtime advocate for free and open societies, and an expert in leveraging technology for social impact.
Katherine was appointed Executive Director in July 2016, after serving as the organization’s first Chief Communications Officer. She has lived and worked around the world, leading the introduction of technology and innovation in human rights, good governance, and international development. She was a founding member of the UNICEF Innovation team, where she helped introduce open source innovation for health and child welfare. She has worked with the National Democratic Institute, the World Bank, and Access Now on programs supporting innovative technologies for democratic participation, civic engagement, youth entrepreneurship, open government, and human rights.Katherine is a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Council on Human Rights, a fellow at the Truman National Security Project, a member of the advisory board of the Open Technology Fund and a trustee of the Project for the Study of the 21st Century. She lives in San Francisco.
The function of this position is to run the business side of the Wikimedia Foundation so as to provide resources to keep the projects going. For the most part, the Executive Director will not be involved with how the community operates on individual projects.
- See also: Wikimedia Foundation Executive Director/Updates and Wikimedia Foundation Executive Director/Presentations
To help inform the decision making of the Executive Director, they often participate in community events, host office hours, and send updates to the communities on their activities and the activities of the Wikimedia Foundation.
As the primary staff representative to the broader public, the Executive Director is often called upon to participate in, and sometimes speak at, events held by outside organizations.
The position was created in 2006 as the Wikimedia Foundation's workload expanded and required a growing staff to support the volunteer Board of Trustees.