The Board of Trustees is one the most important bodies in the Wikimedia movement. It oversees the Wikimedia Foundation and its work, as its ultimate corporate authority. In this session, members of the Board of Trustees introduce themselves and present the structure, role and work of the Board to the participants. Participants have the chance to ask questions and get a better understanding of the board dynamics and processes. This session provides the space for exchange and dialogue between the WMF board and its affiliates. The session is divided into three parts:
In the first part, board members briefly introduce themselves and their role in the board. (3 mins per Board member)
In the second part, Patricio will give an intro of ten minutes and address some of the most burning questions regarding the leadership crisis and the community seat on the Board.
In the third part (90 minutes), the group splits into several break-out groups. In each group, one Board member hosts a thematic conversation in a circle of chairs to deepen specific topics. After 30 minutes, participants can move on to the next circle. This format provides the opportunity for the board members to receive feedback and input on old and new ideas. The topics are:
Strategic threats from new tech developments (Dariusz)
Movement Roles (Maria)
How to use social media to increase reach in Wikimedia (Guy)
Open questions - "ask me anything" (Patricio)
Long term vision (Jimmy)
Better understanding among participants of roles of and responsibilities within the Board and its decision making processes. Get everyone on the same page for the following conversations.
WMF Board members
Summary of the session
Patricio Lorente, chair of the Board of Trustees of the Wikimedia Foundation, opened the “Meet the Board of Trustees” session. Patricio explained the format of the session: Each board member had a topic he or she wanted to talk about, participants could rotate three times after 30 mins each.
Patricio asked the present members of the board of trustees to introduce themselves and their topics. The following members of the board were present:
Guy Kawasaki, his topic was “Social Media”
Kelly Battles, her topic was “Finances”
María Sefidari, her topic was “Movement Roles”.
Dariusz Jemielniak, his topic was “Strategic threats from new tech development”.
Jimmy Wales, his topic was “Long term vision”
Patricio Lorente, who explained everyone could “ask me anything”.
The round table discussions were not documented. At the end, all members of the board summarized the discussion in their rounds.
Michal from Dariusz' group explained that they have been discussing very different issues, e.g. if Wikimedians were content producers, or an Open Knowledge community. They also touched questions like what kind of technology the movement should embrace. Furthermore, Michal told, the group discussed content production, automated creation of articles by bots as well as user-interfaces for readers and users.
Guy told that he first wanted to talk about Social Media. He noted that the topic changed quickly, as Liam [Wyatt] had taught him “the values of the Wikimedia Foundation”. He noted that he had a lot of work to do and the discussion had been more “education process” for him than for the group.
Kelly explained that the group had talked about how “we gonna save the WMF with Endowment”. Furthermore, she added, they had talked about the actual strength of WMF Finances, as well as the role and goals of the endowment, banner-ads and incentives in that banner-ads. Kelly summarized that she had learned as much as Guy did, especially around the community and its passion.
Maria summarized the discussions in her group as “truly and passionate”. She explained they had talked about role of the affiliates within the projects, but also about future models of affiliates.
Jimmy told that in each of the session there were different topics. He said that one of the themes he had heard a lot, was “investment in people”. He emphasized that we [as the movement] had to invest in leadership development and develop community leaders. Jimmy added that there also many other topics in his sessions.
Patricio explained that his group had discussed really different, like leadership transition, MediaWiki development, community seats of the Board of Trustees and Movement Roles. He called the discussions of his group “really nice” and thanked all participants.