Wikimedia Foundation Chief Executive Officer/Maryana’s Listening Tour

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Puzzles and Priorities | Reflections from Maryana’s Listening Tour
Maryana Iskander.jpg

Dear All,

Four months ago today, I introduced myself as the incoming CEO of the Wikimedia Foundation. Two weeks following this first letter to you, I launched a two-month listening tour. I spent this time doing three things: (1) talking with people – I spoke with 275 people from 55 countries; (2) joining community events – I participated virtually in 17 community-organised events around the world that gathered over 750 volunteers; and (3) meeting with staff teams across the Wikimedia Foundation. A summary is available on the Listening Tour stats page and the quotes below come from these conversations.

I engaged on and off-wiki with people who reached out directly. I also asked to speak to those who may not usually have the loudest voices. I posed questions about our vision, mission, impact, strategy and how we relate to the rest of the world. I asked what we know from evidence, research and data – not only our own opinions. I tried to deeply understand our current ways of working, how they have been shaped by the past, and what they may mean for the future. And I delighted in listening to stories about what motivates people at a personal level to contribute to their projects and communities.

Several hundred conversations later, I want to share with you the five “puzzles” that will shape the priorities for my first six months as CEO of the Wikimedia Foundation. I certainly haven’t learned everything or spoken yet to everyone. But I have chosen to describe what I heard so far as “puzzles” because they will require collective ingenuity and shared problem-solving if we are to achieve ambitious aspirations and tackle complex challenges.

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