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Wikimedia Foundation elections/2024/Candidates/Lorenzo Losa

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Lorenzo Losa (Laurentius)

Laurentius (talk meta edits global user summary CA  AE)

Candidate details
Lorenzo Losa in 2023 at the WikiConference India
  • Personal:
    • Name: Lorenzo Losa
    • Location: Italy
    • Languages: Italian (native), English (fluent), Spanish (basic)
  • Editorial:
    • Wikimedian since: 2004
    • Active wikis: Italian Wikipedia, Wikidata
Total word count for the whole application (required + optional questions) is 1000 (one thousand) words
Required questions
Why are you running for the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees? What would you contribute? What would you like to learn more about? In the past three years serving on the board, I've learned a lot, but one thing stands out: the realization of our global nature.

I wasn't a newbie: my first edit on Wikipedia was in 2004, and I already had governance experience. I had engaged in the international community for a decade. Yet, I didn't fully grasp our global nature. In my first board meeting, I remember a slide telling a story about the Taliban's capture of Kabul - a recent event at the time. This is not something I was used to! It's an important global event, in every newspaper - but I wasn't used to thinking that what I do impacts, or is impacted by, these events.

The same goes with our communities, which have the full breadth and diversity of a global movement; and all the challenges of different cultures, languages, timezones working together. Being on the board widened my perspective on our communities - and the opportunity to serve them better.

I look forward to continuing to learn from our communities around the world, and to supporting them in any way possible.

Please describe your Wikimedia experience (such as contributions to the Wikimedia projects, memberships in Wikimedia organizations or affiliates, activities as a Wikimedia movement organizer, or participation with a Wikimedia movement ally organization). I made my first edit on Wikipedia 20 years ago, in April 2004. Since then, I've been an editor, an administrator on Italian Wikipedia, VRT volunteer, bot operator. Overall, I made over 1 million edits, including bot edits.

I served as president of Wikimedia Italia, as community-elected Funds Dissemination Committee member, and I'm currently vicechair of the WMF board and Product&Technology Committee chair.

From your perspective, what should the Wikimedia Foundation be prioritizing over the next 5-10 years, and why do you see these as the most important priorities? An old version of the Wikimedia values states that "Our communities are our biggest asset", and it's true. Strengthening the community is key to our continued success.

More than that, we all need to realize that we are interconnected and interdependent. Building cohesion and becoming better at listening to each other is critical.

These are internal priorities, but we don't exist in isolation. The world is changing, and the approach to information is shifting. It will impact how people reach Wikipedia, and our ability to attract volunteers donors. Understanding these changes and adapting is vital.

Optional questions - Professional Experience, Skills and Education
Please describe your experience with governing bodies of organizations (nonprofit or for-profit), mentioning the scope of your responsibilities, as well as the complexity of the organization (in terms of scale of operations, budget, number of people involved, or other meaningful measures) and the size of the board or body. I've served in governing bodies at different scales, including:
Please describe your professional career experience. After leaving my PhD studies, I founded a company focused on reuse of bibliographical data (WikiCite didn't exist at the time!), and later I helped with the start-up of other companies. Today, I lead the development of an electronic brokerage platform, part of a group operating multiple markets related to sustainable commodities.
Please briefly describe 3 situations that show how you tackled, or advised others on, a complex problem in an organization. How did you work with others to address the situations?
  1. As newly elected chair of Wikimedia Italy, facing a hard decision: I asked the board to take a pause, and I set a clear timeline, making space for thinking together. That enabled different perspectives to emerge, focusing on what's best for the association, and avoiding hasty decisions.
  2. At my workplace, planning a major change. I began with small-scale experiments, to assess the situation. Then I continued with gradual changes, to build momentum. At every stage, I communicated and listened - especially to the most critical voices. That prepared the ground for the final push, with everyone's support.
  3. In advising a nonprofit to rethink itself, I facilitated a strategic meeting helping them bridge strengths and needs. I didn't provide answers, but tools that enabled them to find the answers by themselves.
Please describe your educational background, including degrees, certificates, and courses of study finished, and their relevance to board work. I've earned a master degree in Mathematics from the Scuola Normale Superiore, where I've also been a PhD candidate.

In recent years, I attended trainings to build the skills I need as a board member, including:

Please add any relevant links describing your professional background, experience, profile (such as LinkedIn, staff page, etc.).
Optional questions - Leadership Experience
Please describe ways in which you have helped to form a bridge between multiple communities (such as by working on projects outside your home wiki, or working on a collaboration between multiple affiliates). Opportunities for building bridges present themselves all the time - as long as you create the spaces for them and follow up.

In the past three years on the board, I've been able to attend events of different communities. Talking with people in my home wiki, and in my country, is important to me for the depth it provides; but only connecting with people in all parts of the wiki world gives the breadth needed to glimpse its full complexity.

Can you describe a policy, on wiki or off, that you helped to create or change? What did you learn from this experience? I began my term as chair of Wikimedia Italy with the creation of a conflict of interest policy, and I ended it with a complete overhaul of the bylaws, to adapt to changing national laws.

My key learning is that policies are important, but the principles and the culture that upholds them are much more important. In healthy organizations, policies help to be efficient and improve. To change an organization, however, policies alone aren't enough: the culture is what you really should focus on.

How have you been able to empower people to make their voices heard? It might seem trivial, but the first step is asking. Create a space that welcomes their voices, and let them know they're welcome.

I see a lot of good faith and willingness to listen: we need to create the conditions to translate it into practice.

Sometimes in professional situations, there are personality conflicts. Explain how you remain productive even with personality conflicts. Conflict is unpleasant, but not always bad: it makes different perspectives visible, and brings light to your blindspots. It's a learning opportunity.

Conflicts become productive by focusing on what the person is bringing, not on whether I like it. In many cases, even when labeled as personality conflicts, it's not about the people but about the voices they bring - and that deserve to be heard.

Optional questions - Strategic Thinking
Where do you see the need for greater diversity in the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees or within the movement? What steps would you take to improve diversity on the Board or within the movement? What steps would you recommend the Board take to improve diversity? We need a wide range of perspectives to look at issues from any possible angle and make the right decisions.

The board does well in some measures of diversity, like gender or age, and not so well in others, like geography. The keys to improve are:

  • Support volunteers across the globe to grow in governance roles at local, regional and global levels.
  • Create spaces to surface different perspectives. Having the right people is not enough: we need their voices.
Verification Identity verification performed by Wikimedia Foundation staff and eligibility verification performed by the Elections Committee
Eligibility: Verified
Verified by: KTC (talk) 19:57, 3 June 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Identification: Verified
Verified by: – NahidSultan (WMF) (talk) 06:33, 30 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]