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Wikimedia Foundation elections/2024/Candidates/Victoria Doronina

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Victoria Doronina (Victoria)

Victoria (talk meta edits global user summary CA  AE)

Candidate details
Victoria Doronina (Wikimedia Summit, Berlin, 2022)
  • Personal:
    • Name: Victoria Doronina
    • Location: United Kingdom
    • Languages: English (professional), Russian (native), Belarusian, Ukrainian, French (beginner)
  • Editorial:
    • Wikimedian since: 2006
    • Active wikis: Russian Wikipedia, Wikimedia Commons, Russian Wikinews
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? I'm running for the Board to continue the pivotal work I started when I was elected in 2021. At this turning point in our movement's history, we crucially need trustees with experience rather than those who are learning the ropes. If we fail to adjust to the new reality over the next 2-3 years, Wikipedia may become a quaint artefact of an earlier Internet age like MySpace.

As a person from the Global South, with experience living in a totalitarian regime and a seasoned scientist, I hope to offer an important perspective to the Board. 

Over the last three years, as part of the Board, I have communicated with the Movement, collaborated with the CEO, and provided strategic guidance to the WMF. I want to build on this experience further to improve the relationship between the WMF and the Movement.

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 started contributing to Russian Wikipedia in 2007 and became an administrator shortly after. I’m the second woman ever to be elected and the first to serve twice on the Russian Wikipedia Arbitration Committee. I am a long-standing mediator on a few of the most debated topics, such as LGBTQIA+, a Featured and Good articles moderator, and an unofficial coordinator of the Russian Wikipedia "Did you know?" project.

In 2011, I became a Wikimedia Community Fellow. I also served on the Wikimedia Funds Dissemination Committee.

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? * Technology: Continuously improving the technical infrastructure to handle increasing traffic, improve reliability, and enhance user experience, including mobile optimization. Investing in research and development of new technologies like AI and machine learning to automate tasks, improve content quality, and enhance user experience.
  • Funding: Diversifying revenue streams, ensuring long-term financial stability, and exploring alternative funding models to reduce reliance on grants and donations.
  • Community Support: Fostering a healthy and diverse contributor community, human rights of the contributors, support for the affiliates, and tools for collaboration and communication.
  • Legal and Policy Advocacy: Advocating for policies supporting free knowledge sharing, open access to information, and protecting Wikimedia projects from censorship and legal threats.
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. In 2021 I was elected to the WMF Board of Trustees. I serve on the Product and Technology Committee, Executive Committee, and the Community Affairs Committee, where I lead the Sister Projects Taskforce. I was an interim Vice Chair in 2022.
Please describe your professional career experience. After completing my PhD in molecular biology (University of Edinburgh, UK), I worked as a postdoctoral fellow at several Russell Group (UK Ivy League) universities, specialising in protein translation. I’m a coauthor of tens of publications in international high-impact scientific journals. I’m also an award-winning science communicator in English and Russian. For the last nine years, I have worked as a Technical Officer (Biology Education and, recently, Food Microbiology) at the Manchester Metropolitan University, UK.
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? After being seconded from the Faculty of Education to the Department of Food Nutrition as a Microbiologist and an interim Technical Team Manager, I concentrated on boosting the team morale, participating in Personal Development Reviews, and successfully recruiting and inducting an apprentice. I provided 1-2-1 regular meetings with the apprentice and liaised with the Technical Services Development Manager. The apprentice completed her probation and was later appointed Assistant Technician.
Please describe your educational background, including degrees, certificates, and courses of study finished, and their relevance to board work. I have a University degree in Microbiology from the Belarusian State University and a PhD in Molecular Biology (University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom). I am also an Associate Member of the Advance Higher Education Academy, UK.

I have solid training in governance and leadership. I finished three programs tailored for board members: “Non-Profit Board Leadership Agent of Impact” (2023) (by Board Veritas), "Value Creation through Effective Boards"(2022, IESE Business School) and "Team Dynamics for Boards" (2023, IMD).

Please add any relevant links describing your professional background, experience, profile (such as LinkedIn, staff page, etc.). * I'm happy to connect with wikimedians on LinkedIn
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). After being elected to the WMF Board, I liaised between the wider Movement and Wikimedia affiliates and communities, especially Russian-speaking communities, representing wikimedians from several Eastern Europe and Central Asia countries. I’m trying to be a bridge or at least a buffer between the Russian and Ukrainian communities.

I’m also a Board liaison to the Language Committee, which approves and closes sister projects in different languages

Can you describe a policy, on wiki or off, that you helped to create or change? What did you learn from this experience? I was involved in creating and changing several policies on the Russian Wikipedia, for example, ru:Википедия:Оформление статей (флаги). My proudest achievement is creating a mediation system for long-running content disputes.

I’m a Lead on the Siblings Projects Taskforce, which is developing a policy on the lifecycle of the Sibling (non-Wikipedia) Wikimedia projects. The board's Community Affairs Committee approved the draft policy, and now there’s an ongoing public consultation, which everybody can participate in.

How have you been able to empower people to make their voices heard? The first step to empowerment is minorities visibility. I started editing Wikipedia with a male-sounding username but switched to my first name, which most people recognise as female. I always encourage minorities to participate in the Movement governance online and offline and provide 1-2-1 mentoring. As trustees, Rosie and I took part in the Wikiwomen Camp in Dehli in 2023, where we did our best to encourage the participants. I'm also the first representative of Russian language Wikimedia projects on the Board, so they can be heard.
Sometimes in professional situations, there are personality conflicts. Explain how you remain productive even with personality conflicts.
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? I think that the Movement is doing well in terms of diversity. We are a global movement where hundreds of languages and ethnicities are represented. We are also neurodiverse. We have several initiatives addressing the gender gap, and the Universal Code of Conduct hopefully will help minorities - of which I'm one - feel more protected.

As for the WMF Board, considering that an average board member worldwide is a white man in his 60s and 70s, the WMF Board is doing well on several diversity parameters. We have 50% women, a good age range (30s - 70s), representatives of the LGBTQ+ and neurodiverse people. In my opinion, we are not doing well enough regarding the geographical and the Global South representation, with most board members being from various parts of Europe and the US. While we have India (Raju Narisetti) and South America (Luis Bitencourt-Emilio) representatives among the Board-selected trustees, as far as I know, we didn’t ever have a representative of sub-Saharan Africa or ESEAP. Considering the movement is less established there, which means fewer voters, we cannot expect anybody from the region to be elected to the Board shortly. I recently wrote a letter to the WMF Board Executive Commity outlining the problem and possible solutions, and the letter is being discussed. If re-elected, I’ll continue pursuing this question.

Verification Identity verification performed by Wikimedia Foundation staff and eligibility verification performed by the Elections Committee
Eligibility: Verified
Verified by: KTC (talk) 19:56, 3 June 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Identification: Verified
Verified by: KTC (talk) 19:56, 3 June 2024 (UTC)[reply]