The Wikimedia Foundation is...

...the nonprofit organization that hosts and operates Wikipedia and the other Wikimedia free knowledge projects. Our vision is a world in which every single human can freely share in the sum of all knowledge. We believe that everyone has the potential to contribute something to our shared knowledge, and that everyone should be able to access that knowledge, free of interference.

The Wikimedia Foundation is a charitable, not-for-profit organization that relies on donations. We receive financial support from millions of individuals around the world, with an average donation of about $15. We also receive donations through institutional grants and gifts.

We host the Wikimedia projects, build software experiences for reading, contributing, and sharing Wikimedia content, support the volunteer communities and partners who make Wikimedia possible, and advocate for policies that enable Wikimedia and free knowledge to thrive.

Wikimedia is the world’s fifth most popular digital platform, used in everything from secondary education to advanced computational research. Each month, around a billion people visit the Wikimedia sites, to learn about topics ranging from classical music to Bollywood stars to quantum mechanics.

While Wikipedia is the largest and best-known of the Wikimedia projects, it is only one part of our work. Other widely-used projects include Wikimedia Commons, which contains more than 40 million free media files, and Wikidata, an open structured and linked data repository with nearly 50 million items. We are also the primary developer of MediaWiki, a free and open source collaborative software platform. Wikimedia is:

  • Around 300 languages;
  • Written by 250,000 monthly contributors;
  • Visited around 6,000 times each second;
  • By roughly 1.5 billion devices every month.

The Role:  

Location: USA - The Wikimedia Foundation head office is in San Francisco, CA, but this leader could be based anywhere in the USA, with frequent travel to SF

Reports to: Executive Director (Katherine Maher) 

Overview: The Chief of Talent & Culture (T&C) is responsible for leading all aspects of the Human Resources (Talent & Culture) function, including but not limited to talent management and all aspects of culture, diversity, inclusion & equity, and organizational development to meet all global people and organizational needs of the Wikimedia Foundation, both internally and externally.

The Wikimedia Foundation currently has over 300 employees, more than half of whom are based remotely and over a quarter outside the United States.  The organization grew by 20% in 2018 and this growth phase will continue, so the Chief of Talent & Culture will be not only be an innovative cultural leader, excited by global growth, but also a strong HR leader who can continue to build a talent organization that will support that sustained growth now and into the future

They will:

  • Be responsible for leading organization-wide strategic talent & culture planning and operational implementation.
  • Oversee organization-wide HR operations with support of the VP of HR Operations, including clear and transparent processes to support Foundation staff during a time of growth.
  • Create and implement a vision for inclusive communications, staff engagement, and recognition in an increasingly decentralized and virtual organization. 
  • Build and cultivate a global pipeline of the best talent available, ensuring global operational best practice and positioning the Foundation as an employer of choice through awareness of practices and trends within the global nonprofit, technology and advocacy fields.
  • Play a lead role in structuring and supporting a global workforce, partnering with Legal and others as necessary, in order to ensure the global workforce and culture is responsive to the Foundation’s needs, strategy, risk management approach and budget.
  • Create and implement a comprehensive long-term vision for learning & development and ensure staff are engaged, productive and prepared for future growth.
  • Guide staff through organizational changes, as well as advise the Executive Director on critical organizational strategy and change management issues in a mission-focused international nonprofit.

Success in this role will be measured on both a long-term and short-term basis, and will include metrics in a variety of areas including, but not limited to: effective leadership of a sustainable best-practice HR team, strategy and practice; maintaining stable retention levels; building a strong talent development pipeline; increasing staff and manager accountability for performance; setting accountability and strategy around diversity-inclusion; and maintaining a high level of staff engagement. 

Key Responsibilities: 

Strategic Cultural & Operational Leadership

  • Act as the leader for, and guardian of, organizational culture; ensure consistent communication of a unique culture and critical values throughout the organization, on a global basis.
  • Lead the global human resources function, ensuring the Foundation attracts, develops and retains superb talent.
  • Plan, develop, implement, direct and evaluate the organization’s human resource/talent & culture function and be responsible for executing and aligning the T&C strategy and business plan with the strategic direction of the Foundation.
  • As part of the executive team, develop and evolve a forward-thinking culture and organization
  • Position the T&C function to be ‘world-class’ through adoption and execution of best practices in activities such as succession management, workforce planning and data analytics, as well as other new capabilities, to help the Foundation make informed human capital decisions.
  • With senior leadership, create a vision for who the Foundation can become, and develop a comprehensive talent strategy and global workforce structure that reflects and fulfills that vision.
  • Guide leadership through the growth and change of the Foundation; recommit to the most effective strategies and philosophies of the organization; ensure accountability for decisions made and actions taken, in pursuit of clarity in delivery of the mission.
  • Champion and communicate organizational values throughout the Foundation; communicate a coherent, embracing philosophy across the staff lifecycle and ensure that it is consistently practiced at all levels throughout the F 
  • Foster an environment that is supportive and inclusive, providing many and various career opportunities; integrate diversity and inclusion while promoting a global view.
  • Collaborate closely with strategic partners within the Foundation to develop plans and programs, particularly from the perspective of the impact on talent management.
  • Evaluate and advise on the impact of long-range planning of new programs/strategies particularly as they relate to the attraction, development and retention of talent.

Workplace Culture & Organizational Development

  • Foster an intentional culture that is mission-aligned, creative, performance driven, generative, and well-regarded externally and internally.
  • As an ambassador of the Foundation, develop and represent the Foundation as an employer of choice and as a culture leader; write articles/blogs, attend external networking events and represent the Foundation at public engagements.
  • Oversee learning & development. With the L&D team:
    • Shepherd and champion manager programs including: orientation, professional development, holding staff accountable, succession planning.
    • Advance and evolve a robust and sustainable leadership program, practices & framework, and engage leadership in their own professional development.
  • Establish credibility throughout the organization to be an effective listener and problem solver of people issues.
  • Work with people internationally, internally and externally, to ensure diversity of ideas are highlighted, and points of views are shared on specific projects and throughout the Foundation. 

Talent Management & Recruiting 

  • Oversee recruiting. With the recruiting team:
    • Build a pipeline of global talent and forecast future talent needs at the individual level and with respect to collective requirements for sustainable organizational operation.
    • Champion programs that allow the Foundation to embrace applicants and staff of all backgrounds and encourage the full development and performance of all staff.
    • Collaboratively recruit high-level roles for the future including Board of Trustees, Endowment Board, senior executives, and special projects.
  • Oversee general HR operations, with the support of the VP of HR Operations. With HR operations leadership:
    • Ensure continuous improvement of programs and practices associated with meeting strategic and operational people issues, on a global basis.
  • Evolve the vision for performance management, promoting career pathways and professional development.
  • Develop and iterate planning models to identify knowledge and talent gaps and develop specific programs to fill identified gaps.

Team Leadership

  • Create a multi-year talent management vision for the T&C team, including a clear annual plan direction.
  • Mentor and support the development of T&C team, ensuring clear roles and responsibilities.
  • Evaluate T&C structure, processes and team plan for continuous improvement of the efficiency and effectiveness of the group.

The Person:

Professional Experience: 

  • Minimum 10 years of HR and talent leadership experience, preferably in a growing, virtual global nonprofit, technology, or advocacy organization.
  • Deep experience of implementing overall HR best practices, including directing talent management and leading all aspects of culture, diversity, change management and organizational development.
  • Demonstrated success leading change with employees at all levels in a growth environment.
  • Demonstrated knowledge base across a range of HR practices, including diversity-inclusion-equity initiatives, senior level recruitment, performance management, employee engagement, training approaches, succession planning, and career pathways.
  • Proven ability to build a global organization and talent pipeline, ideally with experience scaling across multiple geographies.
  • Proven strategic thinker and thought partner to executive leadership teams; viewed as a leader in solving people and organizational challenges during times of transition – particularly with a diversity lens.
  • Expertise in linking programs and strategies to organizational goals and mission, delivering high impact results and creating pathways and a culture for change.

Personal Attributes: 

  • Deep commitment and passion for the Foundation’s mission and purpose, and an ability to translate this passion into action through creating an inclusive environment.
  • Authentic leader with a collaborative and inclusive approach in assessing individual/ organizational challenges, problem-solving, developing partnerships and program development.
  • Thoughtful and diplomatic change ambassador; an experienced professional in understanding organizational dynamics and creating the right structures and solutions to address challenges that are inherent in a geographically and functionally diverse foundation, guiding individuals and teams through complex and changing environments.
  • Facilitative style and approachable manager, capable of building an organization and shaping the future of the Foundation, as an advisor to the Executive Director and the executive leadership team.
  • Excellent communication skills, both written and verbal, with the ability to represent the Foundation externally to across a wide range of stakeholders.
  • Exceptional coach and mentor in a diverse multicultural environment; demonstrated experience in influencing and supporting senior leaders.
  • Demonstrated commitment to the values of diversity, inclusiveness and empowerment.
  • Able to travel 6+ times per year, including executive offsites, conferences, and, if remote, coming to the San Francisco office.

Ok, if you’ve read this far, hopefully you’re inspired and interested in applying! All the above is incredibly important to us as people and as an organization, but we also are looking for someone who is great to work with as a person - someone with a sense of humor, who cares and is curious. Talent & Culture loves what we do, and we want you too as well.

The Wikimedia Foundation is an equal opportunity employer, and we encourage people with a diverse range of backgrounds to apply.

US Benefits & Perks 

  • Fully paid medical, dental and vision coverage for employees and their eligible families (yes, fully paid premiums!)
  • The Wellness Program provides reimbursement for mind, body and soul activities such as fitness memberships, baby sitting, continuing education and much more
  • The 401(k) retirement plan offers matched contributions at 4% of annual salary
  • Flexible and generous time off - vacation, sick and volunteer days, plus 19 paid holidays - including the last week of the year.
  • Family friendly! 100% paid new parent leave for seven weeks plus an additional five weeks for pregnancy, flexible options to phase back in after leave, fully equipped lactation room.
  • For those emergency moments - long and short term disability, life insurance (2x salary) and an employee assistance program
  • Pre-tax savings plans for health care, child care, elder care, public transportation and parking expenses
  • Telecommuting and flexible work schedules available
  • Appropriate on-site fuel for thinking and coding (aka, a pantry full of treats) and monthly massages to help staff relax
  • Great colleagues - diverse staff and contractors speaking dozens of languages from around the world, fantastic intellectual discourse, mission-driven and intensely passionate people

How to Apply:

If you, or someone in your network, is interested in exploring this opportunity,

please submit a resume and a cover letter to:

Janet Albert - Partner, Bridge Partners


Tory Clarke - Partner, Bridge Partners

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