Chief Communications Officer

Wikimedia Foundation Published: May 30, 2017
Job Type


Chaloner is partnering with the Wikimedia Foundation on their search for a creative, collaborative, forward-thinking Chief Communications Officer to join their executive team in San Francisco, California. We’re looking for leaders who are mission-driven, transparent by default, have a truly global worldview, and can champion the Foundation’s values and voice in the world. You will lead a highly collaborative, multidisciplinary team of eleven storytellers, media strategists, marketers, and designers. Together, you will share their story and vision with the world, with the purpose of raising awareness of and increasing engagement in their work.

The Wikimedia Foundation is an open and transparent organization operating within a decentralized global network of volunteers. They tend to speak openly rather than aiming to control or restrict access to information about them. They seek to inspire, engage, and bring people along in their free knowledge vision.

As CCO, we’d like you to do these things:

  • Work with the executive team to think and act in service of the future of their projects (e.g. How does their story and message advance their strategic objectives? What kind of communications, marketing, or engagement strategy will they need to grow their work in the world? How will they better define and position their brand? Which stories do they want told about them? To what end?).
  • Lead the collaborative definition of long-term strategies to increase awareness and relevance of their brand, meeting priorities in audience growth and development (including contributors, readers, and donors), international language growth, open culture advocacy, and media relations.
  • Develop and lead messaging campaigns that achieve global impact in support of the Wikimedia movement’s strategic needs.
  • Lead a strong, diverse communications team guided by a clear vision.
    • Co-create the vision and direction for the team
    • Clarify and / or delegate the planning to work toward that vision: the roles, the responsibilities, the tools, the budget
    • Counsel and mentor the team across a broad range of disciplines (e.g., brand, identity, digital and social media, PR, messaging, marketing, audience growth and development)
    • Build a sustainable system and culture for team members’ continued professional growth and advancement
    • Create clear workflows for Foundation staff and Wikimedia volunteers to collaborate with the Communications team
    • Develop succession planning.
  • Serve the Wikimedia vision by working collaboratively with and empowering people to tell their story and narrate the movement.
  • Support the Foundation, Executive Director, and leadership in public messaging, issue management, and internal communications.
  • Be a compelling advocate for the Wikimedia movement and Foundation.
  • Oversee and guide the work of staff and volunteers in the continued development of communications systems that utilize contemporary publishing practices and reach diverse audiences with engaging content.

We’d like you to have this experience and these skills:

  • 10+ years in strategic-level communications and marketing (or marcom) roles
  • Proven track-record of leading high-impact global marketing and communications initiatives with measurable results
  • Experience leading multi-disciplinary teams, developing talent, and creating systems for creative and sustainable workflows
  • A clear, effective communications style, including experience guiding messaging for major organizations, political candidates, or movements
  • Significant experience navigating complex international organizations, movements, or networks
  • Experience and comfort in a highly collaborative, transparent environment
  • A track record of building consensus among large, dispersed stakeholder groups. Must have informed cultural sensitivities, intellectual curiosity, and a deep passion for the Wikimedia mission

And it would be even more awesome if you had the following:

  • Experience with the internet industry including comfort with concepts and vocabulary related to product development and engineering
  • Familiarity with internet-related issues: laws limiting freedom of expression, open culture/free culture, the free and open source software movement, and online surveillance, privacy and security
  • Significant skilled personal use of communications, creative, and social technologies
  • The ability to work in a fast-moving, highly-diverse grassroots environment, while effectively prioritizing and leading a variety of activities
  • Experience working with nonprofit organizations is a plus
  • Fluency or familiarity with languages in addition to English are a plus
  • Having lived or worked outside your country of origin is a plus
  • Experience as a member of a volunteer community is a plus

About the Wikimedia Foundation:

The Wikimedia Foundation is the non-profit organization that supports and hosts Wikipedia and several other Wikimedia free knowledge sites. Every month, the Wikimedia sites are accessed by more than a billion unique devices. Wikipedia consists of more than 40 million articles across hundreds of languages. Every month, more than 70,000 volunteer editors contribute to Wikipedia. Based in San Francisco, California, the Wikimedia Foundation is an audited, 501(c)(3) non-profit that is funded primarily through donations and grants. It currently employs over 240 staff members.

At the Foundation, we build technology to help people everywhere access Wikipedia, across devices and in nearly 300 languages. We engineer privacy for our readers and editors so they can safely and securely explore Wikipedia. We create programs and initiatives to make Wikipedia freely available to more people in more parts of the world. We build new tools for the community of editors so they can continue to improve and grow Wikipedia. Roughly a quarter of our budget goes to supporting the community that make the site possible, including through grantmaking programs that enable volunteers and enrich the information on the sites.

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

More Information:
Wikimedia Foundation
Wikimedia Blog

To apply for this position, please submit your resume and cover letter to Wikimedia Chief Communications Officer.
Please contact Amy Segelin ( with any questions.

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