Vice President of Talent & Culture

Reports to: Chief of Talent & Culture

Location: Open, ideally in a global center outside or within the US

The Wikimedia Foundation is a nonprofit organization that provides the essential infrastructure for free knowledge globally. We operate the world’s most collaborative project (including Wikipedia, Wikidata, Wikimedia Commons & various other projects that are part of our multilingual, free-content Wikimedia family).  We welcome anyone who shares our vision to join us in collecting and sharing knowledge that fully represents human diversity.

Through a vast affiliate network of (140+) chapters, thematic organizations, and user groups,  250,000+ editors contribute monthly in over 300 languages. There are 53 million media files on Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository. We are the world’s fifth most popular digital platform, providing free educational resources globally. 1.5 billion unique devices visit Wikimedia Foundation sites monthly.

The Wikimedia Foundation has more than doubled in size in the last few years. Currently, a talented and passionate team of 500+ is based in 40 countries across the globe.

The Role

The Wikimedia Foundation is seeking a Vice President to join the Talent & Culture (T&C) department. We believe that our people are our most important asset, and the policy and practice work of our Talent & Culture department is critical to identifying, supporting, developing, and retaining excellent colleagues who advance the Foundation’s mission. This role will work side-by-side with the Chief of Talent & Culture to develop and implement a talent philosophy that supports our mission and organizational culture while simultaneously:

  • Allowing talented colleagues to grow and thrive; and
  • Achieving measurable business and social impact goals.

Specifically, you’ll be an energetic leader, strategic thinker, and problem solver across strategic human resource planning, talent management, and all aspects of culture, diversity, and organizational development. You’ll learn from the Foundation’s leaders and managers and then tailor critical HR support for each business line’s growth and evolving needs. In parallel, you will be driving culturally- and values- aligned HR investments that allow for a stellar employee experience and position Wikimedia as an employer of choice in the global nonprofit, technology, and advocacy fields.

Key areas of responsibility will include effective oversight, coordination and implementation of various HR policies and process, performance management, talent management and development, rewards and recognition, diversity and inclusion practices, workforce analytics, training and organizational effectiveness. Additionally, the VP, T&C will lead efforts for employee engagement/relations as well as internal communications.

This position requires an individual who can act as a senior consultant to the business, build and execute a strong integrated HR strategy, as well as manage and develop the teams that support each department’s unique business needs, culture and objectives. The VP, T&C will be key in developing a stellar pipeline of leaders distributed across the organization: how we invest in them, develop, support and empower them and their teams via programs and tools.  The ideal candidate must demonstrate a combination of strong business and coaching acumen — acquired within a large (hundreds of staff), complex (multi-program/initiative), global and geographically dispersed organization — and a significant human resource functional track record, with the knowledge to guide the development of effective HR strategies, policies and practices.

You’ll provide a pragmatic perspective based on business and organizational transformation, active collaboration, agility, and the ability to successfully partner with and advise senior departmental leaders. You’ll be a forward thinker with the ability to assume responsibility without direct supervision, exercise initiative and judgment, and make decisions within the scope of assigned authority. We need you to take a “roll up your sleeves” approach to day-to-day work, and also act as a strategic advisor to the senior leadership team in furthering the organization’s goals. You should definitely pay high attention to detail, be a great multitasker, and quickly adapt to a changing work environment.

Key Responsibilities

Organizational Development

  • Develop, maintain and lead our organization-wide leadership, culture and values agenda
  • Be a thought partner to the VP, DEI (to be hired) to help execute a  global diversity and inclusion vision, strategy, and project plan supportive of hiring, retaining, and developing a diverse, and globally-dispersed, talent pipeline
  • Ensure equitable and meaningful performance review cycles are in place to provide feedback on performance and development.
  • Oversee employee survey practices, analyze results for effective integration into the organizational process, and partner with organizational leaders to implement changes as needed as needed
  • Provide advice and direction to senior people managers on various aspects of HR and people practices
  • Leverage workforce analytics and various business metrics to support business decisions and to track progress against performance expectations
  • Establish and implement change management frameworks and best practices to support the company’s need to scale while maintaining our core values and culture
  • Partner effectively with colleagues on policy development (for example with VP, DEI on employee relations or with Legal and Finance on competitive compensation)
  • Inform organizational direction in collaboration with a cohort of VP peers

Department Leadership

In cooperation with the CTCO:

  • Define the direction of the T&C department in support of the organizational mission, vision, and values; facilitate input from directors and other department leaders
  • Deliver a departmental development plan to support and develop staff and key capacities. This plan and should be forward-looking and include the proposed skills, capacities, and structures needed for a 3-5 year timetable
  • Anticipate and identify policy needs; develop right-sized policies that support the Foundation’s growth and global footprint
  • Recruit, develop, and mentor a diverse team of exceptional people in service of organizational goals. Establish a culture of mutual respect, collaboration, trust, service, excellence, and sustainability that supports them in their work
  • Communicate critical information within the department as well as the c-level
  • Motivate, develop, coach, and assess people leaders; develop and mentor T&C department colleagues

Employee Communications

  • Partner with the CTCO, Communications department, and leadership team to support internal communications throughout the organization and on company-wide organizational development and change initiatives
  • Develop a communications strategy to ensure that employees remain informed, aligned and engaged with the mission and goals of the organization
  • Ensure we are providing staff with the communications they need to be aligned, inspired, and connected to the mission

Employee Recognition

  • Identify trends, draw conclusions and evolve rewards strategy and programs in support of the Foundation’s evolving business direction
  • Translate strategic priorities into operational reality, leading to the execution of robust plans which yield measurable and sustainable results
  • Have strong strategic and operational planning capability

The ideal person is: 

  • Naturally curious, dedicated and detail-oriented with a desire to work in a highly collaborative environment
  • An international leader able to raise Wikimedia’s international human resource capabilities through collaboration, thought partnership, risk management, and as a mentor and leader
  • A bold thinker who will take strategic plans and a wide variety of human resource concepts and translate them into action
  • A fast-thinking tactician who can navigate sensitive, high-stakes global human resource issues with uncompromised values
  • An experienced, hands-on team leader with deep organizational development expertise, including the ability to coach, develop and influence Foundation leaders
  • An influential and inclusive leader who can establish credibility throughout the organization to be an effective listener and problem solver of people issues, and advance the trust quotient of the Talent & Culture department
  • Skilled in maintaining HR policies and processes and ensuring they are implemented in accordance with laws / regulations and company policies, practices and objectives
  • Someone who understands “state of the art” for HR and how to apply it in the Foundation’s unique context

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

  • Significant track record in people operations with extensive knowledge of recruiting and employee retention programs such as learning, development and mentorship as well as fluency in compensation and benefits
  • Experience and excitement in working with distributed teams, with insight into the joys and challenges of remote work
  • Deep commitment to inclusion in the workplace, and fluency in the broader cultural conversation
  • Demonstrated success in leading change and building an inclusive culture
  • Success in implementing organizational design strategies that optimize an organization’s resources
  • Strategic thinker with an analytical approach to problem-solving
  • Comfort with behind the scenes work, thrives on helping others be their best selves and anticipating their needs before they are spoken
  • Experience leading multidisciplinary teams, developing diverse talent pipelines, and creating systems for creative and sustainable internal workflows
  • Experience with inclusive and humane change management practices
  • A clear, effective communications style, including experience guiding messaging for major organizations, movements, or political candidates
  • Informed cultural sensitivities, intellectual curiosity, and a deep passion for the Wikimedia mission of knowledge equity
  • Significant experience navigating complex international organizations, movements, or networks
  • A track record of building consensus among large, dispersed stakeholder groups in a highly collaborative, transparent environment
  • Ability to read the qualitative signals around mood and morale in a company, and create recommendations accordingly
  • Track record of growing and developing peers and junior talent

And it would be great if you had the following:

  • The ability to work in a fast-moving, highly-diverse grassroots volunteer environment, while effectively prioritizing and leading a variety of activities
  • Significant skilled personal use of creative, collaborative, and social platforms
  • Experience working with nonprofit organizations
  • Experience with the technology industry including comfort with concepts and vocabulary related to product development and engineering
  • Fluency or familiarity with languages in addition to English
  • Having lived or worked outside your country of origin
  • Experience as a member of a volunteer community
  • Familiarity with internet-related issues: open culture/free culture, the free and open source software movement, and online surveillance, privacy, and security
  • Experience and/or deep knowledge with global markets (Middle East, Africa, Latin America, and Asia)

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. 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. 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. The Wikimedia Foundation is a United States 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization with offices in San Francisco, California, USA.

As an equal opportunity employer, the Wikimedia Foundation values having a diverse workforce and continuously strives to maintain an inclusive and equitable workplace. We encourage people with a diverse range of backgrounds to apply. We do not discriminate against any person based upon their race, traits historically associated with race, religion, color, national origin, sex, pregnancy or related medical conditions, parental status, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age, status as a protected veteran, status as an individual with a disability, genetic information, or any other legally protected characteristics.

If you are a qualified applicant requiring assistance or an accommodation to complete any step of the application process due to a disability, you may contact us at recruiting@wikimedia.org or (415) 839-6885.

U.S. 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 22 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 fuel for thinking and coding (aka, a pantry full of treats) and monthly massages to help staff relax
  • Paid travel to Wikimedia Foundation events all around the world!
  • Equipment including a laptop, monitor, plus a one-time stipend to cover any additional needs to make sure you have the best work experience
  • Great colleagues – diverse staff and contractors speaking dozens of languages from around the world, fantastic intellectual discourse, mission-driven and intensely passionate people

*Please note that for remote roles located outside of the U.S., we defer to our PEO to ensure alignment with local labor laws.

More information

Wikimedia Foundation


Wikimedia 2030

Wikimedia Medium Term Plan

Our Commitment to Equity

This is Wikimedia Foundation 

Facts Matter

Our Projects

Our Tech Stack

How to Apply: 

Please share nominations or submit a resume and cover letter, in non-pdf format, to our search partners, Viewcrest Advisors: WMFtalent@viewcrestadvisors.com or apply via the applicable job application link.

Viewcrest Advisors is committed to social justice and access to opportunity; we actively cultivate relationships with leaders who have varied life experiences as well as the skills needed to lead strong, innovative organizations. The team is also committed to your privacy and to protecting your personal data; to view Viewcrest’s privacy policy, please visit www.viewcrestadvisors.com.