the internet | January 10, 2012

With Sue Gardner at the Helm, Wikipedia Keeps Growing and Growing

This week, Wikipedia announced that it had reached its fundraising goal of $20 million dollars (it takes $29.5 million to run the operation) in a mere 46 days. It's no small feat—and would have been impossible without Sue Gardner in charge. Gardner heads the Wikimedia Foundation (which oversees Wikipedia), and before she took the reigns, there were no fundraising drives, no clear strategy for growth, at Wikipedia. Well there were, but as we learned from this glowing Fast Company profile of her, they were more along the lines of “Let's buy Brian a laptop.”

Gardner's tenure has brought an unmatched ambition to the world's most important online encyclopedia. In just a few years, she has expanded staff, introduced policies to raise content quality, led fundraising campaigns, and opened international offices. Currently, this digital age maven is planning to increase readership to the one billion mark—focusing her tireless effort on getting more women involved in becoming contributors.

Gardner was formerly head of CBC.CA, the internet platform for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Under her leadership, CBC.CA experienced an historic audience surge and launched many new major multimedia technologies, including podcasting, breaking news alerts, live event blogging, and many forms of user interaction. Her captivating speeches outline how Wikipedia survived the internet’s fickle ups and downs to emerge as a top-ten website offering “the sum of the world’s knowledge.”