Wikipedia, Culture and Poetry with Gayle Karen Young
My guest today is Gayle Karen Young (@MissGayle), the former Head of Culture and Talent at Wikimedia, which is the parent company for the Wikipedia. Gayle shepherded a company which grew to 300 employees serving half a billion users each month! We discuss her role, and what made it possible for her to support both company employees and the much larger Wikipedia community around the world.
Since leaving Wikimedia in 2015, Gayle has returned to her practice consulting practice and now works with a variety of companies and executives to create dynamic organizational cultures in which people are empowered to do their best work.
I have rarely been as moved by the careful choice of words as I was throughout this conversation. I was impressed with Gayle’s depth of thinking about human development applied to organizations.
Gayle was one of our speakers at the 1st Annual Responsive Conference. I hope you enjoy this interview as much as I enjoyed conducting it!
1:00 – 4:00 Gayle’s interest in organization design
5:00 – 9:00 Wikimedia Foundation
9:00 – 13:00 How the Wikimedia Foundation is organized
13:00 – 15:30 Diversity within the team
15:30 – 23:00 Gayle time joining Wikimedia and the Wikipedia blackout
23:00 – 25:30 Leading with consciousness
25:30 – 28:00 Buddhist monk influence –
28:00 – 30:00 Robin’s podcast with:
30:00 – 35:00 Organizational dynamics created by leader’s shadows
35:00 – 38:00 Creating open feedback loops and a growth mindset
38:00 – 41:00 The mythic and the mundane of leadership
41:00 – 44:00 The power of poetry and understanding the spirit of an organization
44:00 – 48:00 Encyclopedias and editors
48:00 – 52:00 Why Gayle left Wikimedia
52:00 – 56:00 What Gayle is working on now
56:00 – 60:00 Working from cities versus isolated islands
60:00 – 102:00 Robin’s life
102:00 – 110:00 Embodiment
Gayle’s Recommended Books:
- Simple Habits for Complex Times by Jennifer Garvey Berger
- Agnostic: A Spirited Manifesto by Lesley Hazleton
- Mastering Leadership by Bob Anderson and Bill Adams
- An Everyone Culture by Robert Kegan and Lisa Lahey
- The Heart Aroused – Poetry and the Preservation of the Soul in Corporate America by David Whyte
- Consolations by David Whyte
- Crossing the Unknown Sea: Work is a Pilgrimage of Identity by David Whyte
Connect with Gayle: