Sue Gardner is the former director of and now special advisor to the Wikimedia Foundation. She’s also the only Canadian to make it onto Forbes’ The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women list. At the Wikimedia Foundation, Gardner introduced major initiatives focused on organizational maturity, long-term sustainability and increased participation, reach and quality of the foundation’s free-knowledge projects. She was formerly head of CBC.ca, the Internet platform for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation—Canada’s radio, TV and new media public broadcaster and the nation’s largest journalistic organization. Under her leadership, CBC.ca experienced a historic audience surge and launched many new major multimedia technologies, including podcasting, breaking news alerts, live event blogging and many forms of user interaction.
In March 2013, Gardner announced she would be stepping down from the Wikimedia Foundation. She wrote: “The movement and the Wikimedia Foundation are in a strong place now . . . I feel that although we’re in good shape, with a promising future, the same is not true for the Internet itself . . . Increasingly, I’m finding myself uncomfortable about how the Internet’s developing, who’s influencing its development, and who is not . . . There are many organizations and individuals advocating for the public interest online—what’s good for ordinary people—but other interests are more numerous and powerful than they are. I want that to change. And that’s what I want to do next.”
Since beginning her career in 1990 at the now-classic radio program As It Happens, Gardner has worked in all forms of media to create high-quality, award-winning programming. As a journalist, she specialized in pop culture, social issues and media analysis, covering stories such as manipulation of the news media during the first Gulf War, the rise of gated communities in California, the racial implications of the return of the death penalty to New York, changing feminist attitudes towards pornography, the dawn of interactive media and the rise and fall of rave culture in the U.K.
Gardner is a member of the Online News Association, the Society for News Design, Women in Film and Television, the Canadian Association of Journalists and Women in Communications and Technology (WCT).