avatar for Gayle Karen Young

Gayle Karen Young

San Francisco, CA // Whidbey Island, WA
I was born in the Philippines to Chinese parents and raised in the United States. I am deeply committed to expanding human freedom, whether freedom of mind, from the ways we get in our way and supporting systems as liberating structures rather than confining ones. I’m also a geek who loves science fiction. It has always inspired in me a passion for technology and its ability to leverage societal change.

I believe the world needs more leaders who are “able for” what lies ahead and who have developed the capacity to work with complexity rather than be overwhelmed or avoidant of it.

I was in process of becoming a Zen monk when I became an executive instead. I took the role of Chief Culture and Talent Officer at the Wikimedia Foundation (Wikipedia and its sister free-knowledge projects) until early 2015, when I decided to return to private practice in executive advising and consulting.

In my time as a C-suite executive for a top 5 global website with half a billion users a month, I built the Talent and Culture department for Wikimedia from the ground up, creating the human resources infrastructure and strategy, and developing people through leadership programs sourced in cutting edge development practices.

Before that, I was in management consulting and executive coaching. My clients ranged from Kaiser Permanente to Yale University to Ernst & Young, and have spanned industries from tech, biotech, and space, to hospitality and restaurants, to healthcare and life insurance. I have worked as a facilitator for the Stanford Graduate School of Business Interpersonal Dynamics course and their Women in Management program. I currently mentor for accelerator programs such as the Unreasonable Institute, Singularity University Labs, and the Thiel 20Under20 program with a focus on co-founder dynamics, start-up cultures, early stage leaders and teams, and leadership team dynamics.