The process of wound repair in epithelium-lined organs of mammals is complex and is influenced by numerous secreted factors including cytokines, growth factors, and chemokines. However, the cellular organizers of this process are still not understood. Recent studies of tissue regeneration in organisms with simpler development have uncovered details about the activity of stem cells in the mesenchyme (the blastema) during this process. These blastemal cells are well positioned to interpret cues from the environment and to execute decisions about the direction of wound repair. In mammalian wounds, stromal stem cells appear to be positioned to perform functions similar to those of blastemal cells, including communication with both the overlying epithelium and the inflammatory cells in the mesenchyme.