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Coraline Ada Ehmke

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Coraline Ada Ehmke
Portrait photograph of Coraline Ada Ehmke
Coraline Ada Ehmke
Born United States
Occupation Technologist, speaker, writer
Notable work Culture Offset, Contributor Covenant

Coraline Ada Ehmke is a software developer and open source advocate based in Chicago, Illinois. She began her career as a web developer in 1994 and has worked in a variety of industries, including engineering, consulting, education, advertising, healthcare, and software development infrastructure. She is known for her work in Ruby, and in 2016 earned the Ruby Hero award at RailsConf, a conference for Ruby on Rails developers. She is also known for her social justice work and activism, the creation of Contributor Covenant, and is credited with promoting and popularizing the use of codes of conduct for open source projects and communities.


Ehmke began writing software in 1994, using the Perl programming language. She has since written software in ASP.NET and Java, before discovering Ruby in 2007.[1] She is the author of 25 Ruby gems[2] and has contributed to projects including Rspec and Ruby on Rails. She has spoken at RailsConf,[3] Madison+ Ruby,[4] That Conference,[5] Big Ruby,[6] Great Wide Open,[7] Nickel City Ruby,[8] Keep Ruby Weird,[9] Mountain West Ruby,[10] Rocky Mountain Ruby,[11] Write/Speak/Code,[12] Bath Ruby,[13] and RubyConf Australia.[14] In 2017 she gave the keynote addresses at RubyFuza in Cape Town, South Africa[15] and RubyConf Brazil.[16]

In 2013 at the Madison+ Ruby conference, Ehmke was among a group of people who announced the creation of a community for LGBT technologists called LGBTech. During this announcement, she also came out publicly as transgender.[17]

In 2014, Ehmke created, a website to help all women contribute to open source by connecting them with mentors and pair programming partners, and identifying open source projects that welcome diverse contributors.[1][18] Also in 2014, she created the Contributor Covenant, a code of conduct used in over 40,000 open source projects including all such projects from Google, Microsoft, and Apple.[19][20][21] In 2016, she received a Ruby Hero award in recognition of her work on the Contributor Covenant.[22][23] After allegations of sexual harassment were made against the founder and CEO of Github and his wife in March 2014, Ehmke joined Betsy Haibel to create a service called the Culture Offset. Culture Offset allowed people who wished to boycott Github but were unable to do so because it was necessary for their work to "offset" their use by directing donations to organizations working to help underrepresented people in the technology industry. This project was featured in the Wall Street Journal and Wired Magazine.[24][25]

Ehmke was a panelist on the Ruby Rogues podcast from 2014 to 2016,[26] and is a founding panelist on the Greater Than Code podcast.[27] She serves on the boards of directors for Ruby Together and RailsBridge.[28][29]

In 2016, she joined GitHub as a senior developer on a team that develops community management and anti-harassment features for the software platform.[30] She was fired approximately a year later, and on July 5, 2017 published an article criticizing Github's culture and the circumstances surrounding her severance.[31][32][33] Her story was featured in a 2017 report on hush clauses and non-disparagement agreements published by CNN.[34]

Ehmke has been the repeated target of negative reporting by far-right organizations and bloggers including Breitbart News and Vox Day, and often describes herself as a "Notorious Social Justice Warrior" after being given the moniker in a Breitbart article about her joining Github.[35][36]

Personal life

Ehmke is transgender, and began her transition in March 2014.[35][37] She has been public about her transition in hopes of helping others, and has given several interviews about her experiences transitioning and working as a trans woman in technology.[35][38][39] She has also given a talk about her experiences titled "He Doesn't Work Here Anymore" at the Keep Ruby Weird, Alterconf, and Madison+ Ruby conferences.[40][37]

Ehmke records music and has released two albums under the name A Little Fire Scarecrow.[35][38][41]


  1. ^ a b Ehmke, Coraline Ada (October 7, 2015). "Refactoring to a Happier Development Team" (Interview). Interviewed by Gareth Wilson. Fog Creek. Retrieved July 6, 2017.
  2. ^ "Coraline Ada". RubyGems. Retrieved July 6, 2017.
  3. ^ McDonald, Logan (June 8, 2016). "Highlights from RailsConf 2016". Chef Blog. Retrieved July 6, 2017.
  4. ^ Remsik, Jenifer (June 18, 2014). "Madison+ Ruby Speaker Line-up". Madison+ Ruby. Retrieved July 6, 2017.
  5. ^ "Coraline Ehmke". That Conference. Retrieved July 6, 2017.
  6. ^ Allen, B.J. (May 9, 2014). "TripCase at the Big Ruby Conference". TripCase Blog. Retrieved July 6, 2017.
  7. ^ Huger, Jen Wike (June 23, 2014). "Steps to diversity in your open source group". Retrieved July 6, 2017.
  8. ^ "Nickel City Ruby Conference". Nickel City Ruby. Retrieved July 6, 2017.
  9. ^ "Speakers". Keep Ruby Weird. Archived from the original on October 8, 2014. Retrieved July 6, 2017.
  10. ^ "Speakers and Sessions". MountainWest RubyConf 2015. Retrieved July 6, 2017.
  11. ^ "Rocky Mountain Ruby". Rocky Mountain Ruby. Archived from the original on April 22, 2015. Retrieved July 6, 2017.
  12. ^ "2016 Write/Speak/Code Conference". Write/Speak/Code. Retrieved July 6, 2017.
  13. ^ King, Dan (March 18, 2016). "Back from Bath Ruby 2016". Yoomee. Retrieved July 6, 2017.
  14. ^ "RubyConf Australia 2015". RubyConf Australia 2015. Retrieved July 6, 2017.
  15. ^ "Rubyfuza". Rubyfuza. Archived from the original on July 6, 2017. Retrieved July 6, 2017.
  16. ^ "RubyConf Brazil". Retrieved January 13, 2018.
  17. ^ Ehmke, Coraline Ada (September 2, 2015). He Doesn't Work Here Anymore (Videotape).
  18. ^ "About". OS4W. Retrieved July 6, 2017.
  19. ^ "Contributor Covenant: A Code of Conduct for Open Source Projects". Contributor Covenant. Retrieved July 6, 2017.
  20. ^ Evans, Jon (March 5, 2016). "On the war between hacker culture and codes of conduct". TechCrunch. Retrieved July 6, 2017.
  21. ^ Bostick, Chad (November 4, 2016). "GitHub's Anti-Harassment Tools and the Open Source Codes of Conduct". Hello Tech Pros. Retrieved July 6, 2017.
  22. ^ "2016 Ruby Heroes". Ruby Heroes. Retrieved July 6, 2017.
  23. ^ RailsConf (May 12, 2016). Ruby Hero Awards (Videotape). Confreaks. 3:52 minutes in.
  24. ^ Wells, Georgia (March 21, 2014). "In Wake of GitHub Incident, Coders Launch 'Culture Offset'". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved July 9, 2017.
  25. ^ Finley, Klint (March 17, 2014). "An Advocate for Women in the Valley Quits GitHub, Citing Harassment". Wired. Retrieved July 9, 2017.
  26. ^ "The Ruby Rogues". Retrieved July 9, 2017.
  27. ^ "Panelists". Greater Than Code. Retrieved July 6, 2017.
  28. ^ "Ruby Together Team". Ruby Together. Archived from the original on July 6, 2017. Retrieved July 6, 2017.
  29. ^ "Team". RailsBridge. Archived from the original on July 6, 2017. Retrieved July 6, 2017.
  30. ^ Ehmke, Coraline Ada (February 24, 2016). "I'm thrilled to announce that I will be joining the team at @github next month to work on community management and anti-harassment tools". Twitter. Retrieved July 6, 2017.
  31. ^ Ehmke, Coraline Ada (July 5, 2017). "Antisocial Coding: My Year at GitHub". Retrieved July 6, 2017.
  32. ^ Jao, Charline (July 5, 2017). "Former GitHub Employee Writes About Company's Failure to Uphold Its Own Values". The Mary Sue. Retrieved July 6, 2017.
  33. ^ Bort, Julie (July 6, 2017). "A GitHub programmer turned down a severance check so she could speak out about her frustrating experience". Business Insider. Retrieved July 8, 2017.
  34. ^ O'Brien, Sara Ashley (July 8, 2017). "Why Sexism Has Festered For So Long in Silicon Valley". CNN Tech. Retrieved July 8, 2017.
  35. ^ a b c d "Coraline Ada Ehmke". Retrieved July 7, 2017.
  36. ^ "@CoralineAda". Twitter. Retrieved July 7, 2017.
  37. ^ a b "Talk: He Doesn't Work Here Anymore". Alterconf. 2015. Retrieved July 9, 2017.
  38. ^ a b Ehmke, Coraline Ada. "Interview with Coraline Ada Ehmke". Geek Girl Rising. Retrieved July 9, 2017.
  39. ^ Heidel, Evelin (September 30, 2016). "Your presence as a political statement: the story of Coraline Ada". GenderIT. Retrieved July 9, 2017.
  40. ^ Madison+ Ruby (September 23, 2015). "Video: He Doesn't Work Here Anymore by @CoralineAda". Twitter. Retrieved July 9, 2017.
  41. ^ "A Little Fire Scarecrow". Retrieved July 9, 2017.

External links