I am a well-known speaker, writer, open source advocate and technologist with over 20 years of experience in developing apps for the web. I have been focusing on software development with Ruby and Rails since 2008. I work diligently to promote diversity and inclusivity in open source and the tech industry. I was recognized for my work with a Ruby Hero award in 2016. I am best known as the creator of the Contributor Covenant, the most popular open source code of conduct in the world (with over 20,000 adoptions including JRuby, Swift, F#, GitLab, and Rails.)
I serve on the board of directors for Ruby Together, a non-profit that funds development of critical Ruby infrastructure like RubyGems.org. I am also on the board of RailsBridge, an organization that teaches marginalized people web development with Ruby and Rails.
I record music in my home studio and have released two albums, both available widely on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, and Google Play. You can hear samples and get links to listen or buy at alittlefirescarecrow.com.
I started my gender transition in March of 2014. I am very public about my journey in the hopes that I can make the way easier for those who come after me. The money I receive from my Patreon goes toward transition-related expenses that my insurance will not cover. Please consider supporting me on Patreon.Download Resume
I have extensive experience extending and refactoring monolithic Rails applications. This includes refactoring to preserve the value and enhance the extensibility of legacy code bases, and in some cases transforming legacy apps into SOA architectures comprising APIs and messaging queues.
My past projects included Leviathan, a system to record streaming event messages across a service-oriented architecture. Its interface provided access to aggregate data and included tools for longitudinal analysis, cohort tracking, multivariate testing and optimization.
I created an application called Cerberus, at the heart of which was a parliamentary voting system comprising several machine learning algorithms that tied into the customer onboarding workflow. The system was able to predict with 85% accuracy which new signups would convert to customers and estimate their relative value.
At GitHub I was the senior engineer on the Community and Safety team. Our charter was to make open source a more inclusive environment by building community management and practical anti-harassment and privacy features into the GitHub platform. I am an expert in identifying and eliminating harassment vectors in large-scale applications that feature user interactions.
In addition to contributing to high-visibility projects like Rails and RSpec, I am the author of 25 Ruby gems ranging from API helpers to object relation mappers to code analysis tools. Giving back to the community through open source is one of my key values as a developer.
I enjoy working closely with technologists at all stages of their careers through mentoring and pairing. I’m passionate about building solid teams of strong individuals representing a diverse set of skills, talents, and backgrounds.
I am a frequent speaker at Ruby, Rails, and open source conferences and events. I have spoken across the United States and on three continents. My talks range from technical topics to open source citizenship to explorations of the way that we think and model the world around us.
I have been recognized for my work in the press and have been interviewed for print/online articles and podcasts on topics including diversity, open source, and mentoring. I'm also the author of several articles on these topics.
I have been contributing to open source since the mid-1990s, when several of my projects were featured on the Perl library archive CPAN. I also had an open source intrusion detection system that I wrote featured in 2600 Magazine.
My first Ruby contributions were to Rspec and RCov and I have created a number of open source Ruby applications since 2008.
I am the organizer of Distributed Denial of Women, a project that represents a belief in our collective power to effect change. The project aims to spread awareness of the pay disparities and other challenges that women and non-binary people in tech face. In 2017 DDoW organized a strike that women in the US, South America, and Europe participated in, staying home from work and absent from social media.
I volunteer as a mentor to early-career developers, helping them develop their technical skills, developing strategies for overcoming bias and discrimination in the industry, and managing their careers and public profiles.
My mentees are chosen exclusively from marginalized populations, including cisgender and transgender women, non-binary people, and people of color.