Welcome Kari, Coraline, and Anna to the RailsBridge board!

We’re thrilled to announce three new members of the RailsBridge community have joined our board of directors!


Kari Bancroft is a Software Development Instructor at Ada Developers Academy where she works as a teacher and mentor for growing junior developers. Kari has previously worked as a Senior Software Engineer and an Instructor for a Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Program at Facebook. She is extremely passionate about helping new developers find their place in the industry. When she’s not teaching or writing code, Kari is probably playing with her dog Kylo, dancing around the house or writing songs about snacks. Find her on twitter @karianneban.


coralineCoraline Ada Ehmke is a speaker, writer, teacher, open source advocate and technologist
with 20 years of experience in developing apps for the web. As the founder of OS4W.org and creator of the Contributor Covenant, she works diligently to promote diversity and inclusivity in open source and the tech industry. She works for GitHub as a senior engineer on a team devoted to creating community management and anti-harassment tools. Coraline is also writing a book on empathy in software development. Her current interests include refactoring, code analytics, and artificial intelligence.


annaAnna Neyzberg attended her first RailsBridge workshop in 2013. It was incredible and was what inspired her to learn to code. Since her first workshop, she has been looking for ways to give back to the amazing RailsBridge community. The past two years she has served as the organizer manager and then chapter lead for the SF chapter. She works as an engineer at Carbon Five and is a co-organizer of SF.rb, a new Ruby meetup in San Francisco. When she is not working or community organizing, she likes learning to climb rocks and looking for places to have a delicious cappuccino.


Thank you to everyone who submitted an application to join the board! RailsBridge is lucky to have you in our community, and we look forward to continuing to work with all of you on making tech better.


Welcome Kari, Coraline, and Anna to the RailsBridge board!


The RailsBridge board is excited to announce our organizational initiatives for 2016 and 2017! Broadly, we want to reach more communities that are under-represented in technology, create stronger communities in areas that currently have workshops, and sponsor workshops in more geographic areas.

The goals came from a lot of discussion. The Board of Directors drafted the first version in late 2015 and worked with the Advisory Board to refine them. Reaching our goals will take the effort of many RailsBridge chapters and leaders around the world, and we’re excited to have so many talented volunteers. (If we happen to reach all these goals in the next 6 months, we’ll set new ones!)

For each of the goals, we want to share the specific goal, why it’s important to us, and ways that you can help us succeed.

Initiative One: Reach New Populations

RailsBridge has historically focused on running workshops for women, and though we’ve partnered with other communities over the years, this year we’re officially expanding our outreach to other under-represented populations in tech, including people of color, LGBTQ folks, non-native-English speakers in the United States, and low-income groups.


The board will work with eight of our existing chapters to partner with local organizations and hold a workshop for an under-represented group other than women.


Working with women was a natural place for RailsBridge to start; our two founders were women trying to get more women into the San Francisco Ruby community. But our ambitions have always been bigger. We want to make the Ruby community as a whole more welcoming to diverse people.

Some chapters have already been working with other groups — for example, RailsBridge Savannah has focused on low income populations from the beginning, and RailsBridge San Francisco has put on workshops partnering with groups like Black Founders and the Latino Startup Alliance.

Working with a new population requires understanding where they’re coming from, and also finding representative instructors. So it’s important for us to partner with organizations that already have strong community ties. For this initiative, we’ll seek those partners and work with the chapters that have experience with this kind of outreach, and ultimately create a guide that other chapters can follow.

How You Can Help

If you know of an organization that might be a good partner for presenting a RailsBridge workshop, please get in touch! Although our goal is to help existing chapters expand their outreach, if you want to help organize a workshop in a new place, please let us help you! The RailsBridge board plans on doing fundraising in conjunction with Bridge Foundry to be able to financially support these workshops. Email community-partnerships@railsbridge.org to learn more!

Initiative Two: Build and Support Communities

RailsBridge has historically held 2-day workshops that provide technical instruction in software development. Over time, we’ve discovered that their biggest impact has been the tight-knit, inclusive community the workshops foster rather than in the immediate technical instruction.

We want to support more community building, and where it doesn’t happen currently, we want to help organizers move from putting on occasional, isolated workshops to creating regularly-occurring events that help people learn together.


The board will support five of our existing chapters in running their second or third workshop, while working to reduce organizer workload and lower potential burnout.


So many of our attendees tell us that the best thing about a RailsBridge workshop is the feeling of belonging they get, surrounded by people like them who are near their skill level and are also figuring out if software development is something they want to do.

The relationships that form at RailsBridge workshops can be powerful and long-lasting, and are cemented by ongoing contact at other events. We want to help more RailsBridge chapters develop this sort of ongoing community.

At the same time, we recognize that organizing an event is a lot of work, so an important part of this initiative is making it easier to run events and recruit volunteers. Rachel Ober of RailsBridge NYC gave a great talk at Open Source & Feelings about her experience as a RailsBridge chapter leader.

The RailsBridge Chapter Committee is currently developing a toolkit to help chapters make the leap from one-time event organizers to their second or third workshop. We hope to help chapters with things like volunteer recruitment, fundraising, and internal communication so that they can be successful.

How You Can Help

If you’ve had a workshop (or a few!) in your area but haven’t been able to have more, please get in touch! We’ll work with you to facilitate community and learning without burning out.

We could also use your help in improving our chapter toolkit, whether you’ve organized one workshop or twelve. For early access, or to tell us that you’d love to help with the chapter toolkit, please email communities@railsbridge.org.

Initiative Three: Expand to New Areas

RailsBridge’s organic growth has been tremendous, and in 2016, for the first time, we will target particular metro areas for new RailsBridge workshops.


We will provide financial and logistical support for workshops in fifteen new areas. We’re still working with partners to determine which specific areas will have the biggest impact.


In 2015, we expanded nine new cities organically; fifteen cities is a stretch goal for us, and we want to do it without taking significant resources away from our first two initiatives.

We have the ability to support new cities in a variety of ways, including connecting people in the area who want to help, working with institutional partners in the area, helping with outreach to students, or helping with money. The kind of support RailsBridge provides to each new city will depend on what organizers need.

How You Can Help

Organize a workshop in a city that hasn’t had one! We’ll make sure you have the mentorship and support you need. It will be a lot of work, but incredibly rewarding.

You can also connect us with companies and organizations in cities that could host or sponsor a workshop in a new area. Email expansion@railsbridge.org to start the conversation!

2016 and Beyond

Thanks to everyone who helped shape our 2016 goals. We’re incredibly excited about the direction of the organization. This year is our most promising yet because of the hard work of the hundreds of volunteers that are continually organizing, teaching, and giving input about what could be even better.

Achieving everything we want to in the coming years will require time, energy, and financial resources. We would love your individual support via PayPal, or if your company or organization wants to become a sponsor, please email hello@railsbridge.org.

See you at a workshop!


The RailsBridge Chapter Outreach team needs you

RailsBridge is seeking new and experienced organizers to join the Chapter Outreach Team!

One of the RailsBridge board’s major goals for 2016 is to better support existing RailsBridge chapters and make it easier to start a new chapter. Our documentation for running an individual workshop is extensive, but we currently don’t have much written down for setting up chapter leadership, coordinating ongoing fundraising, and managing the workload of recurring workshops.

We’re looking to start a team to streamline chapter outreach and communication and create a kit for new chapters. This kit will provide new chapter organizers information and advice collected from RailsBridge chapters about topics like working with the RailsBridge finance team and using the Board and the larger RailsBridge community as a resource. Anyone who has organized a workshop before (even just one!) would be a great member of this team.

Applications for the positions will close on November 15, 2015. Email us with questions at volunteer@railsbridge.org.

Read through the volunteer openings with have here: http://bit.ly/railsbridge-volunteer-descriptions-2015

Apply to join a RailsBridge team here:

The RailsBridge Chapter Outreach team needs you

Tweet, Facebook, Blog, Email, or Podcast for RailsBridge!

If you love words, RailsBridge, and the Internet, please get in touch — RailsBridge is looking for volunteers to form a communications team!

We’ve had tremendous success in the last six years growing primarily through word of mouth (and about three tweets per month), but we’d like be more intentional about how we share our accomplishments and goals with the world. That’s where you come in!

You will be the voice of an organization doing work that you care about, seeing and sharing the fruits of our collective efforts.

There is a lot of amazing work happening throughout the world with RailsBridge, and the communications team will have a chance to speak broadly about RailsBridge as well as work directly with chapter leaders to promote individual chapters’ efforts. The communications team will also be instrumental to the success of RailsBridge’s 2016 goals of expanding into new communities and new cities.

There are many different communications avenues that the team can focus on, such as social media, blogging, press releases, or even a RailsBridge podcast! The communications team will help the board figure out which channels of communication would be most exciting for the team and most helpful for RailsBridge.

Applications for the positions will close on November 15, 2015. Email us with questions at volunteer@railsbridge.org.

Read through the volunteer opening descriptions: http://bit.ly/railsbridge-volunteer-descriptions-2015

Apply to join a RailsBridge team!

Tweet, Facebook, Blog, Email, or Podcast for RailsBridge!

Join the RailsBridge Fundraising Team!

Is your life better because of RailsBridge? Do you want to enable diverse communities to experience the excitement of writing their first Ruby program?

The RailsBridge board is planning a fundraising campaign to support expansion in 2016, and we’re looking for volunteers to work with us on planning and executing this campaign!

In 2016, we’re hoping to expand RailsBridge to new cities and new marginalized groups we haven’t partnered with before. We want to dedicate money to those efforts, so workshop organizers can focus on students and volunteers, rather than worry about who’s going to pay for the Installfest pizza.

We’ve traditionally fundraised for individual workshops or for a specific purpose. But for 2016 we’re considering running a crowdfunding campaign. This kind of fundraiser is new for us, so we’re especially excited to find members of the global RailsBridge community with experience running a crowdfunding campaign, or who are new to crowdfunding but excited about running one.

Read through the descriptions of the different volunteer positions we’re filling: http://bit.ly/railsbridge-volunteer-descriptions-2015, and please consider applying for one of them!

Applications for the positions will close on November 15, 2015. Email us with questions at volunteer@railsbridge.org.

Join the RailsBridge Fundraising Team!

An excited welcome to Ana & Bianca!

RailsBridge is thrilled to announce that Ana Castro and Bianca Rodrigues have joined our board! They started in June 2015, and have been making excellent contributions already.

Both Ana and Bianca bring a wealth of experience as RailsBridge chapter organizers, and Lillie, Rachel, and Sarah are all extremely excited to have their voices and ideas to help guide the organization.

Please join us in welcoming Ana and Bianca to the board!

Ana Castro is a software engineer at MagmaLabs focused on front-end development and is passionate about best practices and performance. She loves CSS, Vim, Ruby and JavaScript. She has been running the chapter in Colima since the first workshop in Mexico took place two years ago, and also led the translation of the RailsBridge curriculum into Spanish. The best reward for her is the smile of the attendees when learning Rails. She’s also director of Women Who Code Colima.

When not writing code she’s practicing sports like swimming or cycling. Ana enjoys cooking, outdoor activities, and taking long walks with her dogs. Find her on Twitter as @anymoto.

Bianca Rodrigues has been involved with Bianca RodriguesRailsBridge since the first New York City workshop
in 2013. After her incredible experience (and as the proud owner of her very first Rails app), she was hooked. Bianca started organizing events later that year and is an active member of the organizing team in New York. She currently works at Accenture Interactive where she works on digital marketing projects for various clients.

Bianca’s favorite season is summer and her favorite drink is a mojito. You can find her on Twitter as @biancarods.

An excited welcome to Ana & Bianca!

Seeking More Board Members

The RailsBridge board has two open seats! We’re looking for experienced RailsBridge volunteers outside of the SF Bay Area to join the board for a two-year term. If you’re interested in joining or want to nominate someone, send us an email at board@railsbridge.org.

We’ve also written a the RailsBridge board charter and published it on our board repo. It’s pretty short, and it covers things like the responsibilities of the board & board members, board communications, and procedures for filling board vacancies.

If you’re considering nominating yourself or someone else to the board, here are the responsibilities of RailsBridge board members:

  • Serve on the board for a 2 year term
  • Attend monthly board meetings
  • Serve on at least one RailsBridge team or committee (i.e. finance, communications, geographic expansion, operations)
  • Board members should expect to do 15-20 hours of RailsBridge work per month, depending on the board member’s responsibilities
  • Recruit new committee and board members
  • Attend two RailsBridge workshops per year

And here are the guidelines for board candidates:

  • Nominees should be current or former RailsBridge volunteers.
  • Nominees should have at least six months of involvement with RailsBridge.
  • Nominees with prior leadership experience within their chapter or in the larger RailsBridge organization will be preferred.

We hope to have the two vacancies filled by the end of April, so send us your nominations!

We’d also love to hear any feedback, questions, or suggestions you have about the board charter — you can get in touch at board@railsbridge.org or open an issue on the board’s GitHub repo.

Seeking More Board Members