Girl Develop It (GDI) Executive Director Corinne Warnshuis, who led the coding education nonprofit since 2014 and came under fire at the end of 2018 over issues of racism and a lack of inclusion at the organization, announced Monday she had worked her last day at the organization.
Warnshuis, who first joined the organization as Philly chapter lead in 2012, announced the career move in a blog post titled “Saying Goodbye.”
“I’d like to share my immense gratitude for my leadership team and everyone who I’ve worked with who helped to build GDI into what it is today,” the nonprofit exec wrote. “Thank you for letting me be a small part of leading it. I look forward to seeing where this movement goes next.”
The post did not mention the string of callouts from former staffers, chapter leaders and alumni that tossed the organization into turmoil last year. Under the hashtag #gdistrike, hundreds of former community members called for wide-ranging reform inside the nonprofit. Warnshuis’ departure was one of the main demands from a group of 200 community members who signed a fiery open letter to the nonprofit’s board.
It all began in Minneapolis last summer, where technologist Lanice Sims took to Twitter over the summer to air complaints of lack of inclusion from the chapter’s leaders, which resulted in those leaders stepping down. The issue was not immediately reported, which prompted Wilmington-based Jocelyn Harper to resign as the chapter lead, citing a lack of transparency in the Sims case.
In February, after more instances of misconduct were aired on Kim Crayton’s #causeascene podcast, the Philly chapter was put on indefinite hiatus by chapter leader Suzie Nieman, who resigned in protest.
News of Warnshuis’ departure first began circulating on social media, when Crayton shared screenshots of a message that Warnshuis posted on a Facebook group for alumni of the Executive Program for Nonprofit Leaders at Stanford Graduate School.
“As for what’s next, I’m interested in staying in the social impact space, so would love to find meaningful and challenging work at a foundation, in CSR, impact investing or a social venture,” Warnshuis wrote in the now-deleted post. “I’m very passionate about building community, diversity & inclusion, and women’s empowerment, and I’m especially interested in relationship management, partnerships and fundraising/development.”
The former ED confirmed to Technical.ly in an email that the screenshots were “accurate,” but that the responses to the social media post were “malicious, defamatory and false.” Warnshuis did not comment further, and instead sent a link to her blog post.
“Exaggerating the numbers, taking [zero] ownership for her actions that caused the org to implode, and posting a photo containing those she’s directly harmed like everything’s okay,” Nieman said in a tweet. “[Corinne] is at it again. You are in no way qualified to do DEI work. Sit down. #gdistrike.”
Emails sent to the organization’s board of directors, as well as Director of Operations Bindu Jallabah, were not immediately responded to. We’ve also reached out to some of the former staffers and community members who called for Warnshuis to step down.
We’ll update this story as we learn more.
Full disclosure: Girl Develop It Executive Director Corinne Warnshuis worked as an events coordinator for Technical.ly from 2013 to 2014. That relationship is unrelated to this report.
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