Christopher Wood

Executive Director & Co-Founder

 

Short Bio:

Non-profit Executive and Co-founder, Business Owner, Professor, and Speaker are few ways to describe what Christopher Wood does on a daily basis, but it hardly describes the journey he had to take to get there. His journey, riddled with challenges, moments of survival and reflection, drove him from a place of complacency to a place of empowerment and action. From coming out as “gay”, to being taken hostage by the first suicide bomber in the US, Chris realized from cradle to grave, this life is short. His non-traditional path, drive to build businesses and desire to add a voice for a community he deeply loves led him to look beyond traditional boundaries and forge a path of his own complete with teaching others how to do the same.

Long Bio:

Christopher Wood is an entrepreneur in every sense of the word; author, speaker, co-founder of two non-profits, small business owner, and consultant around social media, PR and marketing.

In 2012, Mr. Wood co-founded a new non-profit, the LGBT Technology Partnership which focuses on advocacy for LGBT individuals and communities as it relates to technology and the policies that govern it. Through Mr. Wood’s leadership the organization has met with and continues to work with several Fortune top 20 technology, social media and nonprofit organizations. The organization has also met with several government agencies including the White House and the Federal Communications Commission.

In 2014, Mr. Wood led the launch of another non-profit to work with the LGBT Technology Institute. The Institute is a tax-exempt not-for-profit organization conducting cutting edge research at the intersection of LGBT communities and technology and creates resources, tools, and programs to support LGBT communities.

 

In 2017, Mr. Wood was appointed to the Federal Communications Commission's Advisory Committee on Diversity and Digital Empowerment for a two year term.

In 2015, Mr. Wood started another company with his husband, Redwood & Co. and Redwood Soap Co. Together with several employees, they run the Redwood & Co. store front in Central Virginia offering a wide variety of home decor, furniture and artisan bath products. The entire business started in 2012 when they formulated their first bar of Redwood Soap Co. goats milk soap and now offer an entire line of all natural bath and body products in Redwood & Co. and to 25 locations in 8 states.

Previously, Mr. Wood served as a consultant to national LGBT organizations on various projects including transgender economic development programs. In this capacity, Mr. Wood provided project planning and strategic guidance to groups developing programs around jobs, legal programs, intake processes, localized statistics and employer/employee training opportunities. His work has assisted several transgender communities across many US cities move transgender assistance programs to the next level.

Prior to that, Mr. Wood worked at Discovery Communications creating social media and strategic marketing campaigns directed toward rural and LGBT communities. As part of his strategic campaigns, he was responsible for directing outreach programs at various LGBT Pride festivals across the country. From this work and previous experience, Mr. Wood brings a keen understanding of the needs of local LGBT organizations and how best to connect with them.

Mr. Wood has also owned a successful marketing consulting practice with clients such as the Washington Blade and Blackbarn Media to name a few. Mr. Wood joined his client, the Washington Blade, an LGBT newspaper, as the full-time marketing manager. In that capacity, Mr. Wood worked on creating strategic partnerships with various local and national LGBT organizations for advertising, events and outreach.

Meet The Team

 

Carlos Gutierrez

Deputy Director & General Counsel

 

Mr. Gutierrez is an attorney with an extensive background in both business and legal affairs combined with a deep understanding of technology, telecommunications and long-term strategic planning.

 

Mr. Gutierrez has significant telecommunications experience having served as an intern at the Federal Communications Commission, helping draft and implement the Telecommunications Act of 1996 for the Common Carrier Bureau.  His work included developing rules relating to interconnection agreements for CLECs (Competitive Local Exchanges), Pole Attachment agreements and work relating to issues of net neutrality. Mr. Gutierrez served as a Legal Associate at the Washington, D.C. law firm of Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo.

 

Mr. Gutierrez worked on the implementation of telecommunications rules with state PUCs as well as interconnection agreements, must carry regulations, kid vid rules and drafted comments and replies before the FCC on a variety of issues affecting CLECs. 

 

More recently, Mr. Gutierrez’s experience includes responsibility for launching and overseeing the day-to-day business and legal affairs for 3net a 3D joint venture network by Sony, Discovery Communications and IMAX.  His duties have included the negotiation of multi-platform production agreements with domestic and international film, television and digital content providers, management of the network's program output deals and supervision of operations and production management.  In addition, he has worked closely with the CEO and senior management to build annual and long-term strategic plans for the network and related businesses.

 

Prior to that Mr. Gutierrez worked at Discovery Communications, Inc., where he served as Vice President of Business Operations and Strategy.  In this capacity, he oversaw domestic and international programming deals, network strategies and worked closely with legal and business affairs.  He joined Discovery in 1999 as part of the Legal Programming group, where he managed the international legal team.

 

Mr. Gutierrez also interned at the White House as Assistant to the Special Counsel to the President of the United States.  He is a graduate of the University of Florida and holds a law degree from Georgetown University.

Ellie Bessette

Program Manager

Ellie oversees all day-to-day operations of the PowerOn program. With a background in fundraising, Ellie leads the charge to grow programs like PowerOn, empowering LGBTQ+ individuals by providing hardware (computers, tablets, laptops and cell phones), technology education, and information about low cost broadband. Through regular communications with PowerOn partner centers and recycling partners Ellie ensures that e-waste and donated technology are doing the most good for the LGBTQ+ individuals we serve. Ellie also manages the marketing and development operations for the program and oversees the application process for new LGBTQ+ centers to join PowerOn.

 

A native of western Massachusetts, Ellie was born and raised in Northampton, MA, one of the nation’s most diverse, LGBTQ+-friendly towns. Before joining LGBT Tech, she started her fundraising career at the Northfield Mount Hermon School, and then joined the Dakin Humane Society. Ellie is a graduate of Mount Holyoke College.


Ellie lives with her husband and three cats in the gorgeous Shenandoah Valley.

Dee Williams

Executive Administrator & Content Coordinator

 

Dee Williams is Executive Assistant and Content Coordinator for LGBT Tech. Growing up, coming out, and transitioning in an area with limited resources for LGBTQ+ people has illustrated for Dee the importance of connecting LGBTQ+ communities with the tech that helps not only to survive but thrive. As a member of LGBT Tech, she is committed to helping those working constantly to expand technological access to LGBTQ+ communities.

 

In addition to serving her roles at LGBT Tech, Dee also volunteers as a Social Program Coordinator with Shenandoah LGBTQ Center. A graduate of Mary Baldwin University and a Virginia local, she lives with her partner in the Shenandoah Valley.