Meet The Team

Christopher Wood

Executive Director & Co-Founder



Short Bio:

A leading entrepreneur, Christopher Wood has founded three non-profits focused on the LGBTQ+ community, one for profit B2B and B2C company, taught as an adjunct professor around entrepreneurship and spoke at over 100 events in the past 10 years. His drive and passion truly took shape at 25 years old when he was taken hostage by the first suicide bomber in the US and realizing from cradle to grave, this life is short and it was on him to make his dreams come true. To date, he has grown all his non-profit or for profit ventures from a small idea to successful organizations employing over 15 people. Mr. Wood currently holds positions as the Executive Director & Co-Founder, LGBT Tech – Chief Operating Officer, Redwood & Co. – President & Founder, Shenandoah LGBTQ Center. In addition to his professional achievements, Mr. Wood’s proudest personal achievements over the past 10 years is becoming a foster to adopt parent and building a beautiful family with his husband.

Long Bio:

Christopher Wood is an entrepreneur in every sense of the word; author, speaker, adjunct professor, Executive Director & co-founder of two national non-profits, President & founder of one regional non-profit, and COO of a small international business with B2B and B2C customers.

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. Mr. Wood was appointed for a second term in 2019 and has served the committee for a total of four years.

In 2015, Mr. Wood started another company with his husband, Redwood & Co. Serving as the Chief Operating Officer, together with several employees, Mr. Wood and his husband have grown their business from a small retail storefront to an international B2B and B2C business selling home fragrance, bath & body and home décor. They are currently distributed in over 150 locations across the U.S. and have a flagship store in Staunton, VA.

In 2018, Mr. Wood noticed a serious lack of LGBTQ+ services available in the Shenandoah Valley of Central Virginia. July of 2018 he founded the Shenandoah LGBTQ Center and Staunton Pride. To date, he has lead the organization as the President and grown it into an organization with over 5 committees working from Winchester, VA to Roanoke, VA serving the LGBTQ+ community with the support they need the most.

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.

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

Director of Programs


Ellie oversees all day-to-day operations of the PowerOn and PATHS programs. 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.

Kristen Kelley

Programs & Communications Manager


Kristen Kelley is the Programs and Communications Manager at LGBT Tech. She oversees programming and partnerships for PATHS and PowerOn. She also coordinates social media and communications for LGBT Tech. Kristen has a background in social services and grassroots community organizing. She graduated from Columbia College Chicago with a degree in Cultural Studies and Women and Gender Studies. After completing her undergraduate degree, Kristen lived in Barcelona, Spain teaching English as a Foreign Language. She has extensive experience in refugee solidarity work, volunteering for grassroots projects to support refugees living in camps and shelters across Greece, France, Turkey, Lebanon, and México. She has also worked as a Housing Advocate in Chicago, working with families and youth experiencing homelessness. She has continued doing immigrant solidarity work in both Chicago and México.