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Board of Directors

Board Openings 

The Straight Spouse Network still has 2-5 available Board positions. Volunteers should have experience in:  Development, Communications & Marketing, Education & Training, Human Resources, Finance & Accounting, Technology, and Problem Solving. The Board meets monthly via tele-conference. Board responsibilities are summarized here Board Roles and Responsibilities approved 2011-04-12. Contact Ron Exler  (rexler@straightspouse.org) to apply.
 
Carter Cortelyou Secretary

Carter Cortelyou
President

Carter Cortelyou

President

Rev. Carter Cortelyou is a United Methodist Pastor in Michigan. His ex-wife came out in 2009, when their sons were still in high school. Rev. Cortelyou credits the Straight Spouse Network with helping him recover from the loss of his first marriage. He has recently married again to a woman who supports his work with straight spouses. He hosts and facilitates a face-to-face group which meets monthly in the suburbs of Detroit. He is particularly interested in helping the Straight Spouse Network address the spiritual concerns of straight spouses, regardless of the religious traditions they may identify with.

Pattie Gabriel Board Member

Pattie Gabriel
Board Secretary

Patty Gabriel

Board Secretary

Pattie lives in eastern Pennsylvania, right outside of Pittsburgh.  She is a Registered Nurse and loves working in an Intensive Care Unit. Pattie has four amazing children from ages 16 to 4, who keep her busy. She joined the Straight Spouse Network in 2009. She had been married for 15 years when her ex came out, and her youngest child just 1 week old. Life as she knew it was over, or so she thought at that moment. The power of the people who surrounded her, friends, family, face-to-face contacts with other straight spouses, was what changed and brightened her future. Pattie found a therapist who guided and helped her through many obstacles. It was helpful to read and seek guidance from Straights with similar experiences. It was with the support of the Straight Spouse Network that helped make that happen. Pattie returned to her childhood church and has found a place of peace and family as she continues to grow spiritually. She is co-parenting her children with her ex and his partner. Her oldest child has become an advocate for her peers as they struggle with same sex issues as teens. Having a Dad who is gay gives them insight and they are not afraid to speak loud and be heard.

Patty joined the board as a Board Member in 2014. In 2016 she stepped into the role of Board Secretary. 

Bill Robins jpg

Bill Robins
Board Treasurer


 

Bill Robins

Board Treasurer

Bill Robins also learned about his wife’s sexual orientation in 2000. His journey forced him to work through the various emotions of pain, guilt, anger, grieving, and finally acceptance. “I would like to serve on the Board of SSN so that I can give back, help those in need on their journey, and serve as a “successful” role model; especially for men,” shares Bill. He is the new student recruiter in the Hudson Valley for SUNY Empire State College and also serves as an adjunct lecturer in business, management and economics. Bill’s passion for our mission, as well as his knowledge and guidance, will help improve and grow our organization.

 

Jennifer Ferrante

 Jennifer Ferrante

 

Jennifer Ferrante

2016 Board Member

Jennifer Ferrante is a Straight Spouse Network Support Group Facilitator in Ottawa, Ontario. After the birth of her twins in 2014,  she  discovered that her husband of five years was not straight. In navigating the post disclosure world with six-month old twins, she discovered that there was little support and awareness in Canada and no Straight Spouse Network support group nearby. In November 2015, Jennifer started her support group. Her new group has grown from two to ten members in just one year. Jennifer continues to network and raise awareness in Canada. As a member of our Board of Directors, her goal is to spread our message, create growth, awareness, and build support for the organization. She has appeared on a local television network, works to connect with LGBTQ organizations.

Jennifer is of Algonquin heritage, and is a member of the Pikwakanagan First Nation in Ontario, Canada. This gives her a unique perspective on cultural implications and hopes to bring that experience with her to the Board. She is a teacher with a background in public health and other social issues with Indigenous people. Jennifer is working hard to develop and maintain a healthy co-parenting relationship with her ex-husband.

 

 

Ron Exler Board Member

Ron Exler
Vice President

Ron Exler

Vice President

Ron is a co-facilitator of the local Straight Spouse Network group in Maryland. In 2008 he learned that his wife of 25 years and mother of his four children, was homosexual. His experiences; being a straight spouse, divorcing , and finding a new partner, have been confusing, scary, humbling, and enlightening. He is now happily remarried to another straight spouse. Together, they work to help as many straight spouses as possible – through online, phone, and face-to-face interactions.

Ron has observed how differently men handle their wives coming-out compared to how women handle their husbands coming-out. He is focused on improving how to help men work through their many unique challenges, as well as the opportunities they encounter after learning their wife or girlfriend is a lesbian.

Ron’s profession is in technology product marketing and research. He is currently consulting, and has held senior-level positions in enterprise software companies, industry analyst firms, and a media audience measurement corporation. His professional value is his collaborative work style, fast learning, analytic prowess, communication skills, and business savvy. He earned academic degrees a long time ago – M.S. in Cartography and B.S. in Geography. Ron’s past volunteer work has included coaching youth baseball and serving as a board member of his synagogue.

Laura Long 2016 Board

Laura Long
2016 Board

 

Laura Long

2016 Board Member

Laura Long grew up in Cleveland Heights, Ohio. In 1978 she went off to Boston College, where she majored in nursing and met her future husband. Married nearly twenty years with two preteens, Laura discovered quite by accident that her husband was gay and essentially leading a duplicitous life. 

 They endured a turbulent transition as a couple but kept their priorities focused on the needs of their sons, who have grown into terrific adults. The Straight Spouse Network was an invaluable cornerstone of insight and support via the local support group, and online, throughout the many stages of the Straight Spouse journey. The Unitarian Church, also a place of healing, was where Laura met her second husband. They have a son together. Over the years they’ve continued to share holiday and family celebrations with Laura’s ex and his various boyfriends; scaffolding together their own version of a modern family. 

 Laura has a PhD in health policy and works in home healthcare and hospice. She also holds academic appointments at various colleges and is an aspiring writer. Laura brings strength and perspective to the role as Board member. She is passionate about the mission of the Straight Spouse Network to raise awareness of the Straight Spouse Experience.

Sam Cheney

Sam Cheney 

Sam Cheney

2016 Board Member

Sam Cheney returns to the Board. Sam has served in several capacities since 2005, including Board President 2007-2009. He first sought support from the Straight Spouse Network when his ex came outin 2000. He cares deeply about the future of the organization. “I bring problem solving capability and the ability to see the big picture of where organization came from, where we are now, where we need to go and how we must get there,” says Sam. Sam is a Computer Engineer in the Philadelphia area. He is currently co-owner of a small business that produces custom software for DOD and commercial customers. Sam’s return will provide context and proven clear thinking to the organization.