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Board of Directors

Board Openings 

The Straight Spouse Network has Board positions available. Volunteers should have experience in:  Development, Communications & Marketing, Education & Training, Human Resources, Finance & Accounting, Grant Writing, 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.

Charlotte Osa

Charlotte Osa

2017 Board Secretary

Charlotte Osa (alias) joined the Board of Directors last year and is now our new Secretary. She was born and raised in Washington, DC. In 1989, she moved to Los Angeles with her husband so he could pursue a career in acting. He was gregarious, interesting, and a great father. They had been married for 33 years when he didn’t come home one night. Charlotte found him in a hospital emergency room. He had passed out in a gay bath house after taking drugs. After he recuperated, he came out to the family as bisexual. He found a marriage counselor and told her and his family he was no longer interested in men. The counselor told him that he just needed to spice up his marriage. Two years later, he died in a gay bath house after an accidental drug overdose. Credit card statements showed that he had been going to the baths for some time.

Charlotte is still working on closure. She’s found a lot of help in the Straight Spouse Network support group she attends in Pasadena, CA. She hopes to see an increase in the number of  support groups to serve the growing demand, and would like therapists to get training on the needs of straight spouses. And she has recently become a Support Group Facilitator herself.

Charlotte works in health care IT. She is close to her grown children, now 32 and 34. She enjoys the outdoors, traveling, and creating a social life while rediscovering herself.

 

Julie Bass

 

Julie Bass

2016 Board Member

Julie Bass was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas and now resides in Pearland, a suburb of Houston.  She has raised three remarkable boys, Jeramy, age 41 (from her first husband), Sam, age 25 and Joe age 22 (both from her second husband).   She also has four beautiful granddaughters.

While attending college at the University of Houston, she met her second husband of almost 23 years. After 6 years and two young children, she discovered that he was gay. At the time they were living in Buffalo, NY.  Julie first contacted Straight Spouse Network asking for advice and guidance. She and her husband attended counseling as a couple who wanted to make the mixed orientation marriage work. They relocated to Atlanta, GA, where her husband went back into the closet and did not ever speak of it again. The years went by as they were raising their boys. They realized how life was passing them by and they decided to move back to Texas and eventually to divorce. Julie believes that since so much time passed since discovery that the actual gay thing was only one part of their divorce. Both of the younger boys live with Julie, both are in college. Julie and her ex-husband, now married, have a good relationship and communicate frequently. 

Julie is active in the Houston face-to-face meetings and hopes to increase the social acceptance for the LGBT community in support of her younger son who is gay.  They have conversations daily on how important it is to be true to oneself.  

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.

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.