New Year, New Team: Meet the Lesbians Who Tech Staff #LWTSTAFF

Hey there, Leanne Pittsford, here, founder & CEO of Lesbians Who Tech, the global community of over 15,000 queer women in technology and our allies.

The San Francisco Summit on Feb 26th, 2016, marks what I call, our official 2nd birthday. Our first Summit on Feb 25th, 2014, in San Francisco, I watched over 800 LGBTQ women in tech walk into the Castro Theatre. There, it was made clear to me that Lesbians Who Tech Summit was destined for big things and that one day, I’d hire a team. I am excited to announce after two years of fundraising and working with the support of many dedicated volunteers, that today is that day.

At Lesbians Who Tech, it our mission to get out and create visibility, to get more women and LGBTQ community members in STEM fields, and to show up for each other and connect incredible women who are doing incredible work.

This is our dream. And we truly believe that teamwork makes the dream work. It’s not simply about what we do, but who we are. And when a team of beyond-talented-game-changers, innovators, strategists, and hustlers can join together under one roof, dedicated to one mission — that’s where the magic happens.

I am excited to announce, the Lesbians Who Tech (and allies) team, your organization of Queer Women in Technology:

Dom Brassey // VP of Growth
Patty Busby // Director of Operations
Becca Dinow // Director of Production
Vanessa Newman // Director of Content
Tiff Reed // Head of Creative

Dom Brassey

Dom Brassey // VP of Growth

Dom (she/her/they/them/allgood) has been an active hustler for alternative education and LGBTQ projects since 2005. Dom joins Lesbians Who Tech after proudly serving with gender-nonconforming fashion startup Saint Harridan (Batch 14 at 500 Startups) and multi-channel clothing retailer Title Nine. Dom has completed nonprofit tours of duty with Prison University Project in San Quentin State Prison, The Beat Within at Alameda County Juvenile Hall, the Center for Young Women’s Development (now youngwomenfree.org), Tides Foundation (now Tides.org), and Third Wave Fund, a feminist, activist fund led by young women of color, queer and trans people under the age of 35. If it cultivates queer liberation — and can scale — she can sell it, shape it, rep it, and help you fail it forward.

Tags: gaymarried / millennial / mixedrace / neominimalist / undercovermonk / XWP

Geo: San Francisco Bay Area

Why are you excited to work with Lesbians Who Tech?

This community is an ecosystem for getting things done. It’s a wellspring of opportunity, critical thinking, and talent. It’s a place where the word “Yes” opens meaningful doors. I see the number of scholarships and travel funds that Lesbians Who Tech gives away (as both an organization and a community), and I take it as evidence of the world our members want to live in. As women, lesbians, and queer/trans/nonbinary people, we want to invest in each other, go out on a limb, and take risks. We are not marginalized in this community because we believe in each other. And where women and queer people (of every variety) have a strong showing, we can see an overall increase in engagement with all our allies. And engagement is how we grow. Organizations like Lesbians Who Tech are here to stake our claims, study our critiques, and incorporate our learnings. Healthy communities have healthy feedback loops.

What project will you be leading in the next few months?

TechUP. This is the project that attracted me to work with Leanne and Lesbians Who Tech. TechUP is a series of career fairs connecting talented techies with historically under-represented backgrounds with companies who are committed to robust and reflexive practices around diversity and inclusion. To make this project work, we’ll be building partnerships with people across a diverse array of networks, and creating supportive opportunities for both our hiring partners and our talent partners. We know that teams who collaborate across differences are more creative and dynamic. With TechUP, I see a business opportunity to share the kind of inclusion we practice in our own queer/trans, body-positive, gender-affirming, gender-balanced, racially diverse and inclusive, pan-ability, “allies-are-welcome” nonviolent spaces. TechUP can help us change the tech workforce.

What talk at the summit are you most interested in hearing and why?

I’m excited to present the Bootcamp Showcase on Saturday, Feb 27 at Twitter HQ. Coding schools are rapidly changing the landscape of opportunity for engineers like us, and I love a world where our allies are diversifying the color, gender, sexual orientation, vernacular, and ability expectations of the industry. There are profound differences between the schools in the showcase, and anyone interested in how these schools are impacting the workforce and dev culture should come to this showcase. Schools include: Make School, Dev Bootcamp, Hackbright Academy, Telegraph Academy, BLOC, Big Nerd Ranch, MotherCoders, Ada Developer Academy, Floodgate Academy. This showcase provides a really cool opportunity to hear from all these folks in a single session. I think it’s going to be fascinating.

Patty Busby

Patty Busby // Director of Operations

Patty (she/her) comes to Lesbians Who Tech bringing over 10 years of nonprofit programatic experience, where she has worked for organizations primarily focused on underserved communities. Her prior work includes having worked with Matrix Group, Student Conservation Association, as well as with API communities through the Asian and Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund. If it involves multi-tasking, thinking on your feet, and hustling to get the job done, Patty is the woman for the job.

Tags: taskmaster / entrepreneurwhisperer / processovereverything

Geo: Manassas, Virginia

Why are you excited to work with Lesbians Who Tech?

It’s always exciting to see your work manifest into something amazing. Over the course of the past couple of years and summits, I’ve really embraced Lesbians Who Tech as a part of who I am. It’s incredible being able to see how much we’ve grown since our first to our fourth summit coming up in almost a week! Continuing to be a direct part of this upwards trajectory is beyond words.

What project will you be leading in the next few months?

I’m looking forward to leading infrastructure development as the Director of Operations. This means I’ll be working with sponsors, members and city directors to help bring programs and events to a city near you! We currently have chapters in over 30 cities, and it’s going to be incredible to be a part of overseeing our national — and international — growth and development.

What talk at the summit are you most interested in hearing and why?

I still have goosebumps from Edie and Robbie’s interview at the New York Summit. I’m looking forward to seeing them on stage again kicking off the first full day on Friday, February 26! Please say hello if you see me at the registration desk!

Becca Dinow

Becca Dinow // Director of Events & Production

Becca (she/her) is joining the Lesbians Who Tech team bringing years of experience specifically orchestrating events and initiatives to broaden outreach to LGBTQ communities. Previously, she was the LGBT liaison and Events Manger at Kimpton Hotels, as well as the Hyatt Hotels. Now embracing her Instagram handle, this SecretGaygent also currently works for one of the first and only full-service LGBT Marketing agencies called SPI Marketing. Currently based in San Francisco, Becca works with SPI as the LGBT brand ambassador for MillerCoors Beer Company. With this position, Becca has the pleasure of working closely with all gay owned and operated bars and restaurants, as well as coordinate, promote, and host LGBTQ nightlife events in the Bay area. Work hard, play hard is her motto.

Tags: professionalgay / lesbianambassador / secretgayagent

Geo: San Francisco Bay Area

Why are you excited to work with Lesbians Who Tech?

When attending the first ever Lesbians Who Tech Summit in San Francisco back in 2014, Leanne Pittsford gave a speech about how women should stop underselling their talents and take risks in order to make their presence and potential known in the environment they feel most passionate towards. Immediately after she stepped off stage, I ran to the front of the theater, stuck out my hand and said, “Leanne, I want in.” Since then I’ve been at every LWT summit, working side by side with Leanne as Head of Production and Special Events. I think it’s super important when we are able to have the chance to be out and visible in our careers without having to hide any parts of our identity in fear that we won’t be able to get a job. Leanne whole-heartedly embraces this ideal, which makes me so proud to say that I am now officially part of the core Lesbians Who Tech team as Director of Events and Production, overseeing all operations and on-site activity for the San Francisco and New York annual Summits.

What project will you be leading in the next few months?

Lesbians Who Tech doesn’t just end after the Summit! We are, and are growing into, so much more than that. We’re expanding into more cities, traveling to new countries, establishing communities, and opening doors to diversify tech industries around the world. I’ll be taking the lead on making sure these initiatives and programs best support and cater to our LGBTQ women in tech.

What talk at the summit are you most interested in hearing and why?

I may be biased, but besides all the amazing keynote speakers, robotic talks and the launch of TechUp, I must admit, we have some awesome After-Parties and weekend happenings planned for everyone. The ‘Tech-crawl’ on Thursday, the After party at The Café on Friday, ‘Mango’ on Saturday (at El Rio) and the closing party on Sunday at Virgils. It’s going to be like Lesbian Disneyland! Find Becca amongst the sea of techies or follow her on instagram at @SecretGaygent for more details.

Vanessa Newman

Vanessa Newman // Director of Content

Vanessa (she/her/as long as it’s used with respect) is a creator, storyteller, and defier of all social norms. As Director of Content for Lesbians Who Tech, she is passionate about creating content that raises awareness on the significant impact of LGBTQIA+ women in technology. Vanessa is an NBC BLK 28 under 28, CoolHunting 25 Innovator, and White House Innovation Fellow. She is also the founder of Butchbaby & Co., the first ever androgynous pregnancy wear brand. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram at @thepoetpreneur.

Geo: Washington D.C. Metro Area

Tags: qwoc / unapologticallyblack / socialrebel / ideaddict / haikuartist / hustleandfloater

Why are you excited to work with Lesbians Who Tech?

Lesbians Who Tech really took me under its wing two years ago when I was just beginning to fully embrace being a young, queer, creative and breaking into digital strategy and entrepreneurship. I could never forget the feeling of being packed in a room with more LGBTQ+ women IN TECH than I could have ever imagined. Lesbians Who Tech has brought me to tears of joy, I’ve seen people’s dreams achieved, I’ve seen the impact of what one female coder has on a team, or one queer programmer has on a project. There are so many amazing, impactful stories that are rooted at the core of Lesbians Who Tech. To have the opportunity to share these stories, create these experiences, and say that I don’t just work with a team, but with a family, is something that I’m going to wake up and feel excited about every day.

What project will you be leading in the next few months?

Once our 4th annual #LWTSUMMIT wraps up in San Francisco at the end of the month, there are going to be so many life altering, hustle inspiring, “couldn’t make this up if I tried” moments and so many marginalized yet powerful queer women’s voices ready to be amplified and shared within our communities-at-large and beyond. I’ll be focusing on getting our stories that need to be told OUT through various online platforms and growing engagement and involvement within our community, post summit. 
Spoiler Alert: There may or may not be a tumblr and a podcast in the works.

What talk at the summit are you most interested in hearing and why?

I’m going to have to say I’m most excited for Shantell Martin’s talk on Friday, February 26, Drawing & The Art of Creativity. About a year ago, I came across one of her classes on Skillshare, Drawing on Everything: Discovering Your Creative Voice. I’m definitely no visual artist, but I think sometimes it can be really easy to get caught up in perfecting the process and forget what can come out of spontaneous creativity. At the time, when I watched her talk, it really brought me back to who I am, as a creative, and why I do, what I do, the way I choose to do it. Shantell is a really refreshing artist and speaker, so I’m super interested to see what she’ll bring to the stage — as long as I don’t have to draw anything!

Tiff Reed

Tiff Reed // Head of Creative

Tiff (she/her) picked up a sketch pad and pencil when she was a child and has nurtured a love for images, color, and type ever since. Her passion for art grew into a love for design once attending Old Dominion University as a Drawing & Design major. Tiff is now Head of Creative for Lesbians Who Tech and owns her own studio, iamtiff Creative. When Tiff isn't designing, she can be found practicing hand lettering, having solo dance parties, and watching really bad reality television with her daughter.

Tags: designermom / lettererbynight / dailytype / creativeofcolor / ally

Geo: Norfolk, Virigina

Why are you excited to work with Lesbians Who Tech?

I’ve been an ally all my life. I’ve seen us enter this exciting time where tech and design industries are becoming increasingly diverse and inclusive with each passing year. I’m excited to work with Lesbians Who Tech, being an organization on the forefront of diversifying in tech industry, and providing inclusive platforms for all voices to be heard (and seen!) and identities to be represented.

What project will you be leading in the next few months?

I’ll be owning all visual branding for Lesbians Who Tech in the next few months. Which is pretty awesome, as my passions for design and diversity get to come together through this impactful work. I’ve been creating signage and main stage graphics for the upcoming Summit, which will be awesome to see and I’m excited to continue to that work!

What talk at the summit are you most interested in hearing and why?

I’m most excited for the live Call Your Girlfriend Podcast on Friday, February 26 with Kara Swisher and Aminatou Sow! The podcast itself is raw, and I love that they really get into pop culture and politics, all in the context of being a modern woman. Can’t wait to see that conversation brought to the Lesbians Who Tech Stage!


As you can see, with this team, anything is possible. I chose this team for a number of reasons, but most importantly they make this organization stronger, better and more equipped to provide value to you, our members, our customers, our everything. If you have ideas, thoughts, comments, suggestions for how we can better serve you and our community please let us know at via twitter at#LWTFEEDBACK.

Oh and below is a little bit more about me, your founder & CEO.

Leanne Pittsford

Leanne Pittsford // Founder & CEO

Leanne (she/her) is an entrepreneur, investor and thought leader at the intersection of technology and diversity. As the founder of Lesbians Who Tech, she’s built a global community of over 15,000 queer women and allies in tech to create community, increase visibility and improve representation among women and LGBTQ women in technology. Before her work with Lesbians Who Tech, Leanne founded and led Start Somewhere, a design and technology agency focused on helping social good organizations. From 2006 to 2010 Leanne served as the senior director at Equality California, the largest statewide LGBTQ organization in the U.S. Leanne travels between San Francisco, DC, and Berlin. She’s a serious coffee snob, big fan of kale, slip & slides, and dachshunds. You can find her on Twitter at @lepitts.