October 22, 2020 at 10:18 am EDT | by Peter Rosenstein
Comings & Goings
Earl E. Johnson, gay news, Washington Blade
The ‘Comings & Goings’ column chronicles important life changes of Blade readers.

The Comings & Goings column is about sharing the professional successes of our community. We want to recognize those landing new jobs, new clients for their business, joining boards of organizations and other achievements. Please share your successes with us at: comingsandgoings@washblade.com.

Rodrigo Heng-Lehtinen, gay news, Washington Blade
Rodrigo Heng-Lehtinen (Photo courtesy of Heng-Lehtinen)

Congratulations to Rodrigo Heng-Lehtinen on joining the board of AsylumConnect, which provides an online platform for LGBTQ refugees and asylum seekers to find affirming resources — lawyers, healthcare providers, housing services, etc. — anywhere in the country. 

Rodrigo said “AsylumConnect is the first tech resource like this in the world for LGBTQ people fleeing persecution. By using the app or website, LGBTQ asylum seekers across the U.S., from Delaware to South Dakota, can find safe service referrals. It’s a 24/7 digital one-stop-shop. With Trump fostering hostility toward both migrants and LGBTQ people alike, it’s more important than ever that those who live at the intersection of these issues be able to find safe resources.”

Rodrigo works full-time on the leadership team at the National Center for Transgender Equality where he is Deputy Executive Director for Policy and Action.

Congratulations and welcome also to Jean-François Hould who began his third posting in the United States as director of the Québec Government Office in Washington. Upon accepting the position Jean-Francois said “Québec’s LGBTQ record shows that state-led initiatives can have a global impact. I look forward to building new relationships with LGBTQ partners and allies here in Washington, at a time when cross-border collaboration and solidarity is more necessary than ever.”

In this position he is responsible for furthering Québec’s bilateral relations with the U.S. federal government. This strategic post in the American capital builds on his successes supporting Québec’s economic and political interests in the United States. Previously he served as Québec’s representative in Chicago, fostering Québec political and economic relations in the Midwest. He was particularly involved in Great Lakes issues and trade. He also served as Cultural Attaché in New York promoting Québec’s artistic development in the mid-Atlantic.

Hould has a long history of public service beginning his governmental career in 2001. He was recruited to various political positions in ministerial cabinets including serving as Deputy Chief of Staff and Political Adviser to the Minister of Culture and Chief of Staff to the Minister of International Relations and la Francophonie.

Jean-François Hould (Photo courtesy of Hould)

Congratulations also to the winners of LGBT Tech’s PowerOn awards. PowerOn is a national program of the LGBT Technology Institute. The Awards Ceremony was held on Oct. 1 to recognize program participants and supporters dedicated to closing the digital divide for the LGBTQ community.

Awards were presented in four categories: The Visionary Award, honoring an individual or individuals whose work has empowered LGBTQ+ individuals to achieve success through technology and the internet, was presented to Kelli and Jacques van Gool of Houston and Staunton, Va., for their longtime support of PowerOn’s efforts. The Change Agent Award, honoring an individual in public service or social justice whose significant contributions to connectivity have helped support underserved populations, including the LGBTQ+ community, was presented to Dr. Nicol Turner Lee, director of the Center for Technology Innovation at the Brookings Institution in D.C. The Superstar Center Award, honoring a PowerOn partner center or organization that has made outstanding contributions to the program and to the community the organization serves, was presented to Triangle Community Center of Norwalk, Ct., with a runner up award presented to Kaleidoscope Youth Center of Columbus, Ohio. The Role Model Award, honoring a youth or young adult who set the bar for themselves and their peers while participating in the PowerOn Program, was presented to Jordan Paris of Triangle Community, with a runner up award presented to Mackenzie Williams of OUTMemphis in Tennessee.

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