Chris Delatorre

Editor, science geek, remote work advocate

The Art of Working from Home

On 5/19/18 LinkedIn wrote: “One of the great pleasures of working is to not show up for work. That said, sticking to a schedule while working from home can be tough. Whitson Gordon outlines a few ways to be productive when you’re working from the kitchen table.”

Here’s what I think. Cafes worked for a time but not anymore; sometimes you have to be “in the same room.” But tedium and managerial fear are more of a nightmare at the office and an office isn’t the trophy it once was. “Working from home” is a euphemism for nomadic work, where most would marry freedom and stability without being held hostage to bad music or seen as squatters, pressured to buy a latte every hour.

Of course, not all who wander are lost. If wanderlust isn’t your thing (maybe you feel comfortable with a home base vs. traveling) the trick is to carve out a space for yourself, whether it’s a WeWork membership or (if you have the resources) a space at home that’s dedicated to your business and making ends meet. No one will judge you for blasting Bon Jovi or Europe’s “The Final Countdown” as you wait for the GDPR to drop, and you can meet with your team while making a sandwich or walking the dogs.

Asynchronous remote communication isn’t for everyone and being in pole position can be terrifying. Regardless of which camp you’re in, there are benefits to producing remotely, not the least of which is finding a work-life balance to call your own. Ironic, isn’t it? Read more on LinkedIn.

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I’m the New Editor of Digital Impact

I’m thrilled to be managing editorial for the Digital Impact (DI) portfolio hosted by the Digital Civil Society Lab at Stanford PACS. Funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Liquidnet, and Knight Foundation, DI works to improve digital culture and infrastructure by helping professionals to handle data safely, ethically, and effectively.

Digital Impact is enriched with perspectives from every corner of the public sphere. Our community of experts, virtual roundtable series, and dynamic toolkit draw on the experiences of organizations working toward integrating appropriate data management and governance throughout their work. Have a unique viewpoint on data? Write for us.

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My Strategy Featured in Routledge Guide to Health Communication

When George Mason University’s David Anderson invited me to contribute to Health and Safety Communication: A Practical Guide Forward, I wanted to bring attention to an influential yet unseen demographic: diverse elders.

For diverse elders, invisibility is a barrier to support. In 2015, a national advocacy group asked me to design and implement a consumer portal and digital campaign for its housing initiative. Focused on diverse elders, the national initiative mobilizes support, innovates services and educates people on issues ranging from housing and long term care to cultural competency and mental health.

The 300-page guide published by Routledge looks at how professionals engage with their audiences. A digital campaign I led in Spring 2016 yielded record engagement for the organization and boosted support for diverse elders across generational lines.

By designing a more inclusive consumer ed approach to engagement, we were able to triple our reach and then some. I hope our success, which I outlined in “Creating empathy through intergenerational dialogue” (page 20) inspires professionals as they navigate new terrain in digital marketing and public policy.

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Halima Mahomed, Ford Foundation

Working with Chris is an absolute delight. I’ve had the pleasure of collaborating with Chris on a few different efforts, and can attest to his grasp of philanthropic issues and his excellent writing skills—making tricky subjects engaging. Organized, efficient and effective, Chris is a value add to any institution.


It’s Time to Ditch the Work Silos, for Real

Diversifying can move your team toward a service-oriented approach to engagement. At TechSoup, I led a team of experts to position the forum as a global resource for the social sector, as well as a content partner for Microsoft, Adobe and Box. Daniel Pink’s “Motivation 3.0” (autonomy, mastery, purpose) makes a case for workplace collaboration and my work with Techsoup is one example. Read more on LinkedIn Pulse.

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My Series About a ‘Movement with No Leaders’ Uncovered Many

I love documentaries, the histories of history, recounting and relating our past to the present and future. It’s why I’m drawn to futurism, and why I’m so fascinated by cities and social movements.

In summer 2009, as soon as I put down Jeremy Peters’ op-ed for The New York Times, “Why the Gay Rights Movement Has No National Leader,” I wanted to know if his claims were true. Over 10 days that summer, I caught up with surviving GLF founders, who, by that time, were scattered across the country.

The result was 40 Years After Stonewall, a commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall Riots and the beginning of the modern queer rights movement.

In a short time, I explored the compelling lives of a group of kids who came to New York to “make it big,” or to simply be themselves, blending in with the city’s teeming diversity. How they converged—how their adventures brought them face to face with figures like Huey Newton of the Black Panthers, AIDS activist Larry Kramer and civil rights icon Jane Fonda—you can read for yourself.

These interviews are a resource for historians, activists, and social advocates. With Stonewall 50 approaching, I’m excited to see how we can improve on the 2009 series.

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’40 Years After Stonewall’ Cited in Gender and Law Journal

My interview of Lambda Legal Executive Director Kevin Cathcart for the series, 40 Years After Stonewall, was referenced in a 2015 issue of the Michigan Journal of Gender and Law.

Wyatt Fore’s article, DeBoer v. Snyder: A Case Study In Litigation and Social Reform,” came weeks before the US Supreme Court ruling in the landmark civil rights case, Obergefell v. Hodges. SCOTUS ruled that the fundamental right to marry is guaranteed to same-sex couples by both the Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the US Constitution. Fore’s abstract reads:

This Note examines DeBoer v. Snyder, the Michigan marriage case, with the goal of providing litigators and scholars the proper context for our current historical moment in which (1) the legal status of LGBT people; and (2) the conventional wisdom about the role of impact litigation in social reform movements are rapidly evolving.

On page 192, under the section, “DeBoer: A Defence of Litigation as a Social Reform Tool,” Fore writes:

Commentators often made the criticism that the LGBT movement relies “too much on the litigation groups and on legal victories” instead of “build[ing] a robust enough political arm,” resulting in a situation whereby “[g]ay marriage litigation may also have distracted attention from other items on the gay rights agenda.”

During the interview with Cathcart, I asked if the idea of “radical” had changed in the 40 years since Stonewall, and to differentiate legal work from that of other advocacy groups, to which he answered:

What I’m about to say may seem like a strange criticism of the movement (coming from me), but I think that for a long time the movement and LGBT people relied too much on the litigation groups and on legal victories to move our rights forward and didn’t build a robust enough political arm. The work of building more political strength has been going on the past several years but we are weak on the ground in lots of places, including Washington, D.C. … Our movement needs more legal resources, but it also needs more political power; when we have both we will be unstoppable.

As Lambda Legal’s Online Content Specialist for two years, I ghostwrote Cathcart’s monthly column and for lead attorneys on landmark cases, including Varnum v. Brien. Many thanks to Fore for including the interview, and for this informative article.

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Global Philanthropy Data Charter 2nd Edition Released

WINGS and Foundation Center released the second edition of the Global Philanthropy Data Charter. Launched in 2014, the charter is designed to unite the sector around data and global development. The new version includes guidance on how to engage in data-sharing processes. As Managing Editor for WINGS, I co-led the launch of the Data Charter website in 2014 with Elefint Designs.

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Maria Athanasiou, PhD, Genaissance Pharmaceuticals

Chris has a very positive, can-do attitude, learns very quickly and does excellent work. I would recommend Chris highly and without reservation for a research position.

I was impressed with his organizational skills and with how he approached and solved problems. His questions were frequently difficult to answer and required several advanced degree people to resolve them. In addition to his problem solving ability, Chris is very pleasant to work with. He is willing to do any task that advances the work, and does so happily and efficiently.

Chris is an outstanding employee, an asset to any workplace. If I were in a position to hire him, I absolutely would.


Madrigal’s Quilt of Horrors, or, How Did Facebook Fail Democracy?

Last week, Alexis Madrigal dropped a bomb in The Atlantic so big, we’re looking at Facebook, the social network we’ve given our lives to for a decade, wondering if we can ever trust it again. Madrigal says what Facebook did to American democracy is many threads of a huge story woven together. Now, let’s unravel this quilt of horrors. Read more on HuffPost.

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Angelo Ragaza, Lambda Legal

Chris was instrumental in producing the organization’s national membership magazine as well as weekly news rotations for the website. He seeks and supports synergy between departments and likes to tell fresh, compelling stories that represent the community and the organization well. He’s a stickler for accuracy and is passionate about authenticity in what he and others produce.

Chris helped to launch our social media program and co-authored and covered various social campaigns to support our 35th anniversary and our work for marriage and workplace equality. His work included assisting attorneys with key messaging and later working with the executive director on his monthly column.

Chris is passionate about the relationship between science, technology and social activism and advocacy, and a valuable and energized partner in any team in these fields.


Lewis Haidt, TechSoup

Chris clearly has a passion in working for organizations using technology for social good. I would recommend Chris for a community, social or content position. Chris reported to me as forum community manager, working directly with myself and others across the engagement team to position the forum as a resource for TechSoup.

Chris demonstrated excellent people skills, managing our forum moderators, all of whom are experts in their fields. Chris worked directly with forum moderators in the discovery process, soliciting feedback on how to better engage and include users in our engagement strategies. Chris demonstrated flexibility with frequently-shifting priorities, jumping between tasks and mindsets as needed to keep projects moving.

Chris co-developed a business case analysis for forums integration with a new community technology platform, an analysis which considered expert content streams, innovative crowdsourcing techniques, and cross-sector partnerships. Chris also contributed content and is an excellent editor and documentarian.


Niamani Mutima, Africa Grantmakers’ Affinity Group

Chris has a good grasp of how ideas and concepts work together especially in working internationally. He sent detailed recommendations on sourcing information, curating content and connecting people, as they related to our organization’s initiatives, including our 15th anniversary and conference.

Chris immediately showed interest, knowledge and proficiency around conference topics and the philanthropy space in general. I was blown away by the comprehensiveness of his first draft notes from our initial discussions on the approaches we could take. When Chris drafted the scope of work for the consultancy, I noticed an attention to detail, and a comprehensive and connective approach to understanding the ‘how’ and the ‘why’ of the project.

He is self-motivated, an outstanding writer, plugged into emerging trends and super creative. Chris added value to our work.


Jeffrey M. Otto, PhD, Genaissance Pharmaceuticals

As we made the transition to a clinical laboratory, Chris quickly adjusted to the stringent laboratory parameters from which we needed to operate. He designed and executed quality control experiments to maintain the integrity of DNA plate and related reagent stocks. He was also active in creating and proofing deparment protocols on a regular basis. With his consistent sunny personality and well-developed interpersonal skills, Chris was able to clearly communicate his ideas and opinions to the necessary people.

Chris is a hard working, goal-oriented individual with well developed laboratory and communication skills… a fine candidate for either a laboratory technician or technical writing position. I recommend him without reservation.


Finding My COMPASS, an Award-Winning Educational Resource

Dr. David Anderson, the director of COMPASS, developed its predecessor, Healthy Expectations, to help first-year students as they transition to college. First implemented in 2000, the program was based on seven life health principles designed to create healthy communities by fostering a positive and supportive culture for students on campus.

In 2005, as Senior Editor for George Mason University’s Center for the Advancement of Public Health, I led the editorial process for the multimedia version that earned a model program award from the US Department of Education. It was my first taste of life as a digital nomad, and I’ve been working remotely ever since.

The project that grew around COMPASS (Creating, Optimizing, Mapping, Planning, Achieving, Steering and Succeeding) was an intensive exercise in autonomy, mastery and purpose before Daniel Pink brought “Motivation 3.0” to the mainstream. Developing the name, brand, UX and curriculum, and managing contributions from 30+ experts brought unique challenges that still inspire me today.

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Marianna Emanuelson, Scan-Optics

I hired Chris right out of college. He demonstrated quickly his ability to learn the HR function and the associated expectations. He established himself as a team player with the motivation to learn HR from the entry level role. Chris operated comfortably in a small human resources office, managing medical and other benefits for a few hundred employees of an advanced scanning technology manufacturer, including about 50 remote workers in our Birmingham satellite office.

As editor of the monthly newsletter, Chris was well connected with company initiatives, and he showed a genuine interest for technology, inside and outside of our product line. Whether helping to coordinate sexual harassment training, transferring the employee database to a new technology platform, on-boarding new hires, or recruiting for temporary positions for department heads, his heart was always with the employees. Chris is an asset to any organization he joins.