7 HIV/AIDS Directors From NAF Community Partnership Network Selected for UCLA/Johnson & Johnson Health Care Executive Program

By admin on July 20, 2010 in Community Partnerships

Seven leaders of community-based HIV/AIDS organizations from the National AIDS Fund’s Community Partnership network have been selected to participate in the 2010 University of California Los Angeles(UCLA)/Johnson & Johnson Health Care Executive Program, taking place July 18 – 27, 2010 on the UCLA campus.

The UCLA/Johnson & Johnson Health Care Executive Program is a management development program exclusively for executive directors and leaders of community-based health care organizations. The program provides an intensive ten days of management and leadership development at the UCLA Anderson School of Management in Los Angeles, California. Participants are senior executives from community-based healthcare organizations, and engage in a rigorous but relevant curriculum that provides the requisite skills, knowledge and abilities to successfully manage their organizations. The program has graduated over 500 participants since its inception in 2002.

The selected NAF-affiliated leaders for the 2010 program head up organizations that receive funding from their respective National AIDS Fund Community Partnerships, and were nominated by key staff members at those Partnerships.

“The National AIDS Fund takes great pride in the fact that these selected participants in the Health Care Executive Program are part of the NAF Community Partnership network,” said National AIDS Fund President and CEO Kandy Ferree, who is a 2007 graduate of the program. The enthusiastic recommendations from their respective Community Partnerships demonstrate another way that the National AIDS Fund and its stakeholder organizations are helping to cultivate a bright new generation of HIV leaders, as we have done for 15 years with our AmeriCorps program.”

One HCEP participant, Kate Neary-Pounds, executive director of Health Outreach Prevention Education (H.O.P.E.) in Tulsa, OK, was herself a member the National AIDS Fund AmeriCorps team in Tulsa. She was enthusiastically nominated for HCEP by Tulsa Community AIDS Partnership director Janice Nicklas, who was also Neary-Pounds’ city supervisor when she was an AmeriCorps member.

“I am so excited for Kate,” said Nicklas.”She is just such an up and coming leader…..and a genuine caring person in addition to all her hard work associated with HIV prevention programs.”

Neary-Pounds is honored to have been nominated and selected to participate in HCEP.

“This experience is a once in a lifetime opportunity to better myself as a leader and manager, which will make my organization stronger,” she said. “Good leadership at H.O.P.E. trickles down to every direct service staff member, which equals better service for our clients. Good leadership also translates into long-term viability, creative service delivery, and funding success.”

Neary-Pounds believes that her experience as a NAF AmeriCorps member has been instrumental in her career choice and her professional development.

“Being a National AIDS Fund AmeriCorps member was my introduction into HIV/AIDS work, which has provided me a passion for social justice and a deep appreciation for diversity,” said Neary-Pounds. “AmeriCorps provided me experience, credibility, and a wonderful network that paved the way for my current role at H.O.P.E.
Community partnership-nominated HCEP participants range from “up and coming” leaders to seasoned professionals. Jo Bull, Chief Operating Officer of the Central Carolina Community Foundation and key staff for NAF’s Community Partnership in South Carolina nominated Carmen Julious, a woman with more than 20 years working in the HIV/AIDS community.

“Carmen has demonstrated outstanding talent in administrative/management as well as clinical services in health care and prevention,” said Bull. “She has a keen understanding of the needs of the populations served by her agency as evidenced by program development efforts, and engages in continuous self-evaluation and is constantly seeking to improve her talent and skill as a manager and administrator.”

Julious is looking forward to enhancing her already well-honed skills. “I have been fortunate to work in the HIV/AIDS field for over 20 years, serving in many capacities,” she said. “I believe that the program will help to make me a better leader by providing the opportunity to develop and expand my current skill set and gain new skills, gain access to a diverse network of leaders from different parts of the country, identify and utilize organizational models, and develop tools to strengthen organizational stability.”

Philip K. Goropoulos is President/CEO AIDS Community Alliance in Harrisburg, PA and was nominated by Rosemary Browne, the key staff person for NAF’s Community Partnership in Harrisburg, the AIDS Fund of South Central Pennsylvania. Goropoulos feels that his participation in HCEP comes at the perfect time in the growth of his agency.

“Over the next five years, AIDS Community Alliance will be entering an exciting time of growth and challenge,” Goropoulos said. “We’ll be exploring the use of its skills, experience and resources to address the health disparities experienced by vulnerable populations in the South Central Pennsylvania community. The UCLA/Johnson and Johnson Health Care Executive Program offers an excellent opportunity for me to network with and learn from peers in the field who are currently addressing many of these disparities and potentially working with some of the same target populations we will be working with in our community.”

One 2010 HCEP participant, Michelle Wetzel had a recent career change that led to her nomination for the HCEP. Wetzel spent 20 years in HIV/AIDS services, the last 10 of which were as a practicing legal aid attorney for the Legal Assistance Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago’s HIV/AIDS Project, before being tapped to serve as Chief Executive Officer of Chicago’s Alexian Brothers AIDS Ministry/Bonaventure House. She was nominated for the HCEP by AIDS Foundation of Chicago (AFC), a NAF Community Partnership that supports Wetzel’s organization through the NAF Challenge Grants program funded by the Elton John AIDS Foundation. In her CEO position for just under a year, Wetzel is confident that the HCEP will have a significant impact on her leadership skills, and on the growth of her organization.

“My first year as CEO has been about learning the job,” Wetzel said. “I think I’m ready now to take on the bigger strategic planning for our organization and this program will help me hone the skills to do that. If I am a more effective leader by providing clear vision and direction, then our organization can continue to grow and serve more people in the community.”

It was AFC President and CEO Mark Ishaug who nominated Wetzel for the HCEP, who affirms his confidence in Wetzel’s leadership abilities as well as the growth that she and the organization will experience as a result of her participation.

“Michelle has the competence, communication skills, and vision to be a true leader,” said Ishaug. “Being a part of the HCEP will allow Michelle to network, gain the courage to make hard and important decisions and guide her organization in the future through financial difficulties facing non-profit organizations around the country.”
With such a strong talent pool being nominated by NAF Community Partnerships for HCEP, NAF President Kandy Ferree begin_of_the_skype_highlighting     end_of_the_skype_highlighting looks forward to an even stronger network of Partnership grantee organizations. Ferree knows firsthand just how beneficial the program can be for both emerging and established HIV community leaders.

“HCEP is one of the most energizing and inspiring professional development opportunities I have ever had as an HIV organization director,” said Ferree. “It is encouraging to know that National AIDS Fund through its Community Partnerships can continue passing this torch to exceptional leaders, while building stronger, more efficient grantee organizations.”

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