The Board of Directors of The North Carolina AIDS Action Network takes the responsibility of realizing its mission of improving the lives of people living with HIV & AIDS and affected communities across our state very seriously. At the end of 2021 and into 2022, the NCAAN search committee embarked upon a national effort to identify a new permanent leader that would have all of the skills and qualities needed for our organization. While we met some wonderful candidates, we did not choose one, and ultimately made the decision to reopen our executive search in the Fall of 2022. This decision was not an easy one, and we value the time and effort that our community members, staff, and board have put into this process. We learned some great lessons in the process and have made some strategic decisions about our leadership.
As an organization, we are truly fortunate to have an abundance of talent and skill both on our Board of Directors and our staff. As a testimony to her commitment to our mission and the organization, Veleria M. Levy – our former Board Chair – has assumed the role of Interim Executive Director as of August 1st, 2022. Veleria has over 20 years of experience in the healthcare profession, the last 11 of which were spent focused entirely on HIV advocacy, policy, and education. She served as a Senior Regional Account Executive for Avita Pharmacy, where she mentored, managed, and trained all new Sales Account Executives, while continuing to maintain and grow her southern territory. As part of her role, Veleria worked on pharmacy policy at multiple state capitals and on Capitol Hill. She has served in local and state political positions with the NC Democratic Party and is known to state and federal elected officials on both sides of the aisle. Veleria is exceptionally qualified and ready to take on this role and – with her background in fundraising, networking, sales, advocacy, healthcare, and leadership – is the right person to lead NCAAN and ensure a seamless transition.
I will now step in as our new Board Chair. I have spent a long time as a board member and supporter of NCAAN, while also as an assistant professor at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health.
We are grateful to Janeen Gingrich for her leadership and growth of NCAAN over the past year, as we have had several great wins, including: 1) the expansion of our work for the Ella/Her project providing outreach and prevention work for Black and brown women and those who serve them; 2) the growth of national, local, and statewide partnerships; and 3) the implementation of new legislation that increases the accessibility of PEP via pharmacists. Janeen will be extending her service to the organization as an organizational development consultant to help with the executive transition and to continue to set NCAAN up for success.
In addition, Matt Martin has been promoted to Associate Director in order to assist in systems and operations management and to oversee organizational strategy and policy work. The addition of this new leadership model should only grow confidence in NCAAN and provides leadership consistency and institutional knowledge for the full NCAAN team. As we elevate and support the leadership of long-term staff members serving the community of people living with HIV and affected communities in NC, we remain focused and determined to find the perfect leadership for outlining the future vision of NCAAN. We look forward to your continued support.
Ciara Zachary, Board Chair
NC AIDS Action Network