Brandy Svendson : EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Brandy began her career, in the field of HIV, nine years ago at Youth Community Outreach AIDS Society (YouthCO), Canada’s largest and only youth driven HIV and AIDS Organization. She has studied in Brazil, Mexico and Vancouver completing her degree in Anthropology at Simon Fraser University, in Vancouver, Canada.
Brandy has worked, locally, nationally and internationally as a project manager for several diverse projects. The projects have focused on support for persons living with HIV and Hepatitis C, harm reduction, sexual health and HIV education. Brandy has also done consulting work in the United States, Norway, Italy, and the UK.
Brandy has been invited to present and attend several local, national and international conferences including the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network and the Canadian AIDS Society. She was a media co-chair for the International AIDS Conference 2006.
In 2007 she was the Youth United to CAP (Canadian African Partnership) AIDS Project Coordinator. The project promoted women’s education, empowerment and sexual self esteem through training, employment and the instigation of micro loans in remote communities in Malawi.
Brandy has also had the privilege of exploring her creative side as a professional photographer for the last four years as well as producing and directing. Most recently she produced, wrote, and directed a campaign for amfAR, www.makingaidshistory.org. She is excited to be able to bring these skills to the organization, ensuring that Does HIV Look Like Me? International continues to be the leader in producing innovative and relevant HIV Campaigns.
Brandy is so grateful and excited to lead Does HIV Look Like Me? International, and is looking forward to bringing her skills, and passion to the table while learning from all the amazing ambassadors, board and partners involved with the Does HIV Look Like Me? International.
Natalie Chan : BOARD CHAIR
Natalie Chan graduated from Queen’s University with a Bachelor of Science (Honors) Degree in Life Sciences. Throughout her University career, she was actively involved in Queen’s Health Outreach (QHO), an NGO dedicated to promoting health through needs based peer education initiatives both locally and internationally.
Her primary focus with QHO was collaborating with Kenyatta University (KU) students to develop a Sexual Health & Life Skills curriculum for the Kenya project to be used in informal settlements around Nairobi. Her work ultimately led her to Kenya to teach the curriculum in secondary schools of the informal settlements whilst training the KU students to become facilitators.
Natalie’s experiences with QHO equipped her with a deeper understanding of the many challenges HIV positive individuals are faced with. Inspired by the desire to continue working in the field of HIV, she moved to Vancouver to work for bioLytical Laboratories as a research scientist. Natalie’s main focus at bioLytical was the development of the company’s pipeline of antibody and antigen detection assays and coordinating product defect investigations. However, her experience was not limited to Research & Development, she also assisted with Quality Assurance & Quality Control duties and regulatory FDA audits. Due to her familiarity with the HIV rapid test, Natalie often trained nurses and health practitioners on how to use the test.
After 3 years Natalie moved on from bioLytical Laboratories to pursue more community based HIV projects. Apart from joining Does HIV Look Like Me? International, she continues to maintain her ties with YouthCO HIV and HepC Society of BC as a board member.
Donald Svendson : BOARD VICE CHAIR
Don M. Svendson is a retired Deloitte partner. He retired from the Dallas, TX office in 2010 and at that time was the Mid-America Regional Managing Partner of Deloitte Financial Advisory Services LLP (Deloitte FAS), as well as the Mid-America leader of the Forensic & Dispute Services practice.
Don has managed and conducted a broad range of financial investigations for private and public companies, various levels of governments and private individuals.
Don joined Deloitte FAS in 1998 after having spent three years with a large international accounting and management-consulting firm as vice president of its forensic practice. Prior to that, Mr. Svendson had a 26-year career with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), ending as the Officer in Charge, Economic Crime Branch.
At the RCMP, Don managed and conducted numerous criminal investigations involving fraud, theft, secret commissions, breach of trust, commodities and futures trading, stock market manipulation, corruption of government officials, money laundering, gambling, drugs and violent crimes. Mr. Svendson’s primary focus was in the area of white-collar crime. He has provided expert testimony and fact-based testimony numerous times.
Christina Rock : BOARD DIRECTOR
In 1986, at the age of 2½, Christina’s mother, Elizabeth, an IV-drug user, fell extremely ill and tested positive for HIV. Shortly thereafter, Christina was tested and became the first infant to be perinatally infected with HIV in the Florida Keys. Growing up in the early days of the epidemic meant dealing with extreme stigma and adversity. Her first memory is that of the day her mother tested positive and being told that Christina was no longer allowed to play in the community playground out of fear that she would infect the other children. At the age of two AIDS meant exclusion, fear and judgment for Christina. Even though she couldn’t understand HIV, she understood the ramifications and the need to keep it a secret.
Only by talking about her life and experience with HIV can she feel like she is doing her part to fight this devastating epidemic. People need to hear that even though there are treatments available, it is an epidemic we cannot continue to be apathetic about. She hopes by sharing her story she can educate as many people as possible as well as dispel the stigma that continues to surround HIV.Aside from being a public speaker for Hope’s Voice for the last seven years, Christina is a trained support group facilitator through Life Group LA and facilitated one of their HIV + weekly support groups from 2007-2009. She organized and facilitated a series of workshops for + youth on disclosure at the USC/MCA clinic in 2007 and 2008, and was the Chair of the Youth Advisory Board at the same clinic from 2006-2007. Christina was a member of the Indiana State Department of Health’s Community Planning Group in 2010, and is a Red Cross certified HIV/AIDS 101 educator.
Christina has have been apart of Does HIV Look Like Me? Campaigns from the beginning, most recently she was featured on our dental project resources.
You can see here story here http://youtu.be/d0JzNoJ6Y5s
Dirceu Campos : BOARD TREASURER
Dirceu Campos is the board Vice President of Does HIV Look Like Me? International Society. He works tirelessly with Brandy and the board to raise DHLLMI’s presence and profile in HIV communities both locally and nationally.
Dirceu believes that the fostering of leaders living with HIV and supporting them to share their experiences as people living with the illness, is the most effective way to work against the stigma that people living with HIV experience.
He has been working in Vancouver’s AIDS service community for 5 years in both professional and volunteer capacities and through this work has come to value the importance of building PLWHIV’s capacity to speak to their experiences living with the illness. He feels that the sharing of day-to-day experiences of stigma and how people with HIV surmount them is an effective way to do away with stigma and misinformation that infests the greater community. Dirceu is a firm believer in the strength of voice of strong leaders coming from within the community of people living with HIV and works to find meaningful and effective ways to facilitate this process. Dirceu currently divides his time between YouthCO AIDS Society and A Loving Spoonful Meals Society in his role of Finance Coordinator at both organizations and brings his finance skills and nerdery to Does HIV Look Like Me? In his spare time he enjoys being photographed by Brandy and riding his bike.
Caitlin Padgett : BOARD SECRETARY
Caitlin Padgett has gained significant global experience as one of the founders and international coordinator of Youth RISE, an international youth-led network for reducing drug related harm. She has been working for 10 years in peer based, youth-led HIV and AIDS, harm reduction, public health and human rights based programs.
Her work began with YouthCO AIDS Society, Canada’s only youth-led HIV and AIDS organization, where Caitlin began volunteering at age 15. After directing several youth video productions, she later went on to become the provincial Hepatitis programs coordinator for the Agency. Caitlin also coordinated Crystal Clear, a harm reduction program for and by street-youth who use methamphetamines.
Caitlin then became Vancouver’s (Canada) first Youth Advocate Mentor, an advocacy position that reported directly to Mayor and City Council on the needs of children and youth in the city. With this position, she worked on issues as varied as youth homelessness, law enforcement relations and a monitoring project based on the Conventions on the Rights of the Child.
After leaving Vancouver for San Francisco and then Mexico, Caitlin began her international work with Youth RISE and then as the International Campaigns Coordinator for Hope’s Voice International and the “Does HIV Look Like Me?” training in Thailand.
She has been involved in several national and international committees, such as the Youth Advisory to the Public Health Agency of Canada, sub-committees for the International AIDS conference in Mexico City 2008, and currently sits on Youth RISE’s International Advisory Committee. She is regularly invited to speak, facilitate and moderate youth-related sessions and panels at High Level meetings within the United Nations Agencies, international organizations and conferences.
After several years of traveling and working internationally, Caitlin followed her desire for adventure to Cambodia. She worked on several HIV/AIDS, public health policy and human rights initiatives both within Cambodia and the South East Asia Region. These include advocacy and scaling-up of needle and syringe exchange programs, a training guide for stakeholders interested in implementing needle and syringe exchange programs, and an regional advocacy strategy for health and drug policy reform. After several fulfilling years working in SE Asia, Caitlin has recently moved to Mexico to be closer to her family.
Caitlin received her diploma in Child and Youth Care Counseling and Bachelor’s of Arts in Interdisciplinary Humanities and Psychology. She speaks French and Spanish, a little Thai and Khmer. She has traveled to 15 countries during her international work and has gained so much from these experiences. In her free time, she loves to dance, play with art, and be outside.
Caitlin is excited to be involved with Does HIV Look Like Me? International. She is looking forward to supporting young people around the world being networked together, creating change in their home countries and internationally, by making their faces, voices and stories seen and heard. She is honored to be able to support this process and to have the opportunity to work with so many courageous leaders.
Scott Forbes : BOARD DIRECTOR
Scott Forbes has been featured in ‘Young Entrepreneur World – How 25 Teen-Trepreneurs Succeeded And Left World Leaders Scratching Their Heads’ by Sabirul Islam and ‘The Rax Active Citizenship Toolkit’ by James Kelsey-Fry and Anita Dhillon, Scott Forbes is at the forefront of youth activism and social entrepreneurship on a global scale.
Scott is the founder of Global Forum 40 (GF40), a “for youth, by youth” initiative, to create real, tangible and lasting social change in sexual health by bridging local communities and traditions, empowering young people to become leaders in their communities and in society, and developing believers into leaders in their own right.
Scott is an alumnus of the British Council’s ‘Global Changemakers’ programme, a talented and innovative community of 700 young activists, volunteers and social entrepreneurs at the forefront of running innovative projects in their communities, shaping policy, and speaking truth to power.
Scott has been praised for his work with international institutions and leading decision makers in sexual and reproductive health. Through GF40, Scott has spoken at numerous conferences and events around the world including; the Clinton Global Initiative, the 17th Conference of Commonwealth Education Ministers in Malaysia, the EU Open Health Forum, WeFree Day, and most recently at the World Economic Forum on the Middle East and North Africa.
Scott holds a number of advisory positions with international and national youth organisations such as; the British Youth Council, the World Economic Forum’s NewMe Smoke Free initiative and as part of the London (2012) Organising Committee for Olympic and Paralympic Games Youth Advisory Panel. He is Board Chair of Does HIV Look Like Me and has also been a guest lecturer at HULT International Business School.
A social media guru, able to create, launch and optimise campaigns in the digital space to effect positive change in the real world, Scott previously worked for the Jamie Oliver Food Foundation helping to deploy international awareness-building campaigns. He is also a regular blogger for the Huffington Post.
In his spare time, Scott enjoys keeping up to date on youth issues and nurturing and growing his extensive network of activists, social changemakers and leaders around the world.
Justin Nearon : BOARD DIRECTOR
Justin is a board director for Does HIV Look Like Me? International Society. Justin has over ten years experience working in the film industry. He has made his own short films and documentaries. Currently Justin works at Shoreline Studios. He brings to the organization many skills, including video recording, sound engineering, editing and a strong vision for a successful production.
He most recently helped to produce our Stop the Stigma video, and looks forward to working on our next national campaign.