Vivian Stephenson, an inspiring community leader and dear friend to the National AIDS Memorial Grove, died on Friday, November 14, 2014. Vivian was the wife of Grove board member Margarita Gandia.
Vivian was born in Havana, Cuba on November 27, 1936 to an American father and Cuban mother. She earned her B.A. in mathematics from New York University and an M.B.A. from the University of Havana. Vivian’s professional resume includes serving as Chief Operating Officer for Williams Sonoma Inc., as well as Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer for Target Corporation. Vivian chaired the Board of Directors of AAA Northern California, Nevada and Utah, and served on the Board of Directors of CarMax Inc.
Vivian served as Chair of the Board of the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and on the Pangea Global AIDS Foundation. She was honored by the Academy of Friends for her volunteerism in the fight against HIV/AIDS. She was an honorary trustee of Mills College, having chaired its Board of Trustees from 2000-2009. In 2005, Mills College awarded her an honorary doctor of humane letters.Vivian was also a sculptor and photographer and had a great love of opera. She served on the Board of the San Francisco Opera Association where she was committed to a wide range of efforts to extend opera out to the broadest possible audience. A pioneer in her professional life, an advocate and visionary in her non-profit volunteer engagements, with incredible spirit, tenacity and commitment to social justice, Vivian carried herself with an elegance that was both disarming and powerful. Mentor, friend, colleague, she will be sorely missed.