Success Stories!

Honoring the memories of those we
have lost and those affected by HIV/AIDS.

By sharing the story of the struggle against HIV/AIDS, we remember, in perpetuity, the lives lost, we offer healing and hope to survivors, and we inspire new generations of activists in the fight against stigma, denial, and hate for a just future.

Tom Raffin


Senior Partner & Co-Founder,
Telegraph Hill Partners

Mike Richey


HIV/AIDS Activist & Researcher

Barbara Maury


Retired Healthcare Professional
HIV/AIDS Advocate

Blake Spears


Founder and Principal,
InSight Healthcare Consulting

Lonnie Payne-Clark

Governance Committee Co-Chair

Long-term Survivor
HIV/AIDS Activist

Tom Jensen

Governance Committee Co-Chair

Digital Consultant, Wells Fargo

Leslie Ewing

Joined the Board in 2020

Executive Director (retired),
Pacific LGBTQ+ Center

Seth Hammac

Joined the Board in 2018

Senior Vice President,
Alliances Dentsu

Shanthi Noriega

Joined the Board in 2022

Executive Director, Solve Consultants LLC

karteek patel

Joined the Board in 2022

Senior Vice President at Visa, Inc.

Beth Ross

Joined the Board in 2019

Labor and Employment Lawyer,
Leonard Carder LLP

Sara Schwartz

Joined the Board in 2018

Clinical Assistant Professor, Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work
University of Southern California

Paul Scott

Joined the Board in 2020

Chief Executive Officer,
Health Alliance for Austin Musicians

Annie Wilson

Joined the Board in 2020

Marketing Theater Operations Manager, Splunk

Tom Raffin, Co-Chair

Tom joined the Board in 2015 and serves on the site and development committees. He is currently a senior partner and co-founder (2001) of the healthcare private equity firm Telegraph Hill Partners in San Francisco and worked closely with LDR Spine, Pneum Rx, AngioScore, Freedom Innovations, Vidacare and Estech. In 1999 he joined the Board of NewLink Genetics (NASDAQ:NLNK) a cancer immunotherapy and vaccine (Ebola) company and is currently the Lead Director. In 1996 he co-founded the biotech company Rigel Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: RIGL). After completing medical school at Stanford University, Tombegan his medical career as an internal medicine resident at the Brigham & Women’s, a Harvard teaching hospital in Boston. He returned to Stanford for Fellowship training in pulmonary and critical care medicine. Tom spent 28 yearson the faculty at Stanford University Medical School as the Colleen and Robert Haas Professor of Medicine and Biomedical Ethics. He was Chief of the Divisionof Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine in the Department of Medicine; and, co-founded and directed the Stanford University Center for Biomedical Ethics. Tom was an active clinician, teacher and investigator. He was the Associate Director of the Intensive Care Units. He had over 300 publications and co-authored the book Intensive Care: Facing the Critical Choices. In 1982 Tom founded the Stanford University Asia-Medical Fund to bring outstanding fellows from the Pacific Rim to be trained in research at Stanford for at least one year, and to then return to their home institutions (75 fellows as of 2014). In 2014 Tom was presented with the Stanford Medical School Alumni of the YearAward. 

“I am honored to be involved with the National AIDS Memorial.  I am connected most to the Grove, a remarkable, spiritual, life celebrating, and beautiful part of Golden Gate Park, where some of my past loving friends now reside in the Circle of Friends. The Grove reminds me of caring for patients with AIDS at Stanford, writing about end of life decision-making in AIDS patients, and thinking about future approaches to enhance education and meaning.” 

Learn more about Tom  

Mike Richey, Co-Chair

Mike has been deeply involved in HIV/AIDS since the beginning of the epidemic, having lost two life partners and so many dear friends during the dark period from 1983-2000. On a professional level, Mike was part of the team that completed the research and published findings that demonstrated that the level of HIV was directly correlated with progression to AIDS and death. This finding lead to the introduction of the first HIV viral load test which accompanied the launch of protease inhibitors and changed the outcome for so many patients struggling with HIV disease and has resulted in HIV becoming a manageable chronic disease and no longer an immediate death sentence. 

“To me, the National AIDS Memorial has served as a place of solace, peace and remembrance. The Grove has also become a place where I have found deep connection, love and joy as I have shared many a memorable afternoon with the beautiful people who celebrate life together during the Flagging in the Park events each year. As a member of the Board, I am helping bring more focus on expanding the reach of our important mission to ensure that our loved ones are never forgotten and that we have places to gather to celebrate their lives for generations to come.”

Barbara Maury, secretary

Barbara joined the Board in 2019. Originally from the east coast she and her partner of 25 years moved to San Francisco in 2006. In 1983 Barbara obtained her BS and RN from Willian Patterson College (now a University) in Wayne, NJ. She was thrust into the HIV/AIDS epidemic in her first job at Mt Sinai Hospital in NYC. As a bedside nurse, she observed and cared for many people living and dying from HIV/AIDS. During this time she helped start the dedicated HIV/AIDS in-patient unit at Mt Sinai Hospital. In 1991, Barbara accepted a position at the Mt Sinai Jack Martin Fund Clinic where working with a dedicated HIV physician and social worker they followed a panel of HIV infected individuals from diagnosis to inpatient to outpatient, helping individuals make end of life decisions, coordinating safe discharges, home care services and helping families and friends cope with caring for someone withHIV/AIDS. 

In 1997, Barbara obtained her MS, ANP from College of Mount SaintVincent in Riverdale, NY and accepted a position with Village Center for Care a certified home health agency that provided home care services to people living with HIV/AIDS. In this role, she managed a Ryan White Grant that supported a hospital liaison at Saint Vincent Hospital in Greenwich, NYC. In 1998, she and her partner moved to Providence, RI. Here Barbara worked for the Visiting NurseAssociation of Southeast Massachusetts as HIV consultant. She provided education and support to visiting nurses and managed a Massachusetts Department of Public Health Grant that provided homemaking services to people living with HIV/AIDS. In this role she worked closely with the AIDS Consortiums of Taunton, Fall River, New Bedford and Brockton.

After moving to San Francisco, Barbara was a manager for the homecare department at Sutter and then UCSF. She worked for USCF for 10 years and retired in January of 2019. 

“I am honored to be involved with the National AIDS Memorial. Being involved with the Grove reminds me of caring for people living with HIV and AIDS and feels like I have come full circle. It feels good to be back working with compassionate and caring individuals. I look forward to helping shape the future of the National AIDS Memorial.”

Blake Spears, Treasurer

Blake joined the Board in 2015. Although born and raised in Virginia, Blake has lived in the San Francisco area for over 40 years. His professional experience includes 25 years as a market research consultant to the pharmaceutical and medical device industries for his own firm, InSight Healthcare Consulting. His career also includes working for the US Environmental Protection Agency. He brings over 20 years of non-profit board experience, 14 of which have been with Matri Compassionate Care, an HIV hospice in San Francisco. He also sits on the Oakland City Commission on Aging, the board of The Second Opinion (free second opinions for cancer patients) and previously on the board of the HIV Story Project. His background includes degrees in chemical engineering and an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business. In 2013 he married Lanz Lowen, his partner of 39 years. 

“I wanted to join the Board of the National AIDS Memorial because it represents a living memorial to so many who have passed, and I want to see that their memories are sustained. I also feel that the memorial represents an excellent chance to provide education and HIV awareness for current and future generations.”

Lonnie Payne-Clark, governance committee co-chair

Lonnie joined the Board in 2020. He is a 67-year-old gay African American male living in Napa with his husband, Bruce Clark. Lonnie earned a bachelor’s degree in voice performance from the University of South Carolina. He completed coursework for a master’s degree in music, with an emphasis in opera, from Northwestern University. Following his studies, Lonnie joined AT&T where he enjoyed an 18-year career, the majority of his work focused on partnering and consulting business customers to promote AT&T products and services. He has served as a board member and board chair of both the SanFrancisco AIDS Foundation and the Pangaea Global AIDS Foundation. 

Lonnie is a long-time survivor of AIDS. He was diagnosed with HIV in 1986 along with his life Partner, Joel Swandby. His identical twin, Lawrence, and his partner, Timothy, were also diagnosed at the same time. By1996, all three were dead from AIDS. Lonnie received his AIDS diagnosis in 1995 with an approximate life expectancy of two years. By 1997, he should have been dead. Thanks to medical advances, he is still alive. 

Lonnie practiced his own unique brand of AIDS Activism for more than two decades, with the goal of putting a face and a story on this horrific disease. He also wanted to make a difference by stewarding AIDS organizations whose goals were to make an impact on the lives of people living with and impacted by HIV/AIDS. 

“HIV/AIDS has not disappeared. In this fourth decade of HIV/AIDS, it is now time for me to actively work on assuring that the lives, and the stories, of many remarkable people who died from AIDS, and of the people who administered, nurtured, and showed unwavering compassion to our family members, are not forgotten. That their special "lights" will not be forgotten. That their relatives and friends are given lasting opportunities to remember and relive the uniqueness of their stories/histories — to share their amazing lights. That is why I am now a board member of the National AIDS Memorial.” 

LearnMore About Lonnie

Tom Jensen, governance committee co-chair

Tom began volunteering at the Grove in 2000, three weeks after the death of his partner, Bobby Hilliard. In 2004 Tom was invited to join the Board. Tom has also volunteered with the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, helping to develop its first National AIDS Hotline syllabus under Chuck Frutchey and Ken Jones, and at the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito, California.

Tom is currently a digital consultant for Wells Fargo Virtual Channels Digital group. Tom was born in Hollywood and raised in the canyons of Los Angeles, California. He has explored nearly every state west of the Mississippi, the Northeast U.S., Canada, and parts of Mexico. 

He moved to San Francisco on November 27, 1978. That evening Tom witnessed the first spontaneous Candlelight March in San Francisco, which affirmed his move to San Francisco and ignited his involvement in community activism. 

“I am honored to again sit on the memorial’s board of directors, and I renew my continued commitment to steward both the memorial’s physical landscape and its mission ‘to provide…a place of remembrance so that…the story is known by future generations’.” 

Learn more about Tom

Leslie Ewing, board member

Leslie joined the Board in 2020. She is a longtime resident of the Berkeley/Oakland area who has dedicated much of her life to LGBTQ civil rights. In 2019, she retired as Executive Director of the Pacific Center in Berkeley, the oldest LGBTQ+ center in the BayArea (and third oldest in the nation), offering vibrant youth programs, peer groups, counseling and psychotherapy, serving more than 3,000 people at four locations throughout Alameda County. Leslie served as the Center’s Executive Director for over a decade, helping the organization to grow, evolve and better meet the needs of the thousands who benefit from its services. 

In the 1980s, Leslie co-founded the ACT-UP affinity group Queer and Present Danger. In 1987, she joined other activists as they developed the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt into a national expression of both rage and reconciliation. She helped coordinate volunteers for displays of the Quilt in Washington D.C. for five years, then stepped back from that role to work on the national steering committee for the 1993 March on Washington, which drew over 800,000 activists. Leslie and many others were arrested at the march, and her relationship with activism was forever changed. 

During some of the most challenging times of the HIV epidemic, Leslie went on to lead the AIDS Emergency Fund as its volunteer Board President/Executive Director and later was a founder of the Breast Cancer Emergency Fund. For six years, she served as the buyer at Under One Roof, a beloved non-profit gift store in the Castro which raised over two million dollars for local AIDS organizations. She served as the Development Director of Lyon-Martin Health Services prior to becoming Executive Director at Pacific Center in 2008. 

A lifelong cartoonist, Leslie’s strip Mid-Dyke Crisis ran in numerous LGBTQ periodicals from 1985 to 2001, including Wimmen’s Comix, Gay Comix, The Bay Area Reporter, The Lesbian News, Bay Times, and many others. 

Learn more about Leslie

Seth Hammac, board member

Seth joined the Board in 2013 and serves as co-chair on the volunteer committee. Additionally, he has been a workday volunteer since 2006. Seth discovered the Grove through Hands On Bay Area. Another community service organization that he has been a project leader since 2005. Seth’s connection to the AIDS pandemic is even more personal. His dad’s name, Wayne Hammac, was inscribed in the Circle of Friends after he passed away in 2004. Seth brings the perspective to the Board of someone whose life was touched by a parent who lived for 17 years with HIV. When he isn’t pulling weeds or blackberries in the Grove, Seth can be found working as a leader in technology sales and advertising. He has worked for several start-ups and larger companies such as Microsoft & Google. He is currently Senior Vice President, Alliances at Dentsu, the largest agency brand and fifth largest agency group in the world.

“I discovered the Grove through my Dad’s name being inscribed in the Circle of Friends. I found an amazing community that is committed to helping people heal and grow through understanding. I am honored to help the memorial transform itself to meet the changing face of the AIDS Epidemic.” 

Learn more about Seth

shanthi noriega, board member

Shanthi joined the Board in 2022. Born in Mexico, Shanthi moved to the United States at the age of 10. Growing up in a family deeply committed to helping others, Shanthi obtained her master’s in public health from Boston University before embarking on a 20 + year journey supporting HIV programs in lower middle income countries. She has seen firsthand the effects of HIV and AIDS among marginalized populations in some of the poorest countries in the world and has used her skills to generate evidence and advocate for sustainable, stigma-free, and inclusive programming.

Returning to the US three years ago, Shanthi has participated in some of the Grove’s activities including workdays, the Lighting of the Grove, and World AIDS Day celebrations. 

“It is an honor to be part of the Memorial’s Board and I look forward to contributing to its continued evolution. A national resource with a rich history, stories, and beauty, the Memorial inspires me to continue my commitment to learn from the pandemic, remember those we’ve lost, and stand for diversity, equity, and inclusion.”

karteek patel, board member

Karteek Patel is an accomplished international senior executive with visionary leadership and executive oversight experience across multiple disciplines. He was most recently Senior Vice President at Visa, Inc.

His leadership and mentorship style encourage diversity and inclusion with an eye to increased performance to exceed goals. 

Karteek has over 20 years of experience in the financial technology industry with an excellent track record of building, integrating and leading product and risk organizations, as well as managing critical client relationships and turn-around environments.

Karteek enjoys art collecting and has a passion for architecture, gardening, and travel.

“I have been a volunteer at the National AIDS Memorial Grove for nearly 20 years thanks to my husband, Colin Petheram, who introduced me to the Grove and its caring and loving group of volunteers, The Stud Muffins. It’s an honor to be a part of the Board at The National AIDS Memorial and to have an opportunity to be a steward of its history and future for generations to come.”

Beth Ross, board member

Beth joined the Board in 2019. Beth is a nationally recognized labor and employment lawyer and an amateur quilter and gardener. Her first exposure to the Grove was as a visitor and mourner, having lost a close family member to HIV/AIDS in the early 1990s. As a member of the San Francisco LBGQI community since the early 1980s, she bore witness to the unfolding of the international AIDS crisis in real-time and was profoundly affected by it. She has participated in volunteer workdays and served as a host for Light in the Grove in honor of former Board Chair Mike Shriver. She earned her Juris Doctor degree from the University of California, Berkeley in 1988 and a Bachelor of Arts in Letters from Wesleyan University in 1983. 

“It is an honor to be a member of the National AIDS Memorial Board and to have the opportunity to participate in the important project of memory, defiance and courage.”

Sara Schwartz, board member

Sara joined the Board in 2018. Born and raised in NorthernVirginia, she migrated to the West Coast in October 2001. Sara earned a Master of Social Work Degree from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2001 and a PhD in Social Work Research from Portland State University in 2007. She relocated to the Bay Area for a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of California, Berkeley’s School of Social Welfare in 2007. Sara currently holds the appointment of Clinical Assistant Professor in The University of Southern California Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work, teaching virtually from her home in Marin County. In addition to her work in academia, Sara plays a role in philanthropic grant making through her position as Vice President of Research and Evaluation at Kramer, Blum and Associates in San Francisco. Sara has been an advocate and volunteer in the HIV/AIDS arena for over 20 years, most recently as a board member of The HIV Story Project. 

“I am honored to sit on the board of the National AIDS Memorial and use my skills to make certain that the stories of individuals, families and communities impacted by HIV/AIDS continue to be remembered, recorded and shared with future generations.”

Paul scott, board member

Paul joined the Board in 2020. He is a native of Jackson, Mississippi and received his Bachelor of Arts from Emory University and a Doctorate of Jurisprudence from the University of Georgia. He practiced civil litigation for nine years and then became an advocate for both people with HIV and LGBT persons after being diagnosed with AIDS in 1989. He has served in the nonprofit sector for twenty-five years and as a nonprofit executive for twenty-one years.  

Paul is the Chief Executive Officer of the Health Alliance for Austin Musicians. Previously, he was Vice President of Engagement for Vivent Heath, a national HIV health organization. He served as CEO and President of AIDS Services of Austin for ten years prior to its merger with Vivent Health in 2020. Previously, he has served as the Executive Director of Equality Texas and Equality Texas Foundation, Resource Center of Dallas, and CEMPA (formerly Chattanooga CARES).  Paul currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Texas Pride Impact Funds, a statewide LGBTQ community foundation and Best Single Source Plus, an Austin collaborative focusing on ending homelessness.  He serves on several state and local advocacy and planning bodies. He has served on national boards of the Equality Federation and the Equality Federation Institute and board member of Center Link, the national association of LGBT community centers.  

He and his husband Scott have lived in Austin since 2006. He spends his spare time kayaking on the Blanco River with dachshunds Lily and Poppy, playing piano, and reading historical biographies.

“I believe we have a responsibility to steward the beautiful legacies of advocacy, perseverance, and hope of the people we have lost to AIDS and the persons living today with HIV. The National AIDS Memorial is committed to that stewardship, and I am so appreciative to be part of this work.”

Learn more about Paul.

Annie Wilson, board member

Annie joined the Board of the National AIDS Memorial in 2019. A San Francisco native, Annie has been going to the National AIDS Memorial since she was a young child, volunteering at workdays and joining her family at other Grove events. At the age of 13, Annie became a co-chair of the World AIDS Day Observances at the Grove from 2008 to 2011, assisting in youth engagement and program development. In 2012, she received the Young Leaders Scholarship, now known as the Pedro Zamora Young Leaders Scholarship.  

Professionally, Annie works in sales and marketing operations in the tech sector, supporting marketing strategy and analytics for the Public Sector at Splunk. She has also worked as co-chair of the Womxn + organization at Splunk, a community of over 2000 Splunk employees, elevating conversations around diversity, equity, and inclusion at Splunk in partnership with 9 other employee resource groups (ERGs). Annie graduated Cum Laude from Cal Poly in 2017 with a degree in Business Administration, Financial Management and a minor in Law & Society. Annie also serves as an advisor to student and alumni organizations at Cal Poly SLO and Lick-Wilmerding HighSchool.  

“I joined the Board of Directors to help support the young community of HIV/AIDS advocates and give voice to all of the amazing work that young people are doing. The Grove has been a very special place for me for a long time, and I am consistently inspired by the friends I’ve met — especially the young advocates — and feel very fortunate for the opportunity to sit on the Board.”

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