John joined the National AIDS Memorial as Chief Executive in 2009. John is a fifth generation Californian, having grown up in the East Bay before relocating to New England at the age of seven. A graduate of the University of California at Berkeley, he received a degree in political science and organizational behavior. John presently resides in Oakland with his husband Joel and their two dogs.
John’s professional career has spanned over 25 years working for several Fortune 500 companies holding management positions in human resources, risk management and organizational development. In 1993 he founded and served as president of Golden Gate Granite Group, focusing on human capital management and effectiveness. In 2004 he realigned his career, merging his passion for community activism with his relationship development skills, joining the non-profit Positive Resource Center as Director of Development. John has held numerous non-profit board level positions, serving as President of the CastroCommunity Business Alliance, Board Chair of the New Hampshire AIDS Foundation,Vice President of Folsom Street Events, and Board Member of Positive Resource Center. John’s passion for improving his own quality of life through service to his community has long been his guiding principle.
“I came to the Grove because I feel strongly that theAmerican story of the AIDS epidemic must be told and the National AIDS MemorialGrove should be the one to tell it.”
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From AIDS to Covid: the role of community in times of crisis
Espe has been part of the National AIDS Memorial family for nearly a decade, working with the organization on public relations, event planning and social media. She brings more than 17 years of expertise in strategic communications and community engagement.
Her background includes working with the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC), and Safeway’s Northern California Division focusing on implementing effective communications strategies, strengthening community partnerships, identifying and resolving key community issues, and building strong relationships with local, regional and state elected officials.
Espe lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her family. She earned her undergraduate degree from the University of San Diego and a master’s degree from George Washington University.
“I believe in the tremendous value of the National AIDS Memorial. When we share the stories of those we lost to AIDS, when we remember and mourn those we love – those that left us way too soon – we tap into a most basic human need for connection. It is part of our humanity; it just might be the best part.”
Kevin joined the National AIDS Memorial as Chief Operating Officer in 2021, managing strategic partnerships, pubic affairs, marketing, communications, and development. He has been part of the memorial family for more than a decade, helping advise the organization on public relations, strategic initiatives, relationship-building, storytelling, event-planning and philanthropy.
Kevin joins the Memorial having served as founder and CEO of HPA Strategies, a successful pubic affairs and strategic communications firm based in San Francisco and Los Angeles. Previously, he served as senior vice president of public affairs at Safeway Inc., was deputy chief of staff and head of communications for the U.S. Department ofAgriculture, and served in various government communications roles for the State of California and Washington, D.C. He earned his degree in consumer economics and business communications from theUniversity of Delaware and served ten years in the U.S. Air Force and AirNational Guard. Kevin lives in Los Angeles with his husband James and their daughter Reilly.
“I am passionate about social justice and truth which is what has drawn me to the memorial and its work to share the stories of the AIDS pandemic -- the loss, the heroes, the survivors – so we always remember and use those lessons to shape a better future.”
Brian is responsible for coordinating displays of the AIDSMemorial Quilt and curating the block selections for each display. Having joined the team at the National AIDS Memorial in 2020, he continues to work remotely from Atlanta, where he began working with the NAMES Projection Foundation in 2001. Brian’s Theatre background and passion for Art History lends itself perfectly to his position with National AIDSMemorial.
Having worked with the Quilt for 19 years with the NAMES Project, curating this extensive collection for 16 of those years, he is grateful to continue in his work with National AIDS Memorial. In addition to working with the individual Display Hosts, he also curates Quilt for the nine Chapters across the US. He strives to personalize each display in order to elevate the connection between the Community and the Quilt they receive.
“Working with the Quilt has been the most rewarding work of my life. To hopefully educate and influence life decisions through displays of the Quilt makes what I do so much more meaningful.”
Matt joined the National AIDS Memorial in 2014. Having spent the previous 8 years as a print broker alongside his partner, he decided to return to the nonprofit world in hopes of reconnecting with the community found through HIV/AIDS service organizations. Matt first became involved with the STOP AIDS Project as part of the Positive Force team and worked with passionate members of both staff and the community to create impactful programming and creative ways to engage those living with HIV/AIDS. Finding employment with the National AIDS Memorial helped to rekindle that drive and Matt remains grateful for the opportunity to participate as part of the administrative team.
“Working at the National AIDS Memorial is so uplifting and inspirational. To be part of something bigger than yourself and helping ensure that the story of AIDS isnever forgotten and that future generations understand the pain, heartbreak and loss, as well as so many heroes who helped with the healing.”
Gert McMullin joined the National AIDS Memorial team in 2020 as Quilt Conservitor & Production Manager. Cindy Ann McMullin grew up in a loving raucous Oakland Hills family. In the 1980’s she emigrated to the Castro District of San Francisco. While working as a box office manager and as Macy’s “cosmetic sales gal,” she was well known among the Union Square retail workers. It was common to hear the comment, “Did you see what SHE was wearing today?” She would often change her name tag to reflect her mood. “Gert” was the girl that was sarcastic and a bit caustic.
During this period she could be found sharing those magical days of new found freedom and acceptance in the Castro. It was a magical time when gay men and lesbians came from around the world to experience true acceptance. She was there and indeed part of that experience.
When AIDS began to attack her friends, Gert McMullin was born. She was heartbroken and angry that this would happen to her boys. In April of 1987, Gert went to a meeting about making a memorial quilt. There were only 5 gay men and Gert, plus she realized that these men knew nothing about sewing. She made her first quilt for activist Roger Lyon and she has not stopped sewing in all of these thirty-four years. Gert is the only person that has caressed and/or had a hand in sewing each and every panel of the AIDS Memorial Quilt.
“I loved my friends. Through all of the tragedy and horror of watching all of my friends die one by one, I am truly lucky to have found the Quilt. It and the people who work with it saved my life. I walkthrough those doors every day to thank it. Everyday.”
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Leftover Fabric From The AIDS Memorial Quilt Are Now Being Used To Make Coronavirus Masks
Steve became a member of the National AIDS Memorial staff in 2009, serving in the capacity of operations and development support, and manager of the Grove’s volunteer programs and opportunities. Previously, Steve served as development director and volunteer coordinator at Under One Roof, a twenty-three year San Francisco non-profit gift shop that raises money for AIDS service organizations in the Bay Area. Steve graduated with a degree in legal studies from the University of California, Berkeley in 1991, and was paralegal to general counsel of a national IT solutions company for several years prior to becoming involved in the non-profit sector. Steve lives in San Francisco with his partner of many years, Marcel Calma.
“I lost my late partner Sergio Anguiano to AIDS in 1993. Sergio was just shy of his twenty-second birthday when he died, and is the most courageous person I’ve ever known. My commitment to the mission of the National AIDS Memorial is inspired largely by my dedication to Sergio, who is memorialized at the Grove, surrounded by life, beauty and the very best inhumanity, and also on the AIDS Memorial Quilt. Through my work, I hope to ensure that the story of AIDS and the lessons learned never be forgotten.”
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Jennifer joined the National AIDS Memorial as its gardener in 2020. Jennifer’s heart and passion in maintaining the beauty of the Grove shines through when walking through the 10-acre memorial. She is part of the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department family and works directly with our team to coordinate the stewardship of the Grove, volunteer workdays and the sacred space that is the nation’s living memorial to AIDS.
“What inspires me about the Grove is that it is has a spirit like nothing else I’ve experienced. There are so many people connected to this space and their love can be seen every day. It makes me want to make sure that I do all I can to help honor the spirit of this space by helping care for it and all the beauty and healing it provides to so many.”
Roddy manages Quilt Operations for the National AIDS Memorial, joining the team in 2020 and moving to the San Francisco Bay Area from Atlanta, GA, where he worked for the NAMES Project Foundation/AIDS Memorial Quilt since 2003.
After working the corporate grind for years at GE Capital in Jacksonville, FL and then in Atlanta, Roddy found himself in search of a way to give back and the AIDS Memorial Quilt was just the opportunity he was looking for.
During Roddy’s 17 years with the Names Project Foundation, he was charged with many responsibilities with the Quilt, including packing in the warehouse for displays happening across the country, managing panel maker and donor databases, coordinated annual fundraising campaigns and assisting individuals with the creation of their loved ones panel.
Roddy continues those responsibilities today.
“I have always felt honored and privileged to do what I do with the Quilt and now with the National AIDS Memorial – to care for and share the stories of AIDS from loved ones who have died and the ones who loved them. This is a passion that drives my purpose EVERYDAY.”