- Number of Years as Executive Director
What does your organization do?
The Wright House Wellness Center was founded in 1988 by PLWAs (Persons Living with AIDS) and several complementary/holistic health therapy practitioners who believed that many of the symptoms of chronic illnesses could be effectively treated with holistic/complementary health therapies. Although the initial program focused primarily on the needs of gay, white men infected with HIV/AIDS, The Center has changed over the past 27 years to include and serve those populations at greatest risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases as well as those who do not seek timely medical care - people of color (especially men who have sex with men and women) and recreational drug users in the lower income areas of Austin, Texas. As medical treatment for HIV/AIDS has changed from a focus on delaying death to a focus on managing illness and improving quality of life and productivity, The Center's programs and services have changed as well to emphasize treatment adherence, disease prevention and personal responsibility. We are now ASHWell - Austin Sexual Health and Wellness.
How did you become interested in this work?
From an internship I worked back in Dallas, TX with the Resource Center of Dallas and their food bank.
What drives your passion?
People being able to live healthy lives despite their illnesses.
Did you have a mentor or a role model?
My father has always been my role model for the type of person I want to be to others, and my mother has always been the example of the type of leader I want to be.
What's the biggest challenge in your work?
Not being able to help everyone with housing.
What's the best advice that you have ever received?
Be willing to make and learn from your mistakes.
What are your top tips for new Executive Directors?
Take time to get to know your staff. Be willing to do the work that your staff does alongside them. Network network network!