Kelly A. McCann has announced that she has resigned from her position as chief executive officer of AIDS Foundation Houston to pursue a position with a pharmaceutical company that specializes in the treatment of HIV/AIDS. On September 27, McCann began her role as associate director of governmental affairs with Gilead Sciences.
“My new role will allow me to do more HIV prevention work, which is and always has been my passion,” McCann said. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that has been presented to me, and I’m excited about the new ways in which I will contribute to the fight against a disease that has plagued my community and my country for almost 30 years.”
After nine years at AFH—four years as vice president of community resources and five as CEO—leaving AFH was not an easy decision, McCann told OutSmart. “I truly love the institution and the staff members. I’m very proud of the work AFH does to prevent new HIV infections and ease the suffering of thousands of men, women, and children living with, and affected by, HIV/AIDS. It’s a noble mission and one we are honored to perform.”
Known by her employees as “The People’s CEO” as well as being AFH’s first openly gay CEO, McCann says she is most proud of the organizational culture developed and maintained under her leadership.
“AFH has a friendly environment that is palpable,” McCann said. “We have created an atmosphere wherein all persons who walk through our doors—employees, clients, volunteers, and visitors alike—feel welcome, valued, and respected, and they know their needs will be met in a caring and responsive manner.”
Under McCann’s leadership, AFH maintained a solid fiscal position and strong fiduciary responsibility, as evidenced by clean audits and a recent four-star Charity Navigator rating, while simultaneously developing numerous innovative programs in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Notably, McCann’s inmate peer health education program, Wall Talk, has been instituted in over 100 prisons throughout the state of Texas. In addition, McCann and AFH worked with prison officials to create Safe Prisons, an innovative inmate sexual assault prevention program.
AFH also became Texas’ largest provider of AIDS-related housing opportunities during McCann’s employment. “In recent years, we have increased the number of programs and beds available to homeless and chronically ill Houstonians, and AFH has added to our housing stock by purchasing two apartment complexes,” she said.
During McCann’s tenure as CEO, AFH also produced Texas’ first $1 million AIDS Walk, and introduced Dining Out for Life, an international restaurant-based AIDS fundraiser, to Houston.
“It’s been my honor to work at AFH, and I will continue to support this fine organization after my departure,” McCann concluded. “I hope my friends, colleagues, and community partners will do the same.”
Angielia Zielinski, AFH’s current chief operating officer, has agreed to serve as interim CEO. McCann’s final “AIDS Watch” column appears in this issue of OutSmart. www.aidshelp.org. —Nancy Ford