Lettering in photo by Molly Strong.

Hello extended HIVE family.

It is time.

In May 2019, I am transitioning away from my role as Director of HIVE.

My relationship with BAPAC began in 2008 when I started volunteering with Gloria as part of the BAPAC Gala planning team.  In July 2011 I began my official role with HIVE when Dr. Deb Cohan, BAPAC’s medical director, hired me as the coordinator—I began working one day a week at BAPAC while also directing the National Perinatal HIV Hotline.

In 2012, with the first grant from Macy’s for the PRO Men (Positive Reproductive Outcomes for HIV+ Men) initiative, my deep and wild love affair with this work flourished.  From leading focus groups, to working with residents, fellows and interns to create new materials; to developing video scripts to integrating reproductive health into Ward 86—I was head over heels committed. I lived, breathed and dreamed about recrafting the narrative around babies, choice and HIV. As my kids were elementary school aged, they were often alongside me for evening and weekend work. This work, and you, are a permanent part of their childhood and growing up experience. I am deeply grateful for this.

Since the end of 2014, I transitioned to working for HIVE two days a week in a Director role. In the Spring of 2015, coinciding with National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, we rebranded from BAPAC to HIVE with the launch of our own website. The whirlwind of activity since this rebrand in 2015 feels both like a lifetime and a long week – which I believe is perfection.

As I reflect on this period of my life and HIVE’s development, I’m grateful for many things. This is not meant to be an exhaustive list—simply highlights as I reflect back on what we have done together.

The staff. The HIVE clinic and program team members are uniquely extraordinary. I feel profoundly lucky to have been a part of this team as it expanded—each person bringing a different set of skills and perspective with a common thread of unparalleled commitment to forward motion, justice and high-quality care.

HIVE is thriving. We have developed a diverse and strong network of local, national and global relationships. We give hard and we receive in abundance. We’ve developed key advocacy partnerships with Positive Women’s Network, The Well Project, the U.S. Women and PrEP Working Group, Prevention Access Campaign and others.  Our connection with government entities, guidelines committees, and provider associations is strong. Our work is respected and the work matters.

HIVE finances and infrastructure.  Contract and grant funding has increased from approximately $100,000 a year to just over $500,000 a year, with a diversity of funders. We have received our first multi-year grant. Our relationships with funders are strong. The fiscal management of our funds is documented and organized, with operations now centralized in the Ob/Gyn department.  As a multidisciplinary team, we have strong ties with the Department of Family and Community Medicine and the Division of HIV, ID and Global Medicine. Our new partnership with ZSFG’s Solid Start is flourishing. In addition, HIVE has strong relationships with San Francisco General Hospital Foundation and San Francisco Public Health Foundation.

HIVE contributes strong. We have created a massive amount of useful and usable content. I could not be more proud, particularly as we begin to archive “old” material created four years ago because new, better material has been created. All of this creation has been an evolution, never complete and always unfolding. This has been a massively prolific and creative period, from which the public discourse has been forever altered. The HIVE platform is strong, trusted and thriving. HIVE is known for delivering on commitments and doing so in a uniquely HIVE way.

The future awaits. The time is ripe and HIVE is ready. Now is the time to ask more and different questions. I believe that is the privilege and the responsibility of what comes from growing and developing to this point. So, now is the time for new leadership. What is HIVE’s unique position in racial equity work? What is HIVE’s advocacy role? In a landscape of shifting priorities, what stakeholder relationships will HIVE focus on, develop or grow? Is the structural focus on roots or expansion? What are HIVE’s staffing needs and what might the staffing structure look like?

Here is what I know: HIVE matters. HIVE is trusted. And, HIVE craves leadership for this new phase – people with an understanding of the trends in clinic care and the online space, people committed to actionable steps toward racial equity, and people with an organized approach to tending to HIVE’s long term relationships with staff, patients, community, partners and funders.

My decision to transition from HIVE now is specific and intentional. HIVE is ready. I believe HIVE’s next phase will most fully develop as I step back and allow space for that next gorgeous thing to emerge.

I remain endlessly devoted to you. I will never truly leave HIVE and HIVE will never truly leave me. Because we are HIVE and we created this story together. Like any dynamic and committed relationship, we remain a part of each other. This transition period allows space to reimagine what is and what will be.

With so much gratitude for what has been and in anticipation of what will be.

As ever,

Shannon Weber