( CHICAGO, Oct. 22, 2014 ) — After a national search led by McCormack and Associates, the Test Positive Aware Network ( TPAN ), Chicago's oldest peer-led HIV/AIDS support services agency, has named Patti Capouch as its first woman Chief Executive Officer. Capouch brings to TPAN extensive experience from a successful career working in HIV/AIDS agencies. Before coming to Chicago, Capouch served as executive director for the Frannie Peabody Center in Portland, Maine.
Founded in 1987, the Test Positive Aware Network ( TPAN ) has been empowering people living with or at risk for HIV/AIDS to live open, healthy, and productive lives. Located at 5050 N. Broadway, Chicago, TPAN delivers innovative peer-led support programs, prevention education and collaborative wellness services.
"We're excited to welcome Patti Capouch as TPAN's first woman CEO," said Joel Bosch, TPAN Board Chair. "Patti has spent her entire career working in HIV/AIDS, and she brings precisely the skills and breadth of experience TPAN needs to lead us into the next stages of growth."
A native of northwest Indiana, Capouch received her undergraduate degree at St. Joseph's College ( Rensselaer, Ind. ), then enrolled at Louisiana State University ( Baton Rouge ) where she earned her Master of Social Work in 1998. While at LSU, Capouch did an internship at the Friends for Life AIDS Resource Center in Baton Rouge. That experience led Capouch to focus her career ambitions on helping the HIV/AIDS community.
"I was helping people who were sick receive good medical care, really making a difference in their lives," Capouch said. "I knew I wanted to work with people living with HIV/AIDS. They were a group that was so marginalized and stigmatized."
After completing her Masters, Capouch was hired as a program coordinator for the Friends for Life AIDS Resource Center, working with service providers, partner organizations and health agencies to improve health outcomes for clients.
In 2004, Capouch left Baton Rouge to become the Executive Director of the Frannie Peabody Center, the largest AIDS service organization in Maine. Capouch came into the job at a time when the organization was facing financial challenges that required major changes in programs. Capouch guided the agency as it changed its focus and made important strides in providing meaningful and effective services across a client-base of diverse cultures and needs.
Throughout her career in HIV/AIDS services, Capouch has been familiar with TPAN and its outstanding publication, Positively Aware. She had already made the commitment to relocate back to the Midwest when she applied for the CEO position at TPAN.
"TPAN embraces all the members of the community who are infected and affected," Capouch said. "The amazing staff at TPAN really does save lives. It's an honor to work with them. I feel like this was meant to be."
Working with the 30-person TPAN staff, Capouch is managing day-to-day operations, and developing effective strategies for programming, services and sustainable funding. One of her goals is to deepen collaboration with other community-based organizations, to ensure that TPAN clients receive the best comprehensive services and health outcomes.
Capouch will also be involved in TPAN's two major fundraising events, Barlesque, an annual competition for the title of Chicago's Sexiest which kicks-off Wed., Nov. 5, 7 to 10 p.m. at Charlie's Chicago ( learn more at barlesque.org ), and the Ride for AIDS Chicago, a 200-mile, two-day bike ride set for July 11 and 12, 2015 ( learn more at rideforaids.org ).
Nancy Abbate of the Abbate Group served as TPAN's interim CEO during the search for a permanent CEO. She came to TPAN through Executive Service Corps, a not-for profit that provides temporary experienced, trained leadership for not-for-profit organizations.
"On behalf of the entire TPAN board and staff, I thank Nancy Abbate for her support as interim CEO," Bosch said. "She played a critical role during a time of transition for the organization, and we sincerely appreciate everything she accomplished."
For more information on the Test Positive Aware Network, visit www.tpan.com .