I am a gay man, a long-term survivor of HIV (25+ years), a former addict and sex-trade worker, a current mental health consumer, and a relatively short-term survivor of cancer. I have actively worked within the HIV community since 1996, first with the Cranbrook AIDS Society and later with Positive Living BC and AIDS Vancouver. I am a social worker by profession and am passionate about social justice, social policy, advocacy, and community development. I have sat on or chaired numerous committees and working groups both within and outside of Positive Living BC including serving on the board executive. I am a former board member of the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network and a long-time member of the Canadian Treatment Action Council. I look forward to working with and sharing my experience and expertise with the board of Positive Living BC on behalf of all the members.
My experience is in AIDS activism and community advocacy and representation. I believe serving on the Board of Positive Living BC will provide an opportunity to contribute to something positive (pun intended). My Board experience includes eight years at BC Persons With AIDS Society (now Positive Living BC), two years as the Chair and six years as the Vice-Chair; seven years at the Dr Peter AIDS Foundation; four years as co-Chair and founder of the Canadian Working Group on HIV/AIDS; and six years on the Board of the BC Coalition of People with Disabilities. I have extensive experience on committees and speaking at and participating in local, provincial, national and international groups and conferences. I completed the Positive Leadership Institute Core Training (PLDI) in May this year.
Walter Petram, Emeritus
I have been a Director of Positive Living BC since 2014, and have enjoyed serving the Society in this capacity on numerous committees. I have previous experience on boards and in business and am able to sift through information, get to the bottom of things, and make informed, logical decisions – important assets to bring to any Board of Directors. My empathy, compassion, and keen interest in helping people are also important elements to me and are assets in helping this organization thrive. Our organization is member-driven; however, there is still room for more engagement of the membership province-wide. I believe we have the right combination of diversity and talent, not only on the Board of Directors but also in the vast pool of volunteers, peer workers, and staff at Positive Living BC, to help engage PLHIV throughout the province, while remaining a leader in services and support.
I started volunteering with Positive Living BC in September 2012 as a member of the Reception Team, which I still do today. I have just completed my third successful year as a participant in the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program where we complete tax returns for members. I am the lone Deputy Membership Registrar at present, a recent member of the Positive Action Standing Committee, and one of the new inductees of the Retreat Team. My formal background is in accounting and interior design. I am also a member of the Pacific Hepatitis C Network where I received and utilize my Advocacy training. My education has afforded me the ability to be organized, solve issues creatively, and have a tenacious attitude, as well as being an effective communicator. As a Board member, I will work diligently to take on the challenges required of me.
As a long-term survivor with HIV I have been involved with my community in various ways. I have been active with, and volunteered at, AIDS Vancouver Island for 24 years, serving on their board of directors for three consecutive two-year terms. I am also a past board member of Victoria Persons with AIDS Society. Over the past four years I have shared my experience as an HIV-positive woman along with other positive people in a public story telling group called “We Are Here.” I am one of the original members of ViVa and currently sit on their executive committee. I have a passion for public speaking and have been teaching sexual health and HIV education to school children and young adults for the past 15 years. As a board member and an individual, I feel that educating ourselves and the community is important to living full and stigma-free lives.