News

New Officers and Board Members for 2021

In our December Board of Directors meeting, FAM elected a new slate of officers:  Irwin M. Rappaport (Chair), Phill Wilson (Vice Chair & Chief Diversity Officer), Craig Dougherty (Treasurer) and Christina Tangalakis (Secretary).

FAM also recently welcomed four new Board members:  Abdi Nazemian, Lane Janger, Barry Dale Johnson and Colin Gaul.

Irwin M. Rappaport, who recently retired from the practice of entertainment law, is our new Chair, replacing Mark E. Lehman who stepped down after many years of tireless leadership.  Among other achievements during Mark’s tenure, FAM hired the artist Daniel Tobin and design firm UAP, raised millions of dollars and closed our capital campaign, completed the design for the AIDS Monument, and finalized the new MOU with the City of West Hollywood.

Phill Wilson, founder of the Black AIDS Institute, is our new Vice-Chair and will also serve in the newly-created position of Chief Diversity Officer.  Craig Dougherty has relocated to the desert and continues as our longstanding, hard-working Treasurer.  Christina Tangalakis, Associate Dean of Student Financial Aid Services at Glendale Community College, is our new Secretary, replacing J. Hobart who will continue to serve as Chair of our Governance Committee.

In November 2020, FAM welcomed two new Board members: novelist and screenwriter Abdi Nazemian, and film director-turned-therapist Lane Janger, both of whom have jumped in with both feet to get to work on projects to create digital content (and this newsletter!) for our Stories committee.

Asked what motivated them to join FAM’s Board, Nazemian said, “I believe deeply in the importance of honoring and celebrating those who fought so we could inherit a better world. Only through an understanding of where we came from can we find the right path forward. I’m honored to join the board of an organization whose mission of remembering, celebrating and educating feels very close to my heart.”

Janger said: “The day I heard about STORIES in 2015, I called John Gile and told him I wanted to be involved. To now be on the board is a real honor.  Having lost some dear friends during the AIDS crisis, I love that their impact on me might now influence the way thousands of very important personal stories are told and remembered.”

In December 2020, Karen Andros Eyres (pictured at right) joined FAM’s staff as our new Administrative Assistant.  Karen comes to us after working as Administrative Director of Groundworks Campaigns, as a Staff Member for the Westside Democratic Headquarters, and as Office Manager of Citizens of the Worlds Charter Schools.

“As a civically engaged West Hollywood resident, it’s very rewarding to be part of the team bringing The AIDS Monument to fruition,” Eyres said.  “It’s going to be a very special place, unlike anything else.”

In January 2021, FAM was fortunate to add two additional Board members:  Barry Dale Johnson, Senior VP of National Publicity at Searchlight Pictures, and Colin Gaul, a Global Creative Director at Amazon and former VP and Creative Director at MTV & Logo.

“As a longtime member of West Hollywood Aquatics, the land under the future Monument has been a home of sorts for most of my adult life while I found myself as a gay man leaving Texas,” said Barry Dale Johnson.  “The team has been a wonderfully fulfilling source of history and identity, and so much of the Monument pays tribute to those before us and helps educate those who come after us. It is such a key part of future generations.”

Colin Gaul said, “It’s always been my belief that a person is not defined solely by the stories they tell, but also by stories told about them. I am inspired by FAM’s work to dignify the narratives and experiences of our community and I am excited to join as a Board Member.”

Gaul added, “I look forward to working alongside FAM in the preservation, promotion, and celebration of the stories of those effected by the AIDS pandemic and those who have and continue to fight to bring it to an end.”

We were sorry to see Mark Itkin and Michael Nutt step down as members of the Board in December 2020 and January 2021, respectively, and we thank them for their many years of generous and valuable Board service.