Monday, December 1, 2008

Change We Can Believe In

By Steve Villano

This past year—from one World AIDS Day to the next (December 1, 2007, to December 1, 2008)—has been a time of transformative change, in the life of the country, Cable Positive’s, and my own.

The election of Barack Obama as President of the United States is an historic moment, heralding the promise of great change, challenge and hope for the future. It is a moment, like a handful of others in our lives, by which we measure where we were when it happened, and where we want to be to help it unfold. I felt the same way when JFK was elected President in 1960, and at 11 years old, began my journey toward a lifetime of service. I feel that same sense of youthful optimism today, only 49 years later.

It’s been a year packed with powerful, positive changes for the Cable industry and for Cable Positive. Gone are the days of the industry’s year long calendar of benefit dinners--replaced by greater focus and collaboration on the community-based and national awareness programs constituting Cable Positive’s true public service and value. Fortuitously, for the fight against HIV/AIDS, these changes coincided with the CDC’s conclusion that the AIDS epidemic in the US is far worse than previously believed—and that the life-saving role for education as the only vaccine against the disease has dramatically increased the importance of Cable Positive’s work—and the need for growing cable industry & public support.

And, from last December to this one, death--and the potential of a sweet, new birth-- have served as momentous mile-markers in the past 525,600 minutes of my own life. From my mother’s death one year ago, to the joyous news that my son will soon become a father, this has been a year unlike any other for me. Attention must be paid to such transformative events. Action must be taken.

Accordingly, after a nearly-nine year privilege of serving Cable Positive and working with an all-star array of cable industry leaders driven by a desire to do good, I’ve decided to seek to explore some mountains beyond those I’ve already climbed. “Change we can believe in,” is as true at Cable Positive, as it is for the rest of the country, and over the next several months I hope to take an active role in that positive transition of leadership between now and July 1, 2009.

As a passionate change advocate, I believe that the healthiest organizations—and individuals—are those that don’t fear change, but embrace it, as a way to achieve new and even better results. I am confident that the team we’ve built over the years at Cable Positive, headed by our talented Chief Operating Officer Thomas Henning and an excellent Executive Committee and Board of Directors, guided by Showtime’s gifted EVP, Ray Gutierrez, will continue to take the organization to bold, new heights, expand its programs and break exciting ground with all media platforms and audiences. In fact, with our Youth AIDS Media Institute funded by Motorola, and our public service programs of community-building launched by NBC-Universal in New Orleans in May, we are already well on our way.

This has not been an easy decision. I love my work with Cable Positive and what we’ve accomplished over the past nine years, on a tiny budget, and with a small, but mighty team. I enjoy making a difference in people’s lives, and building something—a program, a documentary, an organization—from the roughest of concepts into a powerful tool to make our world a little better place.

I don’t know what awaits, but this much I do know: I’m thankful to be alive today, to be a participant in a time of great change, and to energetically embrace tomorrow.

No comments: