Health Initiative for Men (HIM) Announces Incoming Executive Director

New Executive Director will assume job responsibilities on October 1, 2021, following handover from current leadership. 

HIM Board of Directors and staff are excited to announce the appointment of Aaron Purdie as the organization’s new Executive Director who will assume responsibility for the role on October 1, 2021. HIM’s outgoing Executive Director Greg Oudman who served the organization since 2014, has worked closely with the Board for the last 3 months to develop a succession plan and process to identify the right candidate to lead the organization forward. 

“The Board of Directors was actually prepared to undertake a cross-country search to fill the position.” says Doug Leavers, Chair of the HIM Board. “Which made it all the more exciting for us to discover that – from within HIM’s own management team – Aaron shared all of the Board’s progressive ambitions for the future of HIM.”   

Doug recognized Aaron’s work supporting GBTQ2+ health and social justice within the queer community, further adding, “Aaron’s many successes at HIM, along with his proposals to advance the Board’s Strategic Plan priorities, earned his promotion unanimous approval from the Board.” 

As HIM’s new incoming Executive Director, Aaron will work closely with the Board of Directors at HIM to develop shared leadership which will introduce new levels of equity at HIM by ensuring that leadership and decision making is shared amongst the diverse leaders at HIM. Aaron will take the lead on facilitating the organization’s strategic plan, ensuring strong relationships in community, and will continue to ensure that HIM’s work is resourced in a way that addresses the health inequities that exist within queer and gender diverse communities. “I have had the incredible experience of learning from elders, and leaders who are queer and gender diverse and I will not let those learnings go to waste. I am committed to listening, self-reflection and conveying to the world the importance of peer-based supports. When we can help each other a perspective of lived experience, we invest depth and vibrance back into our own communities” – Aaron Purdie. 

More about Aaron:

Aaron (he/him/his) has worked with HIM since 2015, and brings his extensive experience in program development, evaluation, policy and mental health practice. Trained and supported in his early career by dedicated, passionate Womxn, Aaron started work in the non-profit sector in 2005 and has worked alongside marginalized people for his entire career including people with disabilities, youth and newcomers. Aaron values social justice, equity, accountability, and is a creative, dynamic leader who values people and relationships over all else. As HIM’s first internal candidate for Executive Director, Aaron brings forward his significant experience in supporting gay, bi and queer men in building and imagining healthy lives. Aaron is a sci-fi loving mental health professional (registered clinical counsellor) who values art, music, philosophy and dialogue. 

Bidding Farewell to HIM’s longest serving Executive Director 

Greg Oudman, Outgoing Executive Director

HIM Board of Directors and staff would like to thank Greg Oudman for his service for the last 7 years as Executive Director. With Greg’s leadership the organization has navigated through challenging times and thrived to become a cornerstone for the health and wellbeing of the GBT2Q community. 

“For these past seven years, I have had the immense privilege to be part of our work to build capacity to address GBT2Q health and wellness in the Lower Mainland and beyond, with the best and most passionate advocates for GBT2Q health anywhere in Canada. I have had the opportunity to celebrate queer men’s lives and my life in ways I would never have dreamed of as an uncertain closeted young queer man so many years ago. I have had the privilege of helping HIM grow and flourish, of seeing our engagement with GBT2Q communities expand, and of witnessing some of the most amazing and innovative programming for GBT2Q health and wellness. I am immensely proud of that work. The direction, support and guidance I’ve received from the Board of Directors over my tenure motivated me to be the best leader I could be, and I am grateful for their support. I have every confidence that HIM is in good hands with the new leadership and the current staff and governance team, and that it will continue to provide innovative, accessible and inclusive opportunities for GBT2Q folks to build healthy lives and thrive together. It has been a genuine honour to lead this organization for the past seven years and to do this essential work in our community. I am very much looking forward to seeing how HIM and the communities it engages with continue to evolve together.” – Greg Oudman. 

Aaron Purdie and Greg Oudman

Commenting on Greg’s departure, Aaron Purdie – incoming Executive Director, said: “I’ve had the pleasure of working with Greg for almost 7 years. Greg and I share values in providing services, in-the-moment that have been built by and for our communities and I have learned so much from our work together. Greg’s experience in program building, and refining service provision and building HIM’s capacity to deliver excellent work are legacies that we want to carry forward”. 

Board Members depend on the Executive Director to provide trusted, up-to-date information about all organizational affairs. “Most non-profits progress through numerous organizational stages and HIM has been no exception.”  says Doug Leavers, Chair. “Since 2014, each Board member has appreciated the advice and input that Greg has provided consistently to support their governance role. This enabled all of the Directors to work exceptionally well together.”  Through several Board terms, Greg always held the ED / Chair team in high regard. “In my experience” says Doug, “I have sincerely appreciated the shared respect of our relationship.” 

HIM’s team collectively wishes Greg all the best in his future endeavors. 

About Health Initiative for Men (HIM): 

HIM is a non-profit society that aims to strengthen health and well-being in communities of self-identified GBQ (gay, bi and queer) men and gender diverse people in BC. Our vision is to build healthier lives together. We value a comprehensive approach to healthy living; we value our community’s ability to make informed decisions; we value a non-judgmental, sex-positive and strengths-based philosophy; we value scientific research; we value capacity-building and collaboration; we value the role of our communities. 

HIM honours the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and səlil̓ilw̓ətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations, and the territories of many nations on the west coast of Turtle Island, on whose unceded and stolen land we live and work. As uninvited inhabitants, we acknowledge that this space is and always will be Indigenous land.

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