ESF founding president/CEO steps down, named CEO of PremloCareTop Highlights, Around the City, Breaking News Monday, March 4th, 2013
SAN DIEGO – At its annual board meeting, A. Latham Staples, the founder of the Empowering Spirits Foundation (ESF), a national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, announced his resignation as president and CEO of the organization he started in 2008. Staples who will remain with ESF as Chairman of the Board will become CEO of PremloCare Intuitive, Inc. (PremloCare), a La Jolla, Calif. based healthcare corporation. Due to the ESF’s growth over the past four years, the board of directors also approved changes to the oversight of the organization.
In a separate letter to supporters of ESF, Staples said, “After careful thought and deliberation with my family and the ESF board I’ve decided to end my term as the President/CEO of ESF. When I founded ESF I never imagined the organization would grow to what it has become. These past four years have been the most unique, exciting and challenging years of my life. I resign confident about the direction of ESF and I will still be involved in the organization that I love as chairman of ESF’s board. But now I have a tremendous opportunity to serve humanity in a different capacity, as the CEO of PremloCare, a corporation that has set out to revolutionize healthcare.”
John A. Macoviak, M.D., chairman of PremloCare Intuitive, Inc. said, “We are fortunate that Latham Staples agreed to take the CEO role in PremloCare. Latham’s integrity, energy, and 17 years of Fortune 50 IT commercialization and healthcare human resource executive management experience, combined with his passion for creating change to improve humanity in unique and innovative ways are the perfect combination for our corporation as we seek to transform healthcare. The realistic yet non-obvious, highly intuitive-to-use innovations that PremloCare, led by Latham, is launching will help accelerate the transformation in healthcare many need and will allow many to live better telemedically.”
Since its inception in 2008, when Staples founded ESF following the passage of Proposition 8 which defined marriage to be between only a man and a woman, ESF has held 129 events across 49 cities. These events have included housing builds in Dallas, Fort Worth and Austin, Texas, and Birmingham, Ala.; restoration projects in San Diego, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Lawton, Okla., New York City and Miami; as well as food drives, homeless projects and numerous other events throughout the U.S. And working alongside ESF’s volunteers have been countless members of various communities of color, religions and socio-economic groups, the very individuals ESF has attempted to influence.
Due to the distinctive manner in which ESF promotes equality through community service activities designed to allow differing sides to come together, Staples was named a prestigious Echoing Green Fellow in 2010 for “enacting innovative solutions that address root causes to social problems, ‘said Cheryl Dorsey, Echoing Green President.
Under Staples’ leadership ESF has also become partners to or aligned with numerous organizations – some being the National Women Veterans Association of American, the United African American Ministerial Action Council, the Foundation for Reconciliation (a Mormon organization), Habitat for Humanity, Advocates for Informed Choice, the Department of Defense Federal Globe, and MyOutSpirit.com – many that don’t typically work alongside the LGBT community.
“I’ve always admired Latham’s love and compassion for others. When Latham approached me with his idea for ESF I was so inspired and I jumped at the opportunity to assist the organization, “said Lidia R. Gomez, a founding board member of ESF, and a LGBT ally. “We’ve worked alongside people from various socio-economic groups, ethnicities, religions and sexual orientations. However, classifications never came into play at our events because for a few hours each day we all came to together as people and members of a shared community. This helps to break down the negative stereotypes and promote understanding.”
Because of ESF’s growth the board chose to split Staples’ president/CEO responsibilities into two executive positions, and to create a Vice President position.
Elizabeth Casswell, who has over 17 years of professional experience, including eight years of management experience, will take over as ESF’s new CEO on June 1, 2013. Casswell was director of Administrative Services and corporate treasurer at Full Life, a nonprofit in Hawaii. She also served as a supervisor at Oppenheimer Funds.
“The day that I found ESF on Facebook years ago I knew it was a nonprofit close to my heart. I have always believed that all people should volunteer, and that the arguments about the LGBT community were too divisive,” said Elizabeth Casswell, incoming ESF CEO. “I also know from my years of research in the areas of oppression and discrimination that contact with people from new cultures is the most effective way of breaking down barriers. I believe in the power of hearts reaching out through shared service, and in my own life volunteering has eliminated many prejudices against people who were different than me.”
Casswell added, “I’m honored to follow in Latham’s footsteps. His service through the founding of ESF, and his commitment, passion, determination and kind heart inspire me to continue to believe in the power of kindness and connections between people who are working for a common goal.”
Clayton Gibson, the founder of MyOutSpirit.com and author of “How to Win Gay Rights” which explains in detail the “voluntary redemptive service” that is ESF’s mission, will become President of ESF on June 1, 2013. And Lisa Kove, founder of the Department of Defense Federal Globe will become Vice President of ESF the same day.
When asked why he founded ESF Staples said it’s about one thing – “Love.” “We all laugh the same, we all cry the same, we all love the same,” said Staples. “People need to stop focusing on pious trivialities and instead on ways to work together to progress society.”
Staples said the perfect example of ESF’s impact can be summed up in an event ESF held in 2009.
“During a tree-planting event an elderly lady from a church asked me where my wife was after seeing my wedding ring. I pointed jokingly at my then-husband, explained to her that we were one of the first couples to legally wed in California,” said Staples. “You could tell though it wasn’t a talking point to have with her. We ended up talking about her husband who was seeking cancer treatment. I told her my grandfather had recently passed from lung cancer and told her I’d pray for them. Months later we received a package and in it was a simple box. It contained hers and her husband’s wedding rings. Her husband had passed and attached to the box was a note that said, ‘I voted to take away your right to wed, with these rings I wish to help give it back.’ I didn’t have to cram a LGBT viewpoint down her throat that day I was with her, I simply was me.”
At the annual meeting the board thanked John E. Browning and Michelle Carolan whose terms expired for their service as founding directors. The ESF Board strongly believes they along with the other founding board members and successors have lived up to the diversity and absence of stereotypes ESF seeks to inspire through its projects and mission.
Due to the growth the directors also elected to the board Victoria Kerley, a well-known political activist and a member of the national Log Cabin Republicans; Blue Montana, transgender activist and Prince Royale of the San Diego Imperial Court, and Arleen Garcia-Herbst, founder of the San Diego Bisexual Women’s Meet-up.
Because of ESF’s tremendous success and growth, and to provide additional guidance to the current 15-member ESF board , the board also created a Board of Advisors, which includes former ESF founding board member Rae Fortunato, Ph.D.; Tara Jones, founder of the National Women Veterans Association of America; Patrick J. Ambrosio of the Department of Defense Federal Globe; Dayna Walker, a representative of the intersex community; and Cole, founder of the Brown Boi Project.
Staples will remain president and CEO of ESF until June 1, to ensure a smooth transition.
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