The Speaker Bureau members are individuals living with HIV who have unique stories to share. Their diverse lived experience and expertise initiates important conversations. Through sharing these stories, HIV knowledge is increased, and HIV related stigma decreased. Click here to request a speaker for free today.

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Why Book a Speaker:

Maricopa County has one of the nation’s fastest rates of new HIV infections in the country. Myths, lack of information, and stigma are still a problem contributing to new infections and lack of engagement in care.

Learn more about HIV in Maricopa County here.

Book a speaker today!

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Use Your Voice to Make an Impact. Let’s work together to destigmatize HIV.

Are you currently living with HIV? Now is your opportunity to bring light to common misconceptions and educate your community about the everyday realities of this condition. We encourage you to join the Voices of Hope Speakers Bureau to inspire and inform the public through your personal experience.

With authentic stories, educational presentations and engaging conversations, we can create a more inclusive environment for those living with HIV — and it all starts with courageous individuals like you using your voice for good.

No public speaking experience is needed. We will provide formal presentation training to all participants.

Interested in becoming a speaker or kickstarting a conversation about HIV within your organization? Fill out a form below to get started!

Meet Our Speakers

  • Christopher Hooper

    Christopher Hooper is a husband, father and brand-new grandfather. He has traversed the HIV world as a survivor since 1993 and has gone through many trials and tribulations with a positive spirit. He has learned that joy and pain are not mutually exclusive and has joined the speakers bureau to share his story and help others deepen their understanding of what it means to be a long-term survivor with HIV. His new “coming out” experience with his disease is a unique look into the world of HIV stigma and how it affects people’s lives. He has been an improv performer and teacher for over nine years and brings his unique humorous, yet meaningful voice to this format.

    “I look forward to helping reduce the stigma that HIV still has in society and helping others become more educated about this disease.”

  • Elijah Palles

    Elijah Palles, A.K.A. Eddie Broadway, has been a drag entertainer in Phoenix, AZ, for 10 years. During this time, he has held numerous titles, namely Mister Phoenix Pride 2014, Mister USofA MI 2017, Emperor to Reign XIII of the Imperial Court of Arizona and King Father to Reign XV of the Imperial Court of Arizona. He is currently Mr. Trans USA 2020. Throughout his performing career, he has been an activist for transgender visibility and awareness. He was the first-elected transgender emperor of the imperial court of Arizona and enacted the Broadway Gatlyn Spectrum Grant, which awards up to $5,000 annually to an Arizona resident to assist with gender affirmation surgery. Outside of performing, he is a mental health therapist and works primarily with the transgender and gender non-conforming communities to assist with their transition and mental health concerns. He sits on the board of RipplePHX and Jim Collins Foundation and is the Vice President of the Board of the Imperial Court of Arizona. Elijah is a newly diagnosed transgender man and is this year’s co-chair for Aunt Rita’s AIDS Walk to bring AFAB voices to the table for HIV prevention, education, supportive services and research.

  • Jacqueline Fields

    My name is Jacqueline Fields, Jacque for short. I was diagnosed with HIV in 2000 and from then until now, I have been educating myself in HIV prevention and living longer with HIV. I am active in the community, educating and encouraging self-care and safer HIV sex practices.  I am also the co-chair of the Ryan White Part D Community Advisory Board and part of the women’s group at Valleywise Health, and I’m excited to be a partner in HIV education and prevention. I am the middle child of three children. I have a brother three years older than me, and a brother five years younger than me. I was born in South Carolina and moved to Arizona as a child. I have three children: two daughters and a son. They are all grown now and have families of their own, which turned me into a proud grandma of five grandchildren who loves spending time with them.

  • Michael Specker

    Michael is a 34-year-old who has been living with HIV since July 31, 2010. Michael is a recovering addict who works to share his knowledge and hope in any situation. Michael has volunteered in the HIV community with various agencies, like Aunt Rita’s Foundation, Joshua Tree Feeding Program and The Phoenix Shanti Groupafter completing the Shanti program. Michael currently works in behavioral health and educates new peer support specialists on HIV and how stigma is still real for those living with the conditionMichael does everything he can to share the hope he has been given by so many and help others understand that although HIV can affect many aspects of one’s life, they can still find positivity in their daily lives.  

  • Sheree Ware

    Sheree was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona, where she was married and raised three children. She has been advocating for the HIV community for over 20 years, inspired by the belief that education and communication are power.

    When Sheree was diagnosed, she was told she only had ten years to live. She did not let that stop her from living life. Sheree never thought that she could be impacted by HIV, that this would be the life she would be living, with all the challenges that come with it. She suffered from depression, seizure disorder, and struggled to get the proper HIV medication after weight loss surgery. She feels fortunate to have made it through these challenges thanks to treatment, care, and support. She has since graduated with a bachelor’s degree in public health, and continues on her journey, giving back to the community that gave to her when she needed it most.

    Today, Sheree is Certified Peer Support Specialist, Public Health Advocate, Inspirational Speaker/HIV LGBTQ+-Activist, and Founder of Desert Spectrum Coalition for LGBTQIAP2S+ Youth.

  • Laverne Ward

    Laverne Ward was born in Newark, NJ where she attended public school, married, and raised her children. Laverne has two children and eight grandchildren.

    After raising her children, she divorced and moved to North Carolina where she met her second husband, who unfortunately preceded her in death. She then relocated to the west coast where she now resides — in Phoenix, AZ. Working in the field of healthcare, Laverne found her passion for serving others.

    Laverne joined Positive Women’s Network USA in 2018, where she holds office as co-chair. In her role, she leads training, education and advocacy for HIV awareness and prevention. Laverne’s mission is to support young trans women in becoming leaders in HIV advocacy. In her free time, Laverne enjoys outdoor activities, cooking and just relaxing.

  • Becky Lutz

    Becky has a passion for supporting those diagnosed with HIV and chooses to do so through advocacy. As a long-time survivor of HIV and mother of a perinatal, Becky brings her lived experience with her to everything she does to help break the stigma and halt the suffering of those living with HIV.

    Through her work at an HIV agency as a patient care coordinator, Becky is able to break barriers for those in need of services. She is on the Fast Track City Adhoc and the board of directors at Aunt Rita’s. She hopes to give a voice to others with lived experience with HIV. Her work in both positions makes her very proud, and she is excited to be a part of the Voices of Hope Speakers Bureau at Valleywise Health.