Mark Seaman Resigns from Philadelphia FIGHT

The HIV/AIDS advocate says he's leaving Philly to continue his pursuits on a global scale.

Philly will lose an important HIV advocate next month when Philadelphia FIGHT Director of Development and Communications Mark Seaman resigns and moves to New York City to continue his academic pursuits.

Seaman has worked for Philadelphia FIGHT for five years — an expanse of time that has seen the local HIV/AIDS-fighting nonprofit grow from a $6-million agency to one that brings in $15 million annually. Executive Director Jane Shull credits Seaman’s involvement for much of that boost. “Mark has been instrumental in helping FIGHT move to a level of recognition in the community that we didn’t have before,” which, she says, “has translated into name recognition and more financial support for the organization.”

She says his work has also helped bring much-needed attention to Philly FIGHT public programs, such as the annual AIDS Education Month, which, in 2013, drew over 7,000 attendees, and the first Hip-Hop for Philly concert. Through the latter event, she says the organization was able to administer 1,200 HIV tests to young people who were rewarded with a ticket to see Fabolous at the Troc. “Mark was the initiator, the organizer and force behind this concert. We could not have pulled this off without him.” 

So with all the glowing achievements, why is he leaving? “I’m ready to pivot my career in a different direction … to continue what I’m doing now, but on a global scale,” he says, telling me that he’ll begin a two-year  Masters of International Affairs program at Columbia in New York this fall. He’s already garnered firsthand world-stage experience in the Peace Corps, where he ran an HIV program in Niger, and while at FIGHT, he helped establish a sister clinic in Ghana, where he sends education materials and financial resources to further its peer-education program.

His last day at FIGHT is August 16, and there will be a going-away cocktail reception on the second floor of Woody’s on August 14 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Anyone is invited to attend, and he hopes lots of people show up, because “I’ll miss it here more than I ever thought I would. A few months ago, when I was applying to schools, I was excited and anxious to get on with things. But now that it’s so close, I’ve become a lot more nostalgic and aware of how much Philadelphia will always mean to me.”

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