ACON CEO Nicolas Parkhill stepping down after 15 years

ACON CEO Nicolas Parkhill
ACON CEO Nicolas Parkhill has announced his retirement from the role. Photo: ACON

NSW’s leading LGBTQIA+ community health organisation ACON has today announced the resignation of its Chief Executive Officer, Nicolas Parkhill AM, who is stepping down after 18 years with the organisation, with 15 of those years as CEO.

Parkhill will depart at the end of August 2024 when his current contract expires.

“I feel it is the right time for the organisation, and for myself, both personally and professionally,” Parkhill said.

“ACON is in a very good place, and continues to deliver on its strategic plan, to our communities, and to our many beneficiaries and stakeholders.

“We have in place extraordinarily strong governance, an incredibly talented and dedicated Deputy CEO and Senior Leadership Team, and amazing staff and volunteers who consistently deliver excellent programs and services.

“We continue to work with our communities in innovative ways to reduce HIV notifications and to assist people living with HIV, always adapting our programs to benefit those most at risk.

“Our ability to build new LGBTQ+ health programs where we know there is real and unmet need, continues to strengthen, and increase our impact.

“Of course, partnerships are foundational to the work that we deliver, and I believe that the many and various partnerships we have across the health, scientific, medical, NGO and corporate sectors are robust and strong, and I know they will be nurtured into the future,” Parkhill said.

Nicolas joined ACON in 2006 as its Director of Operations and has served as CEO since 2009.

In that time, he has led several key initiatives which have contributed to significant declines in new HIV notifications in NSW in recent years.

These include the establishment of NSW’s first community based rapid HIV testing service, and the development of the multi-award winning and internationally recognised ‘Ending HIV’ education framework. 

In partnership with other stakeholders, Parkhill has also been instrumental in the rollout and widespread adoption of the HIV prevention medication PrEP in NSW, as well in efforts to get more people living with HIV to initiate treatment earlier to improve their health.

Parkhill has also led the expansion of ACON’s work into new areas including the establishment of ACON’s highly successful diversity and inclusion initiatives for employers, sporting bodies and health and wellbeing organisations; the development of cancer screening and prevention programs and services; and the implementation of a greater focus on the health of LGBTQ+ women, culturally and linguistically diverse people, and trans and gender diverse communities.

Parkhill also successfully stewarded ACON’s growth as it further broadened its scope in mental health, harm reduction, community safety, domestic and family violence, and ageing.

Parkhill’s service to community health, particularly to people living with HIV, and to healthcare delivery, was recognised in 2022 when he was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia.

“Working for ACON and our communities has been a huge honour and it has given me so much joy, happiness and sense of reward,” Parkhill added.

“I feel incredibly fortunate to have been given the opportunity to serve our communities in this way. I am proud of all that ACON has achieved, and I am so grateful for the incredible people who I have had the privilege to work alongside over the last 18 years.”

ACON President Dr Justin Koonin thanked Parkhill for his dedication to the role.

“We extend our heartfelt gratitude to Nicolas for his years-long service to ACON and to the health of our communities,” Dr Koonin said.

“We thank him for his unwavering passion and commitment to improving health outcomes for people living with HIV and LGBTQ+ people. The communities ACON serves are stronger and more resilient thanks to his tireless efforts.

“Nicolas’ strong leadership, relentless pursuit of excellence, spirit of innovation and collaborative approach have seen ACON achieve remarkable growth and success. He leaves behind an organisation that is strong, agile and ready to continue on in its journey towards meeting its strategic objectives. He leaves big shoes to fill, but the organisation is in a great place,” Koonin said.

Parkhill will continue in his role while ACON undertakes a comprehensive recruitment process for a new CEO.

“We thank Nicolas for his support in the coming months as we embark on our search for new leadership, and we wish Nicolas all the best in his future endeavours,” Koonin added.

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Andrew M Potts

Andrew has been covering LGBTQIA+ issues for a range of publications in Australia over two decades and was the Asia-Pacific correspondent for global LGBTQIA+ news website Gay Star News.

QNews, Brisbane Gay, App, Gay App, LGBTI, LGBTI News, Gay Australia

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