Meet the PLDI™ Team


  • Walked the runway in Berlin
  • Artist
  • Authenticity
  • Inquisitive
  • Adaptability


Meet the PLDI™ Team


  • Appeared on stage in The Full Monty
  • Hot Yoga Enthusiast
  • Open Mindedness
  • Connectedness
  • Problem Solving

Meet the PLDI™ Team


  • Worked at a comedy club
  • Urban Explorer
  • Peace, Humour
  • Relator
  • Strategic

What is The Positive Leadership Development Institute™? (PLDI™)

The Positive Leadership Development Institute™ (PLDI™) is a program of the Ontario AIDS Network (OAN). In 2006, The Ontario AIDS Network (OAN) launched PLDI™. The aim was to support people living with HIV to realize their leadership potential and increase their capacity to participate meaningfully in community life. The motivation for the development of this leadership development program grew from the need to actualize The GIPA Principle (Greater Involvement of People with HIV/AIDS) developed at The Paris Summit (1994). The program also grew from a belief that authoritarian or ―top-down‖ approaches to leadership have little currency in a world that demands innovation, creativity and supportive net-works to tackle increasingly complex social and health issues.

The approach to leadership adopted by OAN starts from the belief that ―leadership does not be-long to a small group of charismatic individuals, but rather that everyone has the capacity to be a leader in his or her own way. The program fosters a collaborative model of leadership—also known as a shared, collective or distributive model—which is grounded in shared values of individuals, the diverse actions of leaders, and their capacity to collectively act upon a shared vision.

The mission of the Institute is to:

  • Honour the leadership of the past;
  • Value the leadership here today; and,
  • Inspire leadership for our future.

The Positive Leadership Development Institute™ exists with the purpose of supporting people who are living with HIV/AIDS to realise their leadership potential and increase their capacity to participate meaningfully in community life by challenging HIV stigma.

he curriculum objectives for the Leadership Training are for participants to have the opportunity:

  • To understand the 5 principles and 10 commitments of leadership
  • To realise individual leadership potential
  • To participate in building a network of leaders within the HIV community
  • To realise the potential and strengths that each individual brings to the network
  • To learn about and practice leadership skills in a safe environment
  • To inspire others to become leaders
  • To encourage participants to take on facilitator and mentoring roles within the community
  • To expand participants awareness of the HIV community The impact and outcome evaluation measures include:
  • Measurable increases in resilience and emotional intelligence
  • Greater confidence to participate in community activities
  • Sustained resilience and leadership skills

PLDI™ is for people living with HIV by people living with HIV.

Currently PLDI™ offers 3 PLDI™ levels and has capacity to provide 7 workshops across a year throughout the province of Ontario.

The PLDI™ training consists of three phases:


Level 1

Who am I as a Leader?

Level 2

Is Board Work for You?

Level 3


The Positive Leadership Development Institute™ training program has grown in size and impact since its founding in 2006. More than 600 people in Ontario have completed at least one level of the training. The program has gone beyond the borders of Ontario and is strengthened through its partnership with the Pacific AIDS Network in western Canada and now operates both in Australia. And New Zealand with over 70 graduates in only a few short years and nearly 100 people on the waiting list to attend. As the number of PLDI™ alumni continues to grow, graduates are serving on organizational boards of directors and occupying other leadership positions in their communities, some involving paid employment.
It is clear that not all People Living with HIV want to be community leaders and equally that not all People Living with HIV have leadership intention and capacity. We believe that the qualities that make a good leader also enable PLHIV to take control over their own lives, to recognise that they are part of a larger community of people living with HIV and understand that they can take action and have a role to play in ending HIV.

The leadership skills and leadership theory focused upon these courses are also considered ‘life skills’ and explores how life skill development in the context of living with HIV can be harnessed to develop personal resilience and challenge HIV stigma.

We believe that all PLHIV can …

  1. Model the way by standing up for the rights of others living with HIV
  2. Inspire a shared vision which sees PLHIV are central and vital to the response to HIV
  3. Challenging the process which allow HIV stigma and discrimination to thrive
  4. Enable others to act as fellow member of a broader PLHIV community, and
  5. Encourage the heart by celebrating our diversity, our history and our future

PLDI™ welcomes any PLHIV to apply for this leadership course. PLDI™ is a professional development opportunity – not a retreat. The training takes place over the course of three days – and these days are very structured and intensive. While there are scheduled breaks, the days are quite long and people attending the training are expected to be present and participating for the duration, it’s recommended for people whose physical and mental health is at a place that they can fully participate.

Throughout the course, participants are encouraged to see themselves as part of a larger community of PLHIV, to value and appreciate the unique experiences that accompany anyone living with HIV, and to understand the history and evolution of the global and local responses to HIV.

However, there are limitations to what this course is able to achieve. It is not designed to assist

PLHIV to come to terms with their diagnosis, nor is it a therapeutic intervention. It is designed for PLHIV who have an interest in building their leadership and resilience capacities either in the HIV sector or their personal lives. Ensuring that PLDI graduates are supported, prepared and able to go back into their communities to commit to social change and to challenge HIV stigma is an ambitious undertaking.

It is our belief that it is the collective effort and the passion of PLHIV who have driven many of the changes in HIV policy, practice and research and it is PLHIV who will affect how we see HIV tomorrow.

The Positive Leadership Development Institute (PLDI™) offers an opportunity to identify and development leadership and resilience skills among all people living with HIV.

We believe that strong leaders create stronger communities.

We honor the leadership of the past; value the leadership of today; and inspire leadership for the future.

The PLDI™ program aims to create a network of informed and empowered PLHIV who will participate in and influence their local communities.

Supporting a new and emerging generation of PLHIV leaders is necessary and vital to continuing the partnership approach to HIV.

As highly active antiretroviral therapies dramatically changed the ways in which we live our lives, we have grown to understand that it is HIV stigma that continues to linger and is negatively affecting the response to HIV – we need to support strong and confident leaders to bring an end to HIV.

PLDI™ leadership is strengthened and developed through intensive workshops that help PLHIV to recognise their potential, building their self-esteem and also increase their awareness of the accountability of leaders.

To date over 500 PLHIV from across Ontario have graduated from the Institute and have gone on to affect social change, community building and the HIV in many remarkable ways.

The PLDI™ leadership training continues to grow and innovate during the past year as it has throughout its nine-year history. All levels of the training are fully enrolled and feedback from participants is

Overwhelmingly positive. This is backed up by the number of graduates who report greater confidence in themselves as leaders, greater involvement in ASOs and other community organizations as volunteers and paid staff, and positive spinoff effects in interpersonal relationships. Evidence of PLDI™’s success is the uptake of the program by OAN’s partner organization, the Pacific AIDS Network, and by international organizations as far away as Australia.

The number of PLDI™ graduates continues to grow, to the extent that graduates now form a leadership group whose impact is being felt in ASOs across Ontario and increasingly in other parts of Canada. PLDI™ has expanded its services to graduates, as evidenced by the launch of the pilot program in personal coaching in 2013, which was continued during the past year. PLDI™ alumni are now actively involved in community dialogue about disclosure and in setting research agendas. HIV and aging is emerging as an issue whose importance will continue to grow. On this, and on other issues of importance, PLDI™ and PLDI™ alumni will continue to lead and support our communities.

Reports & Documents

PLDI Application Form

All persons interested in taking the training must complete and submit an application form.
IMPORTANT: Applications must be submitted to the following email address:



OAN Code of Conduct and Accountability for PLDI

Any persons submitting an application to participate in the training, indicate that they have read and agree to the Code of Conduct as well as the Financial Guidelines and the Release of Liability

Learning to Lead

An Evaluation of the Leadership Development Program in 2012, a workshop offered for People with HIV/AIDS by the Ontario AIDS Network

An impact evaluation of the Positive Leadership Development Institute (Ontario)

Change Makers

An impact evaluation of the Positive Leadership Development Institute (Ontario)

Learning to Lead

An Evaluation of the Leadership Development Program in 2008, a workshop offered for People with HIV/AIDS by the Ontario AIDS Network

An impact evaluation of the Positive Leadership Development Institute (Ontario)

PLDI Photo Tree

We are looking for PLDI™ graduates who are willing to send us their best


“This workshop includes everyone no matter what age, gender or ethnicity – I’ve never seen anything like it.”
“Back in Level 1, I was an egg shell. Today, in Level 3, I have grown in confidence and strength. The PLDI journey has straightened the path for me to continue.”
“The process is well designed and easy to access.”
“I have learned, yet again, so much I really appreciate the opportunity every time I leave this workshop I leave reflecting on how I can better myself and others around me.”