While making her maiden speech as new TASO Executive Director, Dr. Nabiryo thanked the TASO family for the warm welcome she received as Executive Director and for confidence they had in her to lead the organization. She also thanked them for the teamwork, innovation and commitment to the TASO cause. She however urged them to work harder to attain greater heights and maintain the good record for which TASO in known. Dr. Nabiryo also recognized the various staff who always welcomed her when she visited the centers during her earlier employment as Deputy Executive Director in TASO.
The new Executive Director pledged to listen to the Founder members, Board, donors, staff and most especially the clients of TASO. She also pledged to commit to the philosophy of Positive Living and to encourage unity among staff in spite of their various geographical locations.
Also present were Dr. Sam Kalibbala, the first TASO Board Chairman and founder of TASO Masaka and Rev. Willy Olango, Vice Chairman of the Board, who officiated at the swearing in ceremony.
In his remarks Dr. Sam Kalibbala talked about the history of TASO and the various Executive Directors that have served over the years. This was his description of each tenure;
1. Noerine Kaleeba's era as Executive Director: That was a period of innovation and improvising and trying to form a functional organization that any competent person can take over and drive. Under the guidance of Collin Williams, Noerine our Maama did a great job at this. When she left the job of TASO Director, TASO was a standard car which any qualified driver could drive because the gears were in the right place. It only needs continued fuel addition (funding) because this car is a fuel guzzler! Otherwise with good servicing at the required mileage TASO can go on for as long as AIDS continues. The gears (policies and procedures) are in the right place.
2. Sophia Mukasa Monico's era as Executive Director: God sent her to show the world that Noerine had left TASO on a firm foundation and that a complete stranger could come and take the steering wheel and the car would continue moving. We thank Sophia for the excellent job she did of trying to fit in Noerine's shoes. She did it very well, seamlessly. We congratulate her!
3. Alex Coutinho's era as Executive Director: This will be remembered as an era of unprecedented growth. We grew in the number of centers and grew in the type of services, I particularly note the provision of lab services not only to test for HIV but to test for opportunistic infections. We also built many buildings including one to generate income for TASO. We thank you Alex. It was a great period of fearless leadership. It reminded me of the saying: "Do not wonder how to do something. Do it and later wonder how you did it". For many years we will wonder how we did it.
4. Robert Ochai's era as Executive Director: Robert had two challenges. One was how to fit in Coutinho's large shoes. That was a hard task and he met it and passed that test with flying colors. Congratulations Robert! You boldly took on the Shepherd's staff and lead us on. The second challenge was how to lead your peers. Everybody had seen you as a kid in TASO, how could you become an ED who makes those hard decisions that sometimes affect people's entire careers? Robert is a star, each time I went there I saw him with his same childish face and smile. Please maintain it wherever the winds take you next.
5. Christine Nabiryo's era as Executive Director: This is the next chapter to be written by future historians but one thing that is clear is that Christine is led by the Lord.
He concluded by saying that he had all the confidence that Dr. Nabiryo would also leave a mark on TASO.
Rev. Willy Olango compared Dr. Nabiryo to Moses in the Bible who God took away to prepare for his return to save the people of Israel. Her years away from TASO were preparing her to come and take over as a leader.