Martie Gillin, Founder
Martie Gillin is the mother of 10 children and the founder of SpeakUp! — a powerful movement that promotes open, honest communication about the challenges facing today’s youth. Her inspired journey began when her oldest son, Bob Gillin Jr., died of AIDS in 1992 at the age of 30. He asked her to help break the silence of a whispered disease, so she began doing HIV/AIDS awareness talks in schools.
Through her awareness presentations, teens told her there were lots of things they struggled with that they found hard to talk about with adults. Many of them felt like they had no one to talk to about these issues in a supportive, non-judgmental way.
In 2000, Martie Gillin created SpeakUp! and partnered with schools to bring their youth, educators and parents together for courageous conversations where young people could be themselves, be honest about the reality of their lives and find guidance and support. What started with one brave young man, and his mom’s promise to inspire open and honest communication, is now a movement transforming lives with 5,000 youth and families speaking up each year.
Today, Martie Gillin is an award-winning community leader and speaker. She serves on the SpeakUp! Board and attends every SpeakUp! event. She believes that this is an incredible generation of young people and loves spending time listening to them!
Awards include but are not limited to: University of Notre Dame “Women of Distinction” Award, Magee Rehabilitation Hospital Humanitarian, St. Francis Country House Award, Maynooth College-Ireland Award, The Catherine McAuley Award, Philadelphia Eagles “Fly for Leukemia Award,” The Holy Child Cornelia Connelly Award, The Visiting Nurses Caring Huntington’s Disease Society of America Award, Catholic Youth Organization Award.