Since 1989, Paul Akio Kawata has served as Executive Director of the National Minority AIDS Council (NMAC), the premier organization dedicated to building leadership in communities of color to address the challenges of HIV/AIDS. Under his guidance, NMAC has become a powerful voice in Washington, DC for over 3,000 HIV/AIDS organizations nationwide, and provides a comprehensive array technical assistance programs and services; conferences; trainings; and printed and online resource materials.

Prior to joining NMAC, Kawata served as founding executive director of the National AIDS Network, the first national organization dedicated to developing the capability and effectiveness of community-based leaders in the fight against AIDS, from 1985-1989. During his tenure, he planned and implemented three consecutive, annual National Skills Building Conferences—the first of their kind in the world—and recruited the Ad Council to work on the inaugural national HIV/AIDS public service campaign. He also organized and supported the National AIDS Fund, the single largest private philanthropic partnership in the history of the epidemic.