WASHINGTON (May 13, 2014) –The Board of Directors of AARP, one of the nation’s largest and most powerful nonprofit advocacy groups, has unanimously selected Jo Ann Jenkins (@JoAnn_Jenkins) as its new chief executive officer, to succeed longtime CEO A. Barry Rand on September 1, 2014.
“After an extensive, thoughtful and deliberative national search, the AARP Board unanimously selected Jo Ann Jenkins as our new Chief Executive Officer,” said Gail Aldrich, Chair of the AARP Board of Directors. “Jo Ann is a seasoned leader and innovator. She has an obvious passion for AARP and she fully embraces the social mission. Jo Ann is an inspirational leader who proactively engages at all levels of the organization and is comfortable operating in the public eye. She has demonstrated experience working across party lines that, coupled with her broad business experience, are essential to AARP’s success at this time. Her in-depth knowledge of AARP, AARP Foundation and ASI (AARP Services, Inc.) provide her with an intimate familiarity with the key business models and operations of AARP.”
“Jenkins’s leadership style models the kind of behaviors that will drive required cultural change including her sense of urgency, courage, willingness to make tough decisions, and ability to align groups to move forward in new directions,” added Aldrich.
“Jo Ann Jenkins has high personal integrity and ethics. She leads by example and sets the right tone at the top for the organization. Jo Ann is also the type of leader who will partner well with the AARP Board." — Carol Raphael, incoming AARP Board Chairwoman
Jenkins currently serves as executive vice president and chief operating officer of AARP, a role she assumed in March of 2013. In this position she has streamlined the organization’s strategic planning, technology and digital operations to enable AARP to devote greater resources to its core mission. She led the development of the new enterprise-wide strategy that includes defining and facilitating operational priorities, as well as maximizing AARP’s mission.
“I am grateful for the trust that the AARP Board has given me to lead this amazing organization,” said Jenkins. “I truly believe that for every member of our society, age and experience can expand your possibilities in life. I feel a great deal of responsibility for ensuring that AARP is here as a trusted ally for people 50+ and their families and that we protect the most vulnerable among us.”
“As COO, Jo Ann has done a tremendous job of improving our organizational performance. She led the realignment of our internal operations, adopting an enterprise strategy that encourages greater creativity and accountability,” said current AARP CEO Rand. “Through her leadership AARP has seen major improvements in operational efficiency, financial stewardship and excellence in execution.”
Prior to being named chief operations officer, Jenkins served as President of AARP Foundation, where she developed and oversaw programs that have improved the lives of millions of Americans, fighting hunger, poverty, isolation, and unemployment among older adults and contributing millions of dollars to disaster relief. In her first two years at the Foundation, Jenkins grew its overall donor base by 90 percent.
In addition to her strong leadership and operations skills, Jenkins also has significant expertise on women’s issues and intergenerational programs. A key AARP Foundation initiative launched under Jenkins is Mentor Up, which encourages young people to engage in service on behalf of older adults and foster positive intergenerational dynamics.
Jenkins came to AARP Foundation from the Library of Congress, where she served as its chief operating officer. During her 15-year tenure at the Library of Congress, she developed and directed two of its most renowned projects, the National Book Festival and the Library of Congress Experience, the largest and most complex program in its 210-year history. In May 2010, Jenkins was recognized by the technology industry with the 11th Annual Women in Technology Award for her innovative leadership on the Library of Congress Experience. She is also a recipient of the Library of Congress Distinguished Service Award. On May 17th, Jo Ann will receive an honorary doctorate of humane letters and address graduates at Washington College’s 231st Commencement.
Earlier in her career, she directed USDA’s Office of Advocacy and Enterprise, worked at the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Department of Transportation.
She became a member of AARP Services Board of Directors in 2004 and its chair in 2008, completing her service in May 2010. She is on the board of the Congressional Hunger Center. She was a delegate and founding fellow to the U.S.-Japan Leadership Program and a 1999 graduate of Leadership America. She is a Malcolm Baldrige Fellow (2013).
A native of Mobile, Ala., she earned her Bachelor of Arts from Spring Hill College. She is a 1998 graduate of the Stanford Executive Program, offered by the university’s Graduate School of Business.
Aldrich concluded: “The Board would also like to thank Barry Rand for his vision, leadership and stewardship which guided AARP through some challenging and exciting times these past 5 years. AARP is a more vibrant, relevant, and financially healthy organization for people 50+ than it was when Barry joined AARP in 2009. His legacy will be his financial acumen, creation of Life Reimagined, ability to attract quality talent and focus on the changing multicultural demographics of the country. We are grateful Barry will continue to lead AARP until Jo Ann takes the helm on September 1. We wish Barry all the best as he rediscovers what he wants to do in the next chapter of his very distinguished career.”
AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, with a membership of nearly 38 million, that helps people turn their goals and dreams into real possibilities, strengthens communities and fights for the issues that matter most to families such as healthcare, employment and income security, retirement planning, affordable utilities and protection from financial abuse. We advocate for individuals in the marketplace by selecting products and services of high quality and value to carry the AARP name as well as help our members obtain discounts on a wide range of products, travel, and services. A trusted source for lifestyle tips, news and educational information, AARP produces AARP The Magazine, the world's largest circulation magazine; AARP Bulletin; www.aarp.org; AARP TV & Radio; AARP Books; and AARP en Español, a Spanish-language website addressing the interests and needs of Hispanics. AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to political campaigns or candidates. The AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity that provides security, protection, and empowerment to older persons in need with support from thousands of volunteers, donors, and sponsors. AARP has staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Learn more at www.aarp.org.