AARP Florida State President Doug Heinlen has appointed Dr. Horacio Soberon-Ferrer and Kenneth “Ken” Thomas, both of Miami, Dr. William Ternent of Daytona Beach and Dr. Brenda “BJ” Jarmon of Tallahassee as members of the AARP Florida Executive Council, a group of top volunteer advisors leading the nation’s largest membership organization for people 50+ in the nation’s “grayest” state.
Horacio Soberon-Ferrer is both highly educated and highly qualified for his newly appointed position. He has a licentiate in Actuarial Science (1976) a M.S. in Management (1980) and a Ph.D. in Applied Economics from Clemson University (1986). He currently serves as the chief financial officer and vice-president for Finance and Healthy Aging, Inc. - The Area Agency on Aging for Miami-Dade and Monroe County. Prior to that he worked as Director of Planning and Evaluation, Florida Department of Elder Affairs, and he was most notably responsible for seeking new funding, planning initial development of the initiative to implement a statewide system of Aging and Disability Resource Centers. Clearly, he is no stranger to elder advocacy.
Soberon said he is “glad that I will be able to contribute to the welfare of all the 3 million (AARP members) in Florida because the work that AARP does really affects people in the state, and they make life good for seniors and for everyone.” He added, “I’m very grateful that AARP has chosen me to help with their ongoing efforts.”
Ken Thomas is a man of many words, and most of those words are about his five children, nine grandsons, and two great-grandchildren. He is no stranger to AARP as he’s volunteered as an Advocate, Speaker and Driver Safety Trainer. Additionally, he’s volunteered with Florida’s Senior Medicare Patrol, where he’s helped educate seniors on how to avoid becoming victims of Medicare fraud, waste and abuse as well as identity theft. He retired after 36 years in the field of aviation, his last position being the manager of the Miami Air Route Traffic Control Center. He also currently serves as a community volunteer for the Guardian Ad Litem Program and as the President of Speak Up For Kids of Palm Beach County.
On his appointment to the Executive Council, Thomas said he is “just excited about the opportunity and looking forward to working with the other men and women on the council to help people 50+.” His love for people, and especially family is increasingly evident. “My focus is to preserve those programs that help benefit those 50+, and the safety nets that are now in place for our children’s and grandchildren’s futures.”
Brenda “BJ” Jarmon has a very impressive resume. She is currently an associate professor at Florida A&M University and holds a Ph.D. and a Master’s in Social Work. She’s authored, co-authored, and contributed chapters to numerous books. She’s appeared on more than 50 local and national TV programs, 30 local and national radio programs, and has been featured in 17 national, state, and local magazines and newspapers. She is a nationally and internationally sought-after educational consultant, staff trainer, motivational speaker, and life coach. She has also secured over $2.5 million in sponsored research projects during her academic career.
Yet despite these accomplishments, Jarmon said she found it a “humbling honor to learn a lot more about AARP, to be able to share ideas, and exchange info with constituents in northwest Florida.” When asked about her goals for her service on the Executive Council, she said she would seek to “articulate the needs of the senior citizens in Florida, influence policy at a higher level in terms of what those needs are, and use my experience as a community organizer to reach out to the constituents.”
William “Bill” Ternent has lived all over the country, but currently resides in Daytona Beach with his wife. He has worked intensively with various AARP chapters in his part of the state, and he knows the ins and outs of working on advocacy issues. He is very passionate about elder advocacy and hopes he can contribute to the council in any way he can. Before moving to Daytona, he worked as an administrator at Northwest Technical College in Wausau, Wis. He has a Ph.D. in Communications and Business, and his specialty was working in underperforming organizations and building them back up.
Ternent is very excited about his appointment to the Executive Council. “I am certainly happy about it. It’s a wonderful bunch of people and I’m excited to work with them. I know we’ll all be working hard to make sure the rights of older Americans are being advocated for.”