Longtime Advocate Assumes Top Volunteer Post for Bay State Organization
AARP announces the selection of Sandra Harris as the new volunteer state president of the Massachusetts State Office. Harris will work in collaboration with AARP Massachusetts State Director Mike Festa to achieve the Association’s vision, mission, and strategic priorities in the state, and serve as chairwoman of the AARP Massachusetts Executive Council. The Council, in partnership with Festa and staff, develops the framework for the state’s strategic plan and supports the development and delivery of AARP’s community outreach programs, advocacy, and grass-roots activities for its more than 800,000 members age 50 and older in the Commonwealth.
Sandra Harris joined the all-volunteer AARP Massachusetts Executive Council in 2018. For the last 20 years, Harris has served as principal of S Harris Interiors, a firm specializing in senior living design. Her portfolio includes both independent and assisted living, and designing special care environments for residents living with dementia, and in skilled nursing and adult day care facilities. Harris’ design philosophy is based on the belief that every person is precious, that people are more than things, and the success of her community work is measured by how well it enhances the life and dignity of its residents.
Harris has worked extensively with the City of Boston Commissioner on Affairs of the Elderly, AARP Massachusetts, and UMass Boston on the Age-Friendly Boston initiative from its inception. She has participated in the Age Friendly Action Planning Committee, in neighborhood forums and focus groups, and spearheaded the development of the Age Friendly Boston “Celebrating the Voices” video and photo exhibit. Harris holds a bachelor’s degree in finance and accounting and a Master’s degree in interior design.
“I am both honored and humbled to join AARP Massachusetts as State President,” said Harris. I look forward with great excitement to the opportunities I will have to work with talented and experienced staff and dedicated volunteer leaders. My lifelong passion as an advocate has been to improve the lives of seniors, and I am happy to cap off my career in a meaningful and impactful way with AARP.”
“We are thrilled to have Sandra as our new state president and the leading voice for the 50-plus population,” said Festa. “Sandra’s vast knowledge and experience as a longtime advocate for the aging population, coupled with her interest in age-friendly communities, will greatly benefit AARP Massachusetts members.”
Harris replaces Sandy Albright, whose tenure as AARP Massachusetts state president ended in December 2018.