AARP is pleased to announce the hiring of Joseph P. Sanchez, of Albuquerque, as the new AARP New Mexico State Director.
Prior to joining AARP, Sanchez led government and public relations for the University of New Mexico College of Nursing. He has spent his career as an advocate for K-12 education as well as nursing.
“We are excited to have Joseph join AARP New Mexico,” said Kim Adler, AARP Regional Vice President for the West Region. “His varied background will help lead the state office in new directions while building on our existing relationships and continuing the good work the New Mexico team is currently doing on behalf of the state’s 50 plus population.”
Sanchez holds a Doctor of Philosophy in human development and family studies from UNM, and both a master’s degree and bachelor’s degree in business administration from New Mexico Highlands University.
He has always had a passion for working with New Mexico’s 50-Plus and the job opening at AARP New Mexico came at exactly the right time.
“I had been with the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center for a number of years,” Sanchez said. “I found myself at a crossroads when a number of leadership changes started occurring at the Center. It was the right time to re-evaluate my career goals. I decided a change was in order and I really wanted to pursue my passion of working for and with older New Mexicans.”
“The aspect that most appealed and inspired me to join the AARP team was the notion of being part of an organization that works tirelessly to ensure older Americas can live their best lives. I believe that everyone should have a fair shot of being able to age with dignity and independence,” he said.
“I have a strong interest in advocating for vulnerable populations -- mainly the young and old, health-policy affairs, health equity and social justice issues. I am also a champion for veteran and behavioral health matters,” Sanchez said.
Like many of us, Sanchez has spent the last few months working virtually from home and has no qualms about stepping into this new role during such unusual times.
“I do recognize that working remotely can present its own unique challenges. However, my approach is not to lose sight of the fact that my priorities in my new role are the same—regardless of whether I’m virtual or in-person.,” he said.
While AARP has canceled all in-person events for the remainder of the year, Sanchez is still focused on building relationships and connecting with people.
“We can’t be working in silos – which is a challenge when much of our everyday lives is now being done remotely. So we will have to be creative and focused in coming up with ways we can engage our volunteers , our members, community partners and the public, so we don’t lose that sense of community,” he said.
While Sanchez will spend most of these early days learning about AARP’s role in the state, there are already areas that he has a particular interest in – veterans and Native American issues.
He is a veteran and served as a commander in the Naval Reserves so he is aware of some of the challenges veterans face with getting resources. Sanchez is also a native of New Mexico with strong ties to both the Hispanic/Latino and Native American communities.
Sanchez also holds a Certificate in Naval Integrated Logistics from the Navy Supply Corps School, Athens, Georgia, and Advanced Change Management Certification.
But Sanchez is not all about work, taking time to ride his Harley-Davidson across New Mexico and taking in its various offerings like craft fairs and art museums. He also enjoys ethnic food, is an avid runner and most recently ran in the New York City Marathon.
His personal work philosophy comes from J. P. Morgan: “Go as far as you can see; when you get there, you’ll be able to see farther.”