AARP Iowa, Greater Des Moines Partnership, City of Des Moines, local businesses teaming up to create age-friendly, healthy, active block
Kent Sovern of Des Moines, who has served AARP Iowa as state director since July 2011, has announced his retirement, effective June 1, 2018. Over his 47-year career, including seven in his current position, Sovern’s work has spanned many areas including organizational and business development, association management, policy advocacy, K-12 and higher education, and local government administration, leading organizations in Iowa and Minnesota and as an active volunteer in his community.
AARP Iowa State President Chuck Betts has announced three new Executive Council members for 2018—Brena Corona of West Des Moines, Judi Pierick of Des Moines, and Phil Tetzloff of Marshalltown. The AARP Iowa Executive Council is a team of volunteers from across Iowa who provide leadership to support the implementation and execution of AARP priorities statewide.
Two weeks ago the AARP Iowa’s Associate State Director for Communications, Ann Black, retired after 16 years at AARP. Since then, Brandi and I have been getting a much closer look at everything it takes to be in her position, and all the smaller tasks that she did on a regular basis that we never saw. All summer we have been learning, slowly, what it really means to be work in communications. For example, we have written press releases, but now that Ann isn’t in the office anymore, we have to figure out where to send the press releases and who to send them to. Brandi and I have spent an entire day devoted to going through all of Ann’s media lists and still are nowhere near done—a task that needs to be done in order to get news out effectively.
Like all Iowans, the AARP Iowa office loves the Iowa State Fair and is so excited for it to begin! AARP will be hosting a booth throughout the entire fair, August 10-20, 2017. Make sure to stop by our booth in the Varied Industries Building and learn more about caregiving and to find out what AARP is doing in Iowa to support family caregivers. At our booth you can connect with AARP staff and volunteers, sign our petition and win a free blinking safety light!
Two weeks ago the AARP Iowa team was in Spencer, Iowa for RAGBRAI. In a little over a week we will be stationed at the Iowa State Fair. In between these two huge events we have been working on finishing all the RAGBRAI events and working in preparation for the State Fair—all at the same time. In addition to those events, the interns are creating and presenting a final presentation to the AARP National Headquarters this Thursday and working to finish our list of businesses to evaluate for age-friendliness.
Last week I overheard one of our AARP volunteers in a spirited discussion with an AARP staff member. They were discussing how AARP was handling some issues and I quickly realized that there were different points of view being presented. The discussion was very kind and remained friendly the entire time, with many, “I understand where you are coming from…” phrases thrown around. I was not only impressed because it was one of the most respectful political discussions I have heard in a while, but also at how in-depth each person was at presenting their opinion and the level of respectful listening that was happening. The more that I thought about it, the more natural this occurrence seemed to me. Of course, AARP is a diverse organization with members with diverse opinions. The association has so many facets and provides so many different services for the 50+ community that it would be ridiculous to expect someone to agree with every single thing.
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