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Who is AARP?

Before I can answer the Leadership question it is important to understand who the AARP organization is and who they represent.

AARP was formerly know as the American Association of Retired Persons, but changed its name to AARP to better reflect its mission statement as “a non partisan membership organization for people age 50 and over. AARP is dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for all as we age. We lead positive social change and deliver value to members through information, advocacy and service.”

With over 40 million members AARP is one of the leading lobby groups for positive change in the United States and the world.

What are AARP activities?

AARP lobbies strongly on issues that affect the aging population. The lobbying efforts are aimed at both state and national governments, but it does not support or oppose any political parties or candidates.

AARP Services was founded in 1999 and provides a wide range of services and products to its members and has established other linked organizations that provide endorsed financial products. The full range of services provided can be reviewed at their website http://www.aarp.org. or an amalgamation of writers’ views at Wikipedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AARP.

Communications in its many forms features strongly in AARP services, such as:
• AARP The Magazine
• AARP Bulletin
• Segunda Juventud
• Live and Learn
• AARP radio and television programs
• AARP lifestyle program featuring experts in special fields
• Divided we Fail campaign
• Future Champions campaign

AARP’s Thought Leadership

You cannot help, but admire the non partisan leadership of AARP with their Divided We Fail and Future Champions Campaigns as they seek to engage the American public at all levels in the need for reform. Wikipedia provided an overview at: Divided We Fail. I quote the following sections:


Divided We Fail

In early 2007 AARP launched “Divided We Fail,” designed to address health care and long-term financial security. The initiative was launched with Business Roundtable and the Service Employees International Union, and encompasses advertising in national outlets and in the primary states, online activities, and traditional grassroots work, in order to engage the public, business and elected officials in the debate, and to encourage public leaders to offer solutions, according to the AARP.[11] Nancy LeaMond, executive officer for social impact, said, “We want to really get to these candidates and ask for action, answers and accountability on these questions.”[12]
In November 2007, the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) joined the Divided We Fail leadership. [13]
The initiative uses an “elephonkey” mixed animal as its symbol, with the head and forelegs of the Republican elephant and the ears, hindquarters, and tail of the kicking Democratic donkey. “Champ” quickly became a recognizable symbol of the Divided We Fail initiative, fostered in part by television commercials that ran across the country. In addition, Divided We Fail Florida incorporated the initiative’s mascot into an interactive educational vehicle, dubbed the “Champmobile,” which traveled across the state and throughout the United States encouraging voters to “Let your voice be heard!”
[edit] Future Champions
In February 2007, AARP announced the launch of a new advertising campaign designed to address issues that will impact future generations and showcase the AARP brand. The campaign, called “Future Champions,” features children talking about the state of healthcare and financial security. The multigenerational focus is designed to reinforce the AARP’s Divided We Fail coalition.[14]


AARP International

AARP has a global view of the reforms needed to help those over age 50 with the many global challenges ahead. It is leading the world in many areas. An example of this is: “On January 8-9, 2009 AARP and the Council for the Third Age gathered more than 400 opinion leaders from 16 countries for the Reinventing Retirement Asia” conference in Singapore. Many of the critical issues for the 50+ were discussed.

AARP International has recognized that it is not only words that will help change the approach to employment for the 50+, but it has introduced awards to recognize employers who have demonstrated innovative workforce or human resources practices for the 50+ employees. For 2009 the award is the AARP International Innovative Employer Awards. Applications can be made online.

It is worth visiting the website of AARP International at http://www.aarpinternational.org/ to peruse the reports that are available to download

AARP’S vision

It is clear for anyone reading the websites detailing the information, products and services that AARP has a clear vision of what the organization wants to achieve in supporting its 50+ members. I believe that it will change the future because it is reinventing retirement for the baby boomers and future generations of not only American retirees, but those of other countries who will follow its lead through AARP International

The critical issues that the American people 50+ are in many respects universal in nature and if AARP manages to challenge and change the vested interests that produce many of the attitudes, products, policies and services this will lead to change world wide.

Jack Taggerty

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