<aLeading AARP, With No Plans to Retire– Free Press of Jacksonville – Jacksonville Free Press

4August 2020

Jo Ann Jenkins/ Guerin Blask for The New York Times

By David Gelles– After years of government service, Jo Ann Jenkins might have stopped working and enjoyed her pension. Rather, she went about bringing AARP into the modern-day age. Jo Ann Jenkins might have called it stops. She had operated in various posts in the federal government enough time to qualify for retirement, and she would have enjoyed a comfy life unencumbered by a day task. Rather, thus a lot of her contemporaries, she kept working. After working at the Library of Congress and the Departments of Agriculture and Transport, Ms. Jenkins joined AARP in a senior role in 2010, and took over the organization in 2014. Ms. Jenkins, 61, made the choice to keep working. However she knows that for numerous aging Americans, retirement is not a choice.

Given that ending up being chief executive of AARP– which dropped the word”retired”from its title more than 20 years earlier– she has refocused the group’s work to serve low-income and susceptible populations. In many ways, it was a return to AARP’s roots; it was established in the middle of the 20th century after a school principal found a retired teacher living in a chicken cage. Over the last few years, Ms. Jenkins has actually worked to

fight ageist marketing, educate seniors about scams and reduce the variety of older grownups going hungry. What was your youth like? I matured in Alabama in a little place called Mon Louis Island, about 16 miles southwest of Mobile. Today it’s connected

by bridges to other islands. However when my mama grew up there, they utilized to need to take a boat to the opposite. Everybody on this little island was my relative. My great-great-grandfather owned the home, and after that he left pieces of the land to his descendants. I had 2 siblings and one sis who were eight, 9 and 10 years older than me. My siblings and sis went to the black Catholic schools in the city, due to the fact that during that time it

was segregated. However when I showed up eight years later, I went to the schools closest to our house, which took place to be the traditionally white public schools there, and I in fact was the president of the trainee council. How did you find your method to Washington after college? I went to Washington in my junior year of college and interned for the Republican politician National Committee. I was one of the very first African-American interns they had actually had. I worked that summer season there in the citizen outreach area, getting people registered to vote, returned home, graduated on a Sunday and began working Monday morning at Alabama Power. However I only worked there about a month or two, got my very first or second paycheck, then went back to Washington to visit friends, and they provided me a job working on the Reagan campaign. I’ve existed since. How has Washington changed during that time? The huge difference is the interaction across party lines. I can keep in mind the days when Idea O’Neill was the speaker of your home and he would have those

public spats with Reagan, and after that they would play cards together or

have a beverage and settle it. Back then, you had Democrats and Republicans rooming together in apartment. You just do not see that level of relationship or interactions that you did some 30 or 40 years earlier. What were some of the highlights from your 15 years at the Library of Congress? After 9/11, the State Department sent a news announcement that they were trying to find Farsi speakers. We have individuals who work at the Library of Congress who check out or speak in over 260 languages, and we provided 11 Farsi-speaking staff members to the State Department to analyze telegrams. Around the same time, I headed the restoration of the Jefferson Building. The Capitol was evaluating how do we handle security issues, and they installed tunnels under the Capitol complex, so you might go through security on one end, whether you remained in the House or Senate structures, and go to the Library of

Congress and the Supreme Court without ever even going through another security obstacle. The structure of that underground tunnel and the restoration of the building was my job. Why did you join AARP? I’ve constantly said, “I understand I could run anything.” I suggest, at the Library of Congress, the spending plan was well over a billion dollars. I was the chief operating officer. We had seven overseas workplaces in a few of the most hazardous parts of the world. There was the intricacy of that, and working with the executive branch and the legislative branch in doing

all that. One of my greatest presents is my ability to simplify what needs to get done so that everybody comprehends their functions and responsibilities. So I would constantly fulfill all these people, whether it was donors or politicians and think,” I could do that.””I’ve constantly said, ‘I understand I could run anything.'”– Jo Ann Jenkins What did you do when you took control of? When I came, we were doing a lot of nice things for really little effect. So we got rid of nearly 80 programs that were all really great and valuable, and began to concentrate on serving the low-income, vulnerable people in this nation. We set the vision of entirely focusing on cravings, housing, income and isolation

, and how all four of those things mesh. If among those had a weak spot, then someone might fall off what we called the disparity cliff in

terms of being able to live their best life. We altered our messaging and our fund-raising, and we went from 800,000 donors to two million donors in less than 18 months, merely by refocusing on the low-income and susceptible and stating to donors,”This is how we’re going to invest your cash. “Was that a big modification for the organization? Our founder, Ethel Percy Andrus, was the first woman principal in the state of California. She went to visit an instructor in Los Angeles who she heard was ill, and she knocked on the door and asked

for this teacher, and they said, “Oh, she resides in the chicken coop in the backyard.”Dr. Andrus found this retired teacher living in a chicken cage structure with no insurance. Dr. Andrus founded the National Retired Teachers Association in 1947 and was

denied 40 times by insurance provider till she discovered

one that would offer insurance coverage to teachers. In 1958, she broadened the group and it ended up being the AARP. So from our start, we’ve been involved in providing access to safe and budget-friendly healthcare. What are your concerns when it comes to policy? Making certain that Social Security exists not simply today but in the future, which it’s sufficient. So many people are operating in jobs that don’t pay them a livable wage, or they’re

working two or three jobs to be able to do it. How do we ensure that Social Security is there and adequate in the future, but that people don’t believe that Social Security is going to be enough for them to live off? And after that because individual satisfaction area, it’s really about how do we help people live their finest lives. How do we make sure they’re not isolated, that they

‘re not starving? Individuals used to be fretted about making

sure that they can retire. Now people wish to continue working, not just because they want to, but since they have to, because they can’t pay for to retire. How is the aging population in this nation altering and adjusting to these brand-new truths? People who have significance and function in their life live 7 to 8 years longer than people who don’t. Part of my time as the C.E.O. at AARP has actually been focused on altering the whole understanding of aging. People are wanting to live and work longer. In reality, AARP dropped the name American Association of Retired Persons 20 years earlier. Do you ever consider retiring? We have to reframe the word retirement. I can absolutely see a time when I’m all set to leave AARP in the future, but I don’t think about it in the way that the word retirement

has been utilized over the last 20 or thirty years, that you’re going to go house and refrain from doing something. I can’t picture that. I will always be doing something. For more details on this post Source: jacksonvillefreepress.com

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