by Jasmine Batchelor
December 12, 2017
Chief Executive Officer
AARP has long been recognized for the value of its services, information and advocacy on behalf of people age 50 and over. But since joining the organization in 2010 and heading it since 2014, Jo Ann Jenkins has sponsored groundbreaking work to transform AARP into a leader in social change, dedicated to enhancing quality of life for all as we age. A fearless champion for innovation and impact, Jenkins is often lauded for her ability to create business opportunity and competitive differentiation. She has been described as a visionary and thought leader, a catalyst for breakthrough results, accelerating progress and contribution while fostering positive relationships inside and outside the organization.
Jenkins offers deep knowledge and experience derived from her work with some of the nation’s most iconic brands – the U.S. Government and Library of Congress as well as AARP and AARP Foundation – with an understanding of the interplay and nuance of business, politics and social change.
Under her leadership AARP’s vision was reimagined and redefined, challenging outdated beliefs and sparking new insights that allow people to adapt to today’s realities of aging – with relevant solutions to everyday issues such as healthcare costs, financial security, digital and social connectivity, and career continuation. She also established a new strategic direction and operating structure for AARP Foundation, focusing on change in four critical areas – hunger, income, housing, and isolation. She created Drive to End Hunger, a multi-year, nationwide campaign which has donated over 36 million meals and provides support to over 100 anti-hunger organizations across the country.
Jenkins began her career with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, later moving to the US. Department of Transportation and U.S. Department of Agriculture in a variety of leadership roles with increasing responsibility. Interlaced with her public service, she served in several private consulting firms, advising major corporations in their development and implementation of diversity and organizational strategy. In 1994 she was asked to join the Library of Congress as Chief of Staff, becoming its Chief Operating Officer in 2007. She led the development and launch of innovative initiatives that transformed the Library’s workforce into “knowledge navigators,” created the Library of Congress Experience, an interactive pathway offering access to the Library’s incomparable collections, and built strong, mutually-supportive relationships with private sector sponsors.
Today, Jenkins leads the world’s largest non-profit, nonpartisan membership organization, harnessing the power and passion of almost 2,000 staff members, 60,000 volunteers and numerous strategic partners.
Jo Ann Jenkins has held a variety of board and advisory positions including AARP Services, AARP Funds, Congressional Hunger Center, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, Stanford Medicine Board of Fellows, U.S. Small Business Administration Council on Underserved Communities, Living Cities, and Caring for Military Families. With expertise in talent and leadership development, organizational restructure, public affairs, philanthropy and marketing, she has been recognized as Black Enterprise Magazine Most Powerful Women in business (2017), Power 100 – Washington’s Most Influential People Washington Life magazine (2015, 2016, & 2017), “Non-Profit Influencer of the Year” (2015), “Non-Profit Times’ Power and Influence Top 50” (2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016), Peace Corps Director’s Award (2014) and Malcolm Baldrige Fellow (2013), Actors Fund Medal of Honor (2017), International Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics 2017 Presidential Award. Most recently she is the best-selling author of the book, “Disrupt Aging: A Bold New Path to Living Your Best Life at Every Age.”
After earning her Bachelor of Science degree from Spring Hill College in Mobile, AL, she graduated from the Stanford Graduate School of Business Executive Program. Jenkins also holds an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from both Spring Hill College and Washington College.