Jo-Ann Jenkins is the first African American CEO ever to be appointed at AARP – the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering Americans 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. Since joining the organization in 2010 and heading it since 2014, she has transformed AARP into a leader in social change, dedicated to empowering people to choose how they live and age.
A fearless champion for innovation and impact, Jenkins is often lauded for her ability to create business opportunities and competitive differentiation. She has been described as a visionary and global thought leader, a catalyst for breakthrough results, accelerating progress and contribution while fostering positive relationships.
While AARP has long been recognized for its services, information and advocacy on behalf of people age 50 and over, Jenkins led efforts to redefine AARP’s vision, challenge outdated beliefs and spark new insights that allow people to adapt to the new realities of aging – with relevant solutions to everyday issues such as health, financial resilience, digital and social connectivity, work opportunities and personal fulfillment. Under her leadership, AARP has been recognized as one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies.
Her best-selling book, Disrupt Aging: A Bold New Path to Living Your Best Life at Every Age, has become a signature rallying cry for revolutionizing society’s views on aging by driving a new social consciousness and sparking innovative solutions for all generations.
She also established a new strategic direction and operating structure for the 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 that has donated tens of millions of meals and provides support to over 100 anti-hunger organizations across the country.
Jo-Ann began her career with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, moving on to progressively more responsible leadership positions in the U.S. Department of Transportation and U.S. Department of Agriculture before serving as Chief Operating Officer of the Library of Congress where, among other things, she led eleven National Book Festivals.
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.