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Jo Ann Jenkins welcomes attendees to [email protected]+ - AARP

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♪ music ♪ [applause] [Jo Ann Jenkins] Good morning everyone and thank you Carol. And let me thank the entire board. I am so honored. Welcome to AARP's [email protected]+. I'm so excited to be here as your new CEO, and I'm looking forward to leading this great organization and working with the staff and volunteers all across this country and meeting as many of you as possible. As all of you know, we're doing something a little different here in San Diego. [email protected]+ is all about giving you the opportunity to explore some of the big ideas that are out there to help you live your best life. To get us started, I have a big idea I'd like for you to consider. My idea can be summed up in two words: disrupt aging. [laughing] That's right, disrupt aging. [clapping] Let's change the conversation in this country around what it means to get older. It's not about aging; it's about living. To disrupt aging, we need to get to the point where we are no longer defined by the old expectations of what we should or should not do at a certain age. We don't want to be defined by our age any more than when we want to be defined by our race or our sex or our income. And frankly, I'm a little tired [clapping] of people defining me that way. I want people to define me by who I am not how old I am. Disruptive aging begins with each of us embracing our own age and feeling good about where we are in life. It sounds simple, but I'm not sure how many of you really do it. We've all seen those T.V. and magazine ads that fifty is the new thirty, sixty is the new forty. And while that may sound like a nice sentiment, as someone over fifty, I'm not sure I agree. No, I don't want to be thirty again. At times I may want to look like I'm thirty or feel like I'm thirty, but I'm very comfortable with the experiences that the wisdom those years have brought to me. And I am indeed a more purposeful person because of my age. I bet most of you would say the same thing. We like where we are. [cheering] We like where we are, and in fact, we're looking forward to the years ahead, not looking back at days gone by. I almost missed this opportunity because stuck in the back of my head was this little voice that said the social norm at this stage of my life was to play it safe and retire. Fortunately, I didn't listen; and today millions of people like me aren't listening either. According to AARP research, almost half of employees age 45-70 envision working into their seventies and beyond. In fact, as I transition into what is probably the height of my career, I am inspired by what my own experience represents for the future of aging all across this country. No, fifty is not the new thirty. Sixty is not the new forty. I'd like to think fifty is the new fifty, and I like what it looks like. [cheering] We are not becoming younger as we get older. We are redefining what it means to be our age. The fifty plus population of today is made up of individuals like all of you here. We are actively seeking and living with purpose in a variety of different ways. We're not slowing down. We're just getting started. We're connecting with more people in meaningful ways through technologies. We're both committed to family and energized by our work. We don't have to make a choice. We can, and we should be able to do both. We are caregivers, whether as adult children caring for our older parents, parents taking care of children, or grandparents taking care of grandkids, or as some combination of all of these things above. We are volunteers and philanthropists. We are leaders in our communities, supporters of our churches, helping hands to our neighbors and our friends. We are a generation of makers and doers who have a desire to continue exploring our real possibilities. AARP is an organization of real possibilities because we believe that noone's possibilities should be limited by their age, and that experience has value. That optimism, that desire to live life on our own terms, to make a difference, and to change the world is very real for all of us. But I also know as the former president of the AARP foundation what else is real. Real people face real challenges every day. Many struggle to meet their basic needs of health, financial, caring for themselves and their families. They need our help, and they need our support. People don't want to be limited or defeated by these challenges. They want to win back their own opportunities. The good news is that as we embrace the challenges and persevere, we face with adversity. We're used to the world shifting right under our feet, even those of us who don't live here in California. [laughing] We adapt, we fight for what we want, and we aren't easily defeated. Our goal at AARP is for us to help you and your families face those challenges and embrace your opportunities to the fullest extent possible. This requires innovative thinking and big ideas, which is what is going to go on here at [email protected]+. As your CEO, I will be unapologetic in fighting for the rights and wants of people fifty plus over all of this country. [applause] And I need you to be here to help me. And I need you to be fearless in the work that we have to do. Whether we're in Washington or in the states or in communities all across the country, we can't do this alone. We have to bring all parts of society with us. There is indeed a public role for government at all levels, and a private role for businesses, organizations, and a personal role in responsibility for each of us in this country to do something good. That means—thank you— [clapping] that means we also have to learn how to get the most out of a life in this rapidly changing world.

Video Details

Duration: 6 minutes and 59 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
Genre: None
Views: 156
Posted by: aarp on Sep 29, 2014

On Friday, Sept. 5, 2014, Jo Ann Jenkins, new CEO of AARP, gave her inaugural speech entitled “Disruptive Aging” to welcome attendees to the AARP [email protected]+ National Event & Expo in San Diego.

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