Fall 2016 Intersection Quarterly Review 2016 - Page 4

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Interview with Kevin Donnellan of AARP

Kevin is the Executive Vice President and Chief of Staff for AARP . Prior to becoming Chief of Staff , he served 8 years as AARP ’ s Chief Communications Officer . Under his leadership , AARP have become a 21 st century media conglomerate , destroying the myth that Americans 50-plus are not wired to new communication . Holmes report named him to the Influence 100 , the world ’ s 100 most influential corporate communicators , from 2011 - 2013
Kevin : I worked on Capitol Hill before coming to AARP . When I worked on the Hill , I spent a lot of time focusing on aging issues . Congresswoman Geraldine Ferraro ’ s congressional district had one of the oldest aging populations in the country . We spent a lot of time working on aging issues . That ’ s where I got into aging issues . When I decided to leave the Hill , I was attracted to AARP because of their mission . I have to say , when I got here I thought , I ’ ll do this for a couple of years and then I ’ ll try something else . Here I am now , 30 years later , still at AARP .
The main reason I ’ m here ... Well , there are actually two . One is , again , the mission of the organization . It ’ s a fantastic mission . As I said earlier , I love what I do and I think that ’ s important . I think you have to believe in what you do and want to get up and go to work every day and feel like you ’ re making a difference , and I do . Secondly , we have an absolutely fantastic staff here at AARP . Unbelievable professionals who are all very much dedicated to the mission of the organization and that makes this a great organization . That ’ s why I joined AARP . That ’ s why I was inspired to join here , and it ’ s why I ’ ve been inspired to stay .
George : Kevin , that ’ s amazing . You know , 30 years later , that ’ s an inspiration at its best .
Kevin : The gentleman that hired me at the time , I message discipline . As any good communicator said , “ Two years . I ’ ll give you two years .” knows , you ’ ve got to be pretty Here I am , 30 years later . disciplined in your messages if you ’ re going to
George : That is incredible . A perfect segue again into , how did your role as the chief communications officer at AARP prepare you to become the executive vice president and now chief of staff . What key lessons and vantage points helped you to carry out this successful mission ?
Kevin : I think part of what prepared me actually , I guess , to be chief of staff for the organization is I have worked in and managed many parts of the organization over my
30 years here . I have a very good perspective on the breadth of work , at least I think I do , that AARP is engaged with . Then again , having been the chief communications officer , there are certain skills and disciplines that are there that I think are very successful for me in carrying out this role as well .
There really , I guess , three that come to mind . One is the need to integrate . When I was our chief communications officer , the group that I helped build there was an integrated communications team . Most of our communications and communications related functions in the organization prior to that had been spread out all over the organization and they weren ’ t terribly integrated . It was to really build the strong integrated communications team and to bring it into the 21st century , which I think we did and we ’ ve done fairly successfully . So integration ’ s a big part of that , getting all sorts of folks to work together .
The other is to really focus on the mission . I am very much a mission-driven individual and this is very much a mission-driven organization . Making sure that everything we ’ re doing is about the mission ... If it ’ s not helping to drive the mission , questioning why are we doing it ? Should we be doing it ? If not , how do we stop it ? The other piece of that , which sort of relates to that focus on the mission , but it ’ s also
be successful in getting them out , being clear so that people understand what it is you ’ re doing .
I think it ’ s those three skills , particularly that I bring that our helping me in this role and hopefully making me successful in this role .
George : Kevin , that ’ s an incredible perspective . I think it ’ s very interesting to hear how you ’ ve worked in so many different parts of AARP . That leads me into my next question which is , how does AARP effectively reach and positively affect the more than 37 million members ?
Kevin : We reach our members through a variety of methods . First of all , we have world class publications here , the AARP Magazine and the AARP Bulletin . They are truly award winning publications that have enormous reach . AARP has upwards of 38 million members and our publications go to all 38 million . According to the MRI numbers , which is the industry standard for measuring readership , we have a little over 36 million readers of our publications , which is , at least I always find when I really step back and think about that , somewhat mindboggling . Those are two very effective tools that we have to reach them .
We don ’ t limit with that . We obviously use a lot of social media and web and what have you also to reach not only our members , but the broader population . We have a membership , as I said , of a little over 38 million , but we serve the entire 50-plus population . That ’ s who we view as the people we serve , is those 50-plus and frankly and their families . We ’ re not limited just by our membership .
Our publications , our online work , and then we also do a tremendous amount in community . AARP likes to view itself not so much as a national organization , but a nationwide organization . By that we mean , we ’ re in every community across the country and we have lots of active volunteers and staff in communities across the country . We have offices in all of the states and a lot of the major cities across the country so we do a lot of face-to-face with folks as well .
We reach them basically through the breadth of communication channels . We also use direct mail and other venues like that . We have a pretty strong brand and we have a pretty strong trust with our members . When we send them information materials , they will often ... Not only do they read it , but they act on it .
4 Interview with Kevin Donnellan of AARP Kevin is the Executive Vice President and Chief of Staff for AARP. Prior to becoming Chief of Staff, he served 8 years as AARP’s Chief Communications Officer. Under his leadership, AARP have become a 21st century media conglomerate, destroying the myth that Americans 50-plus are not wired to new communication. Holmes report named him to the Influence 100, the world’s 100 most influential corporate communicators, from 2011 - 2013 Kevin: I worked on Capitol Hill before coming to AARP. When I worked on the Hill, I spent a lot of time focusing on aging issues. Congresswoman Geraldine Ferraro’s congressional district had one of the oldest aging populations in the country. We spent a lot of time working on aging issues. That’s where I got into aging issues. When I decided to leave the Hill, I was attracted to AARP because of their mission. I have to say, when I got here I thought, I’ll do this for a couple of years and then I’ll try something else. Here I am now, 30 years later, still at AARP. The main reason I’m here... Well, there are actually two. One is, again, the mission of the organization. It’s a fantastic mission. As I said earlier, I love what I do and I think that’s important. I think you have to believe in what you do and want to get up and go to work every day and feel like you’re making a difference, and I do. Secondly, we have an absolutely fantastic staff here at AARP. Unbelievable professionals who are all very much dedicated to the mission of the organization and that makes this a great organization. That’s why I joined AARP. That’s why I was inspired to join here, and it’s why I’ve been inspired to stay. 30 years here. I have a very good perspective on the breadt ݽɬЁЁ$ѡ$)ѡЁI@́ݥѠQ)٥ѡչѥ)Ȱѡɔɔх͍ͭ́)ѡЁɔѡɔѡЁ$ѡɔٕ)Ս͙հȁ她Ёѡ́ɽ)ݕ)Qɔɕ䰁$Օ̰ѡɕѡЁ)Ѽ=́ѡѼѕɅє]$)݅́ȁչѥ́Ȱѡɽ)ѡЁ$եѡɔ݅́)ѕɅѕչѥ́ѕ5Ё)չѥ́չѥ)ɕѕչѥ́ѡɝѥɥȁѼ)ѡЁɕЁٕȁѡ)ɝѥѡݕɕeЁѕɥ)ѕɅѕ%Ё݅́Ѽɕ䁉եѡɽ)ѕɅѕչѥ́ѕѼɥ)ѼѡЁ䰁ݡ$ѡ)ݔݗeٔɱՍ͙ձ丁M)ѕɅѥéЁѡаѥ)ͽ́́Ѽݽɬѽѡȸ)Qѡȁ́Ѽɕ䁙́ѡ)ͥ$ٕ䁵Սͥɥٕ)٥Յ)ѡٕ́́䁵Սͥɥٕ)ɝѥ5ɔѡЁٕѡ)ݗeɔ́Ёѡͥ%ӊé)ѼɥٔѡͥՕѥ)ݡ䁅ɔݔMձݔ%)ɝ-٥ѡӊé饹eԁܰ)а܁ݔѽ)啅́ѕȰѡӊéɅѥЁ́и)QѡȁѡаݡͽЁɕѕ)ѼѡЁ́ѡͥЁӊéͼ)-٥QѱѡЁɕЁѡѥ$͍́ͅ䁝չѽ)ͅqQݼ啅̸'eٔԁݼ啅̻t)̰׊eٔЁѼɕ)!ɔ$啅́ѕȸ)͍ȁ́ͅ׊eɔѼ)Ս͙հѥѡа)ɝQЁ́ɕəЁ͕ՔȁͼѡЁչхݡЁЁ)Ѽ܁ȁɽ́ѡ)׊eɔ)չѥ́ȁЁI@ɕɔԁѼ)$ѡӊéѡ͔ѡɕ̰ͭ)ѡᕍѥٔ٥ɕͥ)ѥձɱѡЁ$ɥѡЁȁ)܁х]Ё䁱ͽ́)ѡ́ɽ)مх́ԁѼ䁽)ձ䁵Ս͙հѡ́ɽ)ѡ́Ս͙հͥ)ɝ-٥ѡӊéɕѥٔ)-٥$ѡЁݡЁɕɕՅ䰁$ѡӊéٕ䁥ѕɕѥѼȁ܁׊eٔ)$Օ̰Ѽхȁѡ)ݽɭͼ䁑ɕЁ́I@)ɝѥ́$ٔݽɭ)QЁ́Ѽ䁹ЁՕѥ)́ѡɝѥٕȁ)ݡ̰܁́I@ѥٕɕ()ͥѥٕ䁅Ёѡɔѡ))-٥]ɕȁ́ѡɽ՝مɥ)ѡ̸Ёݔٔݽɱ)Չѥ́ɔѡI@5饹ѡ)I@ ձѥQ䁅ɔձ䁅݅ɐ)ݥՉѥ́ѡЁٔɵ́ɕ)I@́݅ɑ́)́ȁՉѥ́Ѽ)ɑѼѡ5I$յ̰)ݡ́ѡхɐȁɥ)ɕ͡ݔٔѱٕȀ)ɕ́ȁՉѥ̰ݡ̰)Ё$݅́ݡ$ɕѕ)ѡЁѡаͽݡЁQ͔ɔݼٕ䁕ѥٔ)ѽ́ѡЁݔٔѼɕѡ)]eЁЁݥѠѡи]٥ͱ)͔Ёͽݕݡ)ٔԁͼѼɕЁ䁽ȁ̰)Ёѡɽȁձѥ]ٔ)́͡$ͅѱٕȀ)Ёݔ͕ٔѡѥɔ)ձѥQӊéݡݔ٥܁́ѡݔ)͕ٔ́ѡ͔́Ʌ)ѡȁ̸]eɔЁѕЁ䁽)͡)=ȁՉѥ̰ȁݽɬ)ѡݔͼɕ́չЁ)չ丁I@́Ѽ٥܁͕Ёͼ)Ս́ѥɝѥЁ)ѥݥɝѥ ѡЁݔݗeɔ)ٕ䁍չ䁅ɽ́ѡ)չ䁅ݔٔ́ѥٔٽչѕ)хչѥ́ɽ́ѡ)չ丁]ٔ́ѡхѕ́)Ёѡȁѥ́ɽ́ѡ)չͼݔЁѼݥѠ)́ݕ)]ɕѡͥѡɽ՝ѡ)ɕѠչѥ̸]ͼ)͔ɕЁѡȁٕՕ́ѡи])ٔɕɽɅݔ)ٔɕɽЁݥѠȁ̸)]ݔ͕ѡɵѥ)ѕɥ̰ѡݥѕ9Ё䁑ѡɕ)аЁѡ䁅Ёи((0