Jo Ann Jenkins is Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of AARP. As COO, she leads an enterprise-wide strategy to define priorities, align processes and allocate resources in support of older Americans and their families. She oversees 10 of the association’s key programs, including strategic planning, management and coordination of AARP’s multiple member-facing distribution channels, technology and digital operations, and development of an innovation strategy.
Jenkins, a proven innovator, joined AARP in 2010 as President of AARP Foundation, AARP’s affiliated charity. She led that organization’s far-reaching development and social impact initiatives including Drive to End Hunger, a national effort by AARP and AARP Foundation to help the millions of older Americans who struggle with hunger every day. Under her leadership, the foundation’s overall donor base increased by 90 percent over two years.
With more than 25 years of extensive leadership, management, planning and business experience, and a strong sense of social mission, she has repeatedly transformed organizations and led innovative new policies at top levels of the nonprofit, philanthropic and public sectors. She is an award-winning leader, known for insightful management, setting priorities and getting things done.
She came to AARP Foundation from the Library of Congress, where she had been its chief operating officer, responsible for managing the library’s day-to-day operations, its 4,000-person staff and its budget in excess of $1 billion. During her 15-year tenure at the Library of Congress, she developed and directed two of its most renowned projects, the National Book Festival and the Library of Congress Experience, the largest and most complex program in the library’s 210-year history. In May 2010, she was recognized by the technology industry with the 11th Annual Women in Technology Award for her innovative leadership on the Library of Congress Experience. She is also a recipient of the Library of Congress Distinguished Service Award.
From 1990-1993, she directed USDA’s Office of Advocacy and Enterprise. She began her federal government career in May 1981 at the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and in 1987 joined the U.S. Department of Transportation. She became a member of AARP Services Board of Directors in 2004 and its chair in 2008, completing her service in May 2010. She is on the board of directors of Living Cities, an innovative philanthropic collaborative of 22 of the world’s largest foundations and financial institutions. She was a delegate and founding fellow to the U.S.-Japan Leadership Program and a 1999 graduate of Leadership America. She is a Malcolm Baldrige Fellow (2013), recipient of the 2013 Black Women’s Agenda Economic Development Award for spearheading investments undergirding innovative social impact programs, and one of the Non-Profit Times Power and Influence Top 50 for 2013.
A native of Mobile, Ala., she earned her B.A. from Spring Hill College there. She is a 1998 graduate of the Stanford Executive Program, offered by the university’s Graduate School of Business.
On May 13, 2014, AARP’s Board of Directors announced that she would become AARP’s CEO beginning Sept. 1, 2014. Until that time, she will continue her duties as Chief Operating Officer.