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AARP Names New Board Members and Officers

For Immediate Release
May 4, 2010

Contact: AARP Media Relations, 202-434-2560,

AARP Names New Board Members and Officers

Washington, D.C. – AARP today appointed new members and officers to its Board of Directors, including the organization’s newest president, Lee Hammond.

The all-volunteer, 22-member Board of Directors is the governing body of AARP and approves all policies, programs, activities and services for AARP’s millions of members. Some of the major responsibilities of AARP board members are to approve the budget and monitor AARP finances; determine the Association’s state and national legislative policy agenda; and set policy that guides the Association’s strategic plans and activities.

AARP received a large number of applications to become a board member from AARP members all over the country in response to the call for applications. Applications were solicited online and an independent review committee evaluated the submissions and sent their recommendations to the then-current board for approval.

New AARP Board members and officers include:

Lee Hammond (President), of Salisbury, Md., was elected to the AARP Board of Directors in 2002. Hammond began his 30-year career in education in Wicomico County, Md., as a classroom teacher. He then served as a school administrator for 25 years. Before becoming an AARP board member, Hammond served as AARP Maryland State President and president of the Maryland Retired Teachers Association.

Phil Zarlengo, Ph.D. (Chair), of Jamestown, RI, was elected to the Board of Directors in 2006. Zarlengo is a national consultant for developing and evaluating innovative staff training programs for urban school systems. He also has served as director of the Andrew Mellon National Center for Leadership Training at Brown University.

Robert G. Romasco, M.B.A. (President-Elect), of Bryn Mawr, Pa., was elected to the Board of Directors in 2006. His professional experience includes service as senior vice president of customer, distribution and new business development at QVC, Inc., and as executive vice president and chief marketing officer of CIGNA, Inc. Before his election to the AARP Board of Directors, Romasco was a member of the AARP Foundation Board.

Gail Aldrich, SPHR (Vice-Chair), of Genoa, Nev., was elected to the Board of Directors in 2008. Aldrich is an experienced executive in human resource management, membership development, and organizational effectiveness. She has served as chief membership officer for the Society for Human Resource Management and vice president of organizational development for the Electric Power Research Institute. She currently serves as vice chair of the Gifts in Kind International Board of Directors.

A. James Forbes, Jr., C.P.A. (Secretary-Treasurer), of Putnam Valley, NY, was elected to the Board of Directors in 2008. Forbes is currently a senior consultant with the financial executive services firm of Accounting Management Solutions in Waltham, Mass. He has served as executive vice president and CFO of Lighthouse International and managing director and founder of MedYield, Inc. Before joining the AARP Board, Forbes served as a treasurer of the AARP Foundation Board of Directors.

Jeannine English, M.B.A., of Sacramento, Calif., currently serves as AARP California state president and a member of the AARP National Policy Council. She has a long career in state government including her role as a founding partner of the legislative advocacy firm Lehman English Kelly and O’Keefe, Inc. She currently is serving her second term on the Board of Governors of the State Bar of California.

Catherine Alicia Georges, R.N., Ed.D., of the Bronx, NY, is professor and chair of the Department of Nursing of Lehman College and the Graduate Center at the City University of New York. She also has been a supervisor and district manager of the Visiting Nurse Service of New York. She currently is president of the National Black Nurses Foundation.

Barbara O’Connor, Ph.D., of Sacramento, Calif., is professor of communications and director of the Institute for the Study of Politics and Media for the California State University in Sacramento. She has worked with national and state AARP staff on telecommunications reform, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and issues on educational technology and the digital divide.

John C. Penn, M.B.A., of Scottsdale, Ariz., is chairman and CEO of Intek Plastics, Inc., and has served as vice chairman and CEO of Satellite Companies and CEO and president of the Centers for Diagnostic Imaging and the Benson Optical Co. Since 2007, he has been the chairman of the board of the Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society, the largest non-profit provider of senior care in the US. He is a certified director through the National Association of Corporate Directors.

Diane Pratt, M.C.R.P., of Washington, D.C., is president and CEO of DP Consultants, Inc., a government and public affairs management firm. She is a veteran public affairs consultant and political appointee who worked as the assistant for special projects and later as staff director of the DC Office of the Deputy Mayor for Economic Development. Pratt is a board member of the Henry C. Gregory III Family Life Center Foundation and previously was chairwoman of the DC Redevelopment Land Agency.

Carol Raphael, M.P.A., of New York City, is president and CEO of the Visiting Nurse Service of New York and a member of the AARP Foundation Women’s Leadership Circle. She has served as director of operations management at Mt. Sinai Medical Center and executive deputy commissioner of the NYC Human Resources Administration. Raphael also was a member of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) and the Institute of Medicine’s Committee to study the future of the health care workforce for older Americans.

Fernando Torres-Gils, Ph.D., of Los Angeles, is associate dean and professor at the UCLA School of Public Affairs and currently serves on the AARP Foundation Board of Directors. He served as assistant secretary for aging for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and as chairman of the Ph.D. in Gerontology Program at the Ethel Percy Andrus Gerontology Center at USC. He was recently nominated by President Obama to be a member of the National Council on Disability.

AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization that helps people 50+ have independence, choice and control in ways that are beneficial and affordable to them and society as a whole. AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to either political campaigns or candidates. We produce AARP The Magazine, the definitive voice for 50+ Americans and the world's largest-circulation magazine with over 35.7 million readers; AARP Bulletin, the go-to news source for AARP's millions of members and Americans 50+; AARP VIVA, the only bilingual U.S. publication dedicated exclusively to the 50+ Hispanic community; and our website, AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity that provides security, protection, and empowerment to older persons in need with support from thousands of volunteers, donors, and sponsors. We have staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

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