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Expert social change strategist joins AARP Foundation


Sept. 2, 2009

AARP Media Relations

Expert social change strategist joins AARP Foundation

Sharyn Sutton, Ph.D., brings more than 25 years of experience and will lead overall strategy and communications efforts

WASHINGTON – The AARP Foundation, AARP’s affiliated charity, recently appointed veteran social marketing strategist Sharyn Sutton, Ph.D., as vice president of strategy and communications. A respected leader in social change, Sutton is charged with leading social marketing and communications strategies that further the AARP Foundation’s mission to ensure all individuals are able to meet basic health and financial needs in the second half of life.

“Sharyn is a skilled leader and communicator who we are so pleased to have on board,” said Robin Talbert, AARP Foundation president. “Her experience engaging both the public and the private sector in initiatives that spark social change will be invaluable to helping the AARP Foundation and programs like Tax-Aide, Money Management and WorkSearch reach the many older Americans who are in great need throughout the country.”

Sutton brings more than 25 years of experience leading and implementing communications strategies in the corporate, government, academic and non-profit sectors to help create positive social change. She has worked with organizations including AARP, the National Cancer Institute, Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Additionally, she has lectured at the Brookings Institution, Georgetown University, the University of Maryland and American University.

Before joining the AARP Foundation, Sutton was president of Sutton Group, which she founded in 1996 to provide strategic planning and marketing research services to non-profits, consumer advocacy groups, government agencies and foundations. Sutton also served as a branch chief at the National Institutes of Health, directing the National Cancer Institute’s Public and Patient Information Programs. She is credited with initiating NCI’s campaigns on mammography, 5-A-Day and early detection efforts targeting Blacks, Hispanics and Native Americans. At NCI and as director of nutrition marketing for the US Department of Agriculture, she crafted major public-private partnerships with Avon, Revlon, Disney and Scholastic. She also held the position of executive vice president, Research & Strategic Planning for Porter/Novelli, one of the top 10 public relations agencies in the world.

Sutton received a PhD and an MS in Psychology from the University of Maryland. She completed her undergraduate work in psychology at the University of Toledo.

AARP Foundation
The AARP Foundation is AARP’s affiliated charity. Foundation programs provide security protection and empowerment for older persons in need. Low-income older workers receive the job training and placement they need to re-join the workforce. Free tax preparation is provided for low- and moderate-income individuals, with special attention to those 60 and older. The Foundation’s litigation staff protects the legal rights of older Americans in critical health, long-term care, consumer and employment situations. Additional programs provide information, education and services to ensure that people over 50 lead lives of independence, dignity and purpose. Foundation programs are funded by grants, tax-deductible contributions and AARP.

For more information about the AARP Foundation, please log on to

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