During his 34 years at AARP, Stan Cooper has taken every available opportunity to experience new things, meet new people, and try his hand at different roles.
Cooper’s journey with AARP began in 1978. His background in journalism made editing for the AARP quarterly newsletter a natural fit, but it was his work as a legislative representative from '81 to '89 that cemented his love for the work and the organization.
“People here are so nice, so sharp, and are provided with so many opportunities to do different things and keep the job interesting, but it was really the cause that made me stay for so long,” Cooper said.
He enjoyed traveling and banked over 100,000 miles by plane as a representative, yet it was AARP’s mission of serving seniors – especially those less fortunate – that inspired him to keep going every day. He went on to work in public relations, communications, volunteer training, and finally as the New Mexico State Director in 1999.
Cooper said that one of the best parts of his job was seeing hardworking volunteers achieve their goals. He recalls fighting side by side with volunteers for 10 years to overturn unfair interest rates in New Mexico.
“It’s the day-to-day, year-to-year stuff that’s the most important… never once did I dread coming in to work,” he said.
Cooper also cites meeting a variety of wonderful people, from Congressional delegates to the Governor of California to an inspirational Girl Scouts troop leader, as one of the perks of his career at AARP.
While he loved traveling as a legislative representative, he has also enjoyed the chance to form deeper relationships by staying in one place as the New Mexico State Director. He is proud of AARP’s increased visibility and communication strategies over the last few years because it aligns with his goal and dream of helping as many seniors as possible.
Cooper has been involved in public service from a young age. He was elected to his local Board of Education at the tender age of 24.
As he moves on to his “what’s next,” Cooper plans on reconnecting with one of his passions: mediation. Whether for communities, the workplace, or individuals, he is certified and skilled at conflict resolution. He also plans on teaching courses on aging at a community college and working on improving transportation options for seniors.
Cooper may be retiring, but he is far from finished helping people across the country. He will be greatly missed in this community, and we wish him the very best in his future endeavors.
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