With some serious accolades under her stilettos, Jenkins, CEO of AARP, leads the world’s largest non-profit, nonpartisan, membership organization of almost 2,300 staff members and 60,000 volunteers while adding numerous strategic partners.
Since joining the organization in 2010 and heading it since 2014, Jenkins has jump started and transformed AARP into a leader of social change. Specifically advocating on behalf of people aged 50 and over, Jenkins’ AARP is dedicated to empowering people with information, tools and resources that help them choose how they live and age.
While AARP has long been recognized for its services and championing for seniors and people looking toward retirement, Jenkins' approach has redefined AARP’s vision, challenged outdated beliefs, and sparked new insights that allow people to adapt to the realities of something we all must do -- age.
And when it comes to aging, Jenkins offers relevant solutions to everyday issues such as health, financial resilience, digital and social connectivity, work opportunities and personal fulfillment. To do so, Jenkins created Drive to End Hunger, a multi-year, nationwide campaign that has donated over 36 million meals and provided support to over 100 anti-hunger organizations across the country.
Jenkins’ work speaks for itself, and it has propelled her into leadership in high places. Described as a “visionary and global thought leader,” she has also served in several private consulting firms and advised major corporations in their development and implementation of diversity and organizational strategy.
She began her career with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and soon found herself gaining stature, power, and influence as she was promoted into additional government posts. Jenkins later moved to the U.S. Department of Transportation and U.S. Department of Agriculture, taking on various leadership roles and the responsibilities that came along with them. In 1994 she joined the Library of Congress as a senior advisor, then rose to Chief of Staff before becoming its Chief Operating Officer in 2007.
After earning her Bachelor of Science degree from Spring Hill College in Mobile, AL, she graduated from the Stanford Graduate School of Business’ Executive Program. Jenkins also earned an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from both Spring Hill College and Washington College.
Moreover, Jo Ann Jenkins has held a variety of board and advisory positions including AARP Services; AARP Fund;, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation; The Wall Street Journal CEO Council; Kennedy Center National Symphony Orchestra Board of Directors; Stanford School of Medicine Board of Fellows; U.S. Small Business Administration Council on Underserved Communities; Caring for Military Families; AVNET Board of Directors; World Economic Forum Stewardship Board for the Education, Gender, and Work System Initiative; and World Economic Forum, Board of Governors for the Health Systems Initiative.
In 2019, Jenkins was named to the AARP Board of Directors; Baldridge Leadership Award (2019); and Fortune’s: “One of the World’s 50 Greatest Leaders” (2019). Other accolades include being recognized with WNET New York Public Media’s 2018 “Woman of Vision” Award; Washington Business Journal’s “Women Who Mean Business” award (2018); Black Enterprise Magazine’s “Most Powerful Women in Business” (2017); Actor’s Fund Medal of Honor (2017); International Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics 2017 Presidential Award; Foreign Policy Global Thinker (2017); Power 100 – Washington’s Most Influential People, Washington Life Magazine (2015, 2016, & 2017); “Non-Profit Influencer of the Year” (2015); “Non-Profit Times’ Power and Influence Top 50” (2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2018); Peace Corps Director’s Award (2014) and Malcolm Baldrige Fellow (2013).