Bill Novelli is CEO of AARP, a membership organization of 40 million people age 50 and older, half of whom remain actively employed. AARP’s mission is to enhance the quality of life for all as we age. Prior to joining AARP, Mr. Novelli was President of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, whose mandate is to change public policies and the social environment, limit tobacco companies’ marketing and sales practices to children and serve as a counterforce to the tobacco industry and its special interests. He now serves as chairman of the board. He was also Executive Vice President of CARE, the world’s largest private relief and development organization.
Mr. Novelli is a recognized leader in social marketing and social change, and has managed programs in cancer control, diet and nutrition, cardiovascular health, reproductive health, infant survival, pay increases for educators, charitable giving and other programs in the U.S. and the developing world. His book, 50+: Give Meaning and Purpose to the Best Time of Your Life, was updated in 2008. Mr. Novelli serves on a number of boards and advisory committees. He holds a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania and an M.A. from Penn’s Annenberg School for Communication, and pursued doctoral studies at New York University.
Question: Do baby boomers still have a contribution to make?
Bill Novelli: The baby boomers have a huge contribution. In fact I wrote a book about it. It’s called “50+: Igniting a Revolution to Reinvent America”. And what “50+” is about is the fact that the boomers have so much more to contribute. They’re going to leave a legacy. They are . . . They’re making change now in terms of working longer; in terms of, you know, what’s happening in the marketplace; some of the other issues I talked about in terms of healthcare and so forth. So the boomers have been catered to their whole lives. They’ve re-invented every aspect of life they’ve gone through. They’re going to reinvent retirement. And they’ve got an attitude.
Question: How will they leave their mark?
Transcript: I do talk about that in the book. I think that what we need is for people, when they think about giving back . . . and boomers do think about this. When they think about volunteering and so forth, I think they . . . what we can do is ask people to think big. So if you can contribute to fixing a playground in your neighborhood, that’s important. That’s great. That’s gonna help your family and your town. But also think bigger. Think about advocating for a bigger cause. Get involved. Understand what the issues are. Vote. In some cases it’s not just voting for an incumbent, but it’s voting against an incumbent. We’ve gotta vote some people out in this country in order to make progress. So there are many ways that boomers can contribute. As I said before, they are better educated. They’re healthier. They intend to work longer. They’re gonna make their mark.
Recorded on: 9/27/07