Re: How do you contribute?

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.

  • Transcript


Question: What impact does your work have on the world?

Transcript: Well from a personal standpoint, I like to think that . . . that I am making a contribution. And however big or however small it is, what I’m . . . what I’m trying to do is to help solve major social problems. That’s what I wanna do. That’s sort of my life’s work, if you will. And I’ve worked very hard at this. I’ve done it now for a long, long time. And I’ve worked on everything from seatbelt safety, to third world development, to the things that we do at AARP. And a couple examples of successes – not me personally, but that we’ve been able to have at AARP – is that we got prescription drugs into Medicare. And you cannot practice modern medicine without prescription drugs. So long term that’s gonna have a huge payoff for our country and for our older citizens. A few years ago we fought the good fight, and we were able to prevent Social Security from being privatized. That, for us, was a big win, and I think a big win for the country. So I like to look at these, and there are plenty of losses as well as wins. I like to look at these as steps forward and hope that I made a contribution to them.