Bill Novelli
CEO, American Ass. of Retired Persons (AARP)

Re: What do you do?

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Novelli brings marketing and social change together.

Bill Novelli

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: Beyond a simple title, how would you describe what you do for a living?

Transcript: What I do is to try to create change. AARP is an organization about . . . about social change, about social impact, about trying to make things better. And that fits very nicely with what I care about. You know I’ve got this haiku that I like a lot, and it is, “Problems worthy of attack prove their worth by attacking back.” And these are the big problems – the big, intractable, social problems – the ones that attack back. And I like to think of AARP as a social organization that tries to attack big problems, and that’s what my interest in life is.