State Director Job Opening

State Director


Anchorage, Alaska
Category: Health Educator

Business Unit Description

AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, with a membership of nearly 38 million that helps people turn their goals and dreams into 'Real Possibilities' by changing the way America defines aging. With staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, AARP works to strengthen communities and promote the issues that matter most to families such as healthcare security, financial security and personal fulfillment. AARP also advocates for individuals in the marketplace by selecting products and services of high quality and value to carry the AARP name. As a trusted source for news and information, AARP produces the world’s largest circulation magazine, AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin.

State & Community Engagement (SCE) is part of Community, State and National Affairs (CSN). The SCE team includes: 53 states and territories across 6 regions with regional management, the Office of Volunteer Engagement, the Office of Community Engagement (including the National Retired Teachers Association (NRTA): AARP’s Educator Community), and the Legal Counsel for the Elderly (LCE).

SCE Vision:

  • State & Community Engagement (SCE) enables AARP to be a nationwide organization, which strengthens our capacity to carry out our mission.
-SCE brings AARP closer to our members, people 50+, and their families, which allows us to listen - and respond - to their wants and needs that align with our mission.
  • We drive an impact agenda, deepen relationships with key audiences & stakeholders, and build AARP's relevance at the community and state levels.


The AARP State Director is a trusted voice for people 50-plus with the media and the public; is responsible for making AARP a driving force and tireless advocate for those 50-plus and their families to help them live their best lives; and ensures that AARP is the “go-to resource” and leader across the state on issues important to the 50-plus population.

The State Director is responsible for building and leading a cohesive, integrated and highly functioning enterprise that focuses on increasing engagement, impact and relevance for the state’s growing population of people 50-plus including the 50-plus multicultural population by providing strong and effective leadership in three primary areas:

  • Builds and leads a highly successful, multi-functional team of skilled professionals and volunteers distributed in key areas.
  • Develops and champions a matrix management approach to efficiently working with AARP national office colleagues to implement priorities that include advocacy, community impact and education, brand and value to members, and stakeholders.
  • Cultivates and maximizes relationships with targeted state leaders and key decision-makers in public, social and private sectors to advance AARP's mission.


The AARP State Director has primary responsibility in the following areas:

1. Sets Strategic Vision: Articulates the overall strategic vision and sets organizational context for volunteer Executive Council members and State Office staff to develop a comprehensive state plan that reflects goals for:
  • AARP national strategic priorities.
  • State and local issues that give shape to the AARP vision, and have resonance.
  • Enhanced impact in community engagement with an emphasis on strategically important geographic area, multicultural communities, and other key audiences.
  • Increased relevancy among 50-plus persons.
2. Builds and Leads Strong Management Structure: To position the state for maximum performance, the AARP State Director:
  • Leads a strong and effective team, ensuring work plans with high-performance expectations, and with clear decision-making authority and controls.
  • Designs and maintains an appropriate staffing pattern, utilizing best in class practices in management and span of control.
  • Builds on staff strengths, and embraces and leverages diversity.
3. Executes for Results: Achieves social impact through:
  • Advocacy: Sets the vision for effective non-partisan advocacy strategies for priority state, federal and local issues benefiting the 50-plus population. Cultivates effective decision-maker relationships to enhance non-partisan advocacy efforts. Leverages the voice of AARP members and allies and/or third party validators to enhance non-partisan advocacy efforts for all constituencies in the state.
  • Volunteer Engagement: Develops a collaborative relationship with the State Volunteer President and Executive Council to build an engaged and empowered cadre of volunteers that work in partnership with staff to achieve state plan results. Oversees the effective recruitment and development of volunteers. Engages and empowers volunteers as partners in strategy, community influence and volunteer advocacy.
  • Media/Communication: Acts as spokesperson for AARP in the state and is widely considered a go-to thought leader in the state. Creates vision for an effective communications strategy so that AARP’s story is accurate, strategic, and impactful across all media and its impact is visible and substantive throughout the state and within the Association.
  • Enhanced Community Engagement: Defines how AARP has a relevant and sustainable footprint in strategic geographic and multicultural communities. Prioritizes relationships with local leaders. Prioritizes 50-plus engagements in these communities that drive increased relevance among expanding demographics; and that creates a cohesive perception that AARP addresses their needs. Empowers team to develop and test innovative ways of engaging 50-plus audiences, including members.
4. Leverages Enterprise Capacities: Employs a matrix management approach to maximize AARP enterprise assets for the state. Areas include:
  • Campaigns and government affairs capacities that drive multi-faceted advocacy strategies particularly with the state’s multicultural communities, (rural communities, etc) and building and leveraging relationships with elected and appointed officials.
  • Community presence, education and outreach initiatives, across multiple constituencies.
  • Membership and brand assets, including membership data and segment profile insights, communications and marketing vehicles campaigns, AARP brand integrity, and enterprise cross-sector collaboration and innovation.
  • AARP Foundation programs to serve low-income 50-plus, and the membership benefits and services managed through AARP Services Inc., (ASI).
5. Cultivates Strategic Networks: Establishes and maintains strategic networks, acting as a convener to address the needs of members and the 50-plus members and stakeholders.
  • Strategically defines the nature and outcomes of relationships with external organizations
  • Positions the AARP State Office as a thought leader across the State or within targeted communities within the State.
  • Provides leadership to develop working relationships with a broad range of decision-makers in the public, social and private sectors.
  • Focuses AARP’s presence and reputation for impact through valued relationships within strategically important communities across the state.

  • Completion of an bachelor’s degree[advanced degree a plus] in Public Administration, Management, Political Science, Community Organization/Development, Gerontology, or a related discipline and, 10 years of directly related experience, or an equivalent combination of training and experience related to the duties of the position.
  • A minimum of 4 years of executive management/leadership is strongly preferred.
  • Demonstrated proven track record of communicating effectively with the media.
  • Demonstrates understanding of cultural competence, able to build quick rapport for results-oriented relationships.
  • Strong understanding of public policy issues facing the state and AARP membership. And, strong understanding of the political environment and other dynamics impacting AARP’s work in the state.
  • Experience managing a diverse workforce preferred.
  • Applicable bilingual skills would be an asset.
  • Demonstrates a high level of competence with oral and written communication, computer literacy, social media, strategic thinking, and people management skills.
  • Travel required up to 50% of the time.

Benefits Offered

AARP offers competitive benefits with a 401K, 100% company funded pension plan, health, dental, vision and life insurance, STD/LTD, paid vacation and sick, and other benefits.

Equal Employment Opportunity

AARP is an equal opportunity employer committed to hiring a diverse workforce and sustaining an inclusive culture. AARP does not discriminate on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion, sex, color, national origin, age, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, mental or physical disability, genetic information, veteran status, or on any other basis prohibited by applicable law.