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AARP’s Jean Accius strives to improve lives of older adults and their progeny

Jean Accius (Photo credit: Tim Coburn Photography)

Jean Accius, Ph.D., is the senior vice president of global thought leadership and international affairs for AARP. He is a nationally recognized expert on aging, longevity, health and long-term care policy, having held senior-level positions across private, public, and nonprofit sectors.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in hospitality administration and a master’s degree in aging studies from the Claude Pepper Institute at Florida State University and a doctorate in public administration from American University.

In his current position at AARP, Accius provides strategic direction, leadership and technical expertise.

Rolling out spoke with Accius about the ever-changing work world and how many jobs the average person is expected to have during their lives.

What inspires you to show up at work every day?

Two things [that] inspire me to show up at work every day are my grandmother, who raised me, and the millions of older adults in this country. The way people are aging in America is changing dramatically. I wake up every morning thinking about innovative ways to increase the quality of life and care for older adults, their families and future generations.

Describe the skills that will be essential to future entrepreneurs, business leaders and innovators.

Resiliency is important. We should learn from every experience, positive and negative, and move forward. Having a “cabinet of advisers” to provide you with insights and hard truths is one of the most valuable things a leader can do. 

Describe how you set goals and evaluate your success.

For me, it’s all about outcome and impact. I like to work backward: what’s the outcome or goal I want to achieve, and what do I need to do to ensure that I achieve it? As a leader, it’s up to me to make sure my team keeps that focus.

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