Part I of the Exclusive Interview with AARP’s Kevin Donnellan with Ideagen’s George Sifakis

George: Welcome, welcome to Ideagen, Ideas Leader Radio. Today we have with us
Mr. Kevin Donnellan from AARP. Welcome, Kevin.

Kevin: Thank you, George. How are you?

George: Wonderful. Great to have you on Ideagen Radio.

Kevin: Delightful to be here.

George: Kevin is executive vice president and chief of staff for AARP. He provides the link
between the CEO and AARP’s Executive and Leadership Teams working to implement
the enterprise strategy, solve problems, and deal with sensitive issues before they are
brought to the chief executive.

Prior to becoming chief of staff, Kevin served 8 years as AARP’s chief communications
officer. Under his leadership, AARP has become a 21st century media conglomerate,
exploding the myth that Americans 50-plus are not wired into new communications
channels. In 2011, 12, and 13, he was named to the Influence 100, the world’s 100
most influential corporate communicators, by the Holmes Report. As chief of staff,
Kevin continues to provide leadership and management for all internal
communications, executive positioning, and public outreach functions in the

Before becoming CCO in 2006, Kevin served AARP in a number of roles in advocacy,
director of grassroots and elections, and legislative and public policy that proved
critical to the growth and success of the organization.

Kevin is a member of the Ad Council Advisory Committee on Public Issues and chairs
the group’s Committee on Community and Stewardship. He is a member of the
prestigious Arthur W. Page Society. He also serves on the advisory board of George
Mason University’s College of Health and Human Services. He is a former chair of the
board of directors of the Long-Term Care Campaign and represented AARP on the
Leadership Council of Aging Organizations.

Kevin came to AARP from Capitol Hill, where he was executive assistant to
Representative Geraldine Ferraro. He holds Bachelor’s of Arts and Master of Arts
degrees in government and politics from St. John’s University in New York.
Kevin, my gosh, what an amazing bio and what an incredible impact on this country
and the planet for your work at AARP.

Kevin: Thank you, George. It’s a great job and I love what I do.

George: Well, that’s a beautiful thing and it’s a great segue actually to describing for us and
our listeners, what is AARP’s unique mission?

Kevin: Our mission is to enhance the quality of life for all of us, regardless of age, as we age.
We do that by championing positive social change and, we hope, delivering good
value for folks through advocacy, information, and service. We were founded almost
60 years ago by a woman named Dr. Ethel Percy Andrus. She gave us the motto “to
serve, not to be served.” It is something we still to this day AARP very much lives by.
What we really see is a society in which everyone gets to live with dignity and purpose
and to fulfill their dreams and goals.

In fact, I just tweeted out this morning, relevant to something else we’re doing, a
quote from Dr. Andrus from the 1960s where she said, “This is a country where it’s
wonderful to be young. It also must become a country where it’s wonderful to be

That so much describes what it is that we’re doing. We’re really trying to make it a
country where that everyone, regardless of age, gets to fulfill their goals and dreams.
George: Kevin, what an incredible answer and perspective on such an important issue
regarding aging and our entire population and the way AARP is truly making an
impact with your leadership as well.

Today we have with us Abigail Weiland as well from Ideagen. Welcome,

Abigail: Hi. Thank you. Kevin, thank you for that perspective on AARP’s unique mission. I
would love to hear what inspired you specifically to join AARP.

Kevin: Sure. As you heard from the introduction George did at the top of the show, I worked
on Capitol Hill before coming to AARP. When I worked on the Hill, I spent a lot of time
focusing on aging issues, partly because the member of Congress who I worked with
represented one of the ... Her congressional district had one of the oldest aging
populations in the country. We spent a lot of time working on aging issues. That’s
where I got into aging issues. When I decided to leave the Hill, I was attracted to AARP
because of their mission. I have to say, when I got here I thought, I’ll do this for a
couple of years and then I’ll try something else. Here I am now, 30 years later, still at

The main reason I’m here ... Well, there are actually two. One is, again, the mission of
the organization. It’s a fantastic mission. As I said earlier, I love what I do and I think
that’s important. I think you have to believe in what you do and want to get up and go
to work every day and feel like you’re making a difference, and I do.
Secondly, we have an absolutely fantastic staff here at AARP. Unbelievable
professionals who are all very much dedicated to the mission of the organization and
that makes this a great organization. That’s why I joined AARP. That’s why I was
inspired to join here, and it’s why I’ve been inspired to stay.

George: Kevin, that’s amazing. 30 years later, that’s inspiration at its best.

Kevin: The gentleman that hired me at the time, I said, “Two years. I’ll give you two years.”
Here I am, 30 years later.

05/10/2016 06:27 pm ET

An Exclusive Interview with Amway’s Jeff Terry with Ideagen CEO George A. Sifakis - Part 1 of the exclusive interview

Amway’s Jeff Terry interview with Ideagen CEO George A. Sifakis

George Sifakis: Jeff is the global head for corporate social responsibility at Amway. The primary responsibility that he has is to develop and guide the implementation of the company’s enterprise wide corporate social responsibility strategy, where he is aligning the organizations capacity to effectively implement its social investment and innovation efforts around nutrition, entrepreneurship and overall stakeholder and community engagement. 

Jeff joined Amway in May of 2011. His career has spanned more than 18 years and prior to joining Amway, Jeff served as director associate and community engagement for Sears Holdings Corporation. He developed a company wide community engagement strategy, including redevelopment of the company foundation, virtual giving initiatives and policies, volunteerism for 300,000 employees, and non-profit partnership planning and negotiations.

Jeff, what an incredible bio. Where do we begin with how you’re impacting the world with all of the game-changing efforts at Amway?

Jeff Terry: At Amway we have a simple philosophy and we call it our vision of helping people live better lives. That’s really at the core and foundation of everything we do. We do this in part by really helping people live healthier, more confident, and more financially secure lives. We believe that through our work and our expertise and our investments we can help do that on a global scale.

Today, we operate in about 100 countries around the world and engage millions of people every single day in helping to develop and run a small business for themselves. We do that by helping to support them with a great portfolio of more than 450 products that cover the nutrition space, the beauty and cosmetics space, as well as personal care and home products. So it’s a core foundational part of who we are but ultimately everything we do is about helping to provide individuals with great business opportunities for themselves and an opportunity to improve their own lives and the lives of their families. So it’s kind of easy to really think about global impact when we have a reach that touches millions and millions of communities around the world today.

George Sifakis: Well it’s certainly profound in terms of understanding the impact that Amway is having on individuals and empowerment across the planet. For those listeners that might be unfamiliar with Amway, you just touched upon several different areas that you’re really helping folks to become empowered. To live the dream, if you may. Could you describe Amway’s mission and goals?

Jeff Terry: Absolutely. Carrying it a little further in talking about helping people live better lives, We believe in entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship and the entrepreneurial spirit really is a spark that lives in every individual around the world. It may not manifest itself in someone wanting to build a business for themselves, but in many people that is in fact what it is. So our philosophy and our approach is to help provide the basic building block tools and training and mentorship in communities that help to support one another who have gone through and experience of creating a business for themselves. And really just surround an individual that is kind of interested and inspired to create a business for herself or himself and help them do that.

And at any given time we have upwards of ten million people associated with Amway, building a business for themselves or in some way procuring products that we make around the world or consumers of our products around the world. Whether it’s through vitamins and nutritional supplements, or cosmetics and other personal care and beauty products, or through soaps and detergents, and water filtration, or air filtration units, we’re helping to bring products into households all over the world that are helping individuals either grow a business or improve their home life.

George Sifakis: Well that’s absolutely amazing to think about the breadth and depth of the reach and the impact that Amway is having. In terms of all the areas of products that you’re providing, you’ve personally been involved in the Power of Five campaign. This is an exciting area because it really is a game changer.

Jeff Terry: George, thanks. We call it the Nutrilite Power of 5 campaign. Nutrilite is our vitamin and dietary supplement business. Nutrilite is founded on the principals of sustainable agricultural and organic farming. We take the best of nature and try to surround it with science. That’s how we built a strong vitamin and supplement business for more than 80 years. Beyond that, we knew that kind of being a leader in the space of nutrition science and dietary supplementation that that’s an expertise that we had an opportunity to deploy in a bigger and greater way than just helping to build a strong business.

When we recognized more than 10 years ago one of the most critical issues facing the world was that of childhood malnutrition. And most specifically child malnutrition in the first 5 years of life. We knew that was an opportunity for us for to really take this expertise and deploy it in a different way. It started for us frankly around one of our organic farms in Ubajara, Brazil, where our farm and the employees of the farm recognized the bad state, the malnourished state of children in the surrounding community, and started taking some of the products that we were growing on the farm and in the orchards there at our farm and ground it up and created what we called Multimix, and then partnered with local schools and incorporated into the daily cafeteria meals that the children were getting. We then started seeing improved health, not surprising.

This really spearheaded a new idea within the company, and that was to take what we do extraordinarily well and say, “Okay let’s turn that and let’s use that to create a product.” A Product that we call Nutrilite Little Bits and essentially Little Bits is a powder that is a one gram ... That’s packaged in a one gram sachet that’s filled with 15 essential vitamins and minerals that when mixed into the daily diet of a child in the first 5 years of life, ensures that they’re getting the critical and necessary nutrients to allow for proper brain development. Which is critical in those first five years. Something like 80-85 percent of brain development occurs in those first 5 years of life, mostly in those first thousand days. Partnering with organizations to bring Little Bits to tens of thousands of children around the world who are malnourished, will give them a fighting chance to actually reach that 5th birthday and live into a healthy adulthood knowing that kind of that critical nutrition is happening for them in the first critical 5 years of brain and body development.

The Power of 5 campaign is our effort to really help raise awareness around this issue. We know that more than ... according to World Health Organization, more than 3 million children unfortunately die in the first 5 years of life every year, the root cause of which being malnutrition, and that’s not okay. The Power of 5 is really about helping to elevate to many audiences, the audience very specifically to Amway, is Amway business owners and employees around the world.

03/22/2016 01:47 pm ET