VP, External Relations

13 Feb, 2020


VP, External Relations

Washington, DC

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.

Integrated Communications and Marketing (ICM) is a multimedia, service-focused communications and marketing operation that leads in shaping the impression of AARP by providing communications planning, marketing, support and execution for AARP’s strategic business units.


The Vice President of External Relations leads the team responsible for promoting multiple organizational priorities, with a special focus on advocacy and policy communication initiatives.  Serves as a senior external relations contact for internal business units and state offices.  Supports the Senior Vice President in managing the daily operations of the department.



  • Maintains an in-depth knowledge of AARP’s enterprise-wide strategic goals, anticipating and addressing opportunities and issues as they arise.
  • Ensures that the vision, strategic oversight, and plans are in place to launch and sustain all work within the position’s authority, protecting and advancing AARP’s reputation and brand.
  • Supports the CEO’s executive positioning and drives the public narrative around AARP’s commitment to and work in innovation, positive aging, and multi-culturalism.
  • Oversees the development of external relations strategy for AARP affiliates, including the AARP Foundation and AARP Services, Inc. to ensure consistency and raise awareness of products and services.
  • Provides overall direction for the department’s editorial calendar to help ensure coordination of AARP’s public narrative and work.
  • Develops and manages external relations RFPs and SOWs and directs the work of external agencies and consultants.
  • Works with the Senior Vice President to implement departmental policies and procedures.
  • Manages day-to-day functions, including staff management, team development, ally development, budget forecasting, vendor procurement, and strategic planning.
  • Works with Brand, Consumer, and State and National Affairs teams to negotiate and develop external relations/media partnerships.


  • Completion of a Bachelor’s degree in Communications, Journalism, Public Relations, Political Science, or a related discipline (Master’s degree or post-graduate work preferred) and 15+ years of experience as a communications professional.
  • Experience working with a mission-driven, advocacy organization.
  • Previous public relations agency experience or the equivalent within a major corporation or organization.
  • Ability to work effectively and calmly in a fast-paced, diverse, high-pressure environment.
  • Demonstrated ability to build and maintain successful relationships with national, regional, and local media, partner organizations, and influencers.
  • Ability to provide leadership, strategic focus, and management oversight for external outreach and engagement across platforms.
  • Strong interpersonal skills and the ability to motivate team members and colleagues.
  • Demonstrated success in marketing, communications, legislative, or campaign-related grassroots development, public affairs, public relations, or branding.
  • Must have demonstrated experience providing leadership and management oversight for large external relations teams.

Candidates being considered for this role must be willing to complete a writing assessment.  

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.

Learn more here

Job posted: 2020-02-13