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AARP Foundation – From Modest Beginnings to Strategic Excellence

From Modest Beginnings to Strategic Excellence

“For the past seven years, the Leadership Strategies facilitative approach has become an integral part of AARP’s approach to strategic planning.” ~Demetrios Antzoulatos, Vice President, Finance, Grants, & Operations at AARP Foundation

Leadership Strategies has built an ongoing, mutually beneficial relationship with AARP Foundation by helping them progress from minor participation in public class offerings to a transformation in their strategic planning process.

Background

The relationship between Leadership Strategies and AARP Foundation began modestly in 2010, with AARP sending individuals and small groups of employees to public classes such as The Effective Facilitator before requesting a private, customized three-day class at their location. At that time, Tierah Chorba, longtime professional facilitator, was introduced to the organization and began working with key stakeholders to provide a comprehensive overview of the facilitation process and its importance in strategic planning. She facilitated the onsite class, which covered concepts from two primary courses offered by Leadership Strategies.

Challenge

In 2012, Keanne Henry, Director of Strategic Planning for AARP Foundation, was assigned to complete an internal strategic planning project. To prepare, she attended The Effective Facilitator and Secrets to Facilitating Strategy classes in Atlanta. As she completed the courses, Keanne realized that the strategic planning process was more complex that she originally conceived, acknowledging that a need for ownership of the plan in addition to having the courage to implement and revise it was crucial to its success. She also recognized that an external, dispassionate perspective was necessary for AARP Foundation to produce a functional and executable plan as well as support them in following through with its implementation.

Solution

Keanne turned to Leadership Strategies, seeking facilitation services for their strategic planning session. At that time, Tierah further developed the relationship with AARP Foundation by demonstrating the Leadership Strategies facilitation methodology and focusing on the actuality that – although she was helping facilitate the processes – the objectives, actions and implementations were solely the responsibility of those involved in creating the plan.

Outcomes

With Tierah and Leadership Strategies at the helm, AARP Foundation was able to produce a successful strategic plan that continues to drive results within the organization. Keanne is now Vice President of the AARP Experience Corps and the organization continues to work with Tierah and Leadership Strategies to educate and empower their workforce. The enduring relationship between these organizations was highlighted when Leadership Strategies received a 2018 Supplier of the Year award from AARP, during which Leadership Strategies was commended for its ability to consistently support AARP in improving their approach toward strategic planning and meeting facilitation. By providing a consistent level of quality and effectiveness in the services provided, Leadership Strategies and AARP will continue to work together for many years to come.
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