Magazine article The Crisis

[Q & A] A. Barry Rand

Magazine article The Crisis

[Q & A] A. Barry Rand

Article excerpt

An agent of change returns to the nation's capital * Interview by Betsy M. Adeboyejo

A. Barry Rand is the first African American to lead the AARP, a more than 40 million-member advocacy organization dedicated to people ages 50 and over. Calling himself a "son of the '60s," Rand, 64, sees his new assignment as unfinished civil rights work. A native of Washington, D.C., Rand received his BA. in marketing from American University and an MBA from Stanford University, where he was a Sloan Executive Fellow. He says the issues facing America when he was growing up mirror the issues facing America today - it all boils down to inclusion. A leader of corporate social change for three decades, Rand says he's not only fighting for those Americans who are 50-plus, he's also advocating for all Americans. His inspiration stems from the hard work of his grandparents and parents who encouraged him to participate in changing the landscape of America. Rand champi- oned social change at Xerox Corp., and Avis Group Holdings, Inc. He started as a sales repre- sentative at Xerox in 1968 and rose to several senior positions, including execu- tive vice president of world wide operations, overseeing a multibillion- dollar business and more than 70,000 employees. In 1999, Rand became the chairman and chief executive officer of Avis Group Holdings. Currently, he serves as chairman of the board of trustees at Howard University. Rand took some time before he started his new role as AARP CEO to talk with The Crisis.

Why did you want to lead this organization?

Health care and the need for health reform and financial security are prerequisites to the American dream. What we see now and what I have been seeing is the question about whether or not the changes will be made by an alliance of all Americans that will reconfirm what the American dream is or redefine the dream. So I made the choice that at this stage in my career, I would contribute to social change on today's issue, which quite frankly, as we go from the '60s to today, it is the same thing - it's the American dream; how do we get more people participating in it? …

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