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Nancy Perry Graham
Editor, AARP THE MAGAZINE
The Power of Ideas
Upon graduating from college I spent
a couple of years selling computers
for IBM. One image from those years
particularly stands out in my mind: a
wooden plaque that sat on sales reps’
desks that said THINK. It was a
constant motivator to do just that.
IBM, for all its bits and bytes, knew
its success depended on brainpower.
The notion that we can harness our
mental might to invent solutions to
almost any problem inspires me. We
may feel lost in a maze of challenges
during these tough economic times,
but with bold, new thinking we can
find our way to a brighter future. Out
of desperation comes innovation.
I spoke of the urgent need for out-of-the-box thinking in my opening
remarks at AARP THE MAGAZINE’s
fifth-annual Inspire Awards dinner,
where we honored ten remarkable
Americans, including Glenn Close,
Alma Powell, and Quincy Jones.
(See their profiles in our January–
February issue.) These are people for
whom passion, persistence, and commitment to a cause are a way of life. I
share the optimism of these dreamers
and doers, and I hope you do, too.
Looking ahead, 2009 will be a year
of new ideas, vision, creativity, and
risk taking. That’s exciting. We have
a new president who, by all early
indicators, is serious about making
the changes he promised. We have
change here at AARP, as well. After
OH, WHAT A NIGHT
Inspire Award winners,
clockwise, from top left:
Peter Gallagher; Richard M.
Cohen (with wife Meredith
David E. Hayes-Bautista,
Ph. D.; and Glenn Close
(with AARP THE MAGAZINE
editor Nancy Graham, left,
and Jane Pauley, right)
four months in an interim role, in late
October I was named editor and vice
president of AARP THE MAGAZINE.
In accepting, I said I was thrilled
at the opportunity, but respectful of
the challenges that lie ahead. “Now,”
joked a colleague, “you’re beginning
to sound like Barack Obama.” But in
truth these are tricky times for anyone, whether you’re running a country, a company, or a household.
Experience helps. I appreciate now
more than ever my long years as a
journalist, including nearly two
decades at Time Inc., working for
Fortune, Money, and People. I have
spent the past five, very happy years
here, as deputy editor. And I assume
my new role sharing the same problems, hopes, and goals as many of you.
I grew up in Texas, in an AARP family;
earned my degree from Virginia Tech;
and have worked ever since. I’m now
struggling to juggle career and family
(three children ages ten and under!),
pay off the mortgage, rebuild my
401(k) and my kids’ college accounts,
exercise, eat right, and find purpose
and meaning in life. And, oh yeah,
have some fun along the way.
Good health, financial security,
family and community, giving back,
having fun. That’s what we all want,
isn’t it? Helping you achieve those
priorities is our magazine’s mission.
If you have suggestions, drop me a
line or send an e-mail. Ideas are our
most valuable currency. As long as we
are rich in those, we’ll be just fine.