Catherine Taylor, who had served as executive director of Age-Friendly, RI, has been named state director of AARP Rhode Island, succeeding Kathleen Connell, who became the state’s first state director when she took office in 1999, the state organization announced today. Taylor officially joined AARP on May 17, a week before Connell’s official retirement.

Catherine Taylor

Taylor, like Connell, is a former politician, who unsuccessfully ran as the Republican candidate for Secretary of State in 2010 and Lieutenant Governor in 2014. Connell served as Rhode Island’s Secretary of State from 1987 to 1993 and began his political career on the Middletown School Committee and City Council.

As executive director of Age-Friendly RI, a Rhode Island College initiative, AARP said Taylor leads a broad coalition of state and community agencies, health and social service providers, businesses , academic, advocacy and faith-based organizations. and people of all ages committed to healthy aging. To support isolated seniors during the pandemic and beyond, she led the development of a statewide virtual community center and, an online platform to connect volunteers. with people in need of food delivery.

AARP called Taylor an expert in aging and dementia policy, an advocate for older adults and people with disabilities, and a seasoned administrator.

“I am thrilled to join AARP and look forward to being a powerful voice on behalf of all Rhode Islanders 50 and older,” Taylor said. “This is the opportunity of a lifetime to improve the quality of life for seniors in our state and cultivate appreciation for the important contributions we make to our community. I look forward to leading the vital work of AARP to build livable, age-friendly communities, foster social connection and inclusion, challenge ageism and age discrimination, and promote AARP’s strong political agenda to ensure health, security and economic security for all of us as we age.

Taylor previously worked as a Senior Advisor for Policy, Partnerships and Community Engagement at the George & Anne Ryan Institute for Neuroscience, and at the University of Rhode Island’s Rhode Island Geriatric Education Center (RIGEC) as a Project Advisor. for the Geriatrics Workforce Enhancement Program. She is a former director of Rhode Island’s Division of Elder Affairs, former owner of a strategic consulting firm, and for 20 years a legislative aide and speechwriter to Senator John Chafee and later Senator Lincoln Chafee. Taylor is commissioner of the Rhode Island Governor’s Commission on Disabilities and recently a board member of the National Association for Geriatric Education.

An active volunteer in the community, Taylor is chairman of the board of the nonprofit organization FirstWorks, a trustee of the Church of St. Sebastian, and a member of the Providence Public Library Corporation.

“Catherine’s impressive background and experience aligns perfectly with AARP’s mission and our work at the local, state and national levels,” said Kelly A. Clark, AARP Regional Vice President for the East and the Caribbean. “We are thrilled to welcome him as the leader of our talented and dedicated Rhode Island State staff and dozens of volunteers who make our work possible.”

“I’m very happy with the selection and I know Catherine will do an outstanding job,” Connell said. “As the leader of Age Friendly RI, she has been a strong partner to AARP in work that both organizations recognize as essential to the health, well-being and future of more than 50 residents of the Rhode Island.”

“The work Catherine has done with Age Friendly RI, its partners and many volunteers is a sure sign that AARP Rhode Island is in safe hands,” added AARP President Phil Zarlengo. “I am confident that she will carry on Kathleen’s legacy of distinguished leadership.”

Taylor graduated from Yale University. She and her husband, Robert Taylor, are the parents of four children and live in Providence.


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