Guest post by Tiffany Lundquist
I’m not big on heroes. At least, not the celebrity kind. Where others find inspiration in the stories of the famous and wealthy, I’ve always had trouble finding any connection between their noteworthy accomplishments and everyday real life.
I suppose that’s why it struck me to hear AARP CEO A. Barry Rand share his personal background — what shaped him and keeps him motivated — with the New York Times for this column. Throughout his career as a champion of diversity, corporate leader and now, head of a non-profit focused on social change, Barry has always been driven to contribute to society.
But his heroes — the people he names as having influenced his life — don’t include a long list of recognizable names. Rather, he names his parents and grandparents, his family and colleagues. They are the people who instilled in him a passion to make life better for other people, taught him the value of hard work, and who showed him the pathways to success.
He also credits much of his worldview to the people he’s met and learned from in travelling extensively to different cultures and countries, including those he still meets and hears from daily in his work for AARP. Much of our work to help millions of middle class Americans who are worried about their retirement is driven by Barry’s passion for, and commitment to, making a difference. And his inspiration comes from the heroes he meets every day.
Now those are heroes I can believe in.