Des Moines, April 14, 2015 — Martha Willits of Des Moines has been named AARP Iowa State President with responsibility to lead the Association’s Iowa Executive Council, working closely with AARP Iowa State Director Kent Sovern, Iowa staff and volunteers in their efforts on behalf of AARP’s approximately 380,000 members in Iowa.
Former president and CEO of the Greater Des Moines Partnership and former President and Chief Professional Officer of the United Way of Central Iowa, Willits moves into the State President post from a leadership role on Iowa’s Executive Council. For two years before joining the Executive Council, she had also served as an advisor in AARP Iowa’s State Strategic Planning process.
“I’m excited to become even more involved in addressing the needs of older Iowans and partner organizations throughout the state,” said Willits. “I’m looking forward to advancing AARP’s mission of quality of life for positive social change and quality of life for all as we age.”
In announcing the selection of Willits to the state’s top volunteer position, AARP Midwest Volunteer Director Dean Clough said, “AARP is very fortunate to have someone with Martha’s background and abilities leading AARP in Iowa. She will be of great assistance in the development of AARP-Iowa’s State Plan and an excellent leader of AARP’s Iowa volunteers.”
AARP Iowa State Director Kent Sovern said AARP Iowa is looking forward to benefiting from Willits’ expertise in guiding the organization to best meet the changing needs of older Iowans. “Martha brings a unique depth of public service, policy expertise and activism that will be key to our abilities to better engage with volunteers, community leaders, prospective partners and members across the state,” said Sovern. “We’re thrilled she’s taking on this role to advocate for all Iowans age 50 and over and their families.”
One of Central Iowa’s most recognized civic, political and philanthropic community leaders, for many years she served as an elected official on the Polk County Board of Supervisors, and she continues to serve the community on a number of boards including Grand View University Board of Trustees, United Point Health-Des Moines Board of Directors, Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino Board of Directors and Young Women’s Resource Center Board of Directors. She is a three-time alumna of Drake University with a bachelor’s degree in music education, a master’s in teaching arts and a master’s in business administration.
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