President and Chief Executive Officer

The National Council on Aging’s passion and mission is to improve the lives of older adults. NCOA believes every person deserves the knowledge and support to age with their best possible health and economic security. NCOA has become a force for social change and is positioned to improve the lives of 40 million older adults by 2030 through its groundbreaking, evidence-based programs and policies that have redefined what aging means in America. The National Council on Aging has been richly serving America’s elderly population since 1950.

NCOA partners with nonprofit organizations, government, and for-profit corporations to provide innovative community programs and services, online help, and to advocate for the aging community. NCOA focuses on two key factors that affect the ability of seniors to lead good lives: financial well-being and healthy living. NCOA defines its organizational goals in terms of metrics to show improvement related to these two factors. Three key strategies are currently used to achieve the goals:

1) Community-Based Services and Programs: a healthy living platform of innovative interventions focusing on prevention and social determinants of health that are key to healthy living; private sector organizations, government, and foundations are key sources of funding to advance these interventions. Key initiatives include:

  • Center for Healthy Aging
  • Aging Mastery Program
  • National Institute of Senior Centers
  • Center for Benefits Access
  • Senior Community Service Employment Program

2) Digital Solutions: use of a financial wellness platform that includes initiatives to help seniors receive every benefit they are entitled to; the platform often involves collaboration with private sector companies that benefit from the financial well-being of seniors. Key initiatives include:

  • BenefitsCheckUp
  • MyMedicareMatters
  • Digital Health Content

3) Public Policy and Advocacy: policy and advocacy activities that push federal, state, and local governments to support policies and programs that improve the financial well-being and health of seniors; these activities are funded by private donors, foundations, and internal resource s. NCOA’s broad policy and advocacy agenda includes:

  • Medicare
  • Medicaid
  • Older Americans Act

One aspect of NCOA’s financial funding base involves ongoing federally funded initiatives that NCOA manages by distributing funds and technical support to an array of senior service organizations in communities around the nation. Many of these initiatives focus on activities related to the Digital Solutions and the Community-Based Services and Programs parts of NCOA’s impact strategies.

Further Details
NCOA is headquartered in Arlington, Virginia, with a $63 million budget and 85 person staff. NCOA’ s long­ serving CEO, Jim Firman, has announced his plans to retire at the end of June 2020. For more information on NCOA, please visit

Position Summary

The President and Chief Executive Officer of NCOA is responsible for leading a trusted organization serving America’s aging population. The CEO works with the Board and staff to deliver the organization’s strategic and financial goals in support of its mission. The CEO oversees the management of the organization to achieve stated outcomes, including the development of necessary resources and motivating and recruiting a mission-driven, high performing staff. The CEO serves as the “face and voice” for the organization and acts as an informed advocate for public policy and initiatives that improve the well-being of seniors.

Key Relationships

Reports to: Board of Directors

Executive Team

  • Executive Vice President and Chief Growth Officer  
  • Chief Marketing and Business Development Officer
  • Chief Customer Officer
  • Chief Financial Officer
  • Chief Administration Officer
  • Chief Information Officer

Current Staff Size: 85 FTEs

Other Key Relationships:

  • Fortune 500 company partners
  • National community of senior network centers and nonprofits Government agencies, legislators, and the aging advocacy community Philanthropy and other funding sources

Desired from Leadership

  • Lead the refinement and execution of NCOA’s evolving strategic vision, leveraging a broad, global perspective to guide the organization through a transformation that ultimately results in NCOA becoming a consumer-facing organization, tripling its impact in 10 years.
  • Attract and develop a best in class board to facilitate long term success for NCOA.
  • Lead, inspire, empower, develop, and retain a high performing staff.
  • Enhance NCOA’s external profile and thought leadership reputation rooted in evidence and fact-based contributions and ensure a robust infrastructure to share and scale innovation in the field.
  • Advance the public policy interests of aging adults through advocacy to relevant regulators and legislators.
  • Develop, strengthen and grow strategic relationships with key stakeholders, including community-based organizations and partners serving the aging population.
  • Diversify and grow NCOA’s revenue streams, which are largely reliant on government grants, by establishing a broad, comprehensive fundraising strategy across sectors of business and donors, and actively cultivating meaningful relationships with major individual, foundation and corporate donors.

Candidate Profile

NCOA’s new leader will be an inspirational, gently transformative and integrative leader with an authentic passion for improving the life of older adults. The CEO will quickly build credibility with stakeholders and demonstrate bold vision and courage, appropriately fostering challenging and candid debate to define NCOA’s future position as a continued leader in the field of aging. The CEO will demonstrate and model a commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion and transparency.

Ideal Experience

Board leadership and/or knowledge of board governance

Minimum of 15 years of relevant, progressive levels of executive leadership experience: A track record of delivering strategic, operational and financial results in an organization of significant complexity

Aging expertise: Ideally, subject matter expertise in the field of aging; at minimum, a passion for the population and a proven ability to quickly get up to speed on a new area and issue set

Experience serving as the “face and voice” for an organization: Effectively and credibly communicates to a range of internal and external stakeholders, including the board, the staff, partner organizations, relevant policymakers and regulators, and the media

Public policy and advocacy experience: Ideally at the federal and state levels

Revenue generation experience: Proven success building new- and bolstering existing- revenue streams

Minimum Bachelor’s Degree: Higher education preferred

Critical Leadership Capabilities

Strategic Thinking

  • Works with the Board of Directors to craft NCOA’s long-term vision and strategic plan, effectively prioritizes integrated initiatives to foster growth, translates the plan into a clear direction for the team, creates processes for outcome evaluation, and drives its successful execution.
  • Assesses and strategically explores sources of revenue and delivery mechanisms to enhance NCOA’s impact.
  • Exercises a broad, global mindset; challenges assumptions and conventional wisdom with specific, supported and reasoned proposals.

Leading People

  • Inspirationally conveys the organization’s long-term direction to community partners and staff and collaborates with the team on how to reach it.
  • Engages the team in developing strategic objectives with clear and explicit intent and calls upon team members to contribute to the best of their ability; focuses on the team’s growth and development as a group and as individuals.
  • Effectively articulates and delegates responsibilities to senior staff that are integral to achieving NCOA’s mission and goals.
  • Continues to build a healthy, integrated organizational culture with open communication among team members and among the NCOA Board, partner organizations, and other stakeholders.
  • Ensures appropriate organizational systems and processes are in place to foster an integrated perspective, cross-functional collaboration, and operational efficiency that drive forward measurable outcomes.
  • Serves as a role model for the organization.

Collaborating and Influencing

  • Proactively represents NCOA with key strategic partners in the government, philanthropic, for-profit and non -pro fit business communities, and seeks to collaborate and/or form relationships, both formal and informal, where common goals exist in these communities.
  • Serves as a compelling and dynamic face and voice for the organization and an informed authority on life stage research and policy in aging in top level policy platforms, public forums, and academic circles.
  • Cultivates and builds funder and donor relationships, creating and inspiring enduring support for NCOA.

Personal Characteristics

  • Dynamic, charismatic and influential leader who inspires followership
  • Dedication to NCOA mission and values
  • Excellent listener who values diverse viewpoints
  • High-integrity, fair, humble and transparent leader

Applications and Nominations

To apply or nominate an individual for this position, please email