Marcus Mitchell of Providence Named

AARP Rhode Island Volunteer State President 



PROVIDENCE – AARP Rhode Island State Director Catherine Taylor today named Marcus Mitchell of Providence as Volunteer State President, succeeding Phil Zarlengo, whose term ends Dec. 31.


“I am so excited to welcome Marcus into the vital volunteer position of State President, where he will lead our Executive Council and energize our volunteer ranks,” said AARP Rhode Island State Director Catherine Taylor. “Marcus has demonstrated extraordinary leadership in his long and impressive career and I am confident he will enhance our volunteer strategies as well as serve as a passionate champion of our accomplishments,” Taylor added.


The AARP Rhode Island Volunteer State President serves as the principal AARP volunteer spokesperson, communicating AARP messages statewide. The President provides vision and leadership to AARP activities and chairs the state Executive Council. In partnership with the State Director and the Executive Council, the State President develops the framework for state strategic planning and the coordination of AARP activities.


Duties also include developing a strong working knowledge of the state demographics, organizational structures, political environment and key players; assisting in building networks and community partnerships across the state with other organizations and key decision makers to further AARP goals; and engaging diverse populations in all AARP activities in the state.


At the close of 2021 AARP Rhode Island saluted outgoing State President Phil Zarlengo, whose dedication to AARP is unsurpassed. Phil was AARP Rhode Island’s very first volunteer State President and served multiple terms over the past two decades. He was elected to the AARP National Board of Directors and served as Board Chair until 2012.


Phil returned as AARP Rhode Island’s State President just as the pandemic changed everything for everyone. His years of service, deep expertise and steady hand paid off mightily as AARP Rhode Island adjusted to meet our members’ needs and forged ahead on key General Assembly legislation and other priorities.

“Phil’s inspiring commitment and leadership helped us beyond the unexpected challenges,” Taylor said. “He has done a tremendous job leading our Executive Council and built a strong foundation for Marcus, ensuring a supportive and seamless transition – just as he was an indispensable resource as I assumed the job of State Director eight months ago. I will be forever grateful, and I am so glad he will remain an active AARP volunteer, continuing to contribute his national perspective to our work in RI.”


Marcus Mitchell is the founder of Shere Strategy Enterprises, a boutique strategic solutions company with focus areas in crisis management, small business start-ups and conflict resolution.  He serves on the Miriam Hospital Board of Trustees, and on the board of directors of Grow Smart RI, the Village Common, and the RI Environmental Educators Association.  He is a Commissioner on the RI Commission for Human Rights and a member of the RI Statewide Planning Council.

Marcus was the founding president of the Providence Community Library, the founding president of the National Urban League Young Professionals, which has dozens of chapters and thousands of members across the country, and president of Fellowship Farm, an historic international human relations training facility.

He served as a division commander in the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary, and continues to support environmental education programs and protection strategies, surface and harbor patrols, and disaster readiness.


Marcus is author of the book, “Leadership Secrets: Right in the Heart”; co-author of more than 15 scientific publications during a twenty-year career as a cardiovascular sciences researcher at SmithKline Beecham Pharmaceuticals, and an editor of the book, “Biotechnology: Business, Regulation & Law.” He also has experience as U.S. Senate staff as a Director of Community & Economic Development, a radio talk show host, and director of a nonprofit economic development coalition in his native Pennsylvania.


A resident of Providence, Marcus has been a volunteer for AARP Rhode Island since 2018, where he serves on the Executive Council and State Legislative Committee. His term as State President begins in January 2022.



About AARP

AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering people 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With a nationwide presence and nearly 38 million members, AARP strengthens communities and advocates for what matters most to families: health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. AARP also produces the nation's largest circulation publications: AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. To learn more, visit, or follow @AARP, @AARPenEspanol and @AARPadvocates, @AliadosAdelante on social media.




Associate State Director – Communications







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