Aging Ahead is proud to announce Chief Executive Officer, Lisa Knoll, was honored recently with a “Trailblazer in Aging Award for Innovation” by the National Council on Aging (NCOA). The Innovator Award recognizes an individual or organization that has created innovative solutions to improve the health and economic security of older adults in the community.

“This year’s Trailblazers are a fantastic representation of the dedication and resiliency found throughout the aging network,” said Ramsey Alwin, NCOA President and CEO. “They saw the pandemic as an opportunity to innovate and find new and better ways to meet the needs of all older adults, regardless of background.”

Knoll leads Aging Ahead, the largest area agency on aging in Missouri. Recognizing the challenge of attracting people to traditional senior centers, she launched the Choice program in 2014, which is now identified as a community focal point by the Administration for Community Living. During the pandemic, Knoll spurred innovation again with Cumulus, a groundbreaking digital platform that enables organizations to coordinate services and improve outcomes for older adults.

“During a time of significant challenge, it has been a privilege to be a part of critical, wide-ranging regional and statewide partnership initiatives that have made a passion for progress and innovation contagious within our agency and collective network,” Knoll said.

The National Council on Aging (NCOA), the national voice for every person’s right to age well, is celebrating the outstanding contributions of four individuals and one organization working to ensure that every American can age with dignity. The five honorees received Trailblazers in Aging Awards at NCOA’s Age+Action Conference, June 12-13 in Arlington, Virginia, and June 20-21 online.

Trailblazer Awards were also given to the following:

·    Edwin Walker, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Aging, U.S. Administration for Community Living – Champion Award

Recognizes members of Congress or the Administration for their leadership in protecting and improving public policy and programs for older adults.

·    George Fernandez, President and CEO, Color & Culture – Change Agent Award

Recognizes an individual or organization working to ensure that every person—regardless of race, income, or background—has the resources to age well.

·    Sheila Salyer, Director, Tallahassee Senior Center and Foundation – NISC Founders Award

Recognizes exemplary and long-standing service to the senior center field.

·    Walmart Foundation – Public-Private Partnership Award

Recognizes organizations that have established powerful partnerships that build bridges between the public and private sectors to empower every person to age well.


Jan Keith, Director of Community Engagement, Aging Ahead


Simona Combi, Public Relations Manager, NCOA


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