AARP New Mexico names Albuquerque man new state president

Posted on 06/04/24

AARP New Mexico welcomes Christian Halstead, of Albuquerque, as its new state president. The state president, a volunteer position, works closely with the state director to lead AARP’s work in New Mexico. 

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Christian Halstead, AARP New Mexico State President

“I am thrilled to welcome Christian to AARP New Mexico,” said Joseph P. Roybal-Sanchez, AARP New Mexico State Director. “It’s always exciting to bring someone in with a fresh perspective. Christian has been in volunteer leadership roles before, so he has a sense of what that kind of position entails as well as the joys and challenges of being a volunteer.”

 Halstead, who is new to New Mexico, was looking for ways to do volunteer work here when he was approached about applying for the state president position. He had already volunteered to be an AARP Driver Safety Instructor, so expanding his role within AARP seemed a great fit.

 “It seemed like a similar form of volunteering that I had been doing in Seattle so I thought this might be a good opportunity to get involved in the community and the state,” Halstead said.

At this point, he is learning the many programs and resources AARP has to offer before determining what areas he would like to focus on.

 “I need to listen and see what folks are doing first. I don’t have any agenda at this point. I think the first couple months I just need to be absorbing things and seeing what people are thinking and then developing some ideas of my own,” Halstead said.

 “Typically, in my work, when I would manage people, we would just sit down and say what have you got going on, what do you think are your priorities are, what seems easy, what seems hard, and understand the bigger broader picture, and then see how we start working on and arranging priorities,” he said.

Halstead also believes that being new to AARP could be an asset.

“I think it’s a good thing because it could help. In my opinion, when you bring an outsider in, it can go one of two ways, it can be disastrous -- because they are going to come in and act like they know all the answers -- or it could be really beneficial, because they have a different perspective, and I am hoping that is the part I bring,” Halstead said with a laugh.

“And I think that is a little bit of what Joseph seemed to like – I don’t already have any preset notions or any preset kind of opinions on how this should go,” he said.

Halstead started his tenure with a trip to D.C. in mid-May joining presidents from other states for training and orientation.

Before moving to New Mexico, he served as the moderator and head of the congregation at University Congregational United Church of Christ in Seattle. The moderator would chair committee meetings and make decisions on various aspects of church business such as the budget.

Halstead moved to New Mexico in September from Seattle with his husband, Brett Mitchell. Mitchell is the new pastor at La Mesa Presbyterian Church in Albuquerque’s International District.

Currently Halstead is getting acclimated to New Mexico attending performances at Pope Joy Hall, attending gallery openings and getting to know New Mexico cuisine -- he’s already a big green chile fan. He is also already discovering New Mexico’s smalltown feel twice running into people they knew from Seattle.

This story is provided by AARP New Mexico. Visit the AARP New Mexico page for more news, events, and programs affecting retirement, health care, and more.

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