Social entrepreneur Connie K. Duckworth serves pro bono as Chairman and CEO of ARZU, which means “hope” in Dari, the non-profit organization she founded in 2004 to empower destitute women weavers in rural Afghanistan. From a starting point of 30 weavers, ARZU has transformed into a learning laboratory for holistic grassroots economic development—today employing some 500 Afghans and supporting an eco-system of education, maternal health and community programs.
Ms. Duckworth retired in 2001 as a Partner and Managing Director of Goldman Sachs, the first woman to be named a sales and trading partner in the firm’s history during her 20-year career. For the past decade, she has focused her business lens in roles as a corporate director, author and activist. She is a Trustee of Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company and a Director of Steelcase Inc. In her philanthropic work, Ms. Duckworth is a Trustee of the University of Pennsylvania, an Overseer of The Wharton School, and serves on the boards of the Interfaith Youth Core in Chicago and NorthShore University HealthSystem, in Evanston, Illinois, where she was the first woman Chairman of the Board.
The recipient of numerous awards for leadership, social impact and innovation, Ms. Duckworth holds an M.B.A. from the Wharton School and a B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin. She is married to husband Tom and the mother of four children.