Connie Duckworth founded ARZU, Inc. in 2004 and serves pro bono as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. She is a retired Partner and Managing Director of Goldman, Sachs, & Co., where she was named the first woman sales and trading partner in the firm's history during her 20 year career.
Ms. Duckworth is a Trustee of Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company and a Director of Russell Investment Group and of Steelcase, Inc. She serves on the Board of Overseers of the Wharton School in Philadelphia. Ms. Duckworth also serves on the Boards of Directors of the Interfaith Youth Core in Chicago and of NorthShore University HealthSystem, in Evanston, Illinois, where she was the first woman to be Chairman of the Board. She is a past Chair of the Committee of 200, the organization of leading women entrepreneurs and corporate business executives in the U.S. and is the author of The Old Girls Network: Insider Advice for Women Building Businesses in a Man's World (Basic Books 2003), a primer on entrepreneurship.
The recipient of numerous awards for leadership, advocacy, social impact, innovation and global presence, Ms. Duckworth was awarded the 2011 Wharton School Dean's Medal, the school's highest honor. In addition, Ms. Duckworth was named a 2008 Skoll Foundation honoree for Social Entrepreneurship. She holds an M.B.A. from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and a B.A. from the University of Texas.
Connie was WIL's guest speaker on October 24, 2011.
ARZU STUDIO HOPE
Arzu, which means "hope" in Dari, is an innovative model of social entrepreneurship that helps Afghan women weavers and their families break the cycle of poverty by providing them steady income and access to education and healthcare by sourcing and selling the rugs they weave.
ARZU STUDIO HOPE believes in a holistic approach to sustainable poverty alleviation achieved through artisan-based employment that empowers women. Women, earning fair labor wages, weave exquisite hand-knotted rugs at home. Innovative social benefit practices drive transformational change by providing grassroots access to vital education, healthcare, clean water and sustainable community development programs.
ARZU, Inc. is a social business enterprise ("SBE") — a true public/private sector partnership sustained by revenues from the sales of high-end rugs and supplemented by generous donor support.
ARZU is a not-for-profit organization, operating with private sector discipline while pioneering transformational commerce with care. Surplus "profits" accrue for the benefit of project participants, instead of shareholders. ARZU's focus is on the triple bottom line — people, planet and profit for good.
To learn more about Connie Duckworth and Arzu, visit the Arzu Web site.