Connie K. Duckworth WG'79
Founder and CEO
ARZU, Inc.
Lake Forest

Wharton Speaker >> Biography

Ms. Duckworth serves pro bono as Founder and CEO of ARZU, the 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization that provides sustainable income to Afghan women by sourcing and selling the rugs they weave, that she founded in 2003 following her first visit to Afghanistan.  Ms. Duckworth is an active member of the U.S.-Afghan Women’s Council, a public/private partnership established by Presidents Bush and Karzai in 2002.  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 from 1981-2001.  She co-authored a primer on how to start a business entitled The Old Girls Network: Insider Advice for Women Building Businesses in a Man’s World (Basic Books 2003).

 Ms. Duckworth serves as a Director of the following companies: 

  • Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company, Milwaukee, Wisconsin (Committees: Compensation; Finance)
  • Russell Investment Group, Tacoma, Washington (Committees: Chairman, Compensation)
  • Steelcase Inc

In her philanthropic work, she is the immediate past Chairman of the Board of NorthShore University HealthSystem, in Evanston, Illinois; and serves on the Board of Overseers of the Wharton School in Philadelphia; the Board of Directors of Global Heritage Fund in Palo Alto and the Board of Directors of the Interfaith Youth Core in Chicago.  She is a past Chair of the Committee of 200, the national organization of preeminent businesswomen.  The recipient of numerous awards, Ms. Duckworth was named a 2008 Skoll Foundation honoree for Social Entrepreneurship for her work creating sustainable income generation opportunities for women weavers in Afghanistan.  Ms. Duckworth and ARZU STUDIO HOPE, in collaboration with Designtex, won the Interior Design Magazine “Best of 2009” award in the rug category recognizing superior interior design projects.

She holds an M.B.A. from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania (1979) and a B.A. from the University of Texas (1976). 


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