Lake Forest resident Connie Duckworth, 2012 recipient of the UNICEF Chicago Humanitarian Award who also was honored as Woman Extraordinaire by the Chicago International Women Associates that same year, delivers the third program in "The Resilient Woman Speaker Series" at Woodlands Academy of the Sacred Heart, 760 East Westleigh Road, Lake Forest, on Thursday, Feb. 20, at 10:30 a.m.
Her presentation, "Hope, Resilience and Rugs: an Innovative Enterprise and Afghan Women," is open to the public free of charge. The title reflects on ARZU Inc., which was founded in 2004 by Duckworth who serves pro bono as its chairman/CEO. ARZU, which means "hope" in Dari, helps Afghan women weavers and their families break the cycle of poverty by providing them steady income and access to education and health care by selling the exquisite hand-knotted rugs they weave at home. ARZU operates as a "for-benefit" corporation, using private sector practices to create jobs in desperately poor rural villages where little opportunity exists.
Duckworth is currently a trustee of Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company and a director of Russell Investment Group and Steelcase Inc. She serves on the boards of The Wharton School in Philadelphia, the Interfaith Youth Core in Chicago and NorthShore University HealthSystem, in Evanston, Ill., where Duckworth was the first woman to be named chairman of the board.
She also is a member of the U.S.-Afghan Women's Council, a public/private partnership aligned with the U.S. State Department and past chair of the Committee of 200, the organization of leading women entrepreneurs and corporate business executives in the U.S. In addition, Duckworth co-authored a primer on entrepreneurship titled "The Old Girls Network: Insider Advice for Women Building Businesses in a Man's World."
The theme for the current school year at Woodlands Academy is The Resilient Sacred Heart Woman. Graduating women of courage, confidence and compassion is Woodlands Academy's four-year goal.
For more information, visit www.woodlandsacademy.org.
Founded in 1858, Woodlands Academy is an independent Catholic college preparatory day and boarding high school for young women, and part of a worldwide network of Sacred Heart Schools that spans 19 cities in the United States and 44 countries around the world. A nonprofit, Woodlands Academy's identity is rooted in Saint Madeleine Sophie Barat's desire to inspire young hearts and minds to excel, to lead lives of integrity and to serve. For more information about Woodlands Academy, please visit www.woodlandsacademy.org