Inforum Event

From Wall Street to No Street

Tuesday, October 11, 2011 - 11:30am - 1:30pm
Steelcase Town Hall
901 44th St SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49508
See map: Google Maps

Join Inforum and ARZU’S Founder and CEO Connie Duckworth to talk about how she went from a partner and managing director at Goldman Sachs to the dirt roads of Afghanistan. starting ARZU. Ms. Duckworth is a trailblazing business leader, known for innovation, social impact and tireless advocacy for women’s economic empowerment, both in the U.S. and abroad. She founded ARZU in 2004 following a twenty-year career at Goldman Sachs where she was named the first woman sales and trading partner in the firm’s history.

ARZU is an innovative model of social entrepreneurship that empowers Afghan women by providing fair-labor, artisan-based employment and access to education and healthcare. ARZU creates jobs in desperately poor rural villages in Afghanistan, where little opportunity exists. From a starting point of only 30 carpet weavers, ARZU has created over 1,300 private sector jobs and provided direct social benefits to some 4,000 beneficiaries in seven rural villages in Bamyan and Faryab Provinces. The ripple effect of ARZU’s work today impacts the lives of ten’s of thousands of Afghans

ARZU is an example of the new “for-benefit” corporation model, a non-profit 501(c)3 organization that uses private sector practices to create jobs and produce high quality products for export in rural villages. Proceeds from the sales of ARZU’s flagship products:  ARZU STUDIO HOPE rugs ( and Peace Cord™ ( directly benefit Afghans by returning fair wages and social benefits to them rather than to investors or shareholders. Peace Cords benefiting Arzu will be for sale the day of event.

Connie K. Duckworth is a retired partner and managing director at Goldman Sachs where she was named the first woman to be sales and trading partner during her 20 years there. Following 9/11, Connie retired from Wall Street and was asked to join the U.S. Afghan Women's council - a group of women created to develop and implement initiatives in support of Afghan women and children. Connie traveled to Afghanistan for the first time with this council in 2003 and after seeing firsthand the hardships that women and children faced, Connie knew she wanted to do something to help. On her plane ride home, Connie outlined the vision for a non-profit business she would later name ARZU — inspired by the Dari word for “hope”. 

Event Details:
Date: October 11
Time: 11:30 - 1:30 p.m.
Location: Steelcase Town Hall
Cost: Members: $30, Non-Members: $45, Table Sponsorship: $350

 *Corporate Investor tickets are available for this event 

Please help Inforum give back to the community! Let's show West Michigan what Inforum members can do to make this a better place to live and work. For this event, we are asking that you bring supplies for the Alpha Women's Center. Click here for a list of supplies. You can also support them in various ways on their website, or cash donations will be accepted at the event. 




Upcoming Events

12/6/16 | Tuesday | Southeast Michigan
12/8/16 | Thursday | Southeast Michigan