Connie Lindsey, executive vice president and head of Corporate Social Responsibility and Global Diversity & Inclusion, Northern Trust
The focus of my philanthropy and the organizations with which I choose to serve are based on my faith and some of my core values of service, leadership, and inclusion. I have a strong interest in the economic empowerment, education, and leadership development of women and girls. Another important part of my philanthropic service is broadening cancer research and access to cancer treatments in underserved communities. This focus informs the way I direct my investments of time and money. I believe that talent is universal, but opportunity is not, therefore, I look for opportunities to utilize my gifts and talents in ways that provide opportunities and access for others.
I serve and have served on several local and national non-profit boards. I currently serve on the National Board of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, The Board of Managers of the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago, McCormick Theological Seminary, Executives’ Club of Chicago, and the Metropolitan Club Board of Governors. I served on the National Board of Girl Scouts of the USA for nine years and served as national president and board chair for six of those years. I was the highest-ranking volunteer of the approximately 2.6 million member organization. I started Girl Scouts as a Brownie and continued through Cadet. Being a lifelong Girl Scout has informed my approach to leadership, intellectual rigor, advocacy, and community engagement.
Some wise person said, “What we get is how we make a living, what we give is how we make a life.” My philanthropic work allows me to have influence and impact on issues that matter to me and to affect positive outcomes on the lives of others and society as a whole. Gaining access to the governance and the leadership of nonprofit boards allows me to influence inclusion and outcomes. Furthermore, research shows that the benefits of “giving back” actually have a positive physiological impact—including at the cellular level—which boosts everything from psychological outlook to the heart and immune system. I learned to give not only because I have been given much but also because I know what it feels like to have less or to be seen as “less than.”
My reasons for serving and making significant financial investments in causes I care about are not done for personal recognition. I am always grateful when I am acknowledged for service given and hear great stories of how my service or involvement has made a difference in the work of an organization or the life of a recipient; but what matters most to me is that my life’s purpose meets a need in the world and my community.