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Connie Duckworth Builds a Business in Afghanistan

As an early woman partner at Goldman Sachs, Connie Duckworth spent her career carving out a presence for women in the business sector. Undeterred by being the only woman in the room, Duckworth enjoyed her career in financial services—and worked hard to establish family-friendly policies to ensure other women could do the same.

To some degree, Duckworth’s philanthropy found her. Shortly after she retired from Goldman Sachs in 2001, opportunity knocked when Duckworth was invited to join the U.S. Department of State’s U.S.-Afghan Women’s Council. She returned from Kabul knowing she had “to do something.” Always a businesswoman, that “something” took the form of a rug business called ARZU Studio Hope.

Duckworth doesn’t mind sharing that building a business in Afghanistan has been an uphill climb; every year, she finds another hill around the bend. But the intellectual engagement ARZU has brought Duckworth has been tremendous. And for inspiration, she has no further to look than the Afghan women with whom she works—and for whom quitting is not an option.

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