By the Quinlan School of Business
There was standing room only at The Baumhart Center at Loyola’s Quinlan School of Business on its campus in downtown Chicago for the first event of the Kelly Tyrrell Conversation Series. The Tyrrell Conversations aim to engage Loyola students in monthly dialogues with social impact, enterprise, and responsibility leaders. This initial conversation featured Connie L. Lindsey, Northern Trust’s Executive Vice President and Head of Corporate Social Responsibility and Global Diversity & Inclusion.
The goal of these dialogues is to help students to imagine their own futures by exposing them to promising careers in social business and allowing them to explore the journey to get there. Lindsey, who is now responsible for the design and implementation of Northern Trust’s global CSR and diversity and inclusion strategy, started out on her journey with a social change mindset. “I wanted to be a social worker,” she began, “because I thought I could heal the world and still be home in time for dinner.” However, as she became more aware of her strength with numbers, Lindsey went on to complete her education with a financial focus. She explained that this strong business foundation allows her to have a greater understanding of what it takes for businesses to do what they need to do.
When asked about how she ties social responsibility in with corporate profit, Lindsey responded that she is actually pondering taking the word ‘social’ out of the title altogether— “it’s really the whole responsible corporation,” she said. When given her current role at Northern Trust, she began by taking inventory of the corporation’s initiatives, the employees’ values, and key clients’ interests. Her goal was to create strong a social responsibility strategy while also speaking the corporation’s language and bringing in measurable returns. When questioned about the return on investment (ROI) of CSR, she laughed, “we know what happens when you don’t invest in it!” She further discussed the importance of “thinking about how we, as corporations with the money and resources, can make a difference” through research and tackling tough issues.
The event concluded with an opportunity for students to ask Lindsey their own questions. More students had questions than time allowed for, but Lindsey made sure to leave all Ramblers present with the following advice:
“For corporations like mine who are really interested in social responsibility, it’s really those individuals who have some business acumen [that stick out]. Because if you’re going to work with the business unit, you need to understand how the company makes money, you need to understand what the financial metrics are … Think about what the core skills are.” Once you have those core business skills, she said, you’re even more empowered to be the change you wish to see in the world.
Photo: Quinlan School of Business