To Rick Waddell, the importance of philanthropy cannot be understated. He shares, “to whom much is given, much is expected[…] I have been very fortunate in my career at Northern Trust, and to now be in a position to give back to our communities of my time, talent and our resources is extraordinarily important.”
Rick has been deeply involved both personally and professionally in driving impact with organizations like United Way, the American Red Cross, the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and the Kohl’s Children’s Museum, where Rick served as Chair of the Board of Trustees. In that role, Rick led the planning for the museum’s new, expanded facility in Glenview, that opened in 2005.
Connie Lindsey, Executive Vice President and Head of Corporate Social Responsibility at Northern Trust describes Rick’s legacy around CSR as rooted in a few things. “One is understanding that corporations are a part of the community.” The other, is rooted in kindness.
Rick’s philanthropic commitment is deeply present in Chicago’s civic community, where he has driven critical changes to education and budget issues. He is member of the Board of Directors of Chicago Council on Global Affairs, Chicago Urban League, and the United Way of Metropolitan Chicago. He is Vice Chairman of the Commercial Club of Chicago and serves as Chairman of its Civic Committee. He also serves as executive advisor to the Metropolitan Planning Council.
His involvement does not end there. Rick has been involved in a number of CEO searches and has ensured those incoming leaders are set up for success. He serves on the Board of Directors for AbbVie and IBM. He is also on the Board of Trustees of the Art Institute of Chicago, Northwestern University, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and Northwestern Memorial Hospital.
Rick, who holds a bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College and an MBA from Northwestern University, joined Northern Trust in 1975. He held leadership positions in Commercial Banking, Strategic Planning and Wealth Management. In 2003, he became head of the Corporate & Institutional Services business unit and, in 2006 was named President and Chief Operating Officer of Northern Trust. He was named CEO on January 1, 2008, and Chairman in November 2009. Waddell has served as Chairman since November 2009 and ended his decade-long role as Chief Executive Officer on December 31, 2017.
“Every Northern Trust leader, […], has positioned Northern Trust in the community as an organization that gives back. I feel I have continued that tradition, and hopefully have given back in the history of those that have preceded me.”
He and his wife Cate have always been very committed to the importance of education, especially early childhood education. In this next chapter, he and his family are working to establish a foundation that will focus on education, youth development and civic principles of our founding fathers.
The Heritage Award is given to an individual or organization whose leadership and actions greatly enhanced the welfare of our community.
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