Meet Colleen Connell, proud charter member of Impact100 SJ. Colleen first learned about Impact100 from Kyle Ruffin, who serves on the board of the Community Foundation of South Jersey (CFSJ) with Colleen’s husband, John. She was immediately attracted to a business model in which every member’s vote counts equally toward selecting grantees, making tremendous impacts toward their missions. Also, the opportunity to meet other local South Jersey women who are passionate about philanthropy and volunteerism was very appealing. Colleen finds inspiration in women who are leaders in their communities. “Just like the Milky Way, we are all single stars working together to create beautiful outcomes collaboratively.”
Colleen is an active member of Impact100. She has co-chaired the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (“DEI”) Task Force with Nina Cohen, where she was able to draw on and leverage her experience with DEI work for her current employer. She has also served on the Grant Review and Finance Committees.
Colleen has a love of nature and adventure. After living in South Jersey for nearly 40 years, she is still finding new places for exploration, fueling her love for the Garden State and particularly South Jersey.
Colleen spent her early banking career in New York City, which took her throughout the five boroughs and upstate NY, and ultimately to traveling the globe. All that formed an insatiable appetite for travel that she is just now getting back to in the post-COVID-lockdown world. However, it was when Colleen became involved in community development lending that she was able to marry her financial acumen with her desire to make a difference in the world.
Colleen has a long and interesting history of volunteering. As a matter of fact, she met her husband, John, in West Virginia when they were both volunteering with the Passionist Volunteers in the late 1970s. Since that time Colleen’s activities have expanded into volunteer leadership roles among several organizations. Colleen has been the New Jersey representative for Pax Christi, an international peace organization, and has served on the National Board of Pax Christi USA as both chair and treasurer. In that role she served as a peace delegate to Jordan and Israel, and enjoyed a private audience with Pope John Paul II at the Vatican. She also volunteers within Wells Fargo, her current employer, including having co-chaired both a women’s team member network affinity group and a DEI task force that included providing training on raising awareness of unconscious biases. She has been a “Big” to a “Little” in the Big Brothers Big Sisters Philadelphia Chapter. Currently she is also the treasurer of the Uxbridge Condominium Association where she resides.
Colleen believes in life-long learning and stretching herself to make the most of each day, given that our time here is short and our chances to make a difference are unlimited. When asked about limitations, she responded, “I find that things I think will limit me actually provide opportunities for growth.”
Colleen and her husband, John, have been married for 40 years and have three daughters and one son. Their adult children – now residing in Bethesda, Long Island, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles – are all involved in volunteerism including with The Trevor Project, City Year, AmeriCorps, the board of a homeless shelter/food pantry, and Rotary, among others. Colleen and John live in Cherry Hill after having raised their kids in Haddonfield. They also enjoy time at the family homestead in the Catskills (NY), where they like to kayak and hike.