From Investment Manager to Invested Nonprofit C.E.O.

Photo of podcast guest with episode title

Travel back in time with me, won’t you? It’s the summer of 2014. Marvel’s first Guardians of the Galaxy movie is in the theaters, and Pharrell Williams’ hit song, “Happy” is playing on the radio. And we sit together in my backyard enjoying a little fresh lemonade while soaking up the sun…when, all of a sudden, my husband and son walk up behind us and dump a bucket full of ice water on our heads. We knew it was coming, and yet, it’s impossible to prepare for.

First, we cried out in shock from the cold water 🥶 then we laughed and waved at the camera because the whole experience was recorded so we could upload it later to YouTube…that is, after we made a donation to the cause. We just participated in one of the first online challenges to go viral: the Ice Bucket Challenge.

Do you remember what the donations were for?

Here’s my actual video from the summer of 2014. Pretty sure you would have screamed, too! 🤣

ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis)

My guest, Andrea Pauls Backman, spent most of her adult life in investment management, but everything changed when her mother was diagnosed with A.L.S. — a rare disease for which there is no cure. 

In this episode you’ll learn how this amazing leader transitioned from decades in corporate America as an investments manager to becoming an invested CEO of a nonprofit in the Chicagoland area right as the Founding CEO stepped down. 

📌 Check out our Pinterest Board about A.L.S.

Photo of Andrea Pauls Backman
🔗 Connect with Andrea on LinkedIn

Andrea Pauls Backman, MBA, has been Chief Executive Officer of the Les Turner ALS Foundation since 2015. She brings both a professional and personal passion to ALS/MND having cared for and lost her mother, Sally, to the disease in 2010.

Andrea came to the ALS field following a 30 year career in business management as an institutional investment manager, including as a Managing Director at several investment firms. She also brings more than 15 years of nonprofit board management experience. She is honored to serve on the Board of Directors of the International Alliance of ALS/MND Associations.

Andrea holds a Master of Business Administration from DePaul University and a Bachelor of Business Administration from Loyola University of Chicago and is a certified public accountant. She also received a Professional Development Certificate in Philanthropy and Nonprofit Organizations from the Northwestern School of Professional Studies. Outside of the office, Andrea enjoys spending time with with her family, cooking and biking.

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🔗 Connect with the Les Turner ALS Foundation

The Your Nonprofit Life Podcast is produced by the


Nonprofit Leadership Lab

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