Carolyn Buck Luce

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Carolyn Buck Luce is a senior partner at Ernst & Young. At All Souls, Carolyn is known as Carolyn Church, the wife of our senior minister, Forrest Church.

"In college at Georgetown University in Washington DC, she studied Russian at the University’s School of Languages and Linguistics and earned a Bachelor of Science degree Magna Cum Laude, was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, and received the Slavic Honor Award for Achievement in Slavic Languages. During college, she once again had the opportunity to be an exchange student, this time in Leningrad, now known by its pre-revolution name, St. Petersburg. Her language skills coupled with her interest in global affairs led her to apply to the United States Information Agency for the Foreign Service. While she took the obligatory exams and waited for security clearance, she worked for several months as a paralegal at a Washington law firm.

"Once approved, Carolyn was assigned to the USSR and was a guide for the “American Home” exhibit that was installed in several Soviet cities including Tashkent, Baku and Moscow. These cities are culturally and geographically diverse stretching across the vast Eurasian continent. The following year, 1976, she was offered an internship with the US-USSR Trade and Economic Council. The Council’s mission was to assist American companies in negotiations with Soviet foreign trade organizations. This took place during the Khrushchev era at the height of the Cold War, a highly flammable period in American-Soviet relations, when it was hoped that mutual trade would encourage détente. “Because the relationship between the two countries was so strained,” Carolyn said, “my colleagues and I were carefully schooled to be circumspect about the questions we asked and answered in these meetings.” In total, Carolyn spent about 18 months in the USSR...

"Another occasion when her aspirations did not work out immediately was her dream to work for David Rockefeller at Chase Manhattan Bank. She was enchanted by his legendary political finesse, especially in relation to international banking. In her mind, his image assumed folk-hero proportions. The day for an interview with a Chase official arrived. Carolyn flew to New York from Washington dressed, she reports, “in what I thought were my most becoming clothes and make-up. Looking back, I realize that I was dressed more appropriately for a night out on the town. I was just out of college, away from home and naïve. I knew nothing about appropriate attire for women executives in the banking world.” Despite her admirable credentials, she did not get the job.

"However, it was not long afterwards that she turned this blow into a personal victory. Carolyn completed graduate studies at Columbia University’s Business School in International Finance at the Russian Institute. Armed with her MBA, she was offered a tailor-made position at Citibank, NA, where in a few years, she rose to Vice President of Corporate Banking.

"Carolyn spent ten years at Citibank, from 1977 to 1987. It was at Citibank that she met and married a colleague, Michael Luce. In 1984, her first child, Jacob, was born and in 1986, her second son, Nathan arrived. Five of her years spent at Citibank were devoted to finding financing for leveraged buyouts. She also gained experience in mergers and acquisitions and financial restructuring of multi-national corporations. Her success drew much attention and subsequently, she was recruited by First Boston Corporation.

"At First Boston, she advised such corporate clients as Allied Stores and United Airlines in complicated corporate financing. In 1989, she was named Senior Vice President for Capital Markets at the Campeau Corporation, a Canadian firm, where she raised over $20 billion in public and private funding for a number of mergers and acquisitions. The following year, she founded her own company with a colleague from Campeau. The partnership—Roddy Buck Luce—operated until 1991, when she sold her interest in the firm to join Ernst & Young as a partner...

"Carolyn is a Senior Partner at Ernst & Young in the Global Accounts Group and is a member of the Partner’s Advisory Council to the Board. She is also a member of the firm’s Investment Advisory Board. Currently, she specializes in advising multi-national pharmaceutical companies such as Bristol Myers Squibb and Pfizer. Before that, she headed Ernst &Young’s e-commerce consulting program...

"Throughout her fourteen years at Ernst & Young, Carolyn has always been active in helping professional women coordinate the dual responsibilities of family and work life. She is chair of the Tri-State Professional Women’s Network and is a board member of the National Parenting Association. She is an officer of the recently formed Center for Work-Life Study and co-chairs with Cornel West, the distinguished, outspoken University Professor of Religion at Princeton, a task force researching “The Hidden Brain Drain—Women and Minorities as Unrealized Assets.” The National Parenting Association and the Center for Work-Life Studies were founded by All Souls member Dr. Sylvia Ann Hewlett...

"Carolyn also serves on the boards of Blair Academy and the Center for the Advancement of Women, the Georgetown University Board of Advisers for International Initiatives and the New York Women's Foundation. She is also a member of the Foreign Policy Association. “I have increasing interest in politics,” she said. “I raised money for the Kerry campaign and hope to do more fund-raising for the Democratic Party in the future. I am treasurer of several boards.” Carolyn is a frequent speaker at professional conferences and served recently as Ernst & Young’s delegate to the Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

"Carolyn has a role model in her mother Minna Buck, the first woman elected Family Court judge in New York’s Onondaga County, and a former corporate counsel to the city of Syracuse and former counsel to the New York State Democratic Party, who put off her law career for ten years after finishing law school to make a home and raise a family.

"Carolyn’s brother and sister are also prominent in their chosen fields. Michael has just retired after 25 years with the Forestry and Wildlife Commission in Hawaii, where he rose to chief of the Service. He is now a consultant on tropical forestry and teaches at universities. Carolyn’s sister Beverly is an attorney in Colorado with a Masters degree in Public Policy. Like their mother, she is involved with children’s advocacy issues." [1]

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  1. Carolyn Buck Luce, All Souls, accessed May 10, 2010.