Q & A with Irving Weiser

An M-List exclusive with the retired chairman and CEO of RBC Dain Rauscher, a board chair of United Way.

*Join us on Thursday, June 4 at Graves 601 Hotel from 6-7:30 p.m. as Irv Weiser, retired chairman of RBC Dain Rauscher and United Way board chair presents “Connect the Dots,” exploring how the current economic situation affects us all—and what you can do to build a better community. Series events are free for United Way Community Builders and United Way Emerging Leaders (those who give $500 or more) and $20 per event for non-members. To RSVP and learn more about becoming a member, visit www.unitedwaytwincities.org/eventRSVPS.

Are you married?

I have been married for 39 years.

Do you have kids?

I have two daughters, ages 33 and 29

What are your hobbies?

My wife and I have traveled extensively and enjoy theater, visual arts, reading and golf.

What is your professional background?

I was a lawyer at Dorsey & Whitney from 1973-1985, after which I joined the predecessor of RBC Dain Rauscher as president, becoming CEO in 1990. I retired as CEO in 2003 and as chairman in 2006.

How does your professional background help fulfill your role as board chair of United Way?

I have been the CEO of a large and complicated organization and understand the role of a board, and I understand the complexity and difficulty of running a large enterprise with numerous clients and constituents.

What are your duties as chair?

To assist the CEO in fulfilling her job by serving as a sounding board, and to manage the board meetings and executive committee meetings to ensure the best use of our board members’ valuable time.

Why, when there were so many nonprofits that could’ve used your help, did you choose United Way?

The United Way is an integral part of the community’s safety net and brings the business, political and service community together like no other nonprofit. I have been involved with United Way for many years.

What areas has United Way set as priorities during this recession?

We continue to pursue our Agenda for Lasting Change, which is the new direction our board approved a few years ago. Our focus is on people at 200 percent of poverty or less, meeting basic needs, supporting health and wellness, and nurturing children and families—to continue to provide that safety net, and help people build pathways out of poverty.

What’s your life philosophy?

If I am not for myself, who will be? If I am only for myself, who am I? If not now, when?

Would you like to add anything else?

No matter how much time or financial resources I give to various charitable organizations, I always receive more from the experience. My leadership of the United Way 2000 campaign and my experience as board chair has given me insight into the generosity of our community. I have met and worked with many extraordinary people I would not have otherwise met.