John Black on the Intersection of Work and Philanthropy

At Nasdaq, our purpose is to champion inclusive growth and prosperity. We power stronger economies, create more equitable opportunities, and contribute to a more sustainable world to help our communities, clients, employees and people of all backgrounds reach their full potential. This year, we celebrated our first Inaugural Purpose Week, in which we highlighted those in our communities who are putting Purpose into Action, as well as innovative ways to get others involved. 

ohn Black, Nasdaq’s Head of Index Options Product Development and Powering Our Purpose Innovation Challenge Winner

We spoke with John Black, Nasdaq’s Head of Index Options Product Development and Powering Our Purpose Innovation Challenge Winner, who explains how Nasdaq’s work-life balance allows him to explore philanthropic opportunities.

Please tell us about your role at Nasdaq and what it entails. 

As Nasdaq’s Head of Index Options Product Development, I help lead the team responsible for enhancing and managing Nasdaq’s index options product suite, including Nasdaq-100® Index Options - NDX, NQX, and XND.

How were you first introduced to Nasdaq’s philanthropic efforts? 

One of the best parts about working for Nasdaq is its dedication to the whole employee. Our focus on work-life balance and supporting employees both in and out of the office are things that are very important to me. I have always found myself getting involved with non-profits and paying attention to how Nasdaq’s Giving and Purpose initiatives may be able to support my out-of-work activities. 

Can you please explain the business idea you pitched during the Powering Our Purpose Innovation Challenge?

During the Powering Our Purpose Innovation Challenge, I pitched the idea of a Global Exchange to allow for public donations (our typical transaction buyer) to be paired with needs-based individuals and organizations (our typical transaction seller).

When you think of the word “purpose,” what does it mean to you? 

For me, purpose represents a reason for action. Daily work allows you to earn a living, support the needs of you and your loved ones and the feeling of accomplishment, as well as dedicate additional time and money to other causes. Philanthropic initiatives hold a higher purpose, where one can use their additional time, knowledge and resources to serve others and organizations in need of that support. 

What is your advice for people looking to volunteer, especially in a virtual environment? 

Just get involved! Find something you care about and start small. Don’t overcommit; see what needs to be done, and try to help out. As you get a better understanding of needs, jump into the degree you feel comfortable. If you have time but no money, give your time. If you have money but are too busy, support projects financially. It’s about helping, but you should have fun doing it. 

What motivates you to volunteer and pay it forward?

It’s fun. I guess I am lucky in that if I volunteer, it’s generally to an organization that is close to myself or my family. It’s easy to see the immediate effect of your work when you are close to the organization.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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Lyanne Alfaro


Lyanne is a producer, host and social media strategist at Nasdaq. Her team helps reimage the way Nasdaq tells stories about Nasdaq’s role in the future of technology via video, podcasting and social content. You can find her on social media @LyanneAlfaro

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Elizabeth Glusko


Elizabeth is a social media editor, strategist and producer at Nasdaq. Her team helps reimagine the way Nasdaq tells stories about Nasdaq’s role in the future of technology and the employees driving this role via video and social content.

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