Alison Winter retired in 2006 from Northern Trust Corporation, completing a highly successful 35-year career. When she retired, she was serving as the founding president and chief executive officer of Personal Financial Services -Northeast. In 1987, she was named the founding president and chief executive officer of Northern Trust of California, and over the ensuing 11 years, she and her team opened 11 offices in California, becoming one of the largest trust companies in the state. She subsequently was named president of Personal Financial Services-Midwest, Co-President of Wealth Management and a member of the Management Committee of Northern Trust.
She served as a director of Nordstrom, Inc. from 2001 to 2016, and currently serves as Lead Director of a private company, Blain's Supply, and a Director of Bolton & Co, a private insurance agency. She is the co-founder of Women Corporate Directors, a national organization of women serving on corporate boards, which grew to 74 chapters on six continents at the time it transitioned to a not-for-profit organization in 2015.
In 2016, after years of informal consulting with friends and organizations, she founded Gracious Exit, with her daughter, a business focused on helping individuals and families plan for end of life. The website, graciousexit.com, includes resources and blogs on various related subjects, as well as a series of helpful workbooks to spell out one's wishes about how they want to be remembered.