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1871 & Discover Co-Host International Women's Day


J Blaszczykiewicz

Director of Marketing, 1871

Robert Weiss

Public Relations, Discover

1871 and Chicagoland-based Discover partner to put on a full day of female-focused programming for International Women’s Day this March. The event at 1871 kicks off a month of events dedicated to women in tech. 

CHICAGO (2/19/20) –The entrepreneurial business incubator 1871 and digital banking innovator Discover are teaming up March 6 to host a day-long celebration for International Women’s Day. The event will be free and open to the public, with programming tracks that support entrepreneurship and professional development aimed at elevating women in the workforce and creating better access to career development. As one of 1871’s annual signature events, International Women’s Day will kick off a month dedicated to women in technology.

International Women’s Day remains as important as it has ever been at 1871 due to Chicago’s particular proclivity for producing female founders and the significant role 1871 plays in that. Chicago has the highest percentage of female startup founders in the world. In fact, 34 percent of startup founders in Chicago are women, compared to the national average of 18 percent. The incubator’s active advocacy for female founders, such as its female-only accelerator WiSTEM and its most recent Most Promising – Women Founders award from UBI Global, showcases 1871’s dedication to achieve an ever-growing rate of female foundership – 36 percent in 2019.  

“Diverse teams outperform less-diverse ones on every dimension. We support women because it is the right answer to create more effective and higher-performing businesses,” said Betsy Ziegler, CEO of 1871. “Our efforts impact not only the possibilities for women today, but for those of tomorrow. Discover has long been committed to supporting and accelerating opportunities for women leaders. We are proud to partner with them on this important event.” 

Both 1871 and Discover promote gender parity and equal access to enablement within their own organizations, which is reflected in this year’s partnership. As such, a number of female leaders from Discover will play a major role in the day’s panels and workshops, speaking on topics that support women’s empowerment. 

Routinely recognized as a best place to work and with 60 percent of its workforce comprised of women, Discover’s female leaders will share best practices on supporting women throughout their career, developing a diverse workforce, financial empowerment and the importance of mentorship. 

“Discover’s leadership team understands that it is important for aspiring women to find industry events at which women leaders are present, sharing their thought leadership and exchanging ideas, which is why we are excited to be sponsoring this year’s International Women’s Day with 1871,” said Julie Loeger, executive vice president and president of US cards at Discover. “This year’s theme of Each for Equal will highlight the importance of a diverse workforce while celebrating women’s achievements.”

“Our business is made stronger by our commitment to providing a diverse workforce and culture,” said Wanji Walcott, executive vice president, chief legal officer and general counsel at Discover. “Whether it is discussing our internal employee resource groups, developing our women in leadership programs or showing how our commitment is backed by measurable goals, we look forward to sharing examples of how Discover’s culture cultivates and fosters talent development for all employees and creates opportunities for them to grow.”

About International Women’s Day @ 1871

International Women’s Day @ 1871 is part of a broader movement first celebrated in 1911 by more than 1 million people. This year’s campaign theme, Each for Equal, is meant to evoke the sentiment that collectively, each person can help create a gender equal world by the actions they take. International Women’s Day 2020 officially takes place nationally on Sunday, March 8.

Programming for International Women’s Day @ 1871 begins at 8:30 a.m. March 6, and includes breakfast, a fireside chat, workshops, panel discussions, a keynote presentation, and happy hour. 

The fireside chat is moderated by 1871 CEO Betsy Ziegler and features executive vice presidents Wanji Walcott and Julie Loeger from Discover. 

Attendants are welcome to participate in two tracks of workshops following the fireside chat:


  • Lift as You Climb: How to be a mentor and/or mentee to other female founders
  • Female-Only Venture Capital Firms: A thesis on what female-only VC firms bring to the table
  • Scaling with Equitable Hiring Practices: How to emphasize diversity in your hiring process

Sign up here for the Entrepreneurship Track

Professional Development: 

  • Female Perspective in Design: Perspective changes products
  • Female Financial Empowerment: Collaborating to get to equal 
  • Femtech: The intersection between technology and female wellness

Sign up here for the Professional Development Track

The workshops will close with a keynote address from Desiree Rogers, former Social Secretary to President Obama & current CEO of Black Opal Beauty, followed by closing remarks and happy hour in the 1871 auditorium.

In addition to the March 6 International Women’s Day, 1871 is hosting other female-focused programming throughout March, informed by the Each for Equal theme. To see a full schedule of events and to RSVP, click here

Contact with any questions.

About Discover

Discover Financial Services (NYSE: DFS) is a direct banking and payment services company with one of the most recognized brands in U.S. financial services. Since its inception in 1986, the company has become one of the largest card issuers in the United States. The company issues the Discover card, America's cash rewards pioneer, and offers private student loans, personal loans, home equity loans, checking and savings accounts and certificates of deposit through its direct banking business. It operates the Discover Global Network comprised of Discover Network, with millions of merchant and cash access locations; PULSE, one of the nation's leading ATM/debit networks; and Diners Club International, a global payments network with acceptance around the world. For more information, visit

About 1871

1871 is Chicago’s digital technology hub and the #1 ranked private business incubator in the world. It exists to inspire, equip, and support founders building extraordinary businesses. Located in the historic Merchandise Mart, 1871 is home to ~450 technology startups and ~1,500 members supported by an entire ecosystem focused on accelerating their growth and creating jobs in the Chicagoland area. The nonprofit organization has 350 mentors available to its founders, alongside access to more than 100 partner corporations, universities, education programs, accelerators, venture funds and others. Since its inception in 2012, more than 650 alumni companies are currently still active, have created over 11,250 jobs, and have raised more than $1.5 billion in follow-on capital.



Topics: Events, IWD, Women

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