International Women’s Day 2021

03/05/2021 10:00 am – 2:00 pm CST Virtual
  • Corporate
  • Early Stage
  • Growth Stage
  • DEI

1871 + Discover invite you to #ChooseToChallenge. Join us for a half-day of female-focused programming that celebrates International Women’s Day this March 5, 2021.


This year’s International Women’s Day Keynote speaker is Valerie Jarrett!

Valerie B. Jarrett is the President of the Barack Obama Foundation and a Senior Distinguished Fellow at The University of Chicago Law School. She served as the Senior Advisor to President Barack Obama from 2009-2017, making her the longest serving senior advisor in history. In that role, she oversaw the Offices of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs and chaired the White House Council on Women and Girls.

Read Valerie Jarrett’s full bio below!


International Women’s Day is a signature event at 1871. This year’s theme is #ChooseToChallenge, a call for all individuals to challenge gender bias and inequity in order to create collective change toward a more inclusive world. 

Our free, virtual program will include a morning full of workshops, networking, a fireside chat, and a special keynote speaker. Attendees can also choose between professional development and business development tracks. 

From challenge comes change, so register today and join us in celebrating International Women’s Day 2021!



Coffee & Networking

10:00 AM - 10:30 AM

☕ 💻 ❤️

Opening Remarks

10:30 AM - 10:35 AM

Opening remarks by Betsy Ziegler.

Discover Fireside Chat

10:30 AM - 11:25 AM

Fireside chat moderated by Betsy Ziegler, featuring Diane Offereins, Executive Vice President, President – Payment Services, Discover Financial Services.


Betsy Ziegler, CEO of 1871

Elizabeth “Betsy” Ziegler is the first female CEO of 1871, now the Number 1 ranked university affiliated -tech incubator in the world. Previous to 1871, Betsy was the Chief Innovation Officer at the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University, responsible for portfolio innovation as well as integrating technology into the Kellogg educational experience. From 2011 through September 2015, she served as associate dean of degree programs and dean of students. Prior to Kellogg, she served as a principal in McKinsey & Company’s Chicago office where she led the firm’s Life Insurance Operations and Technology practice and co-led its Financial Institutions Operations and Technology practice.

Diane Offereins, Executive Vice President, President – Payment Services, Discover Financial Services

With more than 35 years’ experience in the Financial Services industry, Diane Offereins has served as Discover Financial Services Executive Vice President, President – Payment Services since 2009, and is a member of the company’s Executive Committee. As the head of Discover’s Payment Services division, she is responsible for uniting three payment networks – Discover Network, Diners Club International and PULSE – into a global payments business. Ms. Offereins has been with Discover since 1998 and has held several positions within the company, including Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer, prior to overseeing Discover’s Payment Services business. 

Professional Development Track | Workshop 1

Finding Your Confident Voice

11:30 AM - 12:10 PM

Many of us are confident in our capabilities, and could use a boost when it comes to sharing those skills with others. During this workshop, we will discuss increasing executive presence through preparation.


Kirsten Ramos, President of Elevate Performance Solutions Inc.

Kirsten works with both individuals and entire organizations to help leverage their leadership capabilities. Her areas of expertise include, management training skills, presentation skills, executive presence and communication assessment administration.

Entrepreneurship Track | Workshop 1

Breaking Barriers: Innovation Improving Financial Inclusion and Health

11: 30 AM - 12:10 PM

Innovations in digital financial services are helping underserved populations more fully and equitably participate in the financial system – providing them greater control over their financial health. Join us as we discuss current research on the financial needs of underserved communities and highlight how innovative companies, like Discover, are creating new digital solutions. Hannah Calhoon from the Financial Health Network will discuss financial health challenges facing consumers, and Shaida Lynch and Alisa Ellis from Discover will share their insights on innovation across financial services.


Shaida Lynch, Senior Vice President, E-Business, Discover Financial Services

Shaida Lynch is the Senior Vice President of E-Business in the US Cards Division of Discover Financial Services.  Prior to moving into this position in May of 2018, Shaida was the Vice President of Business Technology, Banking and Lending for ten years.  In this role, Shaida supported the Consumer Banking organization for Discover Financial Services and was responsible for all application development and technology solutions supporting the Deposits, Personal Lending, Student Lending, and Home Equity businesses.

Alisa Ellis, Vice President, Global Head of Innovation & Emerging Products, Discover Financial Services

Alisa Ellis is Vice President, Global Head of Innovation & Emerging Products with responsibility for creating and executing the strategic innovation agenda for Discover Global Network. In this role, she manages the full innovation lifecycle – from idea to incubation – focusing on targeted experimentation, industry standard setting and emerging solution development. Ms. Ellis joined Discover in 2011, and has had responsibility for developing and implementing a comprehensive product strategy for the Discover Global Network focusing on the areas of mobile/digital payments, security/authentication, data and emerging payment modalities.

Hannah Calhoon, Vice President, Innovation, Financial Health Network

As the Financial Health Network’s Vice President for Innovation, Hannah Calhoon is responsible for the strategic direction of our Innovation practice, including the Financial Solutions Lab. In her role, she leads our efforts to uncover new ways to support our innovators as they work to improve financial health and deliver quality services that treat communities with dignity. Hannah has more than 12 years of experience building mission-oriented innovation systems.

Professional Development Track | Workshop 2

Leading Through Influence

12:15 PM - 12:55 pM

In Leading Through Influence, Alida will guide workshop participants through (1) understanding what influence and persuasion are, (2) how to use the 6 Persuasion Principles to influence others, and (3) how to tell better, more convincing stories.


Alida Miranda-Wolff, Founder & CEO of Ethos

Alida Miranda-Wolff is the CEO and Founder of Ethos, a full-service diversity, equity, and inclusion firm started in Chicago in 2018. At Ethos, Alida focuses on creating the conditions for everyone to thrive at work through organizational design, culture strategy, learning and development, and DEI strategies and practices.

Entrepreneurship Track | Workshop 2

Can DEI Be A Competitive Advantage In Business?

12:15 PM - 12:55 PM

Business leaders often make a business case for diversity, claiming that hiring more women or people of color results in better financial performance. This workshop will define Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, look at the data and explore whether there’s connection with diversity and business outcomes.    


Yemi Akisanya, Head of Diversity and Inclusion at OCC

Yemi Akisanya is a global leader, strategic thinker and passionate speaker. He is currently the Head of Diversity & Inclusion at OCC, the world’s largest equity derivatives clearing organization and the foundation for secure markets. In this role, he leads OCC’s strategic planning efforts related to Diversity & Inclusion. He is focused on creating short- and long-term plans to help build a more diverse and inclusive workplace and positive corporate culture.


1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Join our IWD 2021 Keynote speaker, Valerie Jarrett, President of the Barack Obama Foundation & Senior Distinguished Fellow at The University of Chicago Law School.

Valerie Jarrett, President of the Barack Obama Foundation