Betsy Ziegler

CEO, 1871

Betsy Ziegler is the CEO of 1871, the flagship project of the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center and home to more than 1,000 inventors, designers, creators and entrepreneurs. The not-for-profit exists to inspire, equip and support entrepreneurs with a focus on accelerating their growth, building great businesses and creating jobs in the Chicago-area. She became the organization’s first female CEO in 2018.

Prior to joining 1871, Ziegler was the chief innovation officer at the Kellogg School of Management of Northwestern University, responsible for driving portfolio innovation across degree and non-degree programs and integrating technology into the university’s educational experience. During her tenure, she spent four years as the dean of students and as the associate dean of degree programs. She was also a mentor for two education-focused incubators and an advisor to several early-stage companies.

Previously, Ziegler served as a principal for McKinsey & Company, where she led the firm’s life insurance operations and technology practice and also co-led its financial institutions operations and technology practice. During her time at McKinsey, Ziegler oversaw more than 60 engagements for nonprofit and for-profit organizations operating in a variety of industries.

Ziegler earned her MBA from Harvard Business School and a bachelor’s degree in economics from The Ohio State University, where she graduated with distinction. She serves on the Board of Directors for the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago and the Museum of Science and Industry. She is also an advisor and investor for numerous Chicago startups.