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March 05, 2024

Past U.S. treasurer, America 250 Chair Rios talks women's history, USA at 250 in ABA Speaker Series

CHICAGO, March 5, 2024 — As the nation engages in a celebration of women's history, visibility and leadership, the American Bar Association's Presidential Speaker Series illuminates these themes with a special program dedicated to Women’s History Month. Renowned for her advocacy and leadership, Rosie Rios, former U.S. treasurer and chair of the United States Semiquincentennial Commission, will be featured in an enlightening discussion on the indispensable role of women in our nation's history and the upcoming 250th anniversary celebrations.

Entitled “America’s 250th Anniversary and the Contributions of Women: Past, Present and Future,” the talk is set to be a standout in the series.

Rios, a trailblazer in government and advocacy for women's visibility in U.S. history, will be interviewed by Frédérique Irwin, president and CEO of the National Women’s History Museum. The program, co-sponsored by the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession and the National Women’s History Museum, can be viewed online at 3 p.m. EST on Thursday, March 7. No advance registration is required.

Their dialogue will delve into the crucial contributions of women throughout America's history, highlighting the journey of women's increasing prominence and the impact of their advancements on national development. Rios will also outline plans for the upcoming 250th anniversary of the United States, emphasizing the commemoration of women's roles in the nation's evolution.

Rios, distinguished by her tenure as the 43rd treasurer of the United States, has been a driving force in advocating for the recognition of women’s historical contributions. She led the groundbreaking initiative to feature a woman's portrait on U.S. currency for the first time in over a century. Appointed by President Joe Biden, Rios now serves as the chair of America 250, the United States Congressional Commission orchestrating the nation’s 250th anniversary celebrations. Her career also includes pivotal leadership as CEO of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing and the U.S. Mint, including Fort Knox. Currently, she is the CEO of Red River Associates, an investment management consulting firm.

Irwin, current president and CEO of the National Women’s History Museum, brings a rich history of advocacy for women to this dialogue. Her background includes managing high-level partnerships at the Sorenson Impact Center, furthering equity in education and entrepreneurship, and founding Her Corner, where she empowered women business owners to expand their ventures.

The ABA Presidential Speaker Series, an initiative of ABA President Mary Smith, is a collection of diverse virtual conversations with globally recognized figures, spotlighting trailblazers and thinkers shaping our collective future. Under the theme “Lifting Our Voices, Charting the Future,” these fireside chats promote dialogue, civility and exposure to diverse viewpoints, innovative ideas and career insights.

Previous episodes featured Ivo H. Daalder, former U.S. ambassador to NATO and current chief executive officer of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs (view here); civil rights icon Dolores Huerta (view here); Native American women “firsts” including Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland (view here); experts on artificial intelligence from the ABA Task Force on Law and Artificial Intelligence on how AI will affect the legal landscape (view here); Martin Scorsese, Academy Award-winning director, producer and screenwriter and director of the new film, “Killers of the Flower Moon,” along with Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear, principal chief of the Osage Nation (view here); former Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Charles Johnson and former federal judge J. Michael Luttig, co-chairs of the ABA Task Force for American Democracy, discussing “Democracy in Peril” (view here); and former Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier and former American Express CEO Kenneth Chenault discussing the “Business of Democracy” in a special Black History Month program (view here).

Future speakers in the series will include:

  • “The Tulsa Race Massacre and Where Do We Go From Here?” featuring one of the last two survivors of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, Lessie “Mother Randle” Benningfield Randle, who is 109 years old, along with her counsels, Damario Solomon-Simmons, managing partner at Solomon Simmons Law and founder and chair of Justice for Greenwood; Michael Swartz, partner at Schulte, Roth & Zable and member of the executive committee of the board of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law; and Professor Eric Miller, LMU Loyola Law School Anti-Racism Center. The program will be moderated by Areva Martin, CNN contributor, civil rights attorney and best-selling author. The Tulsa Race Massacre was a two-day massacre that took place between May 31 and June 1, 1921, when mobs of white residents attacked Black residents and destroyed homes and businesses in the Greenwood District in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Panelists will discuss the fight for compensation more than 100 years later and the long, arduous journey to achieve justice that remains elusive. (March 28, 3 p.m. EDT)

Additional programs will be announced. To introduce the series, this and other initial installments will be free to ABA members and the public. More information on the Presidential Speaker Series can be found at

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