Get to Know Sallie Krawcheck!
1. What drove you to Ellevate and to create Ellevest and why are you specifically focused on connecting women?
Companies perform better when women are involved. It's that simple. The diversity of perspective that women bring to business improves results, but women often lack easy access to the tools they need to get ahead. With Ellevate Network, we’re working to change that narrative. Ellevate started out as a group of Goldman Sachs alumnae almost two decades ago, and has since expanded to encompass women in all fields and across all career stages. It's a place where women can connect, draw advice from one another, and share their successes.
Ellevest addresses a different problem: the gender investing gap. So many financial services see women as a niche market, and that's simply not the case. We represent half of the population and we control billions of dollars in assets, but we don’t invest that money to the same degree that men do. We created Ellevest to give women a simple way to take control of their finances, go after the goals that matter to them, and close the gender investing gap….with an investing algorithm that recognizes that women live longer than men and have salaries that peak sooner than men, which really matter in an investing plan.
What do Ellevate and Ellevest have in common? They invest in women, and investing in women is smart business.
2. What is the most rewarding part of your job at Ellevate?
It's making a real, measurable difference for women. It's about hearing the impact we have on lives and communities. A full three-quarters of Ellevate Network members who asked for a raise last year got one. More than 30% of Ellevate members surveyed sit on boards, well above the national average. We're hosting panels and webinars, recording podcasts, and sharing wisdom - and it's working.
3. What is your top piece of advice for women who are trying to break the glass ceiling?
Network, network, network. Network some more. Networking has been called an unwritten rule of success. Let's write it down. It's about more than chatting with your coworkers over coffee, or seeking advice from a sponsor a rung or two up the ladder. Go out. Meet people. Trade ideas, because you never know what you’ll learn. And keep your ears open and “play in traffic.” You never know where your next opportunity will come from.
4. You have worked at big investment banks on Wall Street, do you have any advice for women currently in or trying to enter that field?
I've worked at big investment banks. I've run big investing businesses. I've been fired from big banks. So I know the territory pretty well. If you're going to work on Wall Street, do your research. Work hard. Be honest with your colleagues, and be ethical with your clients. Don't be afraid to state an unpopular opinion, especially when you're sure you're right. Don't back away from risk. Build a strong network.
5. What are some of the challenges you had to overcome as a woman working in a male-dominated field like Finance?
Subtle, unconscious biases can be career killers, especially when you're one of just a few women in the room. There is a certain way that women are expected to think, to react, to behave. When we deviate from that norm, it doesn't always end well. A woman willing to stand up and make an unpopular call is negative, where a man is insightful. If a woman steps on toes to get things done, she's aggressive. A man? Bold. On top of that, there's a dangerous bias harbored among some women: advancement is a zero-sum game. Senior executive women can be afraid to help up and coming young women advance, for fear of jeopardizing their own careers. That outlook is slowly changing with the help of some great female leaders, but it's not yet extinct.
6. What characteristics do you feel helped you advance in the workplace?
Discovering what I wanted to do with my life brought my career and my businesses into focus. I am passionate about advancing and investing in women. Everything I do, I do with that goal in mind. It helps that I'm willing to work my tail off, that I'm willing to take risks, that I've learned what I'm good at (and not so good at), and that I have built a team to help me make that happen.