We are meeting with Sallie Krawcheck, CEO, and Co-founder of Ellevest, an innovative digital investment platform for women. She is also the Chair of the Ellevate Network, a global professional women’s network and Chair of the Pax Ellevate Global Women’s Index Fund. (This fund invests in the top-rated companies in the world for advancing women.) Among her many other accomplishments, Sallie is the best-selling author of “Own It: The Power of Women at Work.” She is considered to be one of the most successful and influential women executives in financial services.
Sallie experienced the “boys club” first hand as one of the few senior women in the male-dominated bastion of Wall Street. She was the CEO of Morgan Stanley Wealth Management and CFO of Citigroup. In 2002, she was hailed by Fortune Magazine as the “Last Honest Analyst.”
We assemble in Ellevest’s office in the Flatiron District of New York City. Our goal is to gather new and interesting insights on diversity and inclusion in order to educate and inspire other companies.
This is a portion of our conversation from that day and the first in our series on diversity and inclusion.
Refreshingly forthright, Sallie is a “Financial Feminist.” She believes money is power and wants to ensure women get more of both. With Ellevest, she’s put her “money where her mouth is.” The mission of Ellevest’s investing platform is to work to close the gender investing gap in the U.S. by “redefining investing for women.” Within the organization, half of her product and engineering group are women, and 40% of the company’s employees are persons of color.
When asked if she thinks it’s important for women to step up and articulate what they stand for at work and to express it, this was her response:
“The biggest mistake I’ve seen women make at work is they think it’s school. School is the last time doing great work and getting an ‘A’ was enough. Once you graduate from college or business school it is no longer enough.”
“The path to success is doing great work and being known for doing great work.”
Sallie emphasizes how important it is for women to bring awareness to their talent and accomplishments in the workplace. Whether that means increasing your network or sharing information, insights, research, job opportunities, or board positions, “it’s important to take some time away from your desk to articulate what you do — your personal brand.”
We talk about this being a “double-edged sword” for women. While men are encouraged to tout their achievements and lauded when they seek power and attention, women have to constantly walk a fine line in the workplace.
Sallie recounts how there were some CEO’s she worked with where she “hit it right,” but with others, she could sense a clash.
“I remember having one boss who loved the fact that, as one of the few senior women on Wall Street, I had a high profile. And the next boss screamed at me for it.” He told me to get my profile down, and when I said, ‘The only interviews I’ve done have been ones the company asked me to do. I don’t understand what I’m doing wrong. I think it might just be because (one) the business is doing well and (two) I’m this oddity which is a senior woman.’ He didn’t want to have the discussion. He said, ‘it’s your problem. You take care of it.’ You could feel from him — radiating — this sense of moral outrage that I was getting attention.”
“When men are seen to be looking for power or attention, we think men are men. We’ve been socialized to believe that when women look for power and attention, there’s something off about that and the emotion it evokes in us — women and men — is one of moral outrage and disgust.”
Women have to artfully articulate their accomplishments, while at the same time, not giving the appearance that they are bragging or seeking power or attention. It’s a delicate balancing act.
CoolBrands (Diversity & Inclusion)
CoolBrands’ expertise is authority positioning (located at the intersection of personal branding, content marketing, and digital marketing). Founded in Europe in 2002 by an anthropologist and a branding expert, CoolBrands has interviewed over 800 brands including Bloomberg, GE, Google, Macy’s, State Street, Unilever, and Voya. A major focus of our work has been on Women on Boards, and Diversity and Inclusion. CoolBrands is endorsed by the 30% Club of the United States (S&P 100 Companies), Talentnomics (Women & Leadership), and the Women’s Forum of New York. This is the first in our series of interviews with leaders on D&I.
Originally published at medium.com