Once known as the most powerful woman on Wall Street, Sallie Krawcheck led Merrill Lynch, Smith Barney and Citi Private as CEO. In 2016, she started Ellevest, a digital investment firm aimed at helping women create wealth for themselves, reshaping an industry that was created ‘by men, for men’. Here's her story.
On growing up:
I grew up in Charleston in South Carolina, did a degree in journalism, then moved to New York, partly because my father told me not to – he thought it was too dangerous. I did an MBA at Columbia Business School then spent my 20s as an investment banker, my 30s as a research analyst and my 40s heading up Smith Barney, then Citi and Merrill Lynch's global wealth management divisions.
The industry claimed to be a meritocracy. If 90% of fund managers, 95% of hedge fund managers and 86% of financial advisors happened to be white males, well that’s just because cream rises to the top. I never gave much thought to the staggering gender disparity until the 2008 financial crisis hit. Then I realised that Wall Street wasn’t a meritocracy at all, it was a mantocracy.
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