Sallie Krawcheck is the ultimate Fairygodboss. After serving as CFO of Citigroup and CEO of Smith Barney and Merrill Lynch, she decided to focus her energy and expertise on helping women – which led her to found Ellevest, a digital investment platform that assists women in achieving their financial goals. In her new book, titled "Own It: The Power of Women at Work," she hooks women up with advice on how to take their careers to the next level – and she recently shared some of her fabulous insight (including her no. 1 career tip) with Fairygodboss.
Fairygodboss of the Week: Sallie Krawcheck
CEO and Co-Founder – Ellevest
New York, NY
FGB: Tell us about your career. How did you get to where you are now?
SK: It's been a long road. I've been a research analyst, I've been CEO of Smith Barney and Merrill Lynch; I was CFO of Citigroup; I ran the Citi Private Bank and US Trust. All of this led me to wanting to have a positive impact on women....to be honest, to get more money into the hands of women.
So, I founded Ellevest, a digital investment platform specifically targeted to women, to help them close their "gender investing gaps" (by investing in a way that takes into account their longer lives and different salary curves, not by "pinking and shrinking" existing offerings. I'm also Chair of Ellevate Network, the global professional women's network; also of the Pax Ellevate Global Women's Index Fund, which invests in the top-rated company for advancing for women.
FGB: What is an accomplishment that you are proud of?
SK: For being fired for being the only person on Wall Street to return client funds in the downturn of 2008. We sold products as low-risk, when they were actually high risk. I went up against my boss to partially reimburse clients. The board of directors sided with me and I eventually lost my job for it.
FGB: What is a challenge that you've faced and overcome?
SK: Early in my career, I thought I might not be successful on Wall Street because I wasn't sure if I was analytical enough. But I put my shoulder to the wheel and, I believe, became the most analytical research analyst in my industry. I was the queen of the multiple regression. (And I believe in doing so, I overcame some pretty ingrained gender expectations among our clients.)
FGB: Who is YOUR Fairygodboss? And why?
SK: Karen Finerman. She is an investor in Ellevest, but, more importantly, a great friend and total badass.
FGB: What do you do when you’re not working?
SK: Long walks in Central Park. I love to cook. And I love spending time with my cat.
FGB: If you could have dinner with one famous person - dead or alive - who would it be?
SK: Gloria Steinem. Of course!
FGB: What is your karaoke song?
SK: “Don’t Cry Out Loud.”
FGB: What is your favorite movie?
SK: “The English Patient.”
FGB: What book would you bring with you on a desert island?
SK: Am I allowed to say "Own It: The Power of Women at Work" (which is my just-published book)??
FGB: What is your shopping vice? What would you buy if you won the lottery?
SK: TheRealReal. I can't resist. If I won the lottery, a plane!
FGB: What is the #1 career tip you'd like to share with other women who want to have successful careers like you?
SK: Nothing works as well as hard work.
FGB: Why do you love where you work?
SK: Because it's all about helping women. Which means it's good for women, but also good for their families, the economy, for society ... and for men too!
Fairygodboss is all about women helping other women. So each week, we celebrate a woman who makes a difference in other women’s careers. Is there a woman who has made a difference in your career? Celebrate and thank her by nominating her here.