Sallie Krawcheck Says Wall Street Has Gone Backwards In The Advancement Of Women In The Workplace

Sallie Krawcheck

Former head of Merrill Lynch and Smith Barney Sallie Krawcheck, who now owns high-achieving women’s network 85 Broads, spoke about women’s leadership in the workplace. 

“I’m a buyer.  I’m really a buyer of women in the workplace,” Krawcheck said at the S.H.E. Summit Week kickoff event at BCBG Maxazria in Midtown Manhattan on Monday. The S.H.E. Summit is a style and leadership event for women started by Claudia Chan. 

The former banker told the group of women that when she was in mid-20s and working in London, she recognised she was the most senior female in the investment bank.  At the time, she said she didn’t know how to navigate because there wasn’t a senior female role model.  

“So really watching then as the advancement of women, us, continued, but has recently stalled. And we’re all very aware of this amazing national conversation that we’re having about women in leadership.”  

She said that this advancement of women in the workplace has stalled in a number of areas — boards, CEO roles and senior executive roles.  

She said Wall Street has actually gone backwards.

“So as I like to say, because it’s true.  You know Wall Street went into the downturn white, middle aged and male and came out whiter, middle-aged-er and male-er.” 

Krawcheck, who began her career in finance as an analyst, refers to herself as a “recovering research analyst.”

“I love facts. I embrace everyone’s opinion.  I’d love to hear your opinion. However, I really think we need to make decisions and take action off the facts.” 

She said that she’s “hard pressed to find data that shows women’s leadership is anything but good.”  

Krawcheck noted that companies with women on management teams have a higher return on equity, lower risk and volatility and better client focus. 

“I’m not saying women are better than men…but what i’m saying is diverse management teams outperform non-diverse management teams and actually outperform more capable and smarter management teams. Such is the value of diversity.” 

Krawcheck, who graduated from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, used the Tar Heel basketball team to illustrate her point.  

She explained that if we were to pick five  random UNC basketball players such as Phil Ford, Jimmy Black, Raymond Felton, Kendall Marshall and Ty Lawson.

While they are all super star players, they would not be the best team.  Why? Because they’re all point guards.  You’ve got to have a centre and a shooting guard, etc. 

“That’s why diversity matters,” she explained. 

“So I’m a buyer. I’m such a buyer I bought 85 Broads.”  

Krawcheck, who purchased 85 Broads last month for an undisclosed amount, said that she thought a lot about the power of networking.  

“Networks are where knowledgeable people come together to accomplish things that they want to. I have also thought about the leadership and future leadership — command and control has worked very well for a lot of years. Collaboration and communication as is now enabled by social media and by the Internet…brings people together through collaboration, communication, formulation is a very, very powerful wave that we are going to see.”  

“We are having a national conversation like I haven’t seen in my lifetime.”  

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.