Sallie Krawcheck, co-founder and CEO of Ellevest, delivered a fiery speech about why women don’t — but should — invest their money at a recent conference for professional women in Brooklyn.
“Little boys are being told to dare, grow, go to the top of the jungle gym, become CEO, watch Daddy invest and become a millionaire,” Krawcheck said. “Little girls, it’s ‘be careful, you might fall, don’t get your dress dirty, watch Mommy save and budget.’”
Her remarks came at the Get Money Get Paid conference, hosted by Ladies Get Paid at the Brooklyn Expo Center. About 1,000 women from around the country gathered to commiserate about money and work woes, and network over cold brew coffee and lunch from Just Salad.
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They heard from speakers on how to “negotiate your worth” and “be your own boss,” and also had a chance to get professional headshots taken and sign up for free fertility hormone tests.
But Krawcheck’s talk was a fan favorite as she challenged those gathered to confront a topic that is still taboo for many, in the workplace and beyond.
“Start screaming out all of the bad things that happen for our economy, our society, our country, our nonprofits, our families, when women have more money,” she instructed the attendees, who remained silent.
“Because there’s nothing bad that happens when we have more power!” she continued after a pause. “When we have more money, our economy grows, our markets our healthier, our families are better off. We’re more badass.”
Women are often held back by a debilitating fear that investing is too risky and challenging, she added, and they have been conditioned from a young age to learn that it is an area in which men are more comfortable and successful.
Krawcheck, previously CEO of Merrill Lynch and Smith Barney, co-founded Ellevest in 2016. The digital platform uses gender-specific salary curves in its forecasting system to help women plan for their futures, and, according to Investopedia, “strikes the right tone” when it comes to overall user experience.
“This industry has blamed women for not investing — women are so risk averse, women need to change,” Krawcheck said at the conference. “Ellevest was really the first that said, you know what, let’s not ask women to change. Let’s build a business around women.”
She ended with a forceful call to action that received a standing ovation from many in the crowd.
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“If we want to have full power with the men in our lives, if we want to change this country from this place of anger and hate, we need more power, we need to exercise that power, and we need more money,” she said. “We have to get over whatever our mothers told us was ladylike and the right thing to do and ask for the raise and start the business and invest the money.”
Emily Salcedo, a recent college graduate, said Krawcheck offered “an incredibly powerful lecture on women.”
“Historically, we haven’t really been supported in terms of the investment gap,” said Salcedo, a marketing campaign analyst for software company BounceX. “I’m really excited to join her platform or do a little bit more research into what I can do.”
Women lined up to talk with Krawcheck, who stayed for more than an hour after her speech.
“My whole thing is talking to women about money,” Krawcheck said when asked why she decided to speak at the conference.
“We’re given these damaging messages by well-meaning people that keep us from reaching our full wealth and full potential,” she added. “So the more I can come out and break myths, even on a Saturday, I’m happy to.”