Ellevest CEO Sallie Krawcheck Has a Message for Wall Street

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If you can't beat 'em, leave 'em.

Sallie Krawcheck, who was CFO at Citigroup and CEO of Merrill Lynch, left Wall Street to become the CEO of Ellevest--an investing platform designed for women and has been campaigning for diversity ever since.

While Wall Street is no stranger to diversity initiatives, Krawcheck said that "diversity is heading sideways," meaning corporate America still has a long way to go. 

Citigroup (C) - Get Report recently revealed that--despite the fact that half of Citigroup's workforce is female--only 37% of senior positions are held by women.

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Citi has announced that equalizing salaries is important and that it is making hiring women in senior levels a priority. But, in 2019, why is this still an issue? Krawcheck responded:

"We've all really been socialized in our society that a leader in senior leadership is a white male. And so we see the research and we say, in theory, 'I should hire that person whose way different from me. It doesn't make a lot of sense to me, I don't really know how they're going to be successful."

Michele Meyer-Schipp, chief diversity officer at KPMG, emphasized the importance of mentors and sponsors in the career's of women and people of color.

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Krawcheck responded that she, too, finds mentors and sponsors to be really important. And, instead of diversity initiatives that may or may not work, she has another idea for companies.

Say 'you know what, we made no progress on everything we've done so far, let's try something new. Let's take the mentor program and let's make it a sponsor program. And that, if everybody on our executive committee of 20 cannot find one person of color, one person of difference, one female to fight for and make it part of their professional reputation and maybe their compensation to get that person ahead, to give them what they need and get them promoted through.'

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