Shearman & Sterling recently welcomed more than 250 attendees to a presentation sponsored by the firm’s inclusion network for women, WISER: “Women Leading: Sallie Krawcheck on Investing in 2014.” Hosted at the W Hotel in midtown New York, the lively discussion was the fifth in WISER’s popular annual “Women Leading” series, which brings together leaders from the legal, business, and regulatory sectors to talk about hot topics and share insights with the firm’s clients and lawyers.
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Known as one of the most powerful and influential women in business, Krawcheck has held leadership positions including President of Global Wealth & Investment Management for Bank of America, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman for Citi Global Wealth Management, Chief Financial Officer for Citigroup, Chairman and CEO of Smith Barney, and Chairman and CEO of Sanford C. Bernstein & Company. She recently combined her passions—women in business, regulatory reform, and investor protection—in her current role as Business Leader and Owner of 85 Broads, a 30,000-strong global professional women’s network.
Krawcheck was welcomed by Shearman & Sterling Senior Partner Creighton Condon, who spoke about the firm’s many initiatives to promote the advancement of women, from WISER, to the active @ShearmanWomen Twitter feed, to pro bono work on behalf of women in the community.
Introducing Krawcheck was Donna Parisi, co-head of the firm’s Asset Management Group and a longtime supporter of WISER. Parisi talked about Shearman & Sterling’s decision to extend the benefits of 85 Broads membership to its women associates and counsel in the US, observing that the organization’s message of investing in women “resonates with us as a firm.”
Krawcheck told attendees that successful investing means more than simply knowing which stocks to buy. Women, in particular, can succeed by striving to invest in themselves, for themselves, and in people, causes, and funds that are aligned with their values, she said. Investing in yourself—your most important asset—might begin with simply asking for a raise or promotion, the net effect of which can offer a more substantial return than anything else in the market. It also can entail investing in your firm, and colleagues, to benefit from shared successes.
A self-described “recovering research analyst,” Krawcheck incorporated several studies into her presentation, demonstrating, for instance, the benefits of greater gender diversity on boards, among organizations, and in key decision-making scenarios. Illustrating why investing in women makes good business sense, she noted that women make up 60% of college attendees, represent 45% of all US millionaires, and make the vast majority of purchasing decisions in households. And on the topic of investing in one’s values, she observed that socially-responsible investing has been shown to bring returns in line with those of traditional investments.
As the leader of 85 Broads, a position she secured after years of introductions to influential people, Krawcheck knows first-hand the power of professional networking. Calling networking “the number one unwritten rule of success in business,” Krawcheck advised young professionals to begin cultivating connections early on in their careers. “Not investing in your network today is like waiting to invest for your retirement,” she said.
The presentation drew positive reviews from attendees—both women and men. According to Marisa Gondrez, Assistant General Counsel at a prominent private equity firm, “Ms. Krawcheck’s message of investing in yourself is great advice for men and women alike. Not only was she a dynamic and engaging speaker, she shared personal anecdotes about her life, such as the role of loose connections in her acquisition of 85 Broads, that were both inspiring and eye opening.”
Larry Brandman, a Shearman & Sterling alumnus who serves as a managing director with Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., also found the event valuable. He said, “As a father of two fantastic daughters, it is great to know that an extraordinary thought leader like Ms. Krawcheck is dedicating her focus to shattering ceilings, changing mindsets and fighting against inequality. For that matter, I wish Ms. Krawcheck had been at my first orientation; much of her wisdom is ‘genderless.’”
Kerri Durso, WISER’s 2014 Client Event Chair, said, “WISER was thrilled to see so many of our clients and friends enjoying this event. Sallie’s messages regarding networking, investing in women, and investing in oneself speak directly to WISER’s mission to advocate for the development and promotion of women and facilitate and encourage networking and mentoring. She is a true inspiration to female professionals, no matter where they are in their careers.”
Added Shearman & Sterling’s Parisi, “Sallie’s commitment to the advancement of women and her belief in the power of diversity and inclusion to drive performance reflect our own values as a firm. We’re delighted that she took the time to share her insights with us and are proud to be part of the 85 Broads network.”