Sallie Krawcheck, gender differences, professional women, professional networking, Wall Street, 2008 Crash, 85 Broads, New York Magazine: I really like this woman! A man would have never noticed that … “Holiday cards from her former colleagues,” she says, “were down by 95 percent.” And since most men do not send out the holiday cards, nor can I imagine the men telling them to take Sallie off the list … it sounds like their spouses were not very nice.
There were never that many women in the financial-services sector, but after the meltdown, the numbers began sliding. Krawcheck says she gets it. The men are reverting to their comfort zone. “When I feel risk averse, I am much more likely to surround myself with middle-aged professional southern females; I just am,” she says. “Because I can very easily imagine how I myself would do the job.”
In Krawcheck’s reasoning, it’s not that the men on Wall Street aren’t aware of the helpfulness of diversity of opinion, it’s just that they can’t help sticking to their own, which explains not only the lack of women in the upper echelons but the insular thinking that led to the 2008 crash. “I have spent a lot of time thinking about what could the company have done differently, and I think the answer gets down to groupthink with people who grew up together, with the same information, having the same conversations again and again and again.”
Networking was the “unspoken secret to success on Wall Street,” she realized. “For whatever reason, people are more comfortable networking with their own gender.” She hopes 85 Broads will provide women with the boost men effortlessly offer one another. The year she left Bank of America, she got her own lesson in the importance of maintaining an outside network. Holiday cards from her former colleagues, she says, “were down by 95 percent.”