Entrepreneur: Sallie Krawcheck, Ellevest

This article is part of our Create & Cultivate 100 List created in collaboration with KEDS, you can view the full Entrepreneur List Here.

The woman of Wall Street. 

If there’s one thing we have in common with Ellevest CEO and co-founder Sallie Krawcheck, it’s that we both believe the future is female...financial independence. The 52-year-old former Wall Street maven, who once ran such elite institutions as Merrill Lynch, Bank of America, and Smith Barney, is leveraging her 30 plus years of professional expertise to help women build and invest wealth and “unleash women’s financial power.”

With Ellevest, Krawcheck is on a mission to close what she calls the “gender investment gap,” an extension of better-known disparities such as the gender pay gap and the gender debt gap. So, what is the “gender investment gap,” exactly? Well, it begins with the fact that 71% of all assets controlled by women are uninvested cash, which translates to us boss ladies missing out on major market gain opportunities and losing out to inflation. And why don’t they invest if it’s such a lucrative opportunity? A few common reasons include craving certainty, relying on bae to handle things (ps he can’t even be trusted to restock the toilet paper), and feeling it’s too time-intensive. For her part, Krawcheck— who has been named the most powerful woman on Wall Street, and at one point oversaw $2.3 trillion in client assets — strongly disagrees.

“I have become truly convinced that getting more money into the hands of women is a positive for everyone,” explains Krawcheck, asserting that the “gender investment gap” costs professional women hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not more, over their lifetimes. “Closing this gap helps the women themselves, but also their families, society, and businesses. It also solves a lot of society's problems: for example, the retirement savings crisis is actually a women's crisis, given how much longer we live then men (and that we retire with less money than they do).”

"Getting more money into the hands of women is a positive for everyone."

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It’s this revolutionary, women-centric approach to investing — one that factors in our longer lifespans, winding career paths, and unique risk factors, and doesn’t default to men’s salaries and preferences (86% of investment advisors are men, age 50+) — that separates Ellevest from its competitors and makes it a game-changing investing platform for women.

They say a woman’s work is never done, and that’s certainly true when it comes to Krawcheck. In addition to founding Ellevest, the fierce advocate for women’s financial freedom chairs both the Ellevate Network (a global professional women's network to help women close their gender work achievement gap) and the Pax Ellevate Global Women's Index Fund (the first mutual fund to invest in the top-rated companies for advancing women). Bottom line: she’s 100% committed to beefing up women’s bank accounts and setting women on the road toward financial independence. But, success does come at a price, and insecurity is what keeps this cat-loving, wine-drinking powerhouse at the top of her game. “Right after I had my daughter, I cried to my mother that I couldn't do my job and be a mother to two little ones. She brushed off my tears and said (in a pretty brusque way), ‘Of course you can. You're just going to be really tired for awhile.’ She was right.”

Today, Krawcheck is “all-in” on herself, and her career, raising  — not only her daughters  — but a generation of financially savvy, professional women who know their value, and, better yet, how to invest it.