Tomorrow marks 10 years since the collapse of Lehman Brothers, the largest bankruptcy filing in history.
This week, I celebrated Sallie Krawcheck on Warrior Wednesday. Currently the CEO of Ellevest, she was my boss during the Financial Crisis. She ran my division – Smith Barney Wealth Management – and advocated for clients. I was one of the few female Financial Advisors in the San Francisco office.
Sallie was one of a handful of female executives at the top 10 banks…she ended up losing her job at Citi for being an advocate for clients.
What is not well known is that Sallie was working on the expansion of Smith Barney to London and Asia two years before the Financial Crisis. I had raised my hand to be part of the expansion in Asia. I thought that was my future. Then the tremors in the financial markets started in 2007 followed by fear of risk contagion in 2008 that led to the Financial Crisis.
I was at Citi on that Friday in November when the CEO said to call our clients and tell them their assets are safe when Citi was on the cover of the news about potential bankruptcy.
That weekend, the US government provided one of the largest bailouts for Citi.
That Monday, I called all of my clients to let them know I was watching their accounts. I told my clients I would be there to monitor their accounts and keep them updated with events. I didn't lose a single client that fall.
10 years later, we are at the peak of the business cycle in 2018. As we move through the phases of the business cycle, I will be here for you as my audience.
While there are dozens of men that come to mind with memories of the Crisis, three women come to mind: Sallie, Erin Callan (CFO at Lehman, woefully unqualified for the role) and Sheila Bair, the token female voice advocating for consumers as Chair of the FDIC. All three women – and just three to mention – were disgraced.
Sallie asks an important question we should all be thinking about, ten years after following the start of the financial crisis.
“Do you think the financial crisis would have been worse if the trading floors were 50% women, instead of 90%+ men?”
It's time we start prioritizing diversity in the finance sector.
Thank you for joining me in the conversation around women and money.
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