Sallie Krawcheck to Buy 85 Broads, a Global Women’s Network

Former Merrill broker chief says she’s happy to become leader of group with 30,000 members from 130 countries

Sallie Krawcheck is putting her money where her mouth is. The former Merrill Lynch and Citigroup executive announced Wednesday that she has agreed to buy the global women’s network 85 Broads from its founder, the former Goldman Sachs executive Janet Hanson.

Sallie KrawcheckIn a post on her LinkedIn account (which happens to have 187,000 followers), Krawcheck said “I am investing in 85 Broads because investing in women is smart business. And women investing in themselves and in others, as they do through the network, is even smarter business.”

The group was founded by Hanson in 1997 with other women who worked at Goldman’s then headquarters at 85 Broad Street in New York. The group says it has more than 30,000 paid members from 130 different countries, and has moved beyond Wall Street firms to include women from many industries; it also has 37 regional chapters and campus clubs for undergraduate and graduate students. Following Krawcheck’s investment, Hanson will retain an investment stake in 85 Broads, she said in a statement, and will become chairwoman emeritus of the group. No financial details of the Krawcheck investment were divulged.

In her post, Krawcheck says that for most of her high-profile career, “I tried to avoid the topic of being a woman in business, vaguely concerned that talking too much about it would hold me back in some way. My standard response: "Oh gosh, I never really think about being a woman in business. I'm just focused on getting the job done." However, she said that over the past year—she was ousted by Bank of America in September 2011—she said she’s been “thinking about it....a lot.”

“It’s not just because of the fairness issue,” she continues, “it's because the research and business case for the economic advancement of women is so compelling.” However, she says that “the progress of women in business has plateaued,” and “that leads to ‘why a professional women's network?’ Networks are beginning to operate alongside the traditional corporate structure, serving as a modern means for individuals to come together to exchange ideas and information. They enable their members to contribute to, and pull from, the network to accomplish more than the sum of the parts would indicate. In doing this, networking has been shown to increase professional success.”

Krawcheck has kept busy during her full-time job hiatus, regularly writing provocative posts on her LinkedIn account about Wall Street and the financial services industry in general, including self-deprecating posts such as in her “11 Things I Learned When I Got Fired (the First Time)” She joined the board of Gold Bullion International, a precious metals trading firm, last year. Earlier this month she spoke at the Envestnet Advisor Summit in Chicago, where she publicly worried that the advisor industry is becoming too much like “the Republican Party—old, white guys talking to other old, white guys.”

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Read Sallie Krawcheck Decries Industry ‘Becoming Republican Party’ on AdvisorOne.

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