Why Sallie Krawcheck doesn’t like diversity programs
Sallie Krawcheck is one of the most accomplished women in the financial sector. Krawcheck was a former Citibank employee who was let go after she suggested the company pay back their customers for the money they lost (crazy idea). After that she headed Merrill Lynch for Bank of America, until a regime change ended that job too (despite having a division that was exceeding expectations).
After her stints at investment banks, Krawcheck “launched Ellevest, a digital investment platform for women where she is CEO, and written a new book, “Own It: The Power of Women at Work.” In her eyes women are under represented in the field of finance and this lack of representation can cause business results to suffer.
But, while she supports an effort to promote diversity and inclusion, Krawcheck does not believe that diversity councils are a productive way to do it. Below is an excerpt from Krawcheck’s opinion piece for Market Watch:
My pet peeve: We draft these folks to work on these initiatives; we pull them away from their desks and from their real work to sit in all-day diversity council meetings or listen to speakers tell them how important diversity is. And in my old industry, and in many others like it, we don’t compensate them for their lost commissions for that day; we don’t extend their project deadline by a day; we don’t postpone the important meeting they missed while they were gone. The result is that they were actually being penalized for dealing with the issue. No wonder, then, that at some companies people avoid those meetings like the plague. And it’s pretty hard to advance the conversation on diversity if there’s no one sitting around the table.
I can’t help but agree with her sentiments. When working for a company, you have obligations to your co-workers and the tasks that are given to you. If these all day events are impeding on your progress, then of course you wont support them.
Unfortunately, while Krawcheck’s frustrations are warranted, she does not give any suggestion as to what the solution for increasing diversity could be. She does emphasize the need for upper management support, but does not go into specifics of what that means. Executive interest is always a hard thing to get, but I complete support the notion despite is ubiquitous nature.
Still specifics are needed to truly change the nature of workplace diversity in corporate America. As we’re learning with recent political struggles, critizing an Administration is easy. Coming up with solutions is the hard part.