Sallie Krawcheck may be a fierce advocate for closing the gender investment gap, but she’s not going to keep you from your morning caffeine fix. “Ladies, buy the f***ing latte, because I’m going to need you caffeinated when we do this thing,” she wrote recently on Fast Company, denouncing the well-worn financial advice that cautions women against “frivolous” expenses like lattes.
It’s that sort of advice that led Krawcheck, a former Wall Street executive, to start Ellevest. A digital investment platform for women, Ellevest seeks to make investing more accessible and equitable, by offering advice and guidance tailored to how women tend to think about investing. Since its launch in 2016, Ellevest has raised $77 million in venture capital dollars, and just last month, the startup introduced an impact investment fund.
In Fast Company‘s “Day On, Day Off” series, we ask inspiring founders, creatives, and business leaders to share the details of a day on the job and a day off the clock—if there is such a thing. Here Krawcheck walks us through a recent day in the office and her closest approximation of a day off, which includes an appearance at Goop’s annual wellness summit.
5:30 a.m. I cruise out of bed and head to the kitchen. I have a coffee and half a banana. My cat gets a little bit of half-and-half on the kitchen table—don’t tell my husband, please. I chug a ton of water. Then I’m checking emails and looking at Twitter, Instagram, and Slack.
6 a.m. About 20 minutes later, I’m in my workout clothes and then I Peloton. Being an entrepreneur is so damn stressful—if you don’t work out, you just eat yourself from the inside out. I work out every Saturday and Sunday and two times a week. If it’s a weekday, it’s pretty much 20 minutes; on weekends, I’ll do 45 minutes. And then I sweat for the next hour. Don’t ask me how this happens, but regardless of whether it’s 20 or 45 minutes, there’s an hour of sweating that has to occur. By 6:30 or 6:45, I’m stretching and doing some push-ups and planks—very light stuff.
7:30 a.m. I get into the shower. If I’ve worked out, I have to blow-dry my hair from scratch—the whole kit and caboodle is about an hour. By 8:30, I’m in a Lyft headed to the Flatiron district.
9:30 a.m. I’m in the office having a meeting about financial planning, which is a capability that we have at Ellevest. So that’s with my cofounder and our head of people operations, and it’s in our Michelle conference room at the office, which is named after Michelle Obama. We have Michelle, Gloria, Alice, and Mickie—for Mickie Siebert, who was the first woman on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Then I’ve got sort of an oddly free hour from 10 to 11 a.m. I had a ton of emails to send—updates to investors and reaching out to some folks we’re trying to hire—so it was an hour of just jamming on email. At 11 a.m., I’m on a board call for [ed tech startup] 2U.
12 p.m. In our Alice conference room—named for Alice Walker—I have a new hire lunch. Since we’re hiring and growing so quickly, every month or so, I sit down with people who are new to the company. I give them the origin story as well as the mission and what we’re focused on. They have the opportunity to ask some questions. But we have cruddy sandwiches, so I finish up and then order a salad from Little Beet. I rarely go out for lunch. I tell myself to, but I also wear high heels, so I’m like, I can sit here and Slack at people, and somebody can bring me my lunch.
1:30 p.m. My cofounder Charlie Kroll and I have our one-on-one, and we’re back in Michelle for that. In this particular meeting, we were talking about our key performance metrics and budget for 2020.
2 p.m. We get together every other week with the owners of the different growth channels—the [people who run content, social media, and ads]—and get an update from them and brainstorm initiatives. And then we have a potential investor visiting, and we meet in the Gloria room. We’re not raising money, but they reached out to us, and the right time to meet with investors can be when you’re not trying to raise money.
5 p.m. I go to another one of our conference rooms—Ada for Ada Lovelace. I’m meeting with the woman who runs the operations of our private wealth offering. And at 5:30, I’ve got a meeting with our head of content. We’ve recently done a re-org in the marketing group—as I love to say, “if it’s a Tuesday, we’ve done a re-org in the marketing group.” I’ve been through four CMOs. It’s all my fault: I play the role to a certain extent, and I have a strong team. So every time we bring in a CMO, it ends up feeling more like a layer. So we did another re-org in which the woman who runs creative and visual is now reporting directly to me. That phone call starts in the office and continues into a Lyft because I’m headed to an event.
6 p.m. I’ve got an event for Ellevate Network, where I’m the chair. We’re doing, in partnership with [law firm] Shearman & Sterling, an event with geopolitical strategist Ian Bremmer. I’m interviewing him. All that means is I do a little intro and ask a question, and then I listen for the next hour because he’s so talented. We finish up at 7:30, and I rush out of there. I’m trying not to be rude to people who want to come up and talk, but I have a dinner reservation down on Bank Street with my daughter. She just started her first job.
8 p.m. We have dinner at the Riddler. It’s a women-owned champagne bar—the investors are majority women. There’s a woman chef, and they serve champagne from women-owned vineyards. Very brand-aligned. [My daughter] and I just dig in. We just do the whole thing. We start with oysters. Then they had this amazing caviar on potato chip appetizer, which is something we didn’t know we needed. We did the risotto with truffles; we did champagne and wine, and then dessert. It was great.
10 p.m. I go home and pack because I’m headed to San Francisco the next day.
5 a.m. I’m staying at the Ritz-Carlton in San Francisco. I write a chunk of the Ellevest weekly newsletter, so I start writing that in the dark. I’m also Slacking with Alex Stried, who is Ellevest’s head of product, because she and I have a couple of ideas for a new product offering. It’s a Saturday, and Alex has a toddler at home, but we get super excited about [this idea], and we’re trying to move very quickly. I’m trying to stop Slacking her, but she’s like, “Yes, and one other thing.”
9 a.m. I get in the shower, and I read the paper somewhere along the way there. I have room service breakfast—a couple of poached eggs and some green juice.
10 a.m. I get into an Uber and go to Goop’s In Goop Health conference. I arrive at 10:30 and can’t find out where I’m supposed to be, and of course I’m in exactly the wrong place. I had to walk 15 minutes with my suitcase and four-inch heel boots. If you look on Instagram, you’ll see—they’re fabulous boots. I get hair and makeup done at 10:50, then hang out in the green room and do a little bit of reading; I grab a banana and a hard-boiled egg.
12 p.m. I’m on stage talking about financial wellness. There’s emotional wellness and physical wellness and spiritual wellness, but the fourth leg of that stool is financial wellness. Money is women’s number one source of stress. So when I spoke to Goop, we agreed this was a key part of wellness.
It was my first time at In Goop Health, and it wasn’t the sort of traditional conference where there was a line of 37 booths down this wall and 42 booths down this wall. It was in this huge pier with all sorts of different areas, and it really felt like you could explore. They probably wouldn’t say it this way, but it was sort of a journey of discovery.
12:45 p.m. When I’m coming off stage, I catch Elise Loehnen, who is Gwyneth Paltrow’s right-hand gal. We catch up on other potential ways to possibly work together. And then I go to a book signing, which is a little unusual because my book came out three years ago.
1:30 p.m. I take a Lyft to SFO. There’s more traffic than one would have expected, so I get to SFO around 2:30. There’s plenty of time—I have a 4 p.m. flight to LAX. I’ve got meetings in L.A. on Monday, and my brother happened to be in town from Atlanta. I looked at all the different restaurants in the terminal and couldn’t find anything I wanted to eat. So I ended up buying a package of Starburst and ate the whole thing. That was my meal.
There was a former colleague in the security line who recognized me. And I’m like, is this guy going to see me shoving Starburst hungrily into my mouth? It’s just not the best me that exists. I continue to write the Ellevest newsletter in the airport, and then I get on the plane and fall asleep.
5:30 p.m. When we land in LAX, I get an Uber and go to the hotel Casa del Mar in Santa Monica, where I’m staying for the weekend. I get there by 6:30, and by 7, I’m on the Peloton. Then I order room service and go to sleep. The next day, I meet my brother for lunch, and we spend the rest of the day together.
This interview has been edited and condensed.