Jacki Zehner On Women, Money, and Changing the World  » Blog

November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving….. but

I was going to post a Happy Thanksgiving, nice, love and gratitude piece and then I read the below from someone I deeply respect, Paula Donovan of Aids-Free-World. I can tell you what I am NOT grateful for. I am not grateful when leaders have the opportunity to do the right thing, and do not. In fact I am down right tired of it. What will it take? Truly, what will it take?

Please read the below and take ONE ACTION at least. If you have time and passion, do more. If you want encouragement that male leaders can take a stand, watch this. 

Dear Jacki,

At the risk of sending this twice, this is so important and time-sensitive that we wanted to be sure it reached you directly. Your active engagement would be much appreciated.

The UN has promoted women’s equality for decades – in words, but not deeds.  On predictable dates, such as International Women’s Day and today, November 25th, the first of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, the Secretary-General takes to the world stage to preach about the full, equal rights and participation of women.

Throughout the rest of the year, his actions send a much louder and clearer message:  Equality for women? Not yet. Be patient.

We’re tired of waiting. It’s time for women to send back an equally clear message: As long as you ignore women, Mr. Secretary-General, we will ignore you.

Ban Ki-moon took his latest discriminatory action on October 31st when he appointed an “independent high-level…

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November 20, 2014

The Road Not Taken: What If I Never Left Goldman Sachs?

Originally published on LinkedIn Influencers, November 20, 2014. 

In this series of posts, Influencers explain how their career paths might have changed. Read all the stories here and write your own (please include the hashtag #RoadNotTaken in the body of your post).

Last month I turned 50, and when you mark a milestone like your 50th birthday, the celebrations are often accompanied by moments of reflection and introspection. I was no exception, and therefore it was a pleasant surprise when I discovered this month’s Influencer topic. LinkedIn asked, “What was the road you didn’t take in your career? What was the path you didn’t choose?”

So I sat down with a big cup of coffee and asked myself, “What if I hadn’t left Goldman Sachs in 2002?” I imagined where I might be now, 12 years later, and perhaps more interestingly, knowing who I am now and what I now know, what if I had become a part in the corporate story of a financial services firm that became the leading financial services firm for women? What would that firm look like?

First, allow me to frame my history at Goldman to outline where I was at the time of my leaving over a decade ago. I loved Goldman Sachs and my career there, and judging by my career trajectory at the firm, they appeared to love me as well. I started as an analyst in 1988, before becoming a…

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November 06, 2014

Sister, Can You Spare A Dime?

Screen-Shot-2014-09-18-at-2.55.13-PMPublished in the New York Observer on November 3, 2014

I was not born into wealth. I grew up in a small town in British Columbia, Canada, never imagining that one day I would work on Wall Street, let alone Goldman Sachs. In 1996, after eight years at Goldman, I became the youngest woman and the firm’s first female trader to make partner. “Youngest woman” and “first female”—labels like these are often attached to successful women, and my instinct has always been to embrace labels, not reject them. I was privileged to have been handed not just the Goldman paycheck, but a platform to boot. With that platform, I was determined to change the firm’s approach to diversity.

In 1999, Goldman went public, and with the resulting windfall, my husband (who made partner at Goldman the same year I did) and I created a family foundation. Suddenly, I had a new label: woman philanthropist, which I found more difficult to embrace. There were few high-profile women philanthropists back then. However, for those first few years, I didn’t think about it too much, because I was focused on raising my family, doing my demanding job well, and championing diversity at work. I was what one might call a “checkbook philanthropist.”

In 2002, I left Goldman. I’m often asked why. Primarily, I wanted to use my time, treasure and talent to make more of an impact on the lives of girls and women…

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