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Sallie Krawcheck: “Ask for the raise.”

April 14, 2015, 9:43 PM UTC
Courtesy of A.E. Fletcher Photography

“When men negotiate, they’re focused on winning. When women negotiate, we’re focused on maintaining the relationship.”

So says Sallie Krawcheck, once the most powerful woman in banking and now running her own firm, professional women’s network Ellevate.

This afternoon, as part of a lunchtime “Media Upstarts” speaker series at Time Inc., Fortune‘s parent, Krawcheck spoke from vast experience; She once headed Citigroup’s global wealth management unit and later at Bank of America, she was in charge of Merrill Lynch. Back then, her male direct reports consistently bargained for higher pay, ticking off their latest achievements and telling her precisely what they needed to earn. “All of them did that,” Krawcheck said, referring to the guys. “None of the women did.”

“I tried to be fair,” she said, but when women don’t ask and when men threaten to leave if they don’t get a big increase in pay, what can a boss do? “People who ask get more money, and people who don’t ask tend to get less,” Krawcheck explained.

“So, ask for the raise!,” she told the audience, a gender-balanced mix of 100 or so Time Inc. employees on Equal Pay Day.

As for herself, Krawcheck confessed, “I can’t stand negotiating.” Recruiting young talent for Ellevate, she has to kick herself at times when she worries about what a 27-year-old job-seeker might think of her. It’s so bad that her skin sometimes blotches, she admits: “So, I wear a turtleneck.”