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Former Wall Street executive to launch women's networking group in Charleston

Sallie Krawcheck, the Charleston native who once helmed the world's largest wealth management business, is bringing new networking opportunities to women in her hometown.

Krawcheck traded her career as president of Merrill Lynch's global wealth management division several years ago for the leading role with 85 Broads, a global networking organization for businesswomen that she bought last year from former Goldman Sachs executive Janet Hanson.

The organization has since been renamed Ellevate. Its fleet of roughly 40 chapters around the world is expanding, with at least four new cities including Charleston launching chapters of their own in the next few months.

The Charleston chapter, which has already established 30 members, will celebrate its launch at its first event in September, where Krawcheck will deliver the keynote speech.

The chapter president is Catherine Chase, a commercial litigation attorney with the local firm Young Clement Rivers. She explained that the new name, Ellevate (spelled with two "L's" to symbolize "elle," the French word for woman), is intended to encourage businesswomen of all fields to join the organization.

"It's to communicate that the group has moved away from a financially-based organization, and that we embrace women in all industries," Chase said.

While many women's organizations are non-profits or charities, Ellevate is a for-profit business with annual membership fees ranging from $100-$1,000. The organization hosts regular networking events, training courses, seminars and other business-oriented programs. Plus, it provides opportunities for women to invest their capital in other women-led businesses, according to the description on its website,

"There is access to events that happen in other cities, and when you travel you already have a network base in that city. It's all over the world," Chase said. "I'm not aware of any other women's organization in Charleston that has quite the same reach."

Reach Abigail Darlington at 937-5906 and follow her on Twitter @A_Big_Gail

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