“They say whatever happens to you as a child really sticks with you, and I think it’s because of that I sometimes have very irrational points of view about how I could slip backwards.” – Mellody Hobson
Growing up in the inner city of Chicago, Mellody Hobson has come a long way from her humbled beginnings. As acting President of Chicago based Ariel Investments, television contributor for CBS News and acting Board Member for Starbucks Corporation and DreamWorks she has a successful career of helping businesses operate.
Still, with all of her successes in the world of finance, Mellody Hobson continues to keep things in perspective. She credits her childhood as a defining factor in finding her calling in investing and finance, because growing up her family didn’t have much money. “My mother always wanted me to be in the best environment that I could be in. She wanted me to go to the best schools. Every now and again she’d save up enough for us to get a nice apartment in downtown Chicago, but we were never able to sustain it.”, Mellody shared with Saturday Extra.
The Princeton graduate started her career with Ariel Investments 25 years ago, and was quickly taken under the wings of CEO/Founder John Rogers. “For years I traveled with our CEO, John Rogers, everywhere he went. I was pseudo chief of staff. He would hand me things off his desk and say, “Do it, fix it.” The assignments got more important over time.”, she recently shared with Bloomberg.com. She’s passionate about making sure finance is included within the Black Community in particular, and shares that she wants everyone to have the ability to be financially secure and really take control of their finances and understand money. In fact, her passion allowed her to recently sponsor a Ariel Community Academy , where many Chicago students can benefit on the importance of investing and managing their finances from a early age. Still she understands that the face of finance needs to be changed with more diversity, and often feels like the “Beyoncé” or “Cher” in the industry, because she’s one of the few African American woman dominating her industry.
“I’ll meet people and they’ll say “You’re Mellody” and I’ve always wonder how people know me. They know me because there aren’t a lot of people like me. I’ve joked that its like Beyoncé or Cher – I could go with just one name and be recognized. I’m very different. But I want more people to be like me where I go“, she told ABC recently. Today she oversees the growth & development of Ariel Investments Sydney’s operations that is in recent expansion. She’s a true believer in partnering and implementing strategies that will help further the firm’s growth in the next few years. But, she continues to dish out some great advice for any woman looking to get some strong points across in their career:
“I understood that the presence of not being small can be not only intimidating, but also lead people not to reveal themselves in ways that would be good for them and good for me. Mellody, don’t be a ball hog.”
Read more on Mellody Hobson here.