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The Most Powerful Woman In Investing With Mellody Hobson

Haley Paskalides  |  January 8, 2024

Mellody Hobson learned the value of money early on. Now, she’s one of the most influential women in America.

We know that being a female in the investment industry is rare, and being a Black woman in investment management is even rarer. According to a recent study from McKinsey, only 4% of the financial industry’s C-suite positions are held by Black women.  We also know that centering Black women in positions of power is good for the entire economy. When companies don’t promote Black women to positions of power, an entire sector of consumers is left out of the conversation. 

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Mellody Hobson, President and Co-CEO of Ariel Investments is proving this to be true with Project Black, Ariel’s first private equity initiative. “It was this idea of could we do something that had never been done before,” Hobson says “which was to buy middle-sized minority-owned businesses that ultimately become Tier One suppliers to Fortune 500 companies, allowing those businesses to grow.”

While Hobson is now considered one of the most powerful women in America, she comes from humble beginnings and credits her mom for teaching her the value of money. “We did have a lot of experiences of getting evicted and our phone getting disconnected or lights turned off. But it really did establish the sense of focus in me and it gave me a lot of purpose,” Hobson says “Even as a young child, I knew what our rent was. My mom would show me bills to help me understand oftentimes the circumstances that we were in. And it gave me a total understanding in a very different way than I think most kids of what it costs to live.”

Listen to the How She Does It podcast to hear more about how Mellody Hobson went from intern to co-CEO at Ariel Investments and why she values authenticity and standing in your truth as a leader above all else. 


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