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Ariel Investments President Mellody Hobson shares her insight with Dean Sally Blount '92 at a Brave Leader Series event on Feb. 10.

Mellody Hobson

'World-class' leadership

Ariel Investments President Mellody Hobson talks shareholders, urgency and bravery


2/12/2015 - When Mellody Hobson walked through the doors of Ariel Capital Management in 1991 as an intern, she knew she would spend her entire career there.

“I would play this game in my head, ‘How many times would I walk through this door?’” she said. “It was a gift that I had that point of view. I was never chasing something else that seemed better. I was head down, focused.”

That tenacity served Hobson well as she rose to become president of Ariel Investments, LLC, (formerly Ariel Capital) one of the largest African-American money-management firms in the country with $10 billion in assets. That success also led to a number of other roles, including Chairman of Ariel Investment Trust and Dreamworks Animation SKG, and seats on the boards of Starbucks and Estee Lauder.

“I spend time with people who are world-class,” Hobson said. “I know what world-class looks like and I have to bring that back to my organization.”

Hobson shared her thoughts on leadership, shareholders and giving back with Dean Sally Blount ’92 and a packed hall of Kellogg students during the Brave Leader Series, a talk sponsored by the J. Ira and Nikki Harris Family.

Watch highlights from Hobson’s talk with Dean Blount:


Hobson on sustaining excellence



Hobson on private advocacy versus public activism 




Hobson on being "world-class" 




Hobson on customers and shareholders 




Learn more from past Brave Leaders: