President, Ariel Investments
About This Expert
Mellody Hobson is an American businesswoman who is the president of Ariel Investments and the current Chair of the Board of Directors of DreamWorks Animation. In 2017, she became the first African-American woman to head The Economic Club of Chicago.
Hobson attended Princeton University, graduating in 1991 with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. Soon after her graduation from Princeton, Hobson joined Ariel Investments as an intern and rose to become the firm’s senior vice president and director of marketing. In 2000, she ascended to become the president of Ariel, a Chicago investment firm that manages over $10 billion in assets. It is also one of the largest African American-owned money management and mutual fund companies in the United States.
Hobson is also the Chair of the Board of Trustees of Ariel Investment Trust and the Chair of DreamWorks Animation SKG, Inc. She is a regular contributor on financial issues on CBS This Morning and a spokesperson for the annual Ariel/Schwab Black Investor Survey.
Hobson serves on the board of many organizations, including the Chicago Public Education Fund, the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art and the Sundance Institute. She is also a director of the Starbucks Corporation, The Estée Lauder Companies Inc., and DreamWorks Animation SKG, Inc.. Hobson has been acclaimed in selections such as Time’s 2015 Time 100 List, the magazine’s annual list of the one hundred most influential people in the world)., Ebony magazine’s “20 Leaders of the Future” (1992), Working Women Magazine’s “20 Under 30” (1992), the World Economic Forum’s “Global Leaders of Tomorrow” (2001), Esquire’s “America’s Best and Brightest” (2002), The Wall Street Journal’s 50 “Women to Watch” (2004).
Hobson created and hosted a show on ABC on May 29, 2009, called Unbroke: What You Need to Know About Money, featuring celebrities such as the Jonas Brothers, Oscar the Grouch and Samuel L. Jackson. Actress Vanessa L. Williams based her character, self-made businesswoman Courtney Paige (in the American television drama, The Good Wife), on Hobson, studying her via Hobson’s TED talks. In 2017, Hobson was named to head the Economic Club of Chicago, the first African-American woman to do so.
On August 6, 2017 Hobson guest hosted CBS Sunday Morning’s annual “Money Issue” episode.
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