It is rare to see women in positions of authority in the business world, less so women of colour. Mellody Hobson is the exception to that. A black woman of acclaimed business acumen.
Hobson is soon to resume as the vice chair of American coffee company and coffeehouse chain, Starbucks. But this is not a first, just another in a long line of milestones reached by this remarkable woman.
Currently the president of Ariel Investments, the first African American investment firm with publicly traded mutual funds, Mellody is set to be “one of the very few African Americans in history to occupy such a role at a Fortune 500 company.”
According to Black Enterprise, she will assume the role when longtime chairman Howard Schultz steps down on June 26. Myron E. Ullman, the former chairman of J.C. Penney, will become the company’s new chair.
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Hobson, who has been a Starbucks director since February 2005, started at Ariel Investments in 1991 as an intern. She went on to become president of the company and managed $13 billion in assets.
In 1996, she co-founded Ariel Community Academy, a public school in Chicago that promotes financial literacy. In 2002, co-founded the Black Corporate Directors Conference.
She is also a director for companies such as GroupOn, DreamWorks Animation, The Estée Lauder Companies Inc., as well as served on the board of the Field Museum, the Sundance Institute, the Chicago Public Education Fund.
Most recently, Hobson was elected to join JPMorgan Chase’s board of directors, after becoming the first African American woman to head the Economic Club of Chicago in 2017.
Hobson is in a class of her own and an inspiration to all.