Listen to her Mellody
Mellody Hobson’s quest for Corporate Diversity continues as she heads into the boardroom at J.P. Morgan. Known for her highly respected and knowledgeable business acumen, Hobson is the first African-American woman to head the Economic Club of Chicago and served as the Board Chair of DreamWorks Animation, Starbucks Corporation and The Estée Lauder Companies. All while leading Ariel Investments as President and Chairwoman of Ariel Investment Trust’s Board of Trustees.
Raised by a single mother in Chicago, and one of six children. Hobson recalls her mother "always struggling to make ends meet and being evicted from their Chicago apartments. She eventually went on to attend Princeton University before joining Ariel Investments in her early 20's. At Ariel, she is keenly focused on maintaining diversity. Currently, 51% of Ariel's employees are women, 27% are African-American and nearly two-thirds of the executive team is both female and a minority.
According to J.P. Morgan’s CEO Jamie Dimon “Women of color have not had equal access to the resources they need to be successful in business.” Hobson’s appointment comes at a crucial time to JP Morgan Chase who announced that they would invest $1 million in creating two initiatives that would fund startups launched by women of color in efforts to level the playing field when it comes to getting access to capital. JP Morgan isn’t the only financial institution that has launched initiatives to support Black business owners. In January, Wells Fargo announced that it would invest $6.6 million to ensure that Black entrepreneurs have access to venture capital.
Hobson asked a crucial question during a recent speech where she stated ‘Where is the corporate Kaepernick?’ “I’ve never met Colin Kaepernick, but I will tell you he’s a hero of mine,” Hobson said, “I’m in awe of him because I believe he took it upon himself to publicly promote the American values of liberty and life that we all cherish.” Maybe Hobson will just become her very own self-fulfilling prophecy to be the “Corporate Kaepernick” but as opposed to taking a knee she will be taking a stand for Corporate Diversity.