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Mellody Hobson      

Chair of Starbucks Board of Directors; President & Co-CEO of Ariel Investments

In December 2020, Mellody Hobson, president and co-CEO of money management firm Ariel Investments, was named chair of Starbucks board of directors. She is the first Black woman to hold this position.

As co-CEO of Ariel, Hobson is responsible for all firm-wide management, including strategic planning and growth as well as every aspect of Ariel’s business beyond research and portfolio management. Prior to her formal appointment to Co-CEO, Hobson served as Ariel’s President for nearly two decades and functions as chairman of the board of trustees for Ariel Investment Trust.

Hobson is responsible for firm-wide management and strategic planning, overseeing all operations outside of research and portfolio management. Additionally, she serves as chairman of the board of trustees for Ariel Investment Trust. Beyond her work at Ariel, Hobson has become a nationally recognized voice on financial literacy and investor education.

She is a regular contributor and analyst on finance, markets and economic trends for CBS News. She also contributes weekly money tips on the Tom Joyner Morning Show and pens a column for Black Enterprise magazine. As a passionate advocate for investor education, she is a spokesperson for the Ariel/Hewitt Study: 401(k) Plans in Living Color and the Ariel Black Investor Survey, both of which examine investing patterns among minorities. Previously, she was a long-standing board member of the Estée Lauder Companies and also held the position of Chairman of the Board of DreamWorks Animation until which time she facilitated its sale to Comcast. Her community outreach includes serving as chairman of After School Matters, a non-profit that provides Chicago teens with high-quality, out-of-school time programs.

She is vice chair of World Business Chicago’s board of directors, co-chair of the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, a board member of the George Lucas Education Foundation and LACMA, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. She is also a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, The Rockefeller Foundation Board of Trustees, and serves on the executive committee of the Investment Company Institute’s board of governors.

Hobson earned her AB from Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School of International Relations and Public Policy. In 2019, Hobson was awarded Princeton’s highest honor, the Woodrow Wilson Award, presented each year to the alumnus or alumna whose career embodies a commitment to national service. She has also received honorary doctorate degrees from Howard University, St. Mary’s College, University of Southern California and Johns Hopkins University.

Speech Topics

2. How People from Different Walks of Life Save for Retirement

1. Retirement and the Affects on the Aging Diversity Market

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