Day 2: Mellody Hobson Talks Career Success and Being Unapologetically Black

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In a one-on-one conversation hosted by PepsiCo, Black Enterprise Women of Power attendees enjoyed a dynamic power luncheon with business mogul Mellody Hobson, president of Ariel Investments LLC.

Interviewed by Black Enterprise’s Editorial Director and Women of Power TV host Caroline Clarke, Hobson opened up about her journey from an intern at Ariel Investments to her current post.

The Princeton alum talked about being just 22 years old when she was working with John Rogers, the Chairman and CEO of Ariel, and being willing to do what was necessary to create a pathway to success. After noticing that Rogers would go to the local McDonald’s every morning to read the paper, Hobson started a pattern of meeting him there with the same reading material in hand in an effort to gain an opportunity to speak with him.

“I was all in,” said Hobson, who added that she wrote a Thank You letter to the party guests of Rogers’ then 7-year-old daughter to further prove that she was determined to build a relationship and connection with the businessman.

Elaborating on her standing today as a well-recognized power woman, Hobson also talked about the role race has played in her life and why she no longer shies away from discussing the topic.

“We have to put people on notice that these issues are important and they matter,” said Hobson, who also serves as the chairman of the board of directors at DreamWorks Animation.

She says that over the years she has learned to stop apologizing for being herself and says she thinks we all sometimes apologize for our race without even being aware.