Fireside Chat with Mellody Hobson
Mellody Hobson is the President of Ariel Investments. In this role, she is responsible for managing the firm’s business operations, development and strategic initiatives. In addition, Mellody serves as Chair of the Board of Trustees of Ariel Investment Trust.
Ariel Investments is headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, and has offices in New York City and Sydney, Australia. The firm manages assets of retirement plans, college saving accounts, and personal investment accounts. With strong ties to the community, Ariel is focused on making investing accessible for everyone. Individuals are able to invest $1000 in the firm’s mutual funds.
Mellody’s work outside Ariel is rooted in her passion for financial literacy and investor education. She is a regular contributor for CBS News, provides weekly money tips on the Tom Joyner Morning Show, and authors a column for Black Enterprise Magazine.
In addition to serving as a financial expert in the media, Mellody channels her expertise in many boardrooms. She is Vice Chair of the Board of Starbucks Corporation, and also serves as a director of JPMorgan Chase. Mellody is former Chair of the Board of DreamWorks Animation. As a Chicago-native, Mellody is involved in numerous organizations that focus on improving the city. She serves as Chair of After School Matters, a non-profit that provides Chicago teens with high-quality, out-of-school time programs. In addition, she is a board member of The Chicago Public Education Fund. In 2017, Mellody became the first African-American woman to become Chair of the Economic Club of Chicago in its 90-year history.
Beyond her philanthropic work in her hometown, Mellody is a board member of the Rockefeller Foundation, George Lucas Education Foundation, and Lucas Museum of Narrative Art. In 2015, Time Magazine named Mellody as one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World. She has been awarded honorary degrees from Howard University, Johns Hopkins University, and St. Mary’s College. Mellody earned her AB from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of International Relations and Public Policy.
Mr. Hirschhorn is CEO of REDEF, a digital content curation company. Previously, Mr. Hirschhorn served as Co-President of Myspace Inc., an affiliate of News Corp. and as President of Sling Media, Inc. He has also served as Chief Digital Officer of MTV Networks and as a director of MGM and CFY. Mr. Hirschhorn currently is on the board of directors of Pandora. Mr. Hirschhorn holds a B.S. in International Business and Marketing from New York University's Stern School of Business.