Mellody Hobson, Women Of Power Summit

Mellody Hobson Awarded Barbara Graves Award At Women Of Power Summit

Hobson is president and co-CEO of Ariel Investment Trust, one of the nation's largest Black-owned asset management companies.

Businesswoman Mellody Hobson took home the esteemed Barbara Graves Award at BLACK ENTERPRISE‘s annual Women of Power Summit. Hobson was honored at the event, which took place over Easter weekend. Hobson serves as president and co-CEO of Ariel Investment Trust, one of the nation’s largest Black-owned asset management companies.

BE‘s CEO, Earl “Butch” Graves Jr., helped bestow the award on Hobson.

“A woman whose passionate vision helped give rise to the Women of Power Summit, her high standard and expectation still inform it,” Graves Jr. said of the award named after his mother. “And her indomitable spirit still infuses it. She lives on through our company where the majority of leadership roles are held by women…and she absolutely lives on through this event, where her powerful legacy is just as vibrant.”

Following a presentation about the Graves matriarch, Alva Adams-Mason took to the stage to describe Hobson’s rise and success.

“[Hobson’s] journey from humble beginnings to becoming one of the nation’s most recognized and influential business voices truly exemplifies the American success story,” shared Adams-Mason, group manager of multicultural business alliance and dealer relations for Toyota Motor North America. “Through her relentless business focus, she has emerged as a leader and role model for others and has used her influence and status to make a positive impact on society, particularly by increasing financial empowerment, advancing educational opportunities, and promoting diversity.”

Hobson’s story, starting with her upbringing in Chicago’s South Side and later success in the finance industry, was highlighted. She later graced the stage to accept the Graves Award for her contributions to Black women in business.

“I am so honored by this,” expressed Hobson. “This conference, as you know, is a celebration of women of power. And it really got me thinking…early in many women’s careers, they don’t think of themselves as being powerful. They believe power, and I’m often told this or maybe felt this way myself, is derived from money, fame, or accomplishments. But I believe no matter who you are, no matter where you are, you have power. Always.”

Hobson said that Rosa Parks, who seemingly held little power, was able to move mountains for the women who followed her. The 54-year-old emphasized that Black women’s power should be held lightly, but confidence, confidants, and compassion are all key to success.

Hobson concluded, “This recognition means a lot to me. I’m filled with gratitude, I’m filled with so much appreciation and so much inspiration. And I have to tell you, that’s a powerful feeling.”

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