Mellody Hobson President, CEO, global investment firm, Ariel Investments
Hobson, 50, is a former director at Estée Lauder and DreamWorks and a current director of Starbucks. NET WORTH $10M. GOOD ADVICE “At the age of 22, the firm’s founder informed me that I would frequently find myself in the company of rich and successful people with big titles, lots of degrees and lots of experience – and yet, my ideas could still be as good or even better. This early advice became the guiding force that has underscored my entire career. I never questioned speaking up, raising my hand or taking a seat at the table. Leaning back was never an option. But it’s one thing to be assertive but quite another to be abrasive. As someone once told me, “the goal is to be non-threatened and non-threatening.” LOOKING THE BUSINESS “One of my house assistant’s main duties is packing and getting things to me when I’m in other cities. I travel with what I call my utility bag – my pyjamas, beauty kit, running shoes, and workout clothes. My suits are sent via FedEx to me in each city, in a white box, and then I just send them back. When I open that box, I have shoes, suits, all of those things for that city. FIRST THING SHE DOES IN THE MORNING “Look at my phone. I’m typically in a gym working out by 4.30am.” ALWAYS ON To help Hobson manage her time, the firm turned a conference room adjoining her office into a nursery for her daughter.