Mellody Hobson, Co-CEO and President, Ariel Investments
The Lincoln Presidential Foundation awarded its prestigious Lincoln Leadership Prize to Mellody Hobson, Co-CEO and President of Ariel Investments, for her dedication and leadership in the areas of corporate leadership, financial literacy and diversity.
The Lincoln Leadership Prize, was awarded in a special, in-person dinner on April 28 at the Hilton Chicago. The annual award recognizes outstanding individuals for a lifetime of service in the spirit of the 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln- honoring individuals who accept the responsibilities imposed by history and demanded by conscience, who show great strength of character and exhibit unwavering commitment to the defining principles of democracy.
Ms. Hobson is an established leader not only at Ariel Investments, the global value-based asset management firm where she serves as Co-CEO and President, but as the Chair of the Board of Starbucks Corporation, a director of JPMorgan Chase, and as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Ariel Investment Trust. Previously, Ms. Hobson served as Chairman of the Board of DreamWorks Animation and a board member of the Estée Lauder Companies.
Ms. Hobson’s community and civic involvement is extensive, and includes serving as Chairman of After School Matters, a Chicago non-profit that provides area teens with high-quality after school and summer programs. Additionally, she is the vice chair of World Business Chicago, co-chair of the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, and a board member of the George Lucas Education Foundation and Bloomberg Philanthropies. She also serves on the board of trustees of the Center for Strategic & International Studies, and of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). Ms. Hobson is 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.
“President Abraham Lincoln’s legacy continues to shape society today,” said Mellody Hobson. “His commitment to emancipating slaves makes my life possible. I am honored to receive The Lincoln Leadership Prize and will continue to work in earnest to help our democracy realize all of its potential—for everyone.”
Ms. Hobson earned her Bachelor of Arts (AB) from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of International Relations and Public Policy. In 2019, she was awarded the University’s highest honor, the Woodrow Wilson Award, which is presented annually to a Princeton graduate whose career embodies a commitment to national service. She has also received honorary doctorate degrees from Howard University, Johns Hopkins University, St. Mary’s College, and the University of Southern California. In 2015, Time Magazine named her one of the “100 Most Influential People” in the world.
“Mellody’s call for more opportunities for all minorities exemplifies the same ideals President Lincoln espoused, breaking down barriers and creating more freedom and opportunity for people,” said ALPLF’s Board Chair Sergio (“Satch”) A. Pecori. “Her strong ideals and track record of outstanding leadership make her a perfect fit to receive this prize.”
Internationally acclaimed musician, composer and bandleader, educator and advocate of American culture Wynton Marsalis presented the Lincoln Leadership Prize to Ms. Hobson. Marsalis was honored with The National Humanities Medal by President Barack Obama in 2015, in recognition of his work in deepened the nation’s understanding of the humanities and broadened American citizens’ engagement with history, literature, languages and philosophy. Marsalis presently serves as Managing and Artistic Director for Jazz at Lincoln Center.
The Lincoln Leadership Prize ceremony serves as the primary fundraiser for the Lincoln Presidential Foundation.