Mellody Hobson Teaches Us How To Be Unapologetically Black In Her Talk At Google

December 20, 2016 Conferences, Mentorship, Tech Diversity

As soon as her name popped up in my inbox from the Black Googler’s Network group, I had to open it right away. I’ve been a huge fan of Mellody Hobson for quite some time. When I was exploring the world of investing, her name appeared several time to remind me that it is possible for a Black woman to grow wealth and a net worth more than $5. She has made strides in her professional career that are impressive and while I hate to bring up her marital status, all Blerds and Star Wars fan alike can appreciate the fact that she is married to the father of Star Wars. The creativity and genius that flows through their household must be mindblowing. Anywho, Mellody Hobson graced the stage with her sparkle heeled shoes, pleated skirt, and an aura of grace that would make anyone feel welcome. Here are a few golden nuggets that she dropped in my investment portfolio:

1. She wants us to demand finance and investment education programs from our schools so that when you mention NASDAQ, S&P, DOW to kids it’s not a foreign language to them.

2. She has a small copy of the Constitution in her purse.

3. Her rolodex is full of CEOs, billionaires, and powerful people.

4. She’s never worked at another company besides the one she’s president of – Ariel investments, but she’s a workhorse!

5. She gets her hair done around 1am for her segment on CBS morning, say whaaat???

6. Her daughter, 3 years old, goes to a Chinese immersion school, has been to China 3 times, and is fluent in Mandarin

7. We are not bystanders anymore, everything is out in the open. We can’t normalize injustice. Whether you are experiencing it or seeing someone else experience it, speak up! We all have voices.

8. Check yourself on diversity. Diversity is not a Black or people of color problem, it’s EVERYONE’s problem.

9. Being on a board is a VERY powerful position. It’s all clicking for me now. It explains why she’s on so many too.

10. Her blatantly telling the president of DreamWorks Animation that his Megamind movie set in a metropolis location didn’t have any people of color is why we have “Home” today with a Black girl with natural hair as the lead character (Rihanna’s voiceover)

11. Observe who is in the room (any room) and if it’s not diverse, work to make sure it’s diverse, not just in race, but in industry, experience, gender, etc.

12. She challenged the head of vendor management at Google right there on the spot to simply ask their vendors about the diversity of their board.

13. If you ever need to gain confidence, read people’s autobiographies. You can learn a lot from them and their experiences.

14. STOP telling people that you don’t see race or color. Embrace race. Be comfortable with the uncomfortable.

15. We’re in a nation where we don’t properly handle differences of opinions. It’s taboo to talk about money, religion, race, etc. but those are some of the most powerful conversations we NEED to have to bring about heightened levels of understanding and inclusion.

16. She learned from John Johnson (founder of Ebony magazine) to be unapologetically Black and unapologetically a woman. Women especially need to stop saying sorry for simple things.

17. She uses her being the only one or one of very few Black women in her positions to her advantage, but she’s working very hard to bring others up.

18. You can’t be brave without fear. They go hand in hand.

19. You can lose a lot of money if you hold onto an idea or potential investment very tightly cause you will work hard to prove you’re right. Be open to receiving different perspectives.

20. So many things I wanted to say to her when we met, but I simply introduced myself. She said she saw me in the front row and then asked me what I did. I told her and she told me to be brave. She plans to do more speaking engagements on bravery.

Watch the replay of the chat and share your thoughts in the comments.