Over the past four decades, Mellody Hobson has shattered glass ceilings. 

The businesswoman and investor joined Ariel Investments, the first Black-owned mutual fund company, as president for 20 years until she became co-CEO in 2019.

Hobson has worked alongside John W. Rogers Jr. — who founded Ariel Investments at age 24 — for a long period. However, according to Fortune, the duo’s workplace camaraderie runs deeper than some may know.

In February 2024, Ariel Investments announced the release of “Ariel at 40,” which was produced by Crystal McCrary McGuire Productions. The documentary tells the story of how the firm fought back against numerous challenges and persevered. 


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“I don’t come from the world of finance, but from a filmmaking perspective, it was just such an incredible story of perseverance, excellence, and trailblazing,” said McGuire, who described Ariel Investments to the outlet as an “American success story.”

In addition, viewers got a closer look into Rogers and Hobson’s dynamic.

Fortune reports that Hobson was an intern for Ariel Investments along with T. Rowe Price as a college student. Once she became a senior, she was interviewing to land a job as an analyst at a New York City firm. Amid the process, Hobson had an epiphany that Ariel Investments was right where she wanted to be, leading her to hop on board in 1991.

“And I thought, ‘What am I doing?’” Hobson told the outlet. “I can go and work directly with John Rogers, and I could sit at the feet of someone who’s so well respected, and he can teach me. I called John from a payphone, and I think I called collect.”

She continued, “I said, ‘I’m going to come to Ariel,’ and then I called and canceled my other interviews. And all of my friends thought that I was nuts because Ariel was tiny. And they said to me, ‘Why wouldn’t you go to a big Wall Street firm?’ But to me, I thought I could learn from him.”

Rogers went from being Hobson’s mentor to running Ariel Investments alongside him. Today, Hobson is still a leading force at the company, which holds $14.9 billion in assets, per the outlet.

In 2023, Ariel Alternatives announced it raised $1.45 billion for Project Black LP, the first private equity initiative of Ariel Investments, AFROTECH™ reported.

“We are scaling change. In so doing, we will redefine what it means to be a minority-owned business in the United States. We are grateful to our investors who share our mission,” said Hobson in a press statement at the time.