Mellody Hobson is president of Ariel Investments. Headquartered in Chicago, the firm offers six no-load mutual funds for individual investors and defined contribution plans as well as separately managed accounts for institutions and high net worth individuals. As president, Mellody is responsible for firm-wide management and strategic planning, overseeing all operations outside of research and portfolio management. Additionally, she serves as chairman of the board of trustees for Ariel Investment Trust.
Beyond her work at Ariel, Mellody has become a nationally recognized voice on financial literacy and investor education. She is a regular contributor and analyst on finance, the markets and economic trends for CBS News. She also contributes weekly money tips on the Tom Joyner Morning Show and pens a regular column for Black Enterprise magazine. As a passionate advocate for investor education, she is a spokesperson for the Ariel/Hewitt Study: 401(k) Plans in Living Color and the Ariel Black Investor Survey, both of which examine investing patterns among minorities.
Mellody is a director of The Estée Lauder Companies Inc. and Starbucks Corporation. Her community outreach includes serving as chairman of After School Matters, a non-profit that provides Chicago teens with high-quality, out-of-school time programs. She is a board member of The Chicago Public Education Fund, George Lucas Education Foundation, Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, and Sundance Institute, where she has been appointed emeritus trustee. She is also a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and serves on the executive committee of the Investment Company Institute’s board of governors. In 2015, Mellody was named to Time Magazine’s annual list of the one hundred most influential people in the world. Mellody earned her AB from Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School of International Relations and Public Policy. She has also received honorary doctorate degrees from Howard University, St. Mary’s College and the University of Southern California.
In an eventful career Mark has rescued a number of under-performing global companies, consolidating his reputation as a turnaround specialist. Starting out in New Zealand where he was raised, he spent the next 14 years in Asia, culminating in a role as CEO of AIA. Mark Wilson became Group CEO of Aviva in early 2013. Mark is a champion for sustainable business and is a key commentator on the role of business in society. Mark has underlined his support of gender diversity as a business imperative, having been the first FTSE100 CEO to sign up to the 30% Club’s Executive Committee commitment. He was named in the Sunday Times 2016 list of Britain’s most influential people and was recently named the 2016 UK New Zealander of the year and ranked 12th on Bloomberg’s 2016 World’s Best-Value CEOs.
Gigi Chao is the executive vice-chairman of Cheuk Nang (Holdings) [HKSE 0131]. She is also an avid aviator, a passionate member of the community, and a voice for the LGBTQ community in Hong Kong. Gigi graduated from the University of Manchester in Architecture with Honours. Besides a background in architecture and construction, her multi-faceted experience in management and service was acquired from over a decade in marketing and retail services in Hong Kong and China, during which she handled key accounts such as Rolex, Audemars Piquet, Hong Kong Jockey Club, Mont Blanc, L’Oreal, and Ball Watch.
In 2008, she founded Faith in Love Foundation with a vision for service in humility and yearning for simple giving and currently acts as the first female President of Hong Kong Aviation Club. As a writer, Gigi has published two books and contributed to many others. She was previously a regular op ed columnist for Sing Tao Daily and Apple Daily, and now her columns can be found in Ming’s in Ming Pao.
Helena is one of the best known women in the City. She is Chair of the Investment Association, whose members manage more than £5 trillion. She also chairs The Diversity Project, a cross-business initiative aimed at improving diversity across all dimensions within the investment and savings profession. Helena was CEO of Newton Investment Management for fifteen years before stepping down last August. She will be joining Legal and General IM in May. In her new role she will be focusing on personal investors, aiming to make investing more engaging and accessible. In the meantime she is writing a book, ‘A Good Time to be a Girl’.
In 2010, Helena founded the 30% Club, a business-led campaign to improve gender balance in the boardroom. The proportion of female directors on UK listed company boards has more than doubled and there are now ten 30% Clubs throughout the world. Helena also chairs Business in the Community’s Gender Equality campaign.
Helena is a Fellow of London Business School and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by Cambridge University in 2016. She was awarded the CBE in the 2012 New Year’s Honours list for her contribution to the role of women in business and has been named one of Fortune magazine’s World’s 50 Greatest Leaders.
Helena is a Philosophy graduate. She is married to a Buddhist priest and they have nine children.
In 2013, Suki founded OUTstanding, a membership organisation for LBGT+ executives and allies. OUTstanding supports the diversification of the boardroom and aims to highlight more visible senior LGBT+ role models to inspire the next generation of leaders. In partnership with The Financial Times, OUTstanding now produces the acclaimed LGBT+ Executive Top100 list, Ally Top30 list and Future Leaders Top30 list each year.
In 2017, Suki launched EMpower – or Ethnic Minority power. EMpower is a membership organisation with ten founding members across a range of sectors, from financial services to tech and FMCG. EMpower exists to celebrate BAME role models, and empower corporate firms with the leadership skills and knowledge to maintain and develop their BAME talent pipeline. Each year, in partnership with the Financial Times, EMpower publishes role model lists celebrating the top BAME Executives and Future Leaders, globally.
Carola Hoyos started as a journalist at the FT in the late 1990s when she became United Nations correspondent in New York, covering the diplomatic consequences of the September 11 terrorist attacks and the run up to the war in Iraq. As soon as diplomacy died and US war planes crossed the Iraqi border, Carola moved to the UK to cover the geopolitics of oil and gas and the sector’s biggest companies, which then led to a stint as defence correspondent. She became the editor of FT Executive Appointments and editor of the FT’s Non Executive Directors’ Club in 2014. Carola holds a dual degree in economics and international relations from Tufts University.