Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead book cover
The Having-It-All Myth strikes again. I stumbled upon this gem in ESSENCE’s round-up of shining moments of 2013:


Mellody Hobson is much more than just the new wife of billionaire filmmaker George Lucas.  The Ariel Investments president serves on several boards, including the Starbucks Corp., and is chairwoman of the board of directors for DreamWorks Animation SKG.  She’s also a regular on-air financial contributor for outlets like the Tom Joyner Morning Show and CBS.  As if that were not enough, she and Lucas also welcomed their first child, Everest, who was born by surrogate in August.  Who says we can’t have it all?

Umm, I do.  And I bet Hobson would agree.

Sure, she was the youngest of six children raised by a single mom in inner-city Chicago and went on to Princeton and great professional success.  But despite what the magazine quips, I suspect Hobson would contest the outdated notion that she now “has it all.”

She has a lot, certainly.  But she could probably name without hesitation several things that she doesn’t have—sleep for one.  (Her work ethic and fitness routine are legendary.  Pre-baby she swam at 4 a.m. and ran right after.)

I would love to hear her discuss the trade-offs, sacrifices and compromises that underpin her success. After all, one of her signature expressions is “Don’t major in the minor.” Clearly, she sets priorities, focuses energy and executes over the long haul.

She touts patient, value-oriented investments for a living. Her voice soothed viewers of Good Morning America, Nightline and World News Tonight years ago when Lehman Brothers declared bankruptcy and fools spoke of putting money in gold or mattresses.  “Don’t just do something, stand there,” she counseled, urging viewers to stay the course.

Hobson has bolstered financial literacy among women and minorities.   She’s offered excellent, practical money management advice in media outlets from morning shows to magazines.  Her investment firm even sponsors a public school on the south side of Chicago and teaches sound investment principles to its students and community.

She’s an inspiration and worthy of all the positive media coverage she receives.  But make no mistake, she’s not a role model because she has it all.  Rather, she’s a wise woman because she defined her own specific vision of success and worked it.

Mellody, if you’re out there, let me interview you!

Recommended Reading

The Unsinkable Mellody Hobson (via CNN Money)

Mellody Hobson: Champion of Financial Literacy (via Chicago Tribune)

Mellody Hobson & Jeffrey Katzenberg (Via CNN Money)