Four of the most powerful Black women changing the future of money

Abu Mubarik December 04, 2023
Mellody Hobson. Photo: Linkedin/Mellody Hobson

The global finance industry has for so long been dominated by men. However, in recent times, more women have been playing leading roles in various financial institutions. And they also cut across races and continents. 

Some of them include Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, who is in charge of the  World Trade Organization (WTO). Others like Thasunda Duckett lead Fortune 500 companies. Below are four Black women leading the charge in global finance.

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is a former Nigerian Finance Minister. She was appointed as the World Trade Organization (WTO) Director-General in 2021. The position made her the first black woman and African to hold the position.

Before her current position, she was the managing director at the World Bank, where she had oversight responsibility for the World Bank’s operational portfolio in Africa, South Asia, Europe, and Central Asia. 

Okonjo-Iweala spearheaded several World Bank initiatives to assist low-income countries during both the food and later financial crisis. She has chaired the replenishment of over $40 billion for the International Development Association (IDA), the grant, and the soft credit arm of the World Bank, the Rockefeller Foundation wrote.

Mellody Hobson

Mellody Hobson is co-CEO and president of Ariel Investments who is leading Project Black, a private equity fund that invests in middle-market companies and provides them with capital and contacts. By connecting them with customers and capital, Project Black, which is being executed with JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, aims to get more black CEOs and executives into the upper tiers and C-suites, according to Forbes. The project also seeks to assist minority-owned businesses grow to the extent that they can become suppliers to large corporations like Walmart.

In 2022, Project Black made its first investment by acquiring 52.5% of Sorenson Communications from other private equity investors at an enterprise value of $1.3 billion. The company based in Utah now has 13 people of color across its C-suite and boardroom, up from one, following the acquisition. Project Black will in the future also look at minoritizing companies in other areas such as technology, health care, and manufacturing.

Hobson’s decision to support black businesses was also influenced by her rise in corporate America. In 2021, she became the first African-American woman to chair the board of a Fortune 500 company, Starbucks. Hobson first started as an intern at Ariel Investments 32 years ago before rising through the ranks to become the co-chief executive officer and the highest shareholder of the investment firm.

Thasunda Duckett

Thasunda Duckett was the first black woman on the Operating Committee at JP Morgan. Before her elevation, she was the Chief Executive Officer of Chase Consumer Banking, a division of JP Morgan. She also became the second Black woman to head a Fortune 500 company following her appointment as the president and chief executive of the Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America (TIAA).

In 2018, Duckett was named one of the most powerful women in banking by American Banker magazine. In 2019, she was named one of Fortune’s Most Powerful “Women to Watch.” Serving on a number of boards, Duckett is from Texas and began her career at Fannie Mae, leading affordable housing initiatives for people of color. She holds a B.A. in finance and marketing from the University of Houston and an MBA from the Hankamer School of Business at Baylor University.

Valerie Mosley

Valerie Mosley has handled a $8 billion portfolio with Wellington Management Group, where she was made a partner. After leaving the firm in 2021, she founded Valmo Ventures, Inc. which specializes in trend identification, global wealth management, and corporate advisory. She also served on President Obama’s Board of Advisors on Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston’s Advisory Board for Diversity.

She has a first degree in history from Duke University and also an M.B.A. degree in finance from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Finance. After graduating, she pursued a career at Wall Street.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: December 4, 2023

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