In February 2014 I gave a talk at the Impact Summit, a conference of 250 top women in financial services. One person in particular stood out: Mellody Hobson, the president of Ariel Investments, a Chicago-based money management firm with offices in New York City and Sydney. Hobson serves as a director of Estée Lauder and Starbucks and chaired the board of DreamWorks Animation until its recent acquisition by Comcast-NBCUniversal. An impressive background — but that’s not why she caught my attention. Nor was it because she was the only African-American in attendance. It was her remarks during a session titled “Insights on Innovative Leadership.” Hobson noted how easy it is to conform to the usual ways of thinking in a firm and how important it is to fight that tendency. She also pointed out that being different makes you memorable and voiced her hope that people will embrace, not hide, their differences.