Business Development Director
Lyxor Asset Management Inc.
New York City
Johnita Mizelle has been reaching for the stars since she was a teenager. A NASA internship while in high school prepared Mizelle for Spelman College, which she attended on a full tuition scholarship from the renowned government agency. Ten years after graduating from the historically Black college with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry, she embarked
on another educational journey, this time at Harvard Business School. “Attending a HBCU and an Ivy League institution had different experiences,” she says. “But here is what was similar: the intellectual rigor, the expectation of success, and inspiration and motivation from your peers.” The recipient of a Morgan Stanley Fellowship and a Dean’s Award for leadership at Harvard, she graduated with Master of Business Administration.
The tools Mizelle acquired at her alma maters have helped her to become a leading expert in her field at big investment banking firms like Goldman Sachs & Co. and Morgan Stanley. At just 27, she was given the responsibility of opening and running the Midwest office location for The Williams Capital Group LP, an investment firm founded by Christopher J. Williams, an African-American. “Having the opportunity to run the Chicago office for Williams Capital sparked a lifelong journey of defining and refining my leadership style and capabilities,” she says.
Today, Mizelle is the director of business development of Lyxor Asset Management. In order to decompress from the hectic hedge fund industry, she looks forward to spending her down time outdoors. “I like to unwind by playing golf,” she says. “Being outside allows me to relax.”
If Mizelle had an extra hour each day, she would use it to mentor, providing an “all-access” policy for those seeking guidance. “Be comfortable with change,” she counsels. “Flexibility and comfort in having imperfect information and complex situations will become a norm as you advance in your career.”