Mellody Hobson wears many hats. She is the president of Ariel Investments, the wife of Star Wars creator George Lucas, a mother and the current Chairman of the Board of Directors of Dreamworks Animation. But one role the 46-year-old doesn’t play is that of ‘the help.’

Back in 2006, Hobson received a call from her good friend and African-American politician Harold Ford when he was running for Senate in Tennesse. Ford needed national press for his campaign.

Hobson made a few calls and organized a lunch in association with a major media corporation. When she arrived with the esteemed politician, they were quickly taken to a back room and asked, “Where are your uniforms?”

While the pair now laugh about the incident, Hobson is no stranger to overt racism. But she used this experience to give a powerful TED Talk about race in America, targeting all Americans.

“Race in America makes people completely uncomfortable,” Hobson explains. “Bringing it up is like the conversational equivalent of touching the third rail.” But the businesswoman still wanted to take a proactive approach to this complex topic, “The first step of solving any problem is not to hide from it. The first step to any form of action is awareness.”