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Barbara Bowles

Financier Barbara Bowles was born in Nashville, Tennessee, on September 17, 1947. Growing up in racially segregated Nashville, Bowles was an excellent student. She received her B.A. in mathematics with honors from Fisk University in 1968 and then accepted an offer from First National Bank of Chicago to fund her M.B.A. in finance, which she earned in 1971 from the University of Chicago, while working as a management trainee. She was the first African American in the program. Bowles spent over a decade in the investment management area of First National Bank (now Bank One) after she graduated, becoming the first African American woman there promoted to vice president. Bowles moved on to head the investor relations departments at Beatrice Companies, Inc. from 1981 to 1984 and Kraft, Inc. from 1984 to 1989.

In 1989, Bowles became the first African American female equity manager in Chicago when she established the Kenwood Group, Inc. It took six months to win her firm's first client, Quaker Oats. Since then, the Kenwood Group has attracted many other high profile clients, including: Abbott Laboratories, the Field Museum and the Chicago Transit Authority. Bowles' firm manages pension, endowment and public funds, is 100 percent minority-owned and manages assets of nearly $500 million. In 1996, Bowles became the first African American woman to launch a mutual fund with the debut of the Kenwood Growth and Income Fund. Her company has been featured in Crain's Chicago Business, Black Enterprise and various other media.

Bowles serves on the board of directors at Black & Decker Corporation; Georgia-Pacific Corporation; Wisconsin Energy Corporation; Hyde Park Bank and Trust Company of Chicago; the Chicago Urban League; Children's Memorial Hospital and Fisk University.

She is married to Earl Bowles and has one son.

Accession Number

A2002.098

Sex

Female

Archival Photo 1
Interview Date

7/16/2002

Last Name

Bowles

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Occupation
Organizations
Speakers Bureau

No

Archival Photo 2
First Name

Barbara

Birth City, State, Country

Nashville

HM ID

BOW01

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Tennessee

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

If you believe it and if you work at it, you can achieve it.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

9/17/1947

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Pizza

Short Description

Investment manager Barbara Bowles (1947 - ) became the first African American female equity manager in Chicago when she established the Kenwood Group in 1989. In 1996, Bowles became the first African American woman to launch a mutual fund with the debut of the Kenwood Growth and Income Fund.

Employment

First National Bank

Beatrice Companies, Inc.

Kraft, Inc.

Kenwood Group

Favorite Color

Blue

DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Barbara Bowles interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Barbara Bowles lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Barbara Bowles describes her parents' backgrounds

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Barbara Bowles remembers her neighborhood in Nashville, Tennessee during her childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Barbara Bowles recalls the schools, teachers and experiences from her childhood in Nashville

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Barbara Bowles talks about segregation and the Civil Rights Movement in Nashville

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Barbara Bowles weighs her major in college

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Barbara Bowles details her experiences at Fisk University and being recruited by IBM

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Barbara Bowles details her experiences as a young executive at First National Bank of Chicago during the late 1960s

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Barbara Bowles shares an anecdote of her mother's hardscrabble existence in Alabama

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Barbara Bowles shares stories from her experiences at First National Bank of Chicago

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Barbara Bowles talks about her transition into a new position at Beatrice Foods International

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Barbara Bowles details her job duties at Beatrice Foods International and Kraft Foods Inc.

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Barbara Bowles decides to start her own investment company

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Barbara Bowles explains the activities of her investment company, The Kenwood Group, Inc.

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Barbara Bowles details how her investment company obtained Quaker Oats as a client

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Barbara Bowles explains life on the stock exchange trading floor

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Barbara Bowles offers financial advice for the African American community

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Barbara Bowles contemplates the legacy of her investment firm, The Kenwood Group, Inc.

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Barbara Bowles explains the significance of the business name, The Kenwood Group, Inc.

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Barbara Bowles gives career advice to youth wanting to get into investment banking

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Barbara Bowles comments on her mother's view of her success and how she would like to be remembered