Roderick Akelo Hardamon

Director, Co-Head of Mergers & Acquisitions ? Citi Markets & Banking Citigroup Inc. ? New York City ? Age: 30

Roderick Akelo Hardamon loved to play Monopoly as a child. Little did he realize that the board game would become a blueprint for his career. ?When I graduated from college I didn?t know what I wanted to do as a career, but I always had an affinity for the game of Monopoly,? Hardamon says. ?It was as close [as I could get] to what Wall Street was to me.?

Today, Hardamon is director and co-head of mergers and acquisitions for Citi markets and banking and banking at Citigroup Inc. ?I have a passion for mergers and acquisitions because of my love of Monopoly. I love the people dynamics, how opportunities will strategically change businesses and how it?s going to affect management structures within a particular company.? he says.

Hardamon joined Citigroup in 1997, the summer prior to graduating?Magna Cum Laude?from Morehouse College in Atlanta with a B.A. in accounting and philosophy. He mingles easily with corporate powerbrokers and industry titans, thanks largely to his mentor, Ingrid Saunders Jones, senior vice president, Global Community Connections, the Coca-Cola Co., whom he met when he was a student at Morehouse. ?She was the first person to expose me to how corporate America functions, how you speak and how you carry yourself during social functions.,? Hardamon says.

He now mentors up-and-coming executives of color through the diversity leadership program he created at Citigroup, providing them with peer coaching and helping them to practice their social networking skills. ?I was heavily involved in recruiting and mentoring junior professionals and realized there was no formalized system to help them go from middle-management to upper-management,? Hardamon explains. ?Without the right champions and voices speaking on your behalf, it?s difficult to get ahead. If they don?t know you, they can?t speak for you. So, I try to provide [the junior execs] with those introductions and expand their networks.?