Rhonda Joy McLean is the President and CEO of RJMLEADS LLC, a leadership consultant company based in New York City. She is the former Deputy General Counsel of Time Inc., a global media company, where she managed one third of the law department for nearly 20 years and provided legal counsel to over 200 clients, including the print, digital and social media marketing staff for Time, People, Sports Illustrated, Fortune, Money, Entertainment Weekly, and Essence.
Prior to joining Time Inc., Ms. McLean was the Deputy Director of the Northeast Region of the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”), managing over 50 employees, including attorneys, investigators, law student interns and support staff, and prosecuting cases against antitrust law and consumer law violators across the United States. A noted public speaker, she is also the co-author of the best-selling book series “The Little Black Book of Success” series, written with her longtime colleagues Elaine Meryl Brown and Marsha Haygood, also former Time Warner executives. Her books and consulting business have taken her around the country to conduct leadership workshops, board strategic planning retreats and career advancement seminars. She counts leading law firms, corporate legal departments, law schools, colleges and universities among her clients. Ms. McLean has been featured in Savoy, Essence, Black Enterprise, Inside Counsel, Ebony and Best Lawyers magazines.
A graduate of Yale Law School, Attorney McLean has served as chair of the Yale Law School Executive Committee, (serving over 15,000 alumni), and as a director of the Yale Law School Fund, the fundraising arm of the school. She co-chaired the committee coordinating her 35th Law School Reunion in 2018.
She is a former board chair of the Better Business Bureau of Metropolitan New York, an organization dedicated to business integrity and customer service, and a past board chair of the New York Women’s Foundation, which awards over $16 million in grants to small non-profit organizations each year. Currently, she is a member of the Board of Trustees of Union Theological Seminary (“Union”), where she is Chair of the Development Committee. Union is one of the oldest non-denominational seminaries in the world, and has trained a large cadre of social justice champions, including Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Ms. McLean is also the Immediate Past President of the Greater New Chapter, The Links, Incorporated (“Links”), the New York affiliate of an international organization of business and professional women of African descent. The Links are comprised of over 16,000 members worldwide who provide millions of dollars in scholarships to students each year, and render community services in the areas of the arts, health and human services, services to youth, national and international trends to underserved communities across the globe.
Attorney McLean has received numerous awards for her dedication to excellence in and greater access to the legal profession, as well as her commitment to public service and philanthropy, particularly with regard to women’s rights, protecting victims of domestic and family violence and more inclusive access to leadership opportunities in the public and private sectors.
In May, 2019, she received the Vision Award from the New York Women’s Foundation, and in August, 2019, she received the Key to the City from her hometown of Smithfield, North Carolina, where she integrated the public high school in 1965 with two other teenagers. In the Fall of 2019, she delivered Keynote Addresses for the New York Coalition of Women’s Initiatives in the Law, the New York State Bar Association’s Corporate Counsel Institute and the Big Apple Cluster of the Links, Incorporated. In the Fall of 2020, she delivered Virtual Keynote Addresses for public and private enterprises and spoke to law school, university and college leadership and business management classes/students.
In July, 2020 Ms. McLean was appointed to the Advisory Board of the Transformative Leadership Program in the Lubin School of Business at Pace University in New York City. In December, 2020, Ms. McLean was awarded the Constance Baker Motley Lifetime Achievement Award from the Association of Black Women Attorneys. In June, 2021, Ms. McLean was confirmed as a returning member of the Yale Law School Fund Board of Directors for a three-year term.