about Rhonda


Rhonda Joy McLean is the President and CEO of RJMLEADS LLC, a leadership consultant company launched in 2019.  She is the former Deputy General Counsel of Time Inc., where she managed one-third of the Law Department and oversaw legal compliance and data privacy protocols for over 200 clients and 22 brands for nearly twenty years, including People, Sports Illustrated, Entertainment Weekly, Fortune, Time, Money and Essence.  A co-author of two popular books on leadership development for women that she wrote with her friends and business partners Elaine Meryl Brown and Marsha Haygood, entitled “The Little Black Book of Success” series, Ms. McLean is also a principal of LEADS LLC, a company she runs with her co-authors.


A graduate of Yale Law School, Ms. McLean has served as Chair of the Yale Law School Executive Committee, representing over 15,000 alumni, and a director of the Yale Law School Fund Board.  She co-chaired her 35th Yale Law School Class Reunion in New Haven in October, 2018.


In 2017, Ms. McLean was invited to become a Trustee of Union Theological Seminary (“Union”) in New York and she is currently serving as Chair of the Development Committee on the Union Board.  She is a mentor in the inaugural RISE Program at Union that provides spiritual support and leadership development strategies for women of color either already in the ministry, or seeking to enter the ministry.   In March, 2019, she was confirmed as a member of the Dean’s Advisory Council for the Episcopal Divinity School at Union.  In 2015, Ms. McLean delivered the Commencement Address at the University of Saint Joseph in Hartford, Connecticut.  The University conferred an Honorary Doctorate of Humanities upon her for her lifelong commitment to scholarship, advocacy and service.


Ms. McLean is the Immediate Past President of the Greater New York Chapter of the Links, Incorporated, an international organization of businesswomen of African descent with over 15,000 members in the United States, the Caribbean and Great Britain that provides volunteer services and scholarship support to traditionally underserved communities within and without the United States.   Ms. McLean is also the Immediate Past Chair of the Board of Directors for the Better Business Bureau of Metropolitan New York.  She is an active alumna of the New York Women’s Foundation (“NYWF”) Board of Directors and a past NYWF Board Co-Chair. 


She has been honored by a number of organizations for her contributions to the legal profession, her work in the non-profit sector and her mentoring of countless attorneys and persons interested in pursuing a legal career, particularly those transitioning from other fields.  In August, 2019, she received the Key to the City of Smithfield, North Carolina, her hometown, for her decades of public service work and dedication to excellence and inclusion in the legal realm.  In May, 2019, she received the Visionary Award for Philanthropy from the New York Women’s Foundation.  In October, 2018, she received the Inspiration Award from the Coalition of Women’s Initiatives in Law and in September, 2017, she received the Trailblazer Award from the Black Women of Influence.


A noted public speaker, Ms. McLean delivered the Keynote Address in November, 2019 at the Second Annual Leadership Forum of the New York Coalition for Women’s Initiatives in Law in New York.  In October, 2019, she moderated Leadership Roundtables on Performance Feedback for women in-house counsel from across the country in Phoenix at the Annual Meeting of the Association of Corporate Counsel.  She also presented the Keynote Address at the New York State Bar Association’s Corporate Counsel Institute in October, 2019 entitled “Super Powers Every In-House Counsel Must Have:  What’s in Your Quiver?”


Ms. McLean is a mezzo-soprano and classically trained pianist.  She lives with her husband, William Craig, a retired nutritionist, playwright and poet, in Brooklyn, New York. 

© 2020 by Rhonda Joy McLean

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