In May Erika James became the first Black woman to lead a top-25 business school. In 2012 Rosalind Brewer was appointed as the first Black female president and CEO of Sam’s Club, a members-only warehouse club channel. Though it appears that Black women have made incredible headway, we only account for 1.9 percent of boardroom positions in corporate America.
Obtaining leadership positions in the workforce is no easy task. More often than not, Black women face what is known as the double burden. They not only have to be cognizant of racism, but also sexism. It is essential we learn ways to advocate and steer through adversity. How can we do that, while putting our best foot forward?
Rhonda Joy McLean, Time Inc.’s Deputy General Council and co-author of The Little Black Book of Success: Laws of Leadership for Black Women, offers sound advice we all can take heed to.
Though she is small in stature, McLean’s larger-than-life personality is an inspiration to many. At the tender age of 13 she became a pioneer by integrating the local high school in a small southern town alongside two of her best friends. With unwavering support from her friends and family as well as her spiritual foundation, McLean has gone on to obtain four degrees, including a J.D. from Yale Law School, and has advanced up the corporate ladder. Today, as Time Inc.’s Deputy General Council the southern belle is responsible for one third of the law department and conducts regulatory compliance efforts for consumer marketing materials for the 21 magazines that Time Inc. publishes in the United States and Canada, including Time, People, Sports Illustrated, Fortune, Money, Cooking Light, Real Simple, InStyle and ESSENCE.
With her years of experience and knowledge, here are 10 tips McLean shared that will help you assert yourself and ascend to leadership positions in corporate America.