Meet the Director: Rhonda Mims
Home Base: Charleston, South Carolina
Current Boards and Committees: Kymera International (people and compensation committee chair), Athena Alliance Inc. (audit committee chair), Big Brothers Big Sisters of America (governance committee chair), The JED Foundation.
First Appointment: Kymera International, a specialty materials company, in the fall of 2020.
Professional Background: I started my career as a practicing attorney and transitioned into a corporate executive role pretty early on. I’ve served as a district attorney, an assistant deputy state attorney general and a Department of Justice trial attorney. I have also served in the roles of chief legal officer and corporate affairs officer, chief public affairs officer, chief marketing officer, president of several corporate foundations, and chief communications and diversity officer. I am a left- and right-brain thinker and have loved using both my analytical and creative skills.
Professional Associations: Former board chair of the Executive Leadership Council and the Thirty Percent Coalition. Member of the National Association of Corporate Directors, the PAGE Society and the South Carolina Bar.
Best Board Advice: When I was interviewing for my first corporate board seat, a colleague advised me to select my first board seat wisely. She said, “It will set the course for future board opportunities.” She also counseled me to make sure the board culture was welcoming and inclusive. From her perspective, you can’t have an impact if your opinion or perspective isn’t welcomed. I totally agree with the advice offered.
Most Difficult Thing About Board Service: The most difficult aspect of board service is reminding myself of the distinction between governance and management. After my long career focused on adding value and delivering results, board work requires me to continue to do both, but from a different vantage point.
Most Rewarding Thing About Board Service: I am currently serving as a strategic advisor for a number of corporations, and I love the counseling and advising aspect of board service, which aligns nicely with this phase of my career. The ability to support the management team without being responsible for execution is a nice change. I also love seeing management teams have “Aha!” moments after challenging them to think differently about an issue.
Book Every Board Member Should Read: I am rereading The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable by Patrick Lencioni. It is applicable in the boardroom because I truly believe a board can’t do its best work without trust. As the book explains, trust is earned and required for success.
Personal Motto: Interpersonal skills like empathy and emotional intelligence are critical not only in management roles, but also when serving on a board. The ability to understand personal dynamics is a hallmark leadership capability that should not be overlooked regardless of the organization or situation. Even when empathy doesn’t come naturally, one should always attempt to put oneself in the shoes of others to fully understand perspectives and the end goal. Your board colleagues will appreciate the effort.