Chief Legal Officer, Buzzfeed, Inc.
As General Counsel and Corporate Secretary for Buzzfeed, Inc., Rhonda Powell leads a team of professional and administrative staff that supports all areas of the company’s rapidly growing digital media business. In her role, Rhonda provides both strategic and legal guidance to the organization on corporate and commercial transactional matters, compliance, employment and labor relations, risk management and intellectual property use and protection. Ms. Powell joined Buzzfeed in September 2018 from Complex Networks, where she previously served as Chief Legal Officer and Corporate Secretary, after twelve (12) years in various roles at Scripps Networks. Prior to joining Complex Networks, Ms. Powell held various roles over twelve (12) years with Scripps Networks (now part of Discovery Communications). Ms. Powell spent three years as Vice President, Business & Legal Affairs, managing the team providing negotiation and documentation support to the Digital Content Creation and Digital Advertising Sales teams across all Scripps Networks’ digital properties, including network-branded websites and Ulive.com. Ms. Powell utilized her analytical skills and judgment to assist clients in the development and implementation of their strategic and tactical plans and to provide transactional support. Rhonda assumed this role after five years leading the Business Affairs team serving Food Network, one of Scripps most popular and widely-distributed programming networks as well as Scripps’ newest network, Cooking Channel.
Ms. Powell joined Scripps Networks in late 2004 as Director in the Legal Affairs department, where she was responsible for negotiating and drafting agreements on behalf of her clients in the New Media, Business Development and Information Technology units. Her skills and dedication were vital to Scripps Networks’ successful completion of groundbreaking deals in its Business Development unit, including the licensing agreement with Kohl’s Department Stores. In addition, Rhonda’s significant contributions of knowledge and support assisted the Information Technology unit in negotiating agreements and developing internal policies in connection with a myriad of initiatives designed to upgrade and expand the company’s capabilities for its online properties and internal operations. Ms. Powell’s legal career began with law firm practice, including practice in the corporate departments of LeBoeuf, Lamb, Greene & MacRae and Proskauer Rose LLP, where she gained significant experience working on transactions in the communications, media, biotechnology and e-commerce areas, many of which involved the transfer and valuation of significant intellectual property assets. It was at Proskauer Rose that Ms. Powell began to develop her expertise in counseling clients with regard to intellectual property issues in the corporate law context. Ms. Powell left Proskauer Rose in 2000 to join the legal department of Reuters America Inc. While at Reuters, Ms. Powell was responsible for managing the company's non-standard transactional agreements and commercial relationships relating to the licensing of content and news, strategic relationships, acquisitions, procurement and outsourcing, as well as for counseling various operational and client-facing groups on topics ranging from use of open source code to rights management. Ms. Powell is graduate of Harvard University (magna cum laude w/ summa honors in major) and The University of Michigan School of Law, where she was named a Clarence Darrow Merit Scholar.
Ms. Powell serves on the Boards of Directors of PowerMyLearning, which has as its core mission the use of technology and creation of partnerships among parents, teachers and children to enhance and enrich the learning experience and the Food Education Fund, which supports Food and Finance High School, the only New York City public school providing students with a comprehensive culinary education. She is a mentor to several young women and men throughout the New York metropolitan area, including high school, college and law school students, as well as junior lawyers and has taken an active role in efforts to celebrate and enhance diversity in the corporate workplace and workforce.