Rhonda Spears Bell
S.V.P., Marketing & Communications
National Urban League
New York City
Rhonda Spears Bell knew as early as the seventh grade that she wanted to pursue a career in communications, either as a television reporter or print journalist. She continued to nurture this interest, earning a bachelor’s degree in mass communications from Clark Atlanta University. Throughout her career, which spans more than 20 years, Spears Bell has worked as a public affairs coordinator and producer for Atlanta’s ABC affiliate, WSB-TV, and director of communications for the Mayor’s Office of New Orleans, where she managed special projects such as presidential visits, Super Bowl XXXI, Essence Music Festivals and Mardi Gras celebrations.
Spears Bells credits Jocelyn Dorsey, her first professional mentor at WSB-TV, with helping her to succeed. “In addition to technical skills, she taught me how to survive in a male-dominated field and how to thrive and gain respect as a professional,” says Spears Bell. Spears Bell currently is enjoying her role at the National Urban League as senior vice president, marketing and communications, which affords her the opportunity to work in multiple areas of media relations, such as organizing the creation of national marketing campaigns and producing the organization’s national annual conference. “The best part is knowing that what we do as an organization is mission-driven around economic empowerment,” Spears Bell says. “I see first-hand how our work on a national and local level is changing lives all across this country.”
In addition to being a successful career woman, Spears Bell is a wife, mother of two young girls, and stepmother of two young adults. She admits that striking a work-life balance isn’t always easy. As a licensed minister of the gospel, however, she relies on her faith and a positive outlook to help her be as “present” as possible in both her personal and professional lives.