The Little Black Book of Success - Official Website

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Elaine Meryl Brown, Marsha Haygood, and Rhonda Joy McLean, three dynamic corporate veterans founded L.E.A.D.S. Leadership Excellence and Development Strategies LLC.

L.E.A.D.S. provides:
·      Lunch and Learn
·      Workshop programs
·      Presentations
·      Motivational Speaking

Corporations Include: Time Warner, Johnson & Johnson, American Express, JP Morgan Chase, ESPN, Warner Bros

Non-Profits Include: National Organization for Women, NY Women¹s Foundation, Boys & Girls Club, Coalition of 100 Black Women, Links Foundation, National
Bar Association

Contact us.

Interview at the Congressional Black Caucus Click here

The Authors

Elaine Meryl Brown | Marsha Haygood | Rhonda Joy McLean


In early 2000, an HBO Human Resources executive invited me to attend my first leadership class - the Executive Leadership Development Program sponsored by NAMIC the National Association for Multiculturalism in Communications. It turned out to be a program that changed my life. As a Creative Director in this class of mostly business/marketing students, it was the first time ever that I saw myself as a leader. With an opportunity to identify my own leadership skills, learn new leadership skills and tap into my leadership potential, it was here I had my “Aha” moment: Leaders are not just born, leaders can be made. There are leadership skill sets and rules that can be taught just as grammar is taught in English and fractions can be taught in Math. After taking this class and the whole notion of leadership seriously, I set out to put what I learned into practice and reached out to form my own support network and mentors. Getting together a few colleagues from across the Time Warner divisions, I gathered a group of black women executives for dinner among them were Marsha Haygood and Rhonda Joy McLean. We met every quarter and our dinners became known as Girls Night Out or “GNO” dinners. Still excited about my leadership experience, I wanted to write about it and share my “Aha” moment with others who might not have tapped into their leadership potential. After several attempts at a treatment for a book on leadership and several rejections, I realized that this book was much bigger than me, that I couldn't write it on my own. Not losing sight of how much value a book like this would have for black women, others like myself, I asked members of GNO if they would like to participate in the writing project. As a result, Marsha and Rhonda, also passionate and committed to sharing their thoughts and experiences were up for the task. It was the beginning of a great collaboration that would bring 90 years of leadership experience to The Little Black Book of Success: Laws of Leadership for Black Women.

For more info on Elaine Meryl Brown, go to and

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I have been a trailblazer, considered the “first lady” and “only lady” in more situations than I can count as I've journeyed along my career path from temporary, part-time receptionist to Executive Vice President. In many of the situations that I encountered along the way, I have had to rely on the confidence and self-esteem I built from my mother's encouragement and the support of my family. Often I had to “dig deep” and rely on my mother's words that “I could do anything I put my mind to.”

During my 25+ years in the corporate arena, I have experienced some difficult situations and injustices but for the most part, there have been more good situations than bad ones, and I have tried to learn from all of these experiences. For many years during my climb up the corporate ladder, I was one of the “only”. Now as a career coach and small business owner I want to share some of the lessons I learned along the way. We all know that there is no guidebook to a successful career, but my hope is that this book will offer insight and support to women who do not always have access to coaches, mentors or the “old boys' network.”

For more info on Marsha Haygood, go to

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From the time I was thirteen and integrated the local high school in my small Southern town with two of my best friends, I have benefited from my family's unwavering support and the “home training” that they provided. That grounding and spiritual foundation have served me well, enabling me to obtain four degrees, culminating with my J.D. from Yale Law School in 1983. After working in the not-for-profit sector for nearly ten years before attending law school, I have been a practicing attorney for more than twenty-five years and have experience in the public, private and academic sectors, working my way up from entry- or mid-level management posts in each of those arenas. I have observed and participated in many changes in our society, including major advancements and additional opportunities for women and people of color. Even so, I still see young women making avoidable mistakes as they climb the corporate ladder. It is my hope that the leadership lessons in our book will help those women find their place at the senior management table and become the next generation of leaders in Corporate America and the world at large.

For more info on Rhonda Joy McLean, go to

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