2022 People Who Made a Difference
GOODLETTSVILLE, Tenn. — As executive vice president and general counsel for Dollar General Corporation, Rhonda Taylor oversees risk and reputation management for the business. She is responsible not only for the traditional legal department but also the retailer’s compliance, internal audit, philanthropy, corporate social responsibility (CSR), risk management, public relations and government affairs functions. Beyond the functions and teams she oversees, her commitment to mentorship and developing talent, within and outside of her department, is what sets her apart.
“My role provides me the opportunity to be involved not only in setting company strategy and policies, but also to tell the story of Dollar General’s impact on the lives of our customers, employees and communities,” she says. “It’s a great responsibility and privilege to lead and shape how others perceive the positive impact we make, how we embrace and embody our mission of Serving Others and how we continue to keep our customers at the center of all we do.”
It is that mission that drew Taylor to the company. After graduating from Birmingham-Southern College and receiving her law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law, Taylor spent eight years in private practice with labor and employment firms. She joined Dollar General in 2000 as an employment attorney and assumed roles of increasing responsibility as a member of DG’s legal department for over a decade prior to being named vice president and assistant general counsel in 2010. Three years later, she assumed the title of senior vice president and general counsel. Taylor has served as DG’s executive vice president and general counsel since 2015.
“I’m proud of building teams that are viewed by the business as strategic partners,” she says. “I’m also fulfilling a childhood dream of becoming a lawyer. During summer breaks as a child, I watched the “Perry Mason” television show with my great aunts, and I remember thinking I wanted to be a lawyer — long before I ever knew what being a lawyer really meant.”
Taylor’s days, as do the challenges, results and successes of the role, vary greatly as a result of her diverse team and responsibilities. Her compliance, internal audit, risk and legal teams focus on mitigating or managing a wide variety of issues both inside and outside of the organization, while the CSR/philanthropy, public relations and government affairs teams bring the stories of DG’s positive impact on its employees and local communities to life, promoting and protecting the company’s reputation.
Adds Taylor, “I also strongly believe in the power of education and literacy and am proud of the work we do through the Dollar General Literacy Foundation. My oversight of our philanthropic and literacy efforts and service on the DGLF board hit particularly close to home, as my great-grandfather was unable to read or even sign his name. It’s a great honor to work for a company that does so much to provide advancement opportunities for not only its employees and their families, but also its customers and communities.”
Taylor also draws satisfaction from watching team members, mentees and colleagues succeed, grow and develop, both professionally and personally.
“Mentoring — formally or informally — is one of the most important things I can do, and is one of my favorite leadership responsibilities,” she says. “It is important to me that I pay it forward by helping to support and encourage others, particularly women, to create and seize opportunities for their own development. My experiences as well as my broad understanding of the business enable me to understand where others are and help them navigate their own journey.”
Since Taylor joined Dollar General, the company’s annual net sales have grown from $4 billion to nearly $38 billion. Throughout that time, Dollar General’s focus on its mission of Serving Others has never wavered, she says.
“Todd [Vasos, Dollar General’s retired chief executive officer] always talks about leaving things better than you found them,” she says. “I’m proud of all that my team has accomplished together and how we have supported the company’s efforts to fulfill its mission and improve the lives of its employees, customers and communities.”