Ceara Flake is vice president and deputy general counsel at the National Retail Federation. In this role, she serves as an in-house legal expert, generalist and innovative partner to internal business clients and executive leadership on business transactions and contractual matters, legal compliance and risk management, corporate governance, and retail legal content and programming. In addition to her enterprise-wide legal role, she serves as diversity, equity and inclusion strategist for NRF’s DE&I retail community, providing vision, oversight and coordination to promote, increase and sustain DE&I throughout the retail industry.
Flake joined NRF from the American Cleaning Institute, the U.S. cleaning products trade association. She served there for seven years, initially as director of legal affairs before becoming assistant general counsel. At ACI, Flake was relied on as a trusted legal advisor to internal clients and corporate member stakeholders, managing the gamut of ACI’s legal affairs including transactions, compliance, governance, and trademark and brand management. In addition to her general counsel experience, she has a track record of leading teams of cross-functional stakeholders to promote innovation. Flake is one of the leaders credited with pioneering and building a solid and sustainable infrastructure for the ACI Future Leaders initiative, an unprecedented industry-level innovation lab that researches, designs and delivers solutions on cross-cutting industry issues.
Prior to serving as in-house counsel in the trade association realm, Flake explored her passion for communications by teaching legal communications courses at Howard University’s Cathy Hughes School of Communications.
Flake holds a bachelor’s degree with honors from Denison University and her Juris Doctor from Georgetown University Law Center. In between college and law school, she interned on Capitol Hill as a staffer for former U.S. Senator Fred Thompson, R-Tenn., and as a fellow for the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation. After law school she clerked for Hon. Edgar D. Ross, Appellate Division of the United States District Court for the U.S. Virgin Islands and United States Superior Court for the U.S. Virgin Islands. After clerking, Flake practiced litigation at a leading boutique civil rights firm in Washington, D.C.