Ceara Flake is vice president and deputy general counsel at the National Retail Federation. In this role, she is responsible for providing corporate and legal analysis and advice on business matters and working closely with internal business clients on both contract and compliance matters. She assists in strategically planning projects, agreements and communications and engages in ongoing work to assure compliance with the laws applicable to nonprofits.
Flake joined NRF from 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 collaborating cross-functionally 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. 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..