Rhonda Ray currently serves as the Managing Director, Office of Policy, Research and Government Affairs with the Maryland Department of Commerce. In this role she oversees and directs a team responsible for research, government affairs, policy and program development, and performance measurement. She has an in-depth knowledge of State government and extensive experience in public policy, advocacy and organizational development.
Rhonda began her career at the Maryland Department of Commerce in 1996. After working as a Legislative Liaison Assistant for a little more than a year, Rhonda was appointed Director of the Office of Legislative Liaison in 1997 and has led various iterations of the unit for more than 20 years. She has been a key member of the Department’s leadership team for two decades and has provided organizational development and strategic planning advice for a number of Secretaries.
Prior to joining Commerce, Rhonda was the Director of Public Policy for the Maryland Food Committee. She led the policy and political strategy team for a statewide nonprofit organization dedicated to eradicating food insecurity and welfare dependence. Rhonda also served for two years as a Governor’s Policy Fellow, appointed by Governor William Donald Schaefer, and worked with the State’s Minority Business Enterprise Program at the Maryland Department of Transportation and at Commerce’s predecessor agency, the Maryland Department of Economic and Employment Development. Her academic research has focused on job creation and economic development.
Past volunteer experience includes serving on the boards of Women Entrepreneurs of Baltimore and Chesapeake Habitat for Humanity. She is a proud member of Leadership Maryland, class of 2014. Rhonda currently serves as a member of the board of directors for the Maryland Economic Development Association and co-chairs the Public Policy Committee.
A strong and enthusiastic supporter of public administration and public service, Rhonda continues to mentor undergraduate and graduate students who, like her, have accepted the calling of public service and wish to pursue a career in public policy and government. She has had a lifelong commitment to education and teaching and spent several years as an adjunct professor at the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) in the political science department leading an upper level course in Public Administration and Policy.
Outside of work, Rhonda has an intense love for the performing and visual arts and spends her free time traveling, cooking and reading.