Rhonda Lewsader: A Servant Leader

Rhonda Lewsader has forged an impressive career path for herself—a path that’s led her to her current role as the first female city attorney for the city of Springfield.

by Lillian Stone

Nov 2019

Rhonda Lewsader headshot by Brandon Alms
Photo by Brandon AlmsRhonda Lewsader is the first female city attorney for the city of Springfield. Purchase Photo

Average day: “There is no average day. Whatever I think is going to happen is usually not what happens. There are a lot of things that come up—but that’s also a lot of fun, because I never know what’s next.”

Her vision for the position: “At the end of the day, we’re a service department. My goal is to make the law department more responsive to the needs of City Council, the City Manager’s office, and City departments by providing quicker response times. I plan to reach this goal by matching the strengths of my staff to required tasks and by improving processes where there are opportunities to improve efficiency.”

Where she looks for inspiration: “I get a lot of inspiration from the other members of the leadership team. I have been particularly inspired by Fire Chief David Pennington. Under his leadership, the City partnered to launch PulsePoint Respond to increase survival rates in cases of cardiac emergency. He is a model of professionalism, and his concern for his team is exemplary.”

Her favorite failure: “I’ve never had to manage people before, and it’s a big leap going from zero management experience to managing around 20 people. I don’t know if it qualifies as a failure, but there was a learning curve as I got my sea legs under me in terms of figuring out the best approach—an approach that includes making sure my staff is happy, providing a good environment for them and providing great services for the community. Ultimately, I’ve found that I really enjoy managing people and watching them succeed. Communication is very important, and you have to want others to succeed. In the end, it’s been a real pleasure.”

Advice she’d give her younger self: “Be a little bit bolder. Over time, you’ll learn how to be more confident in the fact that you work hard and do a good job.”