Michele Coleman Mayes
Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary
Michele Coleman Mayes, was appointed Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary at The New York Public Library in 2012. She serves as chief legal officer and is responsible for guiding NYPL's legal strategy to enable the Library to achieve its mission.
Before joining The New York Public Library, Mayes was Executive Vice President and General Counsel for the Allstate Corporation. Having previously served as General Counsel for Pitney Bowes, Inc., she has also held leadership positions at Colgate-Palmolive Company and the Unisys Corporation. From 1976 to 1982, Mayes served at the U.S. Department of Justice as an Assistant United States Attorney in both Detroit and Brooklyn, rising to Chief of the Civil Division in Detroit.
Widely recognized as a leader in legal and philanthropic circles, Mayes has been the recipient of numerous professional honors, including the American Bar Association's Margaret Brent Award and the Minority Corporate Counsel Association Trailblazer Award. She was named to the Ethisphere® Institute's "Attorneys Who Matter" list of general counsels in 2011, two years after making the National Law Journal's list of "Most Influential General Counsels."
The American Lawyer honored her with a Lifetime Achievement award in October 2012.
In 2011 she co-authored Courageous Counsel: Conversations with Women General Counsel in the Fortune 500, which chronicles the rise of women to the role of general counsel.
Mayes received a BA from the University of Michigan and a JD from the University of Michigan Law School.