In honor of Women’s History Month, each week, we’re celebrating a SUPERWOMAN!
This week, we’re celebrating the first African American Mayor of Charlotte, Vi Lyles!
Learn more about Mayor Lyles here:
Vi Alexander Lyles is the mayor of Charlotte, North Carolina. She became the city’s first ever African-American woman to serve as mayor when she was sworn into office on Dec. 4, 2017. Lyles is a visionary city leader with over 40 years of public service leadership experience in Charlotte. She is known for collaboration, leadership, and commitment to the city. Lyles is a professionally trained facilitator and executive coach, completing programs at the Harvard Institute of Government, North Carolina State University, and the Lee Institute’s American Leadership Forum. Throughout Lyles’ entire career, her commitment to making Charlotte a better place to live, work and raise a family has been unwavering. She values the abilities to work with the right people and using accurate information and sound reasoning to create a better community.
City of Charlotte
In her career with the City of Charlotte, Lyles developed a reputation as a visionary leader who worked hard for all Charlotte neighborhoods, particularly those which were historically underrepresented. Lyles was Assistant City Manager for the City of Charlotte from 1996 to 2004. She started her career as an analyst in the city’s budget department, and she later became Charlotte’s Budget Director. Lyles is most remembered for making the city government a more humane entity with connections to the communities it serves. She was known as a champion for all neighborhoods. In her nearly 30 years of work for city government, some of her key accomplishments are:
- Developed 22 balanced budgets and assisted with the creation of the city’s first capital budget.
- Directed the restructuring of government programs to evaluate and assess performance audits for city programs.
- Lead the development of the Community Safety Plan, which included community policing.
- Guided the development of the city’s affordable housing plan and Mecklenburg County’s Minority and Women’s Business Enterprise Program, a race-neutral program for small businesses. These community programs have significantly enhanced the quality of life for historically underrepresented populations in Charlotte.
After her retirement from the City of Charlotte, Vi remained committed to leading Charlotte to be a world-class city.
- Consulting Director with both The Lee Institute and Flynn Heath Holt Leadership, she leads corporate and not-for-profit governmental organizations in leadership, strategic planning, and project implementation to achieve tangible results.
- Startup Director for the Charlotte Mecklenburg Coalition for Housing, she worked with a newly formed citizen’s advisory group to revitalize the local government plan to end and prevent homelessness.
- Director of Community Outreach for the Democratic National Convention Host Committee, she designed Mayor Anthony Foxx’s Legacy Program based on research and community values. The program still impacts communities and neighborhoods throughout the city. She engaged women and minorities in every aspect of the convention to ensure that the national gathering truly represented the best of Charlotte.
Charlotte City Council
Inspired by leaders like Harvey Gantt and Anthony Foxx before her, in 2012, Lyles decided to run for Charlotte City Council. She is proud and humbled to have been elected an At-Large seat for two consecutive terms. Recognized as a leader amongst her peers, in 2014, the Council elected her Mayor Pro-Tem. In her tenure on the City Council, Lyles has:
- Chaired Transportation and Planning Committee, served as vice chair of Economic Development Committee and as a member of the Budget Committee
- Served as the Charlotte Representative on Charlotte Regional Transportation Planning Organization and the Centralina Freight Mobility Committee