Mayor of Charlotte, North Carolina
Vi Alexander Lyles, is now in her third term as Mayor of Charlotte. As the nation’s 15th largest city, with nearly 900,000 residents, Charlotte is one of the top 10 fastest-growing large cities in the United States and one of only three cities to have grown by double digits each decade from 1960 through today.
Under Mayor Lyles’ direction, Charlotte continues to lead the nation in community engagement and action to address affordable housing. In 2018 and 2020, voters approved $100 million collectively – attracting private-sector help that often exceed a monetary match. The city has turned these commitments into investments in mixed-income housing, providing housing options for more than 5,000 families.
Mayor Lyles has led efforts to anticipate and plan for growth, focusing on the key areas of transportation infrastructure and community safety. The city launched comprehensive plan 2040 to establish community-driven growth guidelines. During Mayor Lyles’ first term, the Charlotte Area Transit System opened a 19-mile light rail transit line connecting North Charlotte and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte to Uptown Charlotte. The city has also embraced a Vision Zero philosophy dedicated to eliminating fatalities on roadways.
Job growth has flourished under Mayor Lyles’ leadership, with the creation of more than 27,000 new jobs. Among its recent accolades, Charlotte is the #1 fastest-growing TechTown in the U.S., a top 10 rising city for startups, and the #1 city in America for growth in female-owned businesses. In the past year alone, Honeywell, a Fortune 100 company, relocated its headquarters, Lowes invested in a new tech center, and Microsoft committed to expand operations in Charlotte. This expansion is in addition to homegrown successes like financial services companies such as LendingTree and Avid Exchange committing to doubling their businesses in Charlotte.
For Mayor Lyles, job creation is an important economic growth indicator, but workforce development is her personal passion. She is a champion for those who face barriers to employment, helping them develop their skills and talents, and ensuring that the city is committed to opportunities for all.
A proud history of public service distinguishes Mayor Lyles’ career in Charlotte. Prior to her election as Mayor, she served two terms on the City Council as an at-large representative from 2013 to 2017 and was voted mayor pro tem by her peers for two of those years. Even before turning to elected office, Mayor Lyles was a valued city employee. Highlights of her career of service include creating the city’s first capital budget and leading the restructuring of government programs to evaluate and assess performance audits for city programs.
After retiring from the city, Lyles joined the Lee Institute and Flynn Health Holt Leadership as a consulting director, assisting non-for-profit governmental organizations in strategic planning and project implementation. She worked with the Charlotte Housing Authority Moving Forward initiative, the Committee of 21 transportation initiative, and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg African American Agenda and Achieve Together community-based advocacy education initiative.
In 2009, the Southern Piedmont Chapter of the National Forum for Public Administrators created the Viola ‘Vi’ Lyles Young Public Administrator Award, which recognizes “energy, commitment and drive for excellence in work and community service”.
Mayor Lyles holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Queens University, and a Master of Public Administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is a trained facilitator and executive coach, completing programs at the Institute of Government, North Carolina State University and the Lee Institute’s American Leadership Forum.