In honor of Women’s History Month, this March Downtown Visions reached out to 4th District Councilwoman Michelle Harlee to share her story.
Written by Yesenia Taveras
During Women’s History Month I’m reminded to pause and reflect on the progress I’ve made in my own career. As I share my story, I hope to help inspire those around me to keep working hard and pushing forward.
I feel very blessed to have had the opportunity to serve and make an impact on Wilmington City Council since 2017 as the 4th District City Council Member. I’ve had the heart of a servant well before getting elected and a desire to help people win in life! As a member of standing committees on the city council, I’ve also held numerous leadership positions outside my position as an elected official. I’ve also been serving as a leader at work, in the community, and at my church for many years before getting elected. Most of my former and current affiliations include:
Ministry of Caring Board Member
Stepping Stones Credit Union Board Member
New Destiny Fellowship Church Board Member
Coach for DuPont Sourcing Interns and Co-ops
CEO of “Polish Me Perfect” Grooming Classes for Women in the community
President of Compton Park Square Homeowners Association
4th District Neighborhood Planning Council – President
East Side Blue Print & East Side Rising Community Benefits Agreement Committee
4th District Democratic Wilmington City Committee Member
National Coalition of 100 Black Women Inc. Delaware Chapter Member
The relationships that I’ve developed in the community and through my work led to discussions about being a member on the Wilmington City Council and the path forward to what 4th District residents hoped their district would be. I threw my hat in the race for the 2016 election and won! Since then, I’ve been putting my experience and knowledge to good use as a member of the council to voice the concerns of more than 9,000 constituents while working with Stakeholders and developing public and private Sector relationships. For example, through relationship building within my district, I recently was able to support 5 youth organizations with a total of $50k in funding for youth programs and services. This is a big win for these organizations and families!
You’ll often hear some leaders ask the question, “What is your WHY in life?” My “why” in life is to help people win in leadership, work, and ministry by creating strategies and executing results by leading with integrity, information, love, and unity!
I’ve been connecting with leaders and connecting leaders to other leaders for years now! My capacity to learn and be led by others is always a moving target. Ways that I help people win in leadership is by sharing business acumen principles for success that is tested and proven. Being the CEO and Founder of “Polish Me Perfect” I share tips, tools, and techniques on how to enhance the inner and outer beauty for female children, teens, and adults. I’m also a huge advocate for helping people win at work through mentorship. When you help people win at work, both the organization and the employees benefit. People come to work doing things that mean something to them, that they feel are making a difference in the world today, and that is helping them to develop corporately and personally. I help people win at work by coaching Interns and Co-ops that work for DuPont to navigate the work environment and in the community to ensure a pleasant and successful experience while at DuPont.
Throughout my journey of success, I’ve also been able to break some barriers as I was the first person in my family to become an ordained minister and an elected official. I’ve found over the years that helping others win in ministry is also a very important duty. I’ve been able to do this through my work to empower, encourage, and educate women and men on how to reach their full potential using their spiritual gifts and natural talents. I remain committed to voicing the concerns of my constituents while working with stakeholders and developing public and private sector relationships. But, when I think about the legacy I want to leave, it will always be my life-long commitment to moving my community forward, working to improve my constituents’ quality of life – regardless of race, class, gender, or socio-economic status.
I love everything I do. I can’t imagine not doing any of the things I do because I love it all!
As the councilwoman for Wilmington’s 4th District, thank you for this opportunity to share my story and I wish everyone a Happy National Women’s History Month!
For the direct link to the story, visit the link here.