Meet Vi Lyles
Vi Lyles is the daughter of Robert and Mary Taylor, who raised her and her five brothers in Columbia, South Carolina. Along with his brother, Robert owned a construction company, Taylor Brothers Construction, where Vi and her siblings worked throughout their childhoods and her brothers still own and operate today. Mary was a teacher and constant matriarch of their family, church and community. Robert and Mary taught Vi to be a strong, independent thinker who stands up for herself and others – being the only girl amongst five boys gave her great practice. They also raised her to be a woman who valued others and constantly strives to improve herself and her community.
Growing up in the deeply segregated South, constantly faced with unabashed, brazen racism Vi had no choice to hone these skills. She dreamed of living in the big city – Charlotte – just over an hour away – where opportunities were plentiful and dreams could come true. She got her chance when she became one of the of the first Black women to attend Queens College, now Queens University. It was during that time Vi had to confront a hard truth – though Charlotte has bigger, it was plagued with the same injustices and inequity she confronted at home. Too many Charlotteans were being left behind. Never being the type to sit on the sidelines, Vi decided to dedicate her life and career to making Charlotte the place of her childhood dreams – where everyone has an equal opportunity to build a happy life and contribute to a thriving community.
After graduating with Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from Queens University and a Masters of Public Administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Vi built a life and family in Charlotte and dedicated herself to the service of the city. Vi’s commitment to leading us toward a better Charlotte has remained unwavering for her career in public service for over 40 years. Her proudest accomplishment is being mother to her two children Kwame and Aisha, 36 and 34, and grandmother to Aryah and Hailey.