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“As the National President of NCBW, I take great pride in knowing that our organization is resolute in its commitment to assisting black girls and women in realizing their potential and developing the skillsets that are essential to becoming strong leaders.” Virginia W. Harris
Virginia W. Harris can be the role model for many as she set the bar high in her public service career. She is a dedicated, dynamic, and emphatic leader with strong finance-related experience. Before her retirement in 2006 from the Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners, she supported many companies with her outstanding funding and treasury skills while also participating in committees and advisory boards from religious organizations to universities and the Red Cross.
She is now serving as the acting National President of the National Coalition of the 100 Black Women organization, leading, forming, and realizing the vision to support black girls and women on their journey to achieve gender equality and workplace recognition. Founded in 1981, the NCBW enables women in leadership development, promotes black culture, and empowers its more than 2,800 members through in-person mentoring.
A Wonderful Career
Virginia W. Harris is a multiple graduate expert of different finance segments, including internal audits, finance management, and business administration, while also holds a Masters of Public Administration. In the spirit of lifelong learning, President Harris also enriched her experience through learning at Georgia’s Regional Leadership Institute, Leadership Atlanta, Leadership Gwinnett, and the Graduate of Harvard Non-Profit Leadership Program.
She has taken a serious career path and stepped up the ladder quickly, thanks to her being a recognized expert in various fields. Virginia W. Harris started as assistant treasurer, documenting bank transactions, supervising collection activities, and participating in cash flow forecasting. She has been promoted to treasurer, then to being Vice President of Programs, and lastly as President.
Throughout her active years, President Harris also participated in services boards of 11 foundations and organizations while still taking the time and energy to support the lecturing work at Historical Black Colleges and Universities. She won multiple awards for her self-giving work and her exemplary attitude.
Her greatest role model was her mother, Elisabeth, an educator teaching them ‘the importance of being strong-minded, smart women versus being feminine, and just relying on someone to take care of us.’ It was an early yet important experience for young Virginia that even besides a strong parent figure, she would have to own responsibility and make decisions for herself. Women’s rights and gender equality started to play a more and more significant part in her life, eventually leading to her becoming an advocate of black women’s rights.
As a proud grandmother, she enjoys having five wonderful grandchildren (three grandsons – Andrew, Ethan, Joshua, and two granddaughters – Ava and Hannah) from two adult children (Mark and Veketa). She lives in Metropolitan Atlanta, learns to play golf, and enjoys life through sports, traveling, and reading. Her late husband was Keith Harris.
What Can We Learn From Her
President Harris’s life holds decades of professional and personal experience, from which we all can learn something valuable.
- Asking questions is an important skill, but there are times when it feels unnecessary. Try to look for the answer first yourself, then turn to others for support.
- Standing up for something you believe in can become a successful and recognized professional career.
- Search for the right mentors to help you along your journey. For President Harris, it was Pastor and Senator Warnock to whom she looked up to and could turn to.
- She always takes the time to give back to the community, let it be through mentorship, or fight for black women’s rights as a public officer.
Now retired, President Virginia W. Harris is active as she has ever been, supporting her loved ones as well as Atlanta and the United States.
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Naghilia is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of WomLEAD. WomLEAD is a print and digital leadership Magazine that made its debut in 2017. We are the first magazine to celebrate women who have gone above and beyond the call of duty in their professional endeavors and have been recognized as “Women Leaders ”. So, with women in mind, Naghilia brings you the best of education trends.