Ms. Cheryle A. Wills – 1982

This exemplifies our Black Professional for 1982, Cheryle A. Wills, and her marvelous philosophy. This energetic, community-minded young lady feels she is only doing the least of her duties to mankind by serving on the various boards and communities that occupy her busy day.

In 1971, Cheryle was appointed to the Cleveland Public Library Board, the first Black woman appointed in the one hundred and eight-year history of the board. The Cuyahoga Mental Health and Retardation Board called on Cheryle in 1974 to serve as Chairperson of the Finance Committee. Mayor Voinovich appointed her to the City of Cleveland Planning Commission in January of 1981. Cheryle sits on the boards of the Phyllis Wheatley Association, United Way Services, YMCA, YWCA, Goodwill Industries, Cuyahoga Women’s Political Caucus, Hospice Council, Better Business Bureau, Dyke College, Operation PUSH, Karamu and the Ohio Citizens Council, just to name a few.

She is a member of the Women’s City Club, Cuyahoga Women’s Political Caucus, the Charter Class of Leadership Cleveland, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, NAACP, Urban League of Greater Cleveland, Carnegie Roundtable, Operation Alert, and Jack & Jill, Inc.

Her list of awards is equally as long. They include the Council of Economic Opportunity Achievement Award in 1972; Civic Award, National Council of Negro Women, 1976; Neighbor of the Year, Central Community 1973; Outstanding Young Citizen Award for the City of Cleveland in 1976: Cleveland Business League, Community Award in 1979; and the Council of Minority Business Men Award, 1981. In 1976, she set another record by being the first woman to receive the Distinguished Service Award from the Cleveland Jaycees. In the same year, the Cleveland Press chose Cheryle as one of Twenty Outstanding Women in Greater Cleveland.

The great granddaughter of a slave, the granddaughter of a farmer, and the daughter of an Associate Dean of the University of Wisconsin, this is but a part of the history of our honoree, Cheryle. She provides us with a role model in a time when leaders are so few. We, The Black Professionals Association, are proud and honored to salute Cheryle Wits our Black Professional of the Year 1982.