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Be the person who creates

The Creative. May 01, 2021

Theresa Therilus

Meet Theresa Therilus, new appointed City Manager of North Miami, the first Haitian-American to lead this role, and the woman who cares for everyone in her community!

I was so excited when I was told I would be interviewing a woman holding such power like Theresa. She hopped onto our call and I thought this can’t be true, she is such a sweet, humble, beautiful being. Theresa introduced herself, and I read so much into her. I admired her for disrupting those spaces where men are highly favored. To live in a time where we can be open and hold a dialogue about gender equality, favoritism and mistreatment is so refreshing. One might say, there is nothing refreshing about these words, but the fact that Theresa decided to do something about it. To better educate herself, to find the proper connections, resources, mentorship, tools, and to simply live and learn throughout her journey makes her extraordinary. She is an example of change. An example of how we can debunk certain systems in places. I am honored to share with you all a little about this queen, Theresa Therilus. 


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North Miami’s NEW CITY MANAGER: Theresa Therilus

What are 3 words that best describe you?

Energetic. Thoughtful. Inquisitive.


As the new appointed City manager in North Miami, how do you feel your culture has influenced you in your journey?

My culture has all to do with my roots. Having parents that are immigrants, you learn to develop a level of humbleness and ambition. Take the next step with your best foot forward. I have better opportunities than my parents. I believe before anything, we are all humans first. We must be seen, and I am proud to represent all of North Miami. 


How does it feel to hold such educational power? Being an expert in educational studies.

Highly blessed to have had the opportunity I did. University of Miami was amazing. At Harvard, it was about the people I met, recognizing their experiences are different from mine, but I was able to learn from them.There's something in human experience. To always know and take full advantage to the best of my ability in my educational studies. Learning that when we have offers, we must do our due diligence to see what offer is best suitable for you. 

What does community mean to you?

EVERYONE!  Community is everyone, including myself. Putting everyone together for one vision, one goal of improvement. Communities build, change and they evolve. 

Being the first Haitian-American city manager in one of the cities with the largest Haitian population, what are a few of the ways you will be creating impact in the community?


Representation. To create the spaces for North Miami to move it forward. Being able to change the way our economics are in the city, and for it to be a prosperous one. We will work towards creating more jobs and educational opportunities. Also, carry on the culture of the community. I don't want to lose community in the midst of that. 


Aside from being the first Haitian-American City Manager you are also a woman, a strong one at that, what are some challenges you have faced in your industry in regards to gender equality?

Pay equality is one. I have learned in this industry that titles are very important. There exists reluctance to give women the same titles as male counterparts. The respect in the room, at times I am spoken over in these rooms. Also, there are accreditation issues, where good ideas are given to someone else in the room, rather than other women. I am a firm believer in uplifting the voices of other women, letting them know they too can be present and connected. Not to say, women can also find support in colleagues. 

How are you planning to create spaces for the small business owners in North Miami to understand they have a chance of survival and together we will fight for their recovery. 

We have already implemented one million dollars in grants for small businesses. We are taking care of food distribution, tenancy, mortgage payments and rent relief. In North Miami we also have a very strong chamber of commerce that's also there to help and support, where doors are always open for small business owners. With this said, we are working very hard and striving for new financial relief coming in. Educational opportunities are also really important since our kids are the generations to lead. Florida International University is creating classes in the medical and health fields to employ our residents. There is much development happening in North Miami, which will lead to job opportunities for the people in our community. We want to create the spaces for our small business owners to understand they are supported and we want to partner with them and work together to succeed and lift the spirits and financial stability for everyone.


Which hat has been your favorite one to wear so far? In terms of your career.

I like to say I don’t have a favorite one, I have learned so much from each role, which has been a major influence to the woman I have become today. For example in sports I have learned to be resilient In government, its integrity and a very fast paced environment. We work heavily in controlling crisis management. What I do know is that whatever position I do, I do with excellence and passion. 


Based on the year we had, businesses and brands have adapted and taken over the digital spaces as an avenue to educate and offer tools and resources for the community. Do you feel the city of North Miami will be visible on its digital platforms? If so, which ones come to mind as being priority?

We had to pivot quickly, meetings were all online, town hall, digital signing for documentation and we went to webinars in these digital spaces. We definitely are looking to amp up social media channels. We have a strong Facebook presence, but we are looking to utilize all platforms. Instagram is on high demand and high focus for us currently. IG is high focused. And on high demand. Currently, we still hold a strong population that is not digital savvy, we want to make sure our community is moving with us, and we will not move against them. 


What motivates you to show up daily to your place of work? To be part of the change, to be the change and walk the walk?

I am inspired by the possibilities of North Miami. It's the small things, it's the trash pickups, making sure there's clean water, sandbags, and we are best prepared for flooding. The government provides the essentials that people assume are just there. The opportunity to grow this city keeps me highly motivated and engaged day to day. North Miami we will get through this stronger. Always advocating for new ways to do business and new ways to learn. Always evolving. 


What is one favorite quote you would like to share with the Miami Vibes Family?

Why not YOU- YOU can be that person that creates that change. 


How can we best support you in this new role?

Don't forget about North Miami. Remember us, highlight us, feel free to reach out directly for collaborations, events and activities. Oh- and I invite you to explore the gems in North Miami. 


I felt a sense of realization chatting with Theresa. I was proud on all levels. She represents change with integrity, delivers excellence in her work ethic, and the celebration of being for the community by the community. 

We are rooting for you Theresa, make us PROUD!



Gelsandra Guzman 

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