She received the recognition this week in conjunction with the release of a tribute video and a podcast conversation about her work on behalf of Michigan’s communities. View the video here and podcast discussion here. The video celebration and podcast spotlight are being done in place of an in-person awards gala that was cancelled due to COVID-19-related safety measures.
The League’s Community Builder Award honors Mitchell Theriot for her outstanding contributions to the communities she has served as well her work with the League and her municipal management profession. She began her public service career working for Detroit City Council for 13 years and then as Senior Analyst for the Oakland County Board of Commissioners for 17 years. She was appointed as the Lathrup Village’s City Administrator in 2018 and previously, she served for 3 1/2 years as the Albion City Manager.
In addition, she is an ardent supporter of the Michigan Municipal League’s Women’s Municipal Leadership Program, frequently speaking as a panelist and mentor for the 16/50 Project, which seeks to remove barriers and provide training to increase the number of women in leadership roles in local government. She is also an ambassador for the League’s SaveMICity municipal finance reform initiative.
“Sheryl is a powerful advocate for Michigan communities in a number of ways, including encouraging women to consider municipal management as a career and ensuring diverse voices are seated at the decision-making table,” said Emily Kieliszewski, member programs lead for the League. “She is a steadfast presence offering sharp insight and guidance as a speaker and panelist for our Women’s Municipal Leadership Program for future women managers and our Women Leading Local Government sessions hosted at universities throughout the state.”
Her journey into municipal management began as a child when her father would take her with him to United Auto Workers’ campaign and election efforts. It was that early exposure into politics that she decided she wanted a career in government, including as a child wanting to become President of the United States. Listen to Mitchell Theriot tell her story in this podcast and how she recognized early on the importance of networking and encouraging others to serve communities.
Danielle Beard, associate program officer for the Michigan Municipal League Foundation, is one of the many women encouraged and influenced by Mitchell when they worked together in the City of Albion several years ago.
“Sheryl always encouraged us to bring our best selves to work,” Beard said. “She is very conscientious and skilled at bringing people together around common goals. Sheryl made sure we were aware every moment of every day that we were there for the betterment of the community and to serve residents, which made the experience deeply rewarding.”
Throughout her public service career, Mitchell Theriot focuses on building more vibrant and inclusive communities, creating sustainable economic vitality, stabilizing, and revitalizing businesses and neighborhoods, and empowering youth, women, and minorities.
In receiving the award, Mitchell Theriot said she couldn’t have done the work she was able to do without the support of the community leaders where she’s worked, and without the friendship, mentorship, and guidance of Joyce Parker, a former city manager and emergency manager, who also served as an executive recruiter for the League and worked with Mitchell Theriot over the years.
“This is truly a prestigious honor and I’m so excited to be the recipient because I know amongst our colleagues, we have some real trail blazers and it’s so exciting to be recognized for the work we are doing,” Mitchell Theriot said. “I want to thank the elected officials in Albion and Lathrup Village who are definitely key partners in making all the changes in our communities happen in a very positive and productive way.”
Mitchell Theriot received her Doctorate in Business Administration from Lawrence Technological University in 2014. She published the first doctoral dissertation on Priority Based Budgeting and the impact of citizen engagement to identify community values and priorities for alignment with government spending.
Community organizations in the City of Albion honor her legacy by annually presenting the “Dr. Mitchell Servant Leadership Award” in recognition of those who also demonstrate transformative leadership by using their “heart, head, hands, and habits” in their professional life to serve and help others.
Her community building efforts include serving on the Lathrup Village DDA Board, Beaumont Hospital Community Advisory Board, and as President of the Women Officials Network Foundation, which promotes and supports women as leaders in the public sector. The Women Officials Network also honored her with its Wonder Woman Award.
About the Community Builder Award: This award honors individuals whose leadership creates positive community change. Through efforts such as encouraging civic engagement, supporting up-and-coming leaders, fostering good working relationships, and thinking strategically, they make their community a place where people truly love to live and work.
For additional information contact the League’s Matt Bach, assistant director of communications, at (810) 874-1073 (cell) and [email protected].
Michigan Municipal Leagueis dedicated to making Michigan’s communities better by thoughtfully innovating programs, energetically connecting ideas and people, actively serving members with resources and services, and passionately inspiring positive change for Michigan’s greatest centers of potential: its communities. The League advocates on behalf of its member communities in Lansing, Washington, D.C., and the courts; provides educational opportunities for elected and appointed municipal officials; and assists municipal leaders in administering services to their communities through League programs and services. Learn more at mml.org.