“What motivates me? The success and advancement of my team members, and the potential to touch and impact individuals, small businesses, and communities throughout Philadelphia and the Delaware Valley, and beyond!”
For over a decade, noted community and business leader Michele Lawrence has served Philadelphia and its surrounding counties by educating and mentoring individuals and neglected communities on financial literacy and economic empowerment. Via workshops and discussions at churches, community centers and private homes, Lawrence has educated more than 5,000 individuals.
Since 2006, Lawrence has served as Area President and a Senior Vice President for the Philadelphia Retail market of Wells Fargo. The Philadelphia market includes 39 stores in Philadelphia with over 500 employees, $2.5 billion in deposits, and $1 billion in loans. If Lawrence’s team operated as a stand alone bank, it would be the sixth largest in the city.
As part of her role as SVP and Area President, Lawrence goes into various communities to educate individuals and organizations on the importance of financial literacy and being educated on how money works and the tools to financial growth and independence. She has spoken to Rutgers EOP students, WEPAC young girls, and at Common Cents workshops. In partnership with singer Mary J. Blige’s Foundation, FFAWN, Lawrence launched a monthly financial literacy workshop in October 2011. Once a month, Lawrence visited the women at the MJB Center in Yonkers, NJ to discuss saving, investing, personal empowerment, and bettering their futures.
In early 2011, Lawrence launched the Saving Our Boys Leadership Development Institute – the mission of which is to prepare young men in grades 5 through 12 for success beyond high school by building character, developing leadership skills and instilling a sense of social responsibility. This is a continuous program with each new cohort of young men being actively mentored by the former, which creates a ‘my brother’s keeper’ relationship.
Lawrence sits on the Boards of the Urban League of Philadelphia; ACHIEVEability, an organization dedicated to breaking the cycle of poverty by helping low-income, single parent and homeless families to achieve self-sufficiency; and Impact Charities, a public non-profit agency working to provide youth and families with programs of a diverse nature to enhance the growth and development of a stable community. She also serves on the School District of Philadelphia’s Renaissance Advisory Board, primary responsibility of which is to create the strategic planning process that ultimately transformed non-performing schools to performing schools. Lawrence is also a member of the Urban Financial Services Coalition (USFC), which works to foster interest and expansion of the numbers of minorities in financial services, increase the understanding and use of financial services in low-income communities, enhance scholarship programs for minority youth in pursuit of financial service careers, and cultivate a premiere job bank of experienced minority professionals in the financial services industry.
Lawrence has been recognized by The Network Journal as one of ’25 Most Influential Women in Business’ for 2012; received a Community Service Citation from Philadelphia Councilman Curtis Jones Jr in 2011; and recognized as a Woman on the Move by the Philadelphia Tribune and as one of the 25 Women of Distinction by the Philadelphia Business Journal in 2010.
“The best advice given to me? Put God first and He will take care of the rest.”