Dr. Joyce Wilson Harley, Esq.

BIO_PIC_Harley.jpgJoyce Harley is an attorney specializing in community development, economic development, and public policy initiatives. She is the Vice President of Administration and Finance at Essex County College having recently served as the Essex County Administrator appointed to the post by Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo in March, 2005. The County Executive made history by appointing Joyce as  the first woman ever to the hold the position. Prior to joining Essex County, Dr. Harley served as the Executive Director of the Newark Downtown District, New Jersey’s largest Special Improvement District.

She is an honors graduate of Douglass College and Rutgers Law School. She has won many awards for her work as the Director of Community Development for First Union Bank and Fleet Bank in New Jersey where she held the corporate title of Senior Vice President.

Dr. Harley was the first African ~ American elected to the South Orange City Council where she also served as Mayor. She has been cited twice by the New Jersey State Legislature for her work in community and economic development in targeted urban areas in the State.

Joyce has taught courses on Community Development and Leadership Development as an adjunct professor at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. She designed, developed, and taught 2 courses on The Harlem Renaissance for the Montclair Adult School. She was a frequently called upon instructor at the New Jersey Economic Development Authority’s Entrepreneurial Training Institute where she taught small business owners how to develop successful business plans, effectively market their products and services, maximize their company’s upside potential while minimizing its downside risk,  and gain access to capital. Dr. Harley currently serves at a Visiting Associate at Rutgers University’s Eagleton Institute of Politics in New Brunswick, NJ.

Dr. Harley’s lifetime of extraordinary achievement in academic, social, and business endeavors was recognized in 2008 when she was inducted into the Rutgers University African American Alumni Alliance Hall of Fame. In 2009 she was invited to serve on the University’s Board of Trustees where she chaired the Committee on Buildings and Grounds.

In April, 2011, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie appointed Joyce to serve on the UMDNJ Advisory Committee to do a thorough analysis of the best way to deliver medical education in the State of New Jersey. Ms. Harley is the only woman and the only African American to serve on this highly visible Committee. Shortly thereafter, Ms. Harley was inducted into Pi Alpha Alpha, the National Public Affairs/Public Administration Honor Society at Rutgers University ~Newark.

In March, 2012 Joyce Harley was named Garden State Woman of the Year by Garden State Woman Magazine in recognition of her many years of outstanding service as a public servant and her lifelong commitment to advancing the political, economic, and educational status of women worldwide.

Her financial skills and commitment to education  led Odyssey International to confer its Award of Excellence to Joyce in 2013 and the National Council of Negro Women to invite her to give the keynote address at its 2014 Harambee Breakfast.

Joyce Harley is a past President of the Board of Trustees of the Newark Emergency Services for Families. She is a Past President of The Association of Black Women Lawyers of New Jersey and is also the Past President of the Montclair Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. In addition to serving as Parliamentarian, Dr. Harley chaired the National Trends & Services Committee for the Essex County Chapter of The Links, Inc. where she led a coalition of over 33 Black Women’s organizations in “Operation Big Vote” a community based voter registration drive that resulted in adding over 10,000 new voters in the State of New Jersey. Dr. Harley is the immediate past President of The Zonta Club of Essex County and in June, 2014 she was invited to serve on the Economic Development Committee of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Inc.

She was awarded the Sojourner Truth Award by the National Congress of Black Women on September 28, 2014 for dedication to fostering the principles for which Sojourner Truth stood: Liberty, Equality, Justice and Truth.

In March, 2015 Newark Mayor Ras Baraka installed Dr. Harley as a Commissioner on the city’s newly created Commission on the Status of Women to highlight and address the needs of women in the Newark metropolitan region.

She is the founder of the Bibliophiles, Inc.~ An African American Reading Group… the oldest, continuously operating, incorporated Black book club in America.

Dr. Harley is most proud of the recognition she received from The Southern Poverty Law Center by having her name placed on the Law Center’s Wall of Tolerance for her contributions to the ongoing fight against hatred and intolerance in America.

She is a published author having written articles on neighborhood revitalization for “The New Jersey Banker” and articles on why and how African American women should run for public office in “NiaOnline”.

Dr. Harley is a frequent guest lecturer and keynote speaker for educational, business and civic organizations throughout the United States and abroad.  

As of May 2015, Dr. Harley was appointed as the Chair of the Board of the Newark Economic Development Corporation. 

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  • Sullivan Johnson
    commented 2020-12-03 13:53:08 -0500
    An impressive overview of an individual well deserving of the noted accolades.

    Sullivan C .Johnson III
  • Char-Lotte Searcy
    commented 2019-03-05 14:27:37 -0500
    Phenomenal Woman!!!