Phyllis Seven Harris, 1983


2023 Induction Speech

“Induction into the Cleveland Heights High School Hall of Fame is an amazing honor underscoring the value of representation and aligning with the district’s broader values. It is even more meaningful for those of us who struggled to find our voice in our formative years. This award is for the quiet ones. Go Tigers!”

“When I dare to be powerful – to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.” ~ Audre Lorde

Phyllis “Seven” Harris’ 25+ years of experience with nonprofits, includes program management, fundraising, and upper-level management positions. For many years, she has played a strong role as an advocate in Cleveland’s LGBTQ+ community.

With the executive leadership of Ms. Harris since 2012, the LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland has experienced transformational growth and expansion. Today, Center patrons enjoy expanded programming for everyone from teens to families to seniors in their Gordon Square facility. In 2015, the Center launched Pride in the CLE, a family-oriented and community-driven LGBTQ Pride festival that the group continues to produce annually. In June 2019, Ms. Harris and her team moved into a newly constructed facility that offers more space, accessibility, and versatility to serve the LGBTQ community. 

Throughout her career, Ms. Harris has leveraged both her passion and her multi-faceted experience to lead the organization on a path of sustainable growth and vitality. Prior to joining the Center, Ms. Harris directed a major capital campaign for the Cleveland Sight Center, served as Vice President of Programs for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Cleveland and spearheaded youth initiatives at Planned Parenthood of Northeast Ohio. Her leadership in local nonprofit circles also extends to service on local and national nonprofit boards including the Women of Color Foundation, Assembly for the Arts, Gestalt Institute of Cleveland and CenterLink: The Community of LGBT Centers. 

She is a past recipient of the Cleveland Foundation’s Homer C. Wadsworth award, has completed a leadership fellowship with the Arcus Foundation and is a graduate of the 2019 class of Leadership Cleveland. Her civic engagement activities included serving as I of 6 co-chairs of the Transition Team for the newly elected City of Cleveland Mayor, Justin Bibb and the Selection Advisory Panel for the City of Cleveland Community Police Commission. In January, 2022 she Ms. Harris was recognized by Cleveland Magazine as one of CLE’s 500. 


Master’s Nonprofit Organizations, Case Western Reserve University

Bachelor of Arts, Baldwin Wallace College

Current Occupation

Nonprofit Executive Director

  • Homer C. Wadsworth Award, Cleveland Foundation (2017) 
  • Cleveland Stonewall Democrats Leadership Award (2020)
  • Cleveland Leadership Center, Leadership Cleveland (2019) 
  • Bruce G. Kriete Award, PFLAG Cleveland (2020) 
  • LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland Grand Opening (2019) 
  • George Hrbek Social Justice Activist Award, Near West Theater (2021)