Things I do (or have done) and the way I go about doing them
In 2007, I started the Lewis Leadership Group, a leadership development and coaching firm committed to helping individuals and organizations achieve their own greatness. As an Executive Coach and Leadership Consultant, I work from a principle that leadership is a way of being, not just something we do. I rely heavily on my 15-year career as a Fortune 500 executive and change leader to understand the complexity and context my clients lead within.
Since starting the Lewis Leadership Group, I have supported and challenged many individuals, teams, and organizations to grow. I am grateful for some of the compelling opportunities I have had to bring my experience and energy for helping others to life. In 2009, I established a leadership collective, Bounce, where we brought Emotional Intelligence into schools and communities to support the growth and development of our youth. In 2013, I joined Luck Companies, to lead the creation of a global 501c3 organization committed to bringing Values Based Leadership to people everywhere.
In 2011, I was honored as one of Workforce Management’s Game Changer Award recipients for my innovative approach to developing leadership capacity. I am privileged to serve on Georgetown University’s Leadership Coaching faculty, and hold the designation of Professional Certified Coach (PCC) with the International Coaching Federation.
Defining moments that have contributed to who I am
The making of a resilient foundation - My dad got sober when I was 10. I accompanied him to AA meetings for the next 30 years. AA revealed some guiding principals and basic tenets about being human that continue to help me navigate life. Acceptance - loving the good, bad, and ugly (or not) of who we are impacts our ability to love and accept others. Humility - AA challenged me to embrace the paradoxical tension that while we are enough we also have stuff to work on; no matter our title, accomplishments, education, or socioeconomic status. Community - AA showed me that just because we are a grown-up doesn’t mean we have grown up. Growing up and becoming the best version of ourselves takes a village, a great deal of courage, and a lot of hard work. Growth is an individual and collective process. Choice - AA proved that our story informs who we are and it doesn’t have to define us. At any point along our journey, we can make a new choice and live into a new story; one we are the author of, absent of “shoulds” and full of possibility, responsibility and truth. My dad was a role model of vulnerability and courage. His willingness to share his recovery process and community with me has been one of the greatest gifts of my life.
Waking up in the middle of corporate America - When I was 24, I was recruited by Capital One. A great organization that believes in the power of bringing great people, process, and data together to deliver value. I spent the next twelve years in roles ranging from managing call centers to developing statistical modeling platforms to leading change initiatives. Along the way, I got lucky. I began working for a man named Bud. Bud was an incredible boss who knew business and could see the greatness in people. [A rare find in corporate America. Many executives know their business but don’t know how to see and cultivate potential in their people. I was also one of those leaders.]
Bud recognized that a better version of me was hiding somewhere within me. He knew that if I developed, I could better develop my team. With Bud’s support and my team’s encouragement, I began working with an Executive Leadership coach and attended Georgetown University’s Leadership coaching program with the intent to strengthen my leadership skills. The experience opened my eyes and my heart to the contagious process of learning and growing. I realized that much of my life and work had become an unfulfilling, yet successful exercise, of going through the motions and trying to please others. I became aware of the role my own personal development played in the precious lives that I was leading. With that realization, I developed an insatiable appetite for challenge and uncovered my natural desire to grow. I began seeing things differently, slowly claiming pieces of myself - positive and painful. I saw and accepted people in a whole new way. I started to see not only what could be better, but I could see their greatness.
Allowing my head to serve my heart - In 2008, I left my corporate home and started the Lewis Leadership Group, a place where I welcome leaders home to themselves. The day I left my job one was of the hardest days of my life. It would have been easier and more comfortable to stay, but I left anyway. It required me to practice my values rather than profess them. It required me to choose trust over doubt and to learn how to receive support as well as I could give support. Today, I have the honor of supporting brilliant leaders, cultivating learning communities, and guiding organizations committed to people and profits. I believe that learning, like a great relationship, is reciprocal. It is the giving and receiving that creates connection.
My People & Passions
Things I love and the people I love to do them with
When I am not working, I am hanging out with my husband, Glenn, the love of my life and our pups, Jack and Charlie: "our boys". I practice yoga, travel to places with rich cultures and beautiful landscapes, laugh at myself and with my friends who believe that while life can be serious business, it is best experienced when we don't take ourselves too seriously, and explore the food scene in RVA, a place I am proud to call my hometown. I am happiest when I am growing and learning new things. I love to explore human and relationship dynamics, the mind, body, emotion, and spirit of leadership, and what makes people smile.
The Group in Lewis Leadership Group
My recipe for success and fulfillment is to love my work and to work with those I love. When the need arises to increase my capacity to support larger or more complex projects, I have a group of talented, passionate, dedicated leadership development practitioners that approach their work with the same level of passion, professionalism, and energy that I bring to my business. I absolutely love these partners and I know you will too.
I was one of those kids who treasured when another person was absolutely present for me. The feeling of connection when someone is completely and fully there, without distraction, with a loving ear and soft eyes that can see beyond the sometimes not so pretty behaviors to the beautiful human being in front of them. I remember the pure joy I felt in those moments, the joy of being connected to that person and to myself.
In 2004, while glancing at greeting cards in terminal B of Charlotte Douglas International airport, I found one with a beautiful quote about the legend of the hummingbird. "Legends say that hummingbirds float free of time, carrying our hopes for love, joy and celebration. Hummingbirds open our eyes to the wonder of the world and inspire us to open our hearts to loved ones and friends. Like a hummingbird, we aspire to hover and to savor each moment as it passes, embrace all that life has to offer and celebrate the joy of everyday. The hummingbird's delicate grace reminds us that life is rich, beauty is everywhere, every personal connection has meaning and that laughter is life's sweetest creation."
In the Native American tradition, the hummingbird is a symbol for presence and joy.
The hummingbird and its thoughtful placement in relationship to the “I” in leadership in my logo is a reminder that we all need the gift of presence in our lives to help us tap into our potential and mature into ourselves. When we give ourselves that gift we in turn can be that gift for those we lead and those we love. Whether you have had that experience or not, I hope to one day have the honor of being present for you and you to have the experience of joy in your leadership, not as an added feature, but a sign of aligned purpose.