With co-writer Blair S. Walker, who also helped finish the biography of Reginald F. Lewis, “Why Should White Guys Have All The Fun?”
Loida Lewis, the Chair and CEO of TLC Beatrice, LLC, a family investment firm, boasts an impressive professional history. As a licensed attorney in both the Philippines and New York, she achieved a remarkable feat by becoming the first Asian and Filipino woman to pass the New York bar examination without pursuing legal studies in the United States.
Before assuming her current role, Mrs. Lewis dedicated a decade of service as a General Attorney in the US Immigration and Naturalization Service, now known as the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services. During her tenure, she successfully contested a discrimination case against the INS in 1979. Building on her expertise, she co-authored the highly acclaimed book “How to Get A Green Card,” which has reached its 14th edition. Additionally, Mrs. Lewis authored the book “Why Should Guys Have All The Fun?”
What made you want to share your story with the world in your Why Should Guys Have All the Fun?
I want my readers to know that like anyone else, I have had to deal with problems through relationships, health, financial hardships, the tragedy of my husband dying after a short illness, being a single mother to two young daughters, taking over a billion dollar business empire without any experience – but I overcame them because I persevered. And did not quit. My reader should find courage and hope in reading my story.
How do you maintain a healthy work-life balance as a CEO and entrepreneur, particularly as a woman with additional societal expectations and responsibilities?
During my role as wife to an ambitious husband, mother to two strong-willed daughters, working full time as government lawyer at INS (now called CIS) and doing real estate acquisition and administration, I fell sick with Tuberculosis.
I learned this lesson: as a woman, I could do it all, but not all at the same time.
You are the first Asian and Filipino woman to pass the New York bar examination without having pursued legal studies in the United States. What was that like for you on a personal level?
To pass the Bar Exam in New York for the first time, I had to be totally focused on studying. First, my husband agreed that our first baby Leslie, then 13 months old, be sent to Baltimore, Maryland, under the care of Mr. Lewis’ mother, so I could devote my time to studying. Second, he agreed that I would not do any shopping, cooking, or washing clothes. We ate out or ordered in. I studied 13 or 14 hours a day. So when I passed, both my husband and I experienced a deep sense of satisfaction, joy, and gratitude to God for guiding me to do my best in passing it on the first try.
In your experience, what unique strengths or perspectives do you believe minority entrepreneurs bring to leadership roles, and how have these attributes contributed to your success as a CEO and entrepreneur?
Asian or Black or Brown, immigrants havé the mindset of “I have to succeed.” With hard work and determination, we knew we would see the fruits of our labor; we could achieve the American Dream.
As a role model for aspiring female entrepreneurs, what advice would you give to young women who are considering starting their own businesses?
I would advise them not to start their own business because start-ups have 90% chance of failure only 10% chance to succeed. Instead, invest in a business which already has customers, suppliers, employees, and a track record which you could study to make a business plan to increase income, reduce expenses and make it profitable. And remember that you should always have an exit strategy.
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