I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart. I have overcome the world. (John 16:33 NIV)
Sophia Lewis can greatly attest to what it’s like to face racial discrimination in the workplace.
The time has come, she said, to do something about it and, most of all, empower and prevent others from encountering similar hurdles through which she was faced to clear.
“After working in Corporate America for well over 30 years, one thing was certain: there was not much representation of women of color in leadership roles and even fewer available as mentors who were equipped and equally committed to my success,” Lewis told Making Headline News. “This forced me to navigate within a culture that was not designed for women like me to succeed at the same rate as non-blacks.
“Because of my determination, I was able to move up the ranks and be well known as a successful leader with followership within the organization.”
However, in 2020, a bizarre sequence of events subsequently unfolded for a once well-respected black Corporate American catalyst who recalls how “things took a horrible turn” after which she was terminated by her employer for speaking up on unethical sales tactics by fellow AmEx employees.
“I decided to let this rejection be my re-direction with my focus and purpose being helping other black women in Corporate America navigate in a world that doesn’t look like us or look out for us,” Lewis, who turns 53 in July, said.
As part of Making Headline News’ 2023 Essence Music Festival advance coverage leading to the “the party with a purpose” event June 29-July 3 in New Orleans, Lewis spoke at length about her fervent quest of launching a credible speaking business that would afford her golden opportunities to inspire and coach like-minded black women in Corporate America.
Suitably known as transformational coach, Lewis’ newly-established and featured business endeavor comes approximately three years after she endured arguably her darkest season in the Corporate America sector.
According to an August 2020 report by the Wall Street Journal, Lewis, who was an AmEx manager at the time, witnessed several employees routinely submit corporate card applications without verifying the companies’ financial information, pocketing commissions each time.
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According to Lewis, however, she initially informed the higher-ups about a rash of complaints. But AmEx, she explained, had created a culture where employees can get rewarded for breaking rules.
“It was when I started raising red flags that things started going downhill,” Lewis told the Wall Street Journal.
To no avail, AmEx suspended Lewis in February 2020 for reasons it said are unrelated to her complaints. Other current and former employees said they saw the same behavior that Lewis described.
According to the WSJ report, an AmEx spokesman said the New York-based company is committed to fostering a culture of respect and integrity and provides multiple channels for employees to raise concerns.
“We encourage our colleagues to speak up when they believe our policies, values or standards are not being upheld, and we strictly prohibit retaliation,” an AmEx official told the WSJ.
Consequently, in July 2019, Lewis filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, citing racial and gender discrimination, adding that she was also about not getting promoted.
The EEOC, meanwhile, forwarded Lewis’ complaint to the Arizona attorney general’s office, which ultimately closed her case, citing insufficient evidence.
Lewis subsequently filed an appeal.
Approximately three years removed from enduring arguably her toughest obstacle as a Corporate America professional, Lewis has erected an empowerment platform to share of her array of work-related experiences.
“I have shared my journey locally,” Lewis, who resides in Litchfield Park, Arizona, told MHN. “However, I look forward to speaking to audiences all across the country and worldwide.”
Acknowledging that she’s destined to “turning my pain into purpose,” Lewis’ featured business venture is centered largely on and becoming what she deems the B.O.S.S, which stands for: Building Other Sistah’s Strength.
A native of Chicago who also boasts a solid background in real estate, Lewis emphasized she is accepting keynote speaking invitations.
MAKING HER PRESENCE FELT
“I’ve just officially launched my speaking business and look forward to speaking to women of color on how to have a successful and rewarding career in Corporate America,” Lewis, who acquired a Master’s Degree in Leadership from Grand Canyon University, said. “As women of color, specifically black women, we have no advocates or anyone looking out for our best interest in the workplace. So if we don’t help one another, who will? That is my passion, my purpose, and my goal.
“If I could speak to (the masses) who are in Corporate America, I would just like them to know I see you, I hear you, I am you. I’m also here to help change your narrative.”
For more information about Litchfield Park, Arizona Transformational Coach Sophia Lewis, to book her for a public appearance or to schedule her for a speaking engagement, connect with her via Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sophia.hayeslewis. Send email to Sophia.email@example.com.
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WHAT’S YOUR STORY? If you are an entrepreneur, business owner, producer, author, athlete, musician, barber, life coach, motivational speaker, cosmetologist, tax preparer, model, or pastor/minister who is seeking exposure and would like to share your story with an in-depth news feature, call Reporter Andre Johnson at 901-690-6587 or Facebook message him under “Andre T. Johnson” for details.
Andre Johnson is the award-winning Founder and Publisher for Making Headline News. A 2000 graduate of the University of Memphis School of Journalism and a former staff reporter of sports for the Memphis Commercial Appeal newspaper, Johnson covers the NBA Southwest Division from Dallas, Texas. To reach Johnson, send email to firstname.lastname@example.org or to email@example.com. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist or Instagram at @makingheadlinenews.
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