Yesterday, I caught up with Loida Nicolas Lewis at her condo somewhere in Makati just before her flight to New York. I have heard so much about her as an industrialist and philanthropist. It was my task to interview her for a University of the Philippines’ (UP) centennial book project to be launched next year for the 100th anniversary of the state university. I read up on her before our meeting to make sure that I didn’t repeat facts already found in the internet or her books. Based on my research, Loida was married to Reginald Lewis, considered as one of the most successful and richest African-Americans and has been described as instrumental to her husband’s business success. After her husband died from brain cancer in 1993, Loida took over the family business and was successful in the company’s growth. At the moment, she is the Chairman and CEO of TLC Beatrice, LLC (the Lewis Family investment firm), TLC Beatrice China (operates retail convenience stores in four major cities in China) and TLC Beatric Foods Philippines (operates a meat processing plant in Naga City).
I am fascinated with her life, her success and faith in God.
Her secretary showed me the September 2007, 6th Anniversary issue of Philippine Tatler. It features their 834 Fifth Avenue Manhattan home which the Lewis family moved in a few weeks before Reginald succumbed to brain cancer. Reginald became the first African-American to live on Fifth Avenue and one of its “A-plus apartments”. But let not this wealth fool you. Loida is busy with the family-run Lewis College in Sorsogon where they offer college courses and a nursing assistant certificate. Not only that she funded a part of a micro finance project in Sorsogon called PALFSI (People’s Alternative Livelihood Foundation of Sorsogon, Inc.)., She is also Chairman of Business for Integrity and Stability of our Nation Foundation, Inc. (Bisyon 2020). She is such a busy woman and I am indeed fortunate to have been accommodated for this interview.
My interview with Loida lasted for 2 hours which you will read when the book comes out next year. In the course of the interview, I asked her about the loss of her husband and how she dealt with it knowing it can help a lot of readers in this blog. This is what she told me.
Read More »Loida Nicolas Lewis Talks on Grief and God’s Love