Loida Nicolas Lewis gets Eleanor Roosevelt legacy award
Filipino-American businesswoman and philanthropist Loida Nicolas Lewis was awarded the Trailblazer of Democracy Award by The Eleanor’s Legacy organization on October 24, 2011 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City.
Eleanor’s Legacy, which is an organization focused on empowering women’s political candidates who follow in the footsteps of former United States First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, honored Lewis for her continued contributions to the empowerment of women in the political and public arena.
Eleanor’s Legacy supports Democratic women who are aspiring for local and state offices in the State of New York.
Lewis is active in political campaigns. She was a supporter of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s campaigns, as well as the current Philippine President’s campaign in 2010, when she visited different US states to campaign for then Sen. Benigno Aquino III. She is also an advocate of voter registration and mobilization, encouraging Filipino-Americans to “show power in their numbers.”
“The triumph of Loida Nicolas Lewis’ life reminds us all that the real legacy of Eleanor Roosevelt is an obligation to think of ourselves as citizens of the world,” said New York Sen. Hassell-Thompson. “Loida has followed in the footsteps of Mrs. Roosevelt. Eleanor Roosevelt was known as the first lady of the world, and Loida’s vision of a better world, where children are given a chance to learn, where giving young women a chance to lead is not contained to New York State.”
Also among the guests was New York Senator Charles E. Schumer, who also spoke highly of Lewis.
“Loida Lewis is one of America’s leading Filipina women,” said Schumer. “Fifteen years ago, when there was a desperate shortage of nurses in this country, and the talent of Filipina women to come here and be nurses was being blocked by the same kind of non-thinking approach to immigration that too many exhibit in Washington today. Loida led the charge to change. There are now thousands of Filipina nurses in America, and particularly in New York.”
Just as Mrs. Roosevelt stepped to the forefront when her husband President Franklin D. Roosevelt fell ill during his presidency, Lewis stepped forward as CEO of her husband Reginald F. Lewis’ investment firm TLC Beatrice following his untimely death at the age of 50. Lewis, who was the first Asian woman to pass the bar exam in New York without studying in the United States, showed she was a capable businesswoman in her own right, eliminating the company’s debt while making a series of decisions that resulted in an internal return of 35 percent for stockholders.
“I accept this with great honor and humility, and I am honored to represent my fellow Filipinos” said Lewis who was the first and only Filipina Eleanor Roosevelt Legacy Awardee. During her speech, Lewis shared her secrets to achieving success. She named goal setting, maintaining Order in your life and having determination in your endeavors.
As a philanthropist, Lewis has contributed a considerable amount to a number of causes, such as The Lewis College in her hometown of Sorsogon Province, that gives scholarships to Filipino children from pre-Kindergarten to university. Her People’s Alternative Livelihood Foundation, is involved in micro-financing. As chair of US Pinoys for Good Governance (USP4GG), Lewis led simultaneous prayer forums at 175 communities and cities around the world last August 21, 2011 for the peaceful resolution of the Spratlys dispute with China. The group also held rallies in front of the China Consular offices in the US last July.
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