Acclaimed business woman and philanthropist Loida Nicolas Lewis will be the featured speaker at the University of the Virgin Islands' first 13D Entrepreneurship Speaker Series at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, March 18, in UVI's St. Thomas campus Administration and Conference Center first-floor conference room. Lewis will speak on the topic "Corporate Governance and Ethics." Business owners, government administrators, UVI students and the general public are invited to attend the presentation.
Lewis is currently the chair and CEO of TLC Beatrice, LLC, a family investment firm, based in New York. In 1994, Lewis assumed the leadership of the $2 billion multinational food company TLC Beatrice International - after the death of her husband, entrepreneur and Wall Street financier Reginald F. Lewis. He was considered one of the nation's wealthiest businessmen before his death in 1993. When she took over as chair and CEO of TLC Beatrice International, Loida Lewis won over a skeptical business community by selling corporate assets, paying down debt, downsizing and increasing earnings. After running the company for six years, in 2000 she sold the company and its related businesses, achieving a 35 percent return on investment for its shareholders.
Loida Lewis is a lawyer by profession and a leader within the Filipino-American community. She is the chair of the Reginald F. Lewis Foundation, which has donated millions of dollars to Harvard Law School, the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland's African-American History and Culture, and Virginia State University. In her hometown in the Philippines, she has funded the microfinance People's Alternative Livelihood Foundation of Sorsogon, Inc. Loida Lewis is also a member of several boards and organizations.
In 2011, a $5 million gift to UVI from investment strategist and entrepreneur Kiril Sokoloff, the founder of 13D Research (USVI) LLC (13D), endowed the 13D Student Entrepreneurship Competition, a Distinguished Professor of Entrepreneurship, and the Entrepreneurial Speaker Series.
The Entrepreneurial Speaker Series is designed to enhance the entrepreneurial culture at UVI and in the wider community by attracting world-renowned entrepreneurs to the territory to speak on their successes and to provide insights on entrepreneurship. For more information call (340)-693-1053.