Motivational speaker Regina Lewis encouraged Colorado State University-Pueblo students that they could succeed no matter their circumstances when she addressed students on Aug. 29.
In a discourse entitled “No Matter What, You Can Succeed,” Lewis described her modest beginnings as a widowed African-American woman with no education, raising her son in a world where she was expected to fit a stereotype.
Lewis said she not only excelled and broke free of those stereotypes, but she surpassed expectations and proved that with perseverance, anything is possible.
Challenging her audience to see their future stories and be inspired by them, Lewis shared her own story of heartbreak and triumph. After her husband’s death, she made an “action pact” with her son Charles who was only 8 years old at the time.
Lewis would set the example for her by going back to school and he would work hard towards his goal of someday becoming an astronaut. This was not an easy feat for Lewis, who struggled with reading and other basic skills.
After being accepted at Pikes Peak Community College, however, Lewis began pursuing her education relentlessly.
Each time Lewis reached a milestone, she set the bar higher; she obtained first a bachelor’s and then a master’s degree. Just before her son’s high school graduation, Lewis received her doctorate from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.
Charles, inspired by his mother’s determination, was accepted into nine prestigious institutions, including the U.S. Military Academy and the Air Force Academy.
Phi Theta Kappa Vice President of Leadership for the Colorado Region, Amber Williams explained that Lewis is a major player in her “success entourage,” a concept that Lewis stressed throughout her speech.
When Williams started school, her future was unclear. She enrolled in a speech class and realized immediately that she aspired to become a leader and motivational speaker.
Williams began to follow Lewis to speaking engagements, spending as much time as possible working with her and learning her philosophy.
“What society needs are leaders who are humble and true. To be that kind of leader, you must first be a follower. It’s my goal to take what I’ve learned from Dr. Lewis, fine tune those gifts and become that kind of leader,” Williams said.
Lewis’ personal experience has driven her to devote much of her time to encouraging people like Williams to reach for their goals and never let obstacles interfere. As chair of the communications department at Pikes Peak Community College, Lewis has touched the lives of thousands of students and given many the incentives to see past their limitations.
Lewis recently established an organization called the Women’s Forum that empowers women through education and networking within the community.
For all she has accomplished, Lewis is not slowing down. She has partnered with the Center for Creative Leadership as an executive coach and is currently working with Bridges Out of Poverty to help individuals see beyond their current situations toward a better future.
“I want them to understand that motivation is not an option. Motivation is moved by emotion and when that feeling fades, motivation disappears. People need to move beyond what motivates them and focus on what inspires them. When you are inspired, you are aware of your goals and are ready to put a plan in place to achieve them.” Lewis said, when she was asked what the most important aspect of her speech was.