ORLANDO, Fla. – As it turns out, when a person with a love of helping others focuses their determination for growth and success inward, they can get a lot of good work done for themselves.
This week on “Black Men Sundays,” host Corie Murray interviews ALA Public Relations CEO Angela Lewis, a former professional basketball player and coach out of St. Louis, Missouri, who said she transitioned to the public relations field after a trip she took in late 2020 made her more cognizant of her financial safety net, as well as of her greater needs and wants in life.
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Lewis said she came to those realizations in Medellín, Colombia, where she had been beckoned to help a friend host a basketball clinic. The trip opened her eyes so much, in fact, that she would go on start her business there. Lewis booked a flight back before she even left, she said.
“I knew that basketball honestly wouldn’t sustain my life at this time, I needed to do something a little different and the basketball piece would only be philanthropic and not for profit from that moment forth, and that’s when I started the PR agency because if the world shut down again, or something happened, or the gyms closed, I knew that I would need to do something that was virtual,” Lewis said. “...I already had a podcast, I’d already published books, so I knew what it felt like to pitch to podcast, but also knew what it felt like to actually manage and produce, and so getting to Medellín, for me, was visiting first, seeing the place that I loved, this place is where I wanted to live, and then being able to launch a business from this place to sustain the life that I have now.”
On Lewis’ penmanship, she said she wrote four books and contributed to three others in order to inspire youth. Among those titles are “The Fundamental Game Plan: Every Basketball Player’s Academic and Athletic 12 Week Success Tracker,” her latest, and “The Game-Changing Assist: Six Simple Ways to Choose Success,” which was her first.
“So, ‘The Game-Changing Assist: Six Simple Ways to Choose Success’ is all about us taking responsibility for our lives. I specifically wrote the book for young women, however the principles in the book are valid for anyone. So in the book, I talk about having a vision for your future, because clarity creates confidence. I talk about understanding the values that it takes to get to that vision, understanding that you’re going to have to go through some valleys on the way,” Lewis said. “...Our responsibility is really to give assists and to help other people, but an assist only works if the person scores, right? So in order for other people to make the right decision, they have to be trained and understand what it takes to make things happen, and so anything that we do is really to assist others.”
Lewis’ advice for young women doesn’t end there. In her opinion, what’s missing in the conversation surrounding them, really for all young people, are mentors.
“We’re talking high school, college, if they can get a broad range of mentors, specifically to help them learn certain skills, that’s transformative,” Lewis said “...You can’t get all that in one person, and oftentimes — especially young athletes — they try to latch on to, like, the coach, and the coach is their god. Well, no, your coach can teach you how to play, but there are all these other areas of that, accomplishing that goal, where they need mentors.”
Not much can begin, however, until you determine what it is you want out of life. As Lewis suggests, discovering which direction is best for your mental, physical and fiscal well-being moving forward can involve discomfort, but it’s all for the better.
“You have to go through some things, try some things, get knocked down, bump your head, turn some wrong corners to land it,” Lewis said. “‘OK. I’m in my lane, and now I can punch the gas.’”
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