Timi Lewis: Thriving as an Entrepreneur
By Andrea Goldstein
Former NYWICI Board member Timi Lewis is full of energy and enthusiasm for all things public policy and communications. She began her career working in government and nonprofit roles, but eventually decided to blaze her own trail by founding Lewis Media Company in 2011. On Episode 39 of the Coffee Break w/ NYWICI podcast, Timi talks about what she’s learned throughout her career, what it’s like being an entrepreneur, and the importance of diversity and inclusion in the communications industry. Read on to learn some key insights from her conversation with host Julie Hochheiser Ilkovich.
Lean Into Your Strengths
Looking back on her career path, Timi believes that you should try to have an “underlying architecture” to your life. “Think about what your strengths and interests are when deciding on graduate school or a job,” she says. “Ask others for advice and how they got to their current career and work backwards. For me, I always wanted to be of service and be helpful.” By focusing on your skills, you’re more likely to end up in a role that you truly enjoy.
Ask For Help
You don’t have to do it all when running your own company, Timi says. She recommends entrepreneurs defer to experts and outsource when possible to save themselves additional stress. “I had some silly notion that I could build my own website or do my own accounting,” Timi says. In the end, she just made more work for herself, when an expert could have gotten the job done quickly and efficiently. “Get your administration infrastructure in place… Get a good accountant or bookkeeper if your budget allows,” she suggests.
Innovate During the Pandemic
Timi is exploring ways to be nimble for her clients at Lewis Media Company during the Covid-19 pandemic. “Nobody really likes uncertainty. How you navigate through uncertainty is sort of like a daily variety show,” she says. “If I can find ways to minimize variables going forward, that is something I might do … such as future-proofing services they will always need regardless.” She also says that we need to give ourselves the time to grieve the old ways by providing “grace and space” to deal with emotions. Only then can we move on and thrive.
Get Involved With NYWICI
Always a cheerleader for NYWICI, Timi recommends participating as much as possible. “So much good comes out of it,” she says. “I found that joining a committee is a great way to get involved. You get to meet new people, try out a new skill, and everyone wants to be there.” She also enjoys working with the Sponsorship Committee on tentpole events such as the Matrix Awards or Ladies Who Laugh. “It is work,” she adds. “But you need to balance and recognize you are investing in yourself and the organization.”
Thanks to Timi Lewis for being part of the podcast. You can listen to all the episodes of Coffee Break w/ NYWICI here.