CEO of L. M. Lewis Consulting
LaShana Lewis is a technologist working in the diversity space with over 20 years of experience. She is currently CEO of L. M. Lewis Consulting, a company which aims to make employers more diverse through recruitment, hiring, and retention best practices. She recently served as Director of the St. Louis Equity in Entrepreneurship Collective, an organization focused on building systems of race and gender equity for St. Louis’ early-stage, entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Prior to founding her company, Lewis was an apprentice with LaunchCode, which led to full-time employment at Mastercard where she held positions leading worldwide infrastructure migrations and disaster recovery efforts in the Windows server engineer team, and performed computer program authorization checks for leading financial institutions across the globe as a software engineer.
Lewis lends her I.T. knowledge as a technical consultant, serves as a role model for diversity in technology, and has met with President Barack Obama’s administration as part of the nationwide TechHire Initiative, which encourages employers to hire and train people with non-traditional tech backgrounds.
What makes St. Louis a model for other mid-sized cities?
With efforts like the Ferguson Commission (rolling into Forward Through Ferguson), the St. Louis Equity in Entrepreneurship Collective, and many other organizations that were created out of the strife from Ferguson to now, St. Louis is leading the way in addressing head on the inequities within its varied communities. Starting with just the core issue of racial inequality, mixing in LGBTQ+ initiatives, and establishing budding grassroots organizations funded by local corporate and governmental entities, St. Louis is starting to show just how serious it is with tackling the problems that have plagued the city and caused divides. Even now, many businesses are shifting their priorities to be more aligned with anti-racist and anti-bias methodologies without having to be heavily prompted to do so by media or outside sources. The crudeness in these efforts can serve as a guideline and lesson plan for those wishing to follow in its footsteps.
What do you find most inspiring about your city?
Once St. Louis identified, clearly, the core of its issues, it has worked steadily to dismantle any systems associated with oppressive behaviours. That is often a hard pill to swallow, and many may be tempted to cover it up with top ten lists or heartwarming stories. We have many of the latter, but we also remember to embed attempts at realigning our messages and what that means for the city. Everyone likes an underdog, and St. Louis has come a long way, while still reaching out to help others and being involved in national coalitions to help other cities who may be progressing on their journeys.