Loida Nicolas-Lewis is a lawyer, a business executive, an author, a philanthropist, and an active leader of the Filipino community in the United States. She was honored as the first Filipino as well as the first woman to be inducted into the Asian Hall of Fame in Seattle.
She is one of the richest Filipinas living outside the Philippines, serving as Chairman and Chief Executive Office of TLC Beatrice, LLC, and several of its subsidiary companies.
Educational background and law career
A native of Sorsogon in Bicol, Loida comes from a family of entrepreneurs: her father started Nicfur, one of the Philippines' largest furniture manufacturers. She is a graduate of the University of the Philippines College of Law and a summa cum laude graduate of St. Theresa’s College. She passed the Philippine bar exam; then after settling in New York, she passed the New York State bar as well, the first Asian American woman to do so without having studied law in the U.S. She worked for Manhattan Legal Services, focusing on the problems of an underprivileged client base in East Harlem -- unemployment insurance, social security, discrimination, housing. Later, she worked as General Attorney for the Immigration and Naturalization Service for ten years.
She is the Chairman and CEO of TLC Beatrice, LLC (the Lewis family investment firm), as well as TLC Beatrice China, Limited (a Cayman company which operates retail convenience stores in five major cities in China), and TLC Beatrice Foods Philippines (which operates a fresh meat processing plant). She served as an informal adviser and confidante to her late husband, Reginald F. Lewis, TLC Beatrice’s first chairman and CEO. After his death, she assumed the leadership of the TLC Beatrice International Holdings, Inc. (a conglomerate of 64 companies in 31 countries) in February, 1994. She currently sits on its board of directors.
Publications and Fil-Am advocacy
She promoted the biography of her late husband, Why Should White Guys Have All the Fun? How Reginald Lewis Created a Billion Dollar Business Empire. She has written books on U.S. immigration law, including How to Get a Green Card, which is now a bestseller.
An advocate for Filipino expatriates in the United States, in 1972 she founded a monthly magazine for the Filipino-American community and served as the magazine’s publisher until it merged with another publication in 1980. She is the National Chair of the National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA), the largest advocacy group for Filipino Americans in the United States.
She is a mother of two daughters, Leslie and Christina, who are both cum laude graduates of Harvard College. Leslie is an actress and Christina is a Wall Street Journal staff writer.
- The first Filipino as well as the first woman to be inducted into the Asian Hall of Fame in Seattle.
- The first Asian woman to pass the New York State bar exam without having studied law in the U.S.
- Ranked number 1 among the "Top 50 Women Business Owners in America" by Working Woman magazine in 1994.
- Enriquez, Amee R. "Getting to Know Loida Nicolas-Lewis." Asian Journal, 11 September 2006. http://www.asianjournal.com/?c=124&a=15825 (accessed on 15 March 2008)
- "Filipino Achievers." Txtmate. http://www.txtmania.com/trivia/achievers.php (accessed on 15 March 2008)
- "Loida Nicolas Lewis: From Cheerleader to Coach." Philippine Post Magazine. http://www.philpost.com/0800pages/loida0800.html (accessed on 15 March 2008)
- "Pinoy Pod: Loida Nicolas Lewis." SFGate. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/sfgate/detail?blogid=5&entry_id=16528 (accessed on 15 March 2008)