The Forum conferred its 6th Eminent Person on January 15, 2010 at the Meralco Lighthouse. The event was attended by the Eminent Persons led by former President Fidel V. Ramos, Mr. Washington Z. Sycip and other key personalities of The Forum.
In the welcome speech delivered by Eminent Person Mr. Washington Z. Sycip, Founder of the SGV, he noted that the event honored a woman who could not be silenced as all her life she has set her goals while refusing to set limitations to what she can achieve. Ms. Loida Nicolas Lewis is a strong advocate of education, Mr. Sycip said. “And since a good education is a power that cannot be taken from you, an important mandate of The Forum is empowerment through education, information and communication. “
In her acceptance speech, Ms. Lewis said that “it is imperative that the couple be given the information on how best to plan their family members, whether the means for reproduction be the so called natural or artificial method. Those words are meant to divide what is really a unified act – the act of love that during a woman’s child bearing years, still could produce pleasure for the couple on that act of love.”
She also stressed that as the 6th Eminent Person admitted to The Forum, “I have to state strongly that the government cannot be cowed by the Catholic Hierarchy for its failure to fund family planning schemes.”
Ms. Loida Nicolas Lewis is Chairman and CEO of TLC Beatrice, LLC, the Lewis family private investment firm, and Chairman of TLC Group, Inc., a Delaware corporation for investment in Asia through which she invested in Beatrice China with 120 stores in 4 cities and Beatrice Philippines, a meat processing firm, both divested in 2007. She is the President of The Lewis College, which she founded in Sorsogon City in the Philippines in 1999.
In the 1980s and early ‘90s, Mrs. Lewis served as adviser to her late husband, Reginald F. Lewis, the founder and CEO of TLC Beatrice International Holdings, Inc. At about US$1 billion, it was the largest leverage buyout by an African American, consisting of 64 companies in 31 countries.
Mrs. Lewis assumed leadership of the Company in February 1994, a year after her husband’s death. As CEO, she moved quickly to cut costs, sell non-core and underperforming assets, reduce debt and strengthen her management team, increasing the Company’s revenues to U$ $2.2 billion and employing 4,500 employees around the world. Ultimately, she decided to divest the Company’s major subsidiaries, which was completed in 2002, resulting in a 35% initial rate of Return on investment for the shareholders.
An attorney admitted to practice in the Philippines and New York. Mrs. Lewis was the first Filipino woman to pass the New York bar in 1974. After eight years as General Attorney in the US Immigration and Naturalization Service, Mrs. Lewis wrote ”How to Get a Green Card”, now in its 8th edition, a bestseller in its genre.
Until October 2006, Mrs. Lewis was the National Chair of the National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA), an advocacy group for Filipino Americans in the United States, and is now its Chair Emeritus. She was recently inducted into the Asian Hall of Fame in Seattle, Washington,USA. Mrs. Lewis is a graduate of the University of the Philippines College of Law where she was a member of the Law Review editorial staff and is also a Cum Laude graduate of St. Theresa’s College.