MEET DR. JOI LEWIS
“Dr. Joi,” as many fondly call her, is a connector, healer, spiritual guide, social entrepreneur, freedom fighter, poet, writer, yogis, coach, change management expert, and part-time professor.
Think: Strategy meets Spirit & Heart meets Head! She describes herself as “the Artist formerly known as Dean Lewis.” After a 20-year career in higher education, primarily as a senior administrator, she is now a social entrepreneur and the Founder & CEO of Joi Unlimited, Coaching and Consulting. She has a well-honed capacity to see people clearly as she holds space for them to build connections across differences and navigate challenging situations. “Dr. Joi” has demonstrated success in working with influential leaders and communities to create policies and practices that ensure that all people – particularly those who have been historically underrepresented – have access to creating the biggest lives possible.
Her life’s work has been profoundly shaped by growing up in East St Louis, IL, conducting research in South Africa, and engaging in a year of radical self-care. Dr. Joi completed her doctoral work in higher education administration at the University of Pennsylvania, participated as Leadership Fellow with the Bush Foundation and as an Emerging Scholar with the Spencer Foundation.
“It’s an inside job; You cannot outsource Joy for self or systems.”
-Dr. Joi Lewis
She is a published scholar on issues of social justice and urban communities. Dr. Joi is also a spoken word artist, poet and vocalist, as well as a certified Yoga Teacher and a practitioner and facilitator of meditation and mindfulness. Her work is deeply connected to community through several engagements, i.e. SISTAHS Circles, Black Women and Women of Color Healing and Wellness Project, and using yoga as a healing space for people affected by the Juvenile Justice System. In 2015 “Dr. Joi” was named one of the Givens Foundations Emerging Writing Fellows.
I think too many of us have come to BELIEVE that WE & OUR COMMUNITIES have to settle & just go along with the way it has always been, or how we remember it. So I speak about fully reclaiming our HUMANITY, interrupting historic cycles of OPPRESSION and how they show up in the present… & about how some of us want to go away and live small. I remind us that we can do way better than that & we are worth reaching for and that there is no lack of time, just poor use of ENERGY! Invite me to talk about these things with you and about RADICAL SELF-CARE & RADICAL HOSPITALITY and how to embrace both & HOW WE CAN stop trying to avoid the disappointment and the heartbreak, GUESS WHAT? it already happened but we can HEAL from it, NOT block it out, because we would also block out the AWE & WONDER of life. Let’s embrace it all!
Working with Dr. Joi is an extraordinary experience. Dr. Joi has the unique ability to see people for who they are and help them to use their own potential to transform. She’s compassionate and tough in the very same moment. Dr. Joi is one of the most well-connected people I know. It is an honor to work with her.
-Carol Geissler, Associate Professor, Master of Arts in Holistic Health Studies, Saint Catherine University
I’m grateful for Dr. Joi’s support as we worked through departmental challenges. Her engaging and thorough preparation and follow up were essential to helping us make some important personnel decisions and shift our organization in a new and refreshing direction. If you are having challenges getting your team fully engaged and all pulling in the same direction, then some time with Dr. Joi is just what you need.
-University Associate Vice President
Never have I felt so open, comfortable, supported, and loved. This experience created opportunities for me to share my experiences and become connected to others through theirs as well. I left the retreat Dr. Joi facilitated unwillingly, and will always cherish the special individuals as well as the spaces and moments I was able to “be.”
-William O. Saunders, Historically Black College and University (HBCU) Leadership Summit participant
Joi and I have known each other for more than 20 years as co-workers and professional colleagues; most recently she became my coach as I was beginning a new process of healing and growth for myself. Joi’s ability to help others comes because of her commitment, passion and dedication to her work. I plan to continue to use her firm as a source for continued growth in our organization and for myself. If you decide to use her too, you will be utterly and assuredly thankful.
-Jackie Simpson, Director, Trotter Multicultural Center, University of Michigan
I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to collaborate with Joi Unlimited. Her workshop experiences were liberating spiritual journeys for our clients, as well as the staff. If you work with Joi Unlimited, be prepared to walk away feeling re-energized, renewed, and revitalized. I recommend Joi Unlimited without hesitation, if you’re in search of a professional experience that is both invigorating and engaging.
-Antonia D. Coleman, Counselor, Amherst H. Wilder Foundation
As an Executive Director with extensive previous experience, my goal was to differentiate which skills would transfer to my new role and what skills I needed to develop or fine-tune. Dr. Joi was able to recognize these skills and uncover skills that traditional executive coaching methods rarely recognize, such as cultural responsiveness and community engagement. Dr. Joi reminds executives of self-care and showing up fully in spaces where women of color, LGBTQ leaders, and working-class communities are few but make the most significant positive impact. Executive Coaching with Dr. Joi is a proven strategy to position executives and transform organizations.
–Tracine Asberry, Ed.D., Executive Director, St. Paul Youth Services (SPYS)
Collaborating with Dr. Joi was both a “joi” and a pleasure! She takes the time to get to know you and your team, as well as the needs and culture of your organization. Based on those initial interviews, Dr. Joi develops a multi-faceted approach to creating systems and spaces that contribute to a strong sense of belonging and balance for not only the staff team, but everyone involved in the work of your organization. I look forward to continued consultation with Joi Unlimited and cannot recommend Dr. Joi highly enough.
– Kelley Nelson, Director of Education and Partnerships, Fred Wells Tennis and Education Center
Leadership is hard. Sometimes it rocks my confidence and it’s lonely and sometimes the demands are so diverse, I’m exhausted and uncertain. And frequently I have to check myself for clarity because I can’t see the forest for the trees. My journey with Joi has been life changing. Our work has helped celebrate me. I am clear, I am taking better care of myself, I know why and where I am leading and most importantly, I lead with confidence and purpose.
-Vice President, Foundation
Dr. Joi embodies radical philosophies, such as simultaneously holding the contradiction of gratitude for an amazing mentor and disappointment about their racism all at once. She has the ability to push boundaries and explore edges in the work of social justice that are unparalleled.
– LD Kelsey, University of Minnesota
Dr Joi’s positive energy is truly contagious. Each time she has come to campus her events have doubled in attendance. She is amazingly personable and relates easily and graciously to all of our college students–young and older. I highly recommend her!
-Jon, Counselor and Health Educator, Augsburg College