“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.
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