Entrepreneur shares his story with students

Magazine co-founder and UNM graduate inspires audience

Posted: 10/6/06
by Caleb Fort
Daily Lobo

Ed Lewis, a UNM alumnus and the co-founder of Essence magazine, told students that his time at the University was critical to his success.

Starting a company is risky, so entrepreneurs need to be prepared for failure, he said.

"Business is about taking risks, and you need to be prepared by knowing reading, writing and arithmetic," he said. "If I'm prepared and something doesn't work, I can pick myself up and go on."

Lewis, who is visiting from New York, spoke to about 30 students, staff and faculty in the African-American Student Services Center on Thursday.
Essence is a lifestyle magazine for African-American women, with a circulation of more than 1 million, according to the Magazine Publishers of America

Web site.

Lewis earned a bachelor's and a master's in political science from UNM in the 1960s. He started working on the magazine in 1968.

The magazine was first published in 1970.

Lewis said he is proud of the magazine's success.

"I now realize, after 36 years, that the magazine has had an impact on helping black women," he said. "To see how black women have progressed is extraordinary."

Student Phillip Williams said he was happy to meet Lewis.

"He's really inspirational to me, because he reminds me a lot of myself," he said. "The way he talks really inspires the way I look at the world."

Student Sabrina Curtis, who reads the magazine regularly, said she was glad to see a UNM student succeed.

"It was so inspirational to see that if you stay focused and don't lose your goals, you can really do whatever you want," she said. "No matter where you're from, you can achieve something."

Curtis said she is planning on being a professional writer after she graduates.

"I do a lot of writing on my own, so to see someone with a great magazine is very exciting," she said.

Scott Carreathers, director of African-American Student Services, said having Lewis on campus was inspirational.

"We're elated," he said. "This is a wonderful opportunity for students to interact with a very successful entrepreneur."

Lewis' magazine should prove to students that they are getting a good education, he said.

"I think it sends a good message that he graduated from UNM," he said. "It really shows what you can do with an education, which is something I think a lot of students don't

fully grasp."

Lewis said it is important to have a magazine for African-American women.

"The young women's magazines like Glamour don't focus on the aspirations and beauty and intelligence of black women," he said. "So we needed a magazine that talked about her beauty and intelligence, so she could see her own image."

Diversity is as important for universities as it is for magazines, he said.

"Having more people around means you can interact with more different viewpoints," he said. "I think I was successful after UNM because of the diversity. I learned a lot about people with different backgrounds.">BackTrack<

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