hese days we hear about living our best lives and how that often might happen in one’s “second act” as we wind down our first career and embark upon a second in our later years. Raymond Lewis of RP Lewis & Associates must have missed that memo, as he’s already living his best life and doing it in his third career iteration. His energy is boundless, and he is the embodiment of a social butterfly. Seemingly built to make people and events feel fabulous, Lewis’ status as a much sought after public relations (PR) and event planning professional is well defined. His offices are in Harlem, where he makes his home. His precision haircut and perfectly-tailored suit announce his New York City flair, yet they belie his southern warmth and charm, courtesy of his family and his time at Morehouse College. Lewis’ charisma allows him to move swiftly and seamlessly between social circles, a must-have quality for any public relations professional. His job centers around strategic communications that build mutually beneficial relationships. “I love people,” he said matter-of-factly when I asked why he chose PR as his vocation. And while he’s always loved people, PR wasn’t always his dream.
Friendship, Food, Flair & Results With Raymond Lewis Everything’s Covered BY R.L. WITTER
Cooking with Nana Growing up in Brooklyn, NY, Lewis’ life was heavily influenced by his family’s southern roots. His beloved grandmother, Lilian Carter or “Nana,” hailed from South Carolina. As grandmas often do, Nana modeled love and spirituality to Raymond and topped it off with delicious meals sprinkled with wit and wisdom passed down through generations. “My grandmother was a great cook,” Lewis recalled. “I stayed in the kitchen with Nana. I was always the one who went to the meat market, the vegetable stand, and the fish market with her. She made pineapple upside down cake in a cast iron skillet and had a huge cupboard full of spices…” Remembering his Nana, Lewis’ voice changed to reflect and express the love and admiration he felt for her —recalling specific dishes she cooked and the various ingredients and spices they demanded. “Nana died before I was nine,” he said. “I started cooking dinner for my family at nine years old.” That cooking with Nana would serve him well in multiple professional acts. The first was selling Sunday dinners to make money. Though just a teenager, his entrepreneurial spirit came shining through. His second professional act entailed classified advertising and multicultural marketing at the Village Voice, where he often focused on nightclubs and restaurants; again, his time in Nana’s kitchen proved a valuable legacy. During his years flitting about, meeting and greeting the who’s who of nightlife, Lewis began hosting after parties where his culinary skills would delight and amaze all who attended. The buzz from his parties and his www.thepositivecommunity.com
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Summer 2017 The Positive Community