We had the good fortune of connecting with Sheri Lewis and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Sheri, do you have a favorite quote or affirmation?

“When you’re dancing with a bear you better watch your partner” This is a quote from my grandfather who partially raised me. In my teens I felt his wisdom had to do with the age difference between us. In my 20’s I thought it had to do with life’s experience. Now as an adult I still believe that, but I see that it also has a lot to do with what I call mindful wokeness.

I’ve met many people whose glitzy upbringing was dull to mine in comparison simply because they lacked mindful wokeness. I’ve met people with PHD’s who made poor decisions, ruined relationships, harbored ill will, couldn’t move forward simply because they lacked mindful wokeness.

When my grandfather used this term with me it was always meant to make me think about the people I was partnering with, who I was hanging around with, who I associated with; and to this day I partner from the heart more than I do the head.

To that end, I often find myself using this quote during trainings when trust, distrust, or lack of trust is an issue as that is what the quote is about.  I use it demonstratively to help employees associate good within their work circles.  At times I have even posted pictures of various bears from a mean looking grizzly to  a friendly cuddly Yogi.  Invariably people often see others as the mean looking grizzly and themselves as the friendly cuddly Yogi.  It then becomes my training goal to show them that at the end of the day they’re both bears! They both have bear qualities, what makes them mean or cuddly is the perspective you give them from the experience you’ve had with them.  So let’s start there and find a path in which you can partner.  Ultimately, the best way to get what you want or need from another employee is to  partner well.  Sure there may continue to be resistance from some individuals, but in that case try honey, aka kindness.  Bears like honey and people like kindness so use it generously.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?

History is important to understand perspective and perspective is shaped by one’s history, and you can quote me on that, LOL.

I segued into the field of Human Resources Personnel Management and now Organizational Behavior & Leadership. I am surprised at how I became keen in workplace awareness and how that began to shape and mold a unique strength which I did not know at the time that I was developing.  It absolutely was not a result of understanding personnel laws, compliance, and now with Covid crises, OSHA regulations which is what most employers seek first.

Rather, this strength seemed to have become as a result of the same mindful wokeness – watching, observing, listening, hearing, not judging, and when needed, dancing with the bears and making them my partners.
It’s come with my learning how to wade the waters and not take things personal.
It’s come with developing a voice, wordsmithing words, and speaking them in such a way they are heard.

Sometimes I find myself doing this over and over again or getting annoyed for having to train the same thing over and over again.  This annoyance, and at times flat out frustration, is what led to my manuscripts about ‘The People At Work’.  Almost like a journal, it was my way of lamenting my frustrations with having to face repetition again and again (no pun intended).  Today those manuscripts have become a five book series about ‘The People At Work’ .  This then led to my YouTube Channel in which I speak in short videos about workplace ways, behaviors, egos and politics because all these forms of conduct prevent bear-partnering.  Not only do I strongly believe these methods work, I offer such training to any employer including your readers here to take me up on it.    I would be thrilled to enhance every company willing to invest in their personnel, especially now when Covid has everyone so stressed out!  Companies are worried about their bottom line but at the end of the day, your employees help you reach that bottom line.

at the end of the day, people are people and everyone wants to be valued, appreciated, and thanked for their work.
At the end of the day the boss is NOT always right. At the end of the day, human resource is a customer service department, the employee is the customer, and the customer is not always right either.

At the end of the day, I have carved myself a lane of understanding the people in the workplace in ways which are not taught in a college classroom; and for that I’m grateful

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?

Go to the Zoo of course because that’s where you find the bears, ha-ha. Bear reference is not just the quote but the animal lover in me. I visit the Zoo regularly. San Diego Zoo is home to some of the most exotic animals.  Then follow that evening in downtown Little Italy enjoying the street vendors, live music, pike-like atmosphere.  Then wind up at one of the best Italian restaurants for pasta and vino.  Everyone should experience a Saturday or Sunday that way.

For local laid-back restaurants to enjoy, I’d recommend Derrick’s Jamaican Cuisine in Culver City.  Some like it hot!  Ha-ha!.  They have great food and Caribbean music for a jeans and tee shirt outing.  As well, Paradise Cove in Malibu is a great scenic drive and OMG the best ever watermelon margaritas ever!

But wait there’s more, if a friend is visiting from out of town during late August or September you must take them to the LA County Fair in Pomona. People think of the fair as kids play – not this one!  Except for Covid last year when it was canceled, I haven’t missed this fair since I was a kid. It’s so big, so nice, so safe, and so culturally diverse!  I get taken in by it!  It too has a petting zoo (the kid in me). I love walking about, tasting different foods, buying unique items from the vendors. I always buy a big turkey leg. I always buy 2 pairs of designer sunglasses. I always collect Mardi Gras beads from the parade participants who toss them out as they march through. I always buy a commemorative mug and a tee shirt every year. It’s become a thing-thang for me and the girls. We attend several of the concerts and dance our way silly.
Everyone deserves to see me at the fair – all I can say is ‘it’s quite a picture’ – just don’t disturb this groove, ha-ha!

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?

Many people help shape us and that makes it hard to pick out one person.  I’ve been fortunate to have good bosses.  I look at a good boss as a person who you learn and grow by having worked for them.  One who holds you accountable but also rolls up their sleeves as a worker bee.  Harold Midkiff was such a person.  When he first came into the company he began making changes that made others, who have become accustomed to a bit of mediocrity, work.  Oh the resistance!  Oh the complaints, oh boy!  In a short period of time the entire place got a facelift, operations were efficient, profits grew, staffing improved tremendously.  It was functional!  Harold was there for a short window but none of us knew it.  When he finally left the company, it was oh boy again.  Only this time it was oh boy our leader’s leaving, we’ve made such progress, don’t leave – much of this came from the same complainants who earlier felt he was too demanding.  When he resigned I put together a roast-like dinner party that to this day is a memory we all cherish.  Quite the leader, when he resigned he gave and autographed a  business management book for each manager or director.  I still have mine; I still cherish it.  I am still in touch with Harold and his wife LuJana.  He was one of the proofreaders of my first book and prepared a video to promote it.  Always proud of me; and likewise.

Again, my Grandfather has a substantial influence in my life! Sometimes a person is purposed for your life. Poured into your life. And remains in your life long after their heavenly departure. How I came to live with my grandfather at the age of 15 is the result of ‘a runaway child’ in me. My Mom came to fetch me back. But my grandfather had fallen ill, and someone needed to be at home with him since he lived alone. Guess who? Me and my sister stayed for about a week until my grandfather regained his wellness. She went back home, I didn’t – I was already home.

There I stayed for the rest of my growing life. There I learned, I heard, I watched, I grew.

I had discussions at the dinner table with my grandfather that we never had at my home with all my other family members.  We chatted it up, we shared the newspaper, we played checkers.    He believed in being involved in your community; so I’m involved.  He believed in voting in every election no matter what.  I’ve never missed an election of any sort. It was just my grandpa and me. We bonded in such a way that I am forever grateful.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Sheri-Lewis-Speaks-Truth-380731092717849

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvizzDZE1uV3rLlEpp1TNvw

Other: PINTEREST: https://www.pinterest.com/sherilewisspeakstruth Book Series: Motivation & Inspiration for The People At Work: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B095LBXYMW If it aint one thing it’s The People At Work: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1703770722 Keys for Dealing with The People At Work: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1792003633

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