Tracey McCants Lewis, Esq. is a Woman Making a Difference

 

Tracey McCants Lewis, Esq. Associate Professor & Director of Clinical Legal Education Duquesne University School of Law

How many years have you been in your industry?

I have been teaching at Duquesne University School of Law for 10 years.

 

What has been your greatest inspiration?

The opportunity to provide legal services to change the lives of clients through a new or renewed ability to work after having their criminal record expunged.  Giving back to individuals inspires me and reminds me of my blessings.

Name one person you consider a great role model and tell us why.

My mother is my role model.  She was always available for her husband, her children, her extended family, her patients, and her friends….and she made it look effortless. She was the head nurse of labor and delivery at Magee Women’s Hospital for a number of years; working the evening shift. Although she worked all night, she was active as a homeroom mother, a Girl Scout troop leader and a mother.  She also went back to school and received her Bachelor’s degree in nursing.  She did this part-time and was on the Dean’s list every semester.  Magee also sent her to Russia on two humanitarian trips to assist with the modernization of labor and delivery systems in their country.

My mother is one of the strongest women that I know. Her strength inspires me to be stronger.  She is also such a patient person.  It was not until I got older that I realized how patient and kind my mother is and I strive to have the same type of patience and kindness.

What advice would you give to any one about following their dreams?

Always move forward. You will have some small or large hurdles to jump over, but do not fear them. A hurdle can be jumped over. Never allow fear to stop you from following your dreams.  Keep a clear vision of what you want to achieve.  Write down your goals and revisit them on a regularly-set basis.  It is empowering to see all that you have achieved and learnt while moving forward.

 What is the biggest career or business mistake that you have ever made?

I doubted myself after I did not achieve a career goal that I had set. I failed to be flexible with myself and my goals and that inflexibility created a fear that I would never achieve the goal. That fear then caused immobility and I did not move toward the goal again for a period of time.  I finally was able to move past the fear and achieved the goal in the time it was meant to be achieved.

What would you tell your younger self?

I would tell my younger self to work hard, but make sure to take time for self-care and relaxation. Have fun with family and friends. Make sure to see distant lands and travel with great curiosity. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes and don’t be so hard on yourself. Live, laugh and love in abundance.

When did you first become aware of your purpose?

I really became aware of my purpose when I started working on criminal record expungements and gubernatorial pardons approximately seven years ago. I truly feel blessed to help people remove barriers in their life that are set up to limit their ability to secure employment or safe housing.  When you can help someone get employment, someone who wants to work, but has no access to resources to help them achieve that goal… it is a feeling of accomplishment and giving to others that is so fulfilling.

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