Ever since Monica Lewis was a young girl she has been minding her ps and qs. Her parents were sticklers for good manners. They raised 8 children in a three-bedroom house where manners and respect ruled.
“My parents were big in church and very strict. We didn’t have the etiquette on which fork to use, but they were big on manners and respect. They had zero tolerance for any disrespect. It was always: 'Yes ma'am, no ma'am and pleases and thank yous.' If not, you were sure to get in trouble.”
Monica thought everyone was taught manners but she learned from her fellow classmates that was not the case in every home.
“I felt like I was an outsider, clearly we were taught differently. So I became like a miniature mom telling other kids what not do or standing up for the kid getting bullied. I didn’t get why people were bullying others when we all came from the same background.”
Monica’s good manners took her far. She went to business school and worked as an auditor at AIG for more than 15 years. One night while watching reality TV and eating Papa John's with her husband she was inspired.
“My ‘Aha’ moment just came. I had been at the same job for 15 years. I felt I should be doing something different but until that moment I’d never gotten an answer on what that should be. I was meant to open an accessible Charm school.”
She set in motion the launch of her business in 2009 The Monica Lewis School of Etiquette was created.
“With three young boys all the same age at the time, many people thought it was a risk when I left my investment job. I knew it wasn’t a risk. It was my destiny. I knew this was IT and I haven’t turned back since.”
As a certified etiquette consultant Monica teaches etiquette and protocols to a variety of organizations and community members. Her courses are adapted to the needs of Fortune 500 companies, local media, schools, and other organizations. She is an avid believer that social presentation and behaviors are essential to be successful in today’s society.
Now she is a passionate instructor, motivational speaker, mother, and author. She wrote “Say Yes to Manners” (dual-language English/Spanish), the “Practice Good Manners” workbook, and co-authored the “Breaking BAD in Business” series. She is committed to bringing a positive change everywhere she goes. She volunteers at her church, with community organizations, and at some schools.
Her work both paid and voluntary make her a sought after mentor for teenagers across the county. She currently works with over 400 school campuses, corporations , including the MISS. USA, INC, Verizon, Comcast, and more..
“During the recent MISS. USA Teen Weekend Retreat, in addition to all the glitz and glam. I was fortunate to share the importance of good character, confidence, manners and why first impressions matter. That's my “ WHY”. It is important each contestant remember to treat others like they want to be treated.”
Much of Monica’s coaching with youth is anchored with empowerment through positivity.
“I let my students know it's ok to be you, so long as you are inspiring people through love, kindness, and respect. I show them what that looks like. I make sure they understand that your circumstances don’t dictate your destiny. You can use these circumstances to build your foundation for success. add value to you.
Originally an avid coffee drinker, Monica switched to tea on her doctor's recommendation. She became enthralled with the benefits and nuances of tea. During the pandemic, Monica expanded to add tea to her etiquette empire.
Tea is a social event around the world. Additionally, there are a lot of protocols for tea time.
“Most think all tea is created equal but that’s not true. There are different types of tea, loose leaf versus commercial tea bags. In an afternoon tea, there is a proper order of teas that one should drink and proper tea behavior.”
Monica now teaches afternoon tea sessions as part of her curriculum . She was featured on CBS affiliate KHOU to instruct proper Tea Etiquette during the coverage of Prince Harry and Megan Markel’s wedding.
“My job is to make you feel comfortable in various types of social settings. I give you the tools to navigate the conversations and feel comfortable in every event.”
When she’s not teaching how to navigate tea with royalty she spends her time helping prepare for afternoon teas. She’s currently working with the National Charity League to prepare girls and parents for their national afternoon tea party held every November.
There are a lot of misnomers out there about tea. When in reality tea has a lot of art, culture, and natural health benefits.
“Many people think you have to raise your pinkie finger to drink tea properly. There is no need to do that now. That was done in the past because there was no handle and this helped to balance the tea so tea-sippers didn’t spill it.”
There are lots of great reasons to start drinking more tea or switch over from coffee to tea as Monica did.
Monica particularly recommends loose leaf tea over commercially bag tea. The BBC reported that some bag tea contains particles of plastic in them!
“I’m a foodie. Ultimately the flavor is so much more intense with loose leaf tea than a teabag anyway.”
Her signature tea is a black tea with cinnamon bark, with orange peel swirl and sweet cloves to seal the deal.. She was getting it at her local tea room until it was sold to an investor. Her tea room wasn’t the same so she went in search of that same preferred tea.
She learned how to blend her own tea and launched the Lewis Tea Company.
Her tea can be found now in nearby stores, online at lewisteacompany.com, and at Farmer's market events she attends.
Tea is perfect for any weather as long as you know how to steep it to the correct time for the chosen tea. Oversteeped tea becomes bitter and might lose some nutrients. Correctly steeped tea hot or cold has the same benefits. Each tea has its own perfect time to steep.
So grab your teacup, infuser, and your tea kettle. Then, join Monica to learn Tea Etiquette on Thursday, September 23rd thanks to our partnership with the YMCA of Greater Houston. At this event Monica will explain why tea is a trendy and fashionable way to have meaningful time with people who matter to you. She’ll share how to set the tea table and basic tea etiquette so you can learn how to get the most out of your tea. Plus learn from her how to increase the flavor in your tea with filtered water, the right infuser with the smallest holes, and how to get up to 60 cups of tea out of a 4 oz pouch of tea.
Join the Guest Speaker: Tea Etiquette with Monica Lewis event on GetSetUp to make your next afternoon tea a success!
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