Veteran telecom industry executive cited for her leadership and advocacy of computer science education and jobs
Jackson, Miss. (August 23, 2019) – Carla Lewis, chief technology officer for C Spire, a Mississippi-based diversified telecommunications and technology services company, has been named one of the Magnolia State’s most influential African Americans by the Our Mississippi Honors organization.
Lewis will be recognized tonight along with 24 other African American business, education, government and community leaders, including Vicksburg Mayor George Flaggs, U.S. District Court Judge Carlton Reeves, University of Southern Mississippi President Dr. Rodney D. Bennett and Dr. William Bynum Jr., president of Jackson State University.
All honorees are expected to attend tonight’s 2nd annual awards program at the Hilton Hotel on East County Line Road in Jackson, where six prominent and successful business and community leaders also will be recognized with Legacy Lifetime achievement awards. The organization showcases diversity in businesses and individuals.
“Carla is an amazing leader who stands out in everything she does,” said C Spire CEO Hu Meena. “She succeeds at C Spire as the leader of our technology team and leads in Mississippi as a passionate proponent of developing the next generation of computer science and information technology talent in Mississippi.”
With more than 23 years of technology and management experience, Lewis is responsible for all aspects of information technology operations, network operations and customer operations at C Spire, including software development for sales and service, product delivery, and billing, call centers, core network, data centers and access and deployment.
Under her leadership, C Spire has been named a top technology innovator by InformationWeek for three years. This includes InformationWeek’s Elite 100 rankings. C Spire was the top-ranked telecommunications provider in the U. S. on the list. The company operates the nation’s largest privately held wireless communications unit.
Our Mississippi Honors founder and Tupelo publisher Wesley Wells said Lewis and the other honorees were selected for the award by an internal committee and an independent panel of business and community leaders from among nominees in six different categories, including business, education, politics, religion, media and servant leadership.
“Carla and the other honorees are doing so much for our state and our people,” Wells said. “We’re very proud of the great work they continue to accomplish and the incredible role models they are for the next generation of workers and leaders.”
In addition to CTO, Lewis is a leader in the workforce development portion of the C Spire Tech Movement initiative with a focus on technology education and getting more young people in software development and IT jobs. This initiative has impacted thousands of youth across Mississippi. She has a passion for technology education and believes that all youth should be exposed to and taught computer science and coding skills, which are essential to their future livelihood.
Lewis also has successfully led the C Spire Coding Challenge (C3) and C3 Jr (with the Mississippi Children’s Museum) elementary school programs, which inform and educate students on IT education and career opportunities. In 2018, she was named one of the state’s Top in Tech leaders by the Mississippi Business Journal, the state’s largest business publication.
She is a member of the board of directors for the Base Camp Coding Academy (BCCA), a Water Valley-based charitable, non-profit vocational education training program that delivers fast paced, focused computer programming to under-advantaged youth in Mississippi to support the technology needs of local and regional employers. The program’s primary objective is to help students pursue a career in computer science through an immersive classroom environment that features current, real-world technologies and projects.
BCCA has successfully placed its graduates in technology-related jobs with local and regional companies and has served as a model for the creation of other coding academies in Jackson and the Columbus-Starkville region. Lewis’ leadership led to C Spire’s partnership with Mississippi educators to create a similar pilot named the C Spire Software Development Pathway.
The pilot program seeks to lessen the shortage of computer coding jobs in Mississippi through a unique partnership between public schools and community colleges that will enable high school students to graduate after only one year of junior college with entry-level skills. The program is the first to introduce a specialized coding curriculum for 2019-2020 school year.
Lewis resides in Brandon, Mississippi with her husband, Richard, and daughter Breana. She is actively involved in community service as a member of the Junior League of Jackson and with her local church, True Vine Baptist Church, where she leads and serves in various ministries.
“I love making a difference in people’s lives,” Lewis said. “As a leader, an executive, a wife, a mother and a member of my community, I want to help people reach their full potential as contributing, successful, loving and engaged members of society. That’s my calling and my passion.”
About C Spire
C Spire is a diversified telecommunications and technology services company that provides world-class, customer-inspired wireless communications, 1 Gigabit consumer Internet access as well as a full suite of dedicated Internet, wireless, IP Voice, data and cloud services for businesses. This news release and other announcements are available at www.cspire.com/news. For more information about C Spire, visit www.cspire.com or follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/cspire or Twitter at www.twitter.com/cspire.