Building Women: Shontel Lewis

In 1990, psychologists John Mayer and Peter Salovey theorized that a unitary intelligence underlay that skill sets, coining the term, Emotional Intelligence, which broke down into four areas:

  • Identifying emotions on a nonverbal level

  • Using emotions to guide cognitive thinking

  • Understanding the information emotions convey and the actions emotions generate

  • Regulating one’s own emotions, for personal benefit and for the common good

In 1995, Goleman, a science reporter for the New York Times, took the concept of emotional intelligence a step further in his eponymous book, Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ.

In it, he argues that existing definitions of intelligence needed to be reworked. IQ was still important, but intellect alone was not enough to identify one’s own emotions or the emotional state of others.

This special kind of intelligence, to process emotional information and utilize it effectively, facilitates good personal decision making, resolves conflicts and helps motivates oneself towards self-efficacy.

Before trainees can master emotional intelligence, the first step is understanding their feelings. While nearly everyone can determine the difference between feeling happy and sad, knowing how emotions like jealousy and envy, and shame and embarrassment differ is fundamental to properly dealing with emotions.

During the first 160 hours of training we dive into the following areas to create a platform to discuss self regulation.


If trainees are showing difficulty with adapting to life changes, their ability to self-regulate will be inhibited. It is important that they cope well with change and adapt their behavior to different situations easily.

People who resist change often experience unhealthy levels of stress and anxiety that can lead to poor physical and mental health. I often refer to one of my favorite quotes during class, encouraging trainees to incorporate it into a self-soothing mantra when they face a challenging time: Be Like Water


One of the most essential factors for self-regulation is self-awareness. A large part of being self-aware is knowing your strengths and weaknesses are viewed from the outside. How you are perceived by your peers and boss, for example. Where you are within the ever-evolving social make-up of your home, neighborhood, and job site versus where you want to be and how to move forward.

Emotional Self - Awareness

The ability to understand your emotions and the role they play in outcomes at work, home and with your own view of yourself. We delve into the ideas of perception and judgment, touching on the concept of non-judgment.


Cultivating the ability to see your strengths and develop them, as well as confronting your weaknesses and working through past missteps, along with dealing with the ramifications of those choices. We take a page from Jocko Willink's book, Extreme Ownership.

Once ownership is accepted and assimilated, growth can begin.

A.A: How did you discover CMC? What was the process like?

S.L: I discovered CMC through a friend.I contacted Vivian, attended an info session, and completed all the required classes. The process was very easy to me.

A.A: Where are you now? Where do you want to be five to ten years from now?

S.L: Right now, I want general labor experience before I learn a specific trade. I also love working in the Bronx. Five to ten years from now, I would like to be set in my career. I also want to achieve the American dream. For me that dream is; a big house, big family, and to be able to give my sons everything they want and need.

A.A: How do you handle stress? How do you handle what life throws at you without letting it bring you down?

S.L: I love to write. Writing essays, songs and poetry is my main outlet. I had the highest writing grades in school. I also know that CMC Workforce can connect me to resources if I need help. They are going to be with me in every step of my career journey. My sons also inspire me to keep going.

A.A: What is the one thing you would like to say to the public since you now have a platform through CMC?

S.L: Doubt kills all progress a person can make. Everyone talks about working hard, being educated, and being in the right place at the right time. I know that before my hard work and dedication can pay off, I need to believe in myself. My fellow CMC Trainees can agree with me as well. I faced hardship and I know that I am better than any obstacle in front of me.

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