Meet our Mentors

Chandler Lewis

Consultant, Director of Equity & Inclusion, The Cross Cultural Health Care Program

Programs: Advisory Solutions & Labs Coach - Community Mentor, Team Mentor, NSF I-Corps, CoMotion Innovation Gap Fund, WE-REACH mentor, Foster MS in Entrepreneurship Program

LinkedIn

Industry experience

  • Childhood and adult education
  • Nonprofits
  • Startups
  • Elder care
  • DEI and management consulting

Areas of expertise

  • Nonprofit management
  • Training and development
  • Strategic planning
  • Startups & franchises
  • DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion)

Background

Chandler Lewis (he/him) brings with him over 12 years’ experience in childhood and adult education, startups, non-profit management, diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), and management consulting. He has a long history of working with organizations and institutions that serve under-represented communities, specifically with work that focuses on homelessness, addiction, and mental health. Chandler has a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Washington and a master’s degree of science in organizational leadership, with an emphasis in public safety leadership, from Johns Hopkins University.

Working with CoMotion

Mentor journey

I first started working with CoMotion Labs in 2016 at StartUp Hall, but recently began as a mentor in 2020. So far, I have participated in a couple of rounds of I-Corps and Innovation Gap Fund and currently work with three faculty teams through CoMotion Advisory Solutions.

I am an alumni of the University of Washington and already work with a lot of students through programs I oversee for a nonprofit I manage that is housed at StartUp Hall. I have always loved working within a community of innovators and loved watching startups build solutions for some of the world’s most pressing needs. A key to becoming a successful team seems to always include a valued mentor, so when I was asked to serve as a mentor, it was an easy YES!

I love being able to be a small part of helping teams achieve successful outcomes. Many of the teams I have worked with come from life sciences and other technical backgrounds and need a lot of support in translating their work into a profitable and sustainable business model. This is where I come in! I love leading teams through the creative process by helping them identify the most important elements in launching a successful enterprise. There is nothing more rewarding than seeing them be successful.

Favorite project

I began working with a faculty team at UW Medicine and the Department of Laboratory Medicine & Pathology named ConnectMyVariant. Their mission, which is also a Washington State Public Health Initiative, seeks to educate and connect individuals and families with inherited cancer risk genetic mutations, to resources for prevention. I started with them as they were finishing up their first I-Corps, and continued on as their mentor for the Spring Innovation Gap Fund. After an intense application process, we were awarded $50,000 in funding to continue working on the project and have already begun working on our final go-to-market plan.

Advice to innovators

There is nothing more important to the success of a product than to truly understand the needs of the customers you wish to serve. When designing a product or solution, customer discovery is key to understanding the customer journey and their buying decisions. Take the time to design solutions by listening to those closest to the work and validate and test your assumptions there in order to gain valuable insights for scaling your project.

On the lighter side

Fun anecdote

I have been working with a team at the School of Nursing to design a new logo for their project. As it happens, my father is a professional illustrator and graphic artist (he created Over the Hedge) and he agreed to help with the project. As a mentor, I sometimes have to help come up with creative ways to get things done with very few resources — and sometimes that means I still have to ask my parents to help me get things done! Whatever works, right?

Role models

I have a lot of role models, but my biggest role models are my parents. They instilled in me the value and importance of giving back to the community. They also taught me that people don’t always remember you for what you do for them, but they will always remember how you make them feel. Leading with empathy, compassion, and humility are keys to success in both your personal and professional life.

More about me

In my free time, I love to travel to new places and indulge in the food culture of the places I visit. I love to cook and so I love to bring back recipes that I can cook at home. I also enjoy playing tennis and golf and almost anything that gets me outside.