Turn your pain into purpose.
It’s a philosophy that speaker and social entrepreneur Lorenzo Lewis lives by. With a decade of professional experience in behavioral health and founder of The Confess Project, an initiative that empowers barbers to become mental health advocates for men of color, Lorenzo helps you confess to your issues to begin to build a better process of living.
Born in jail to an incarcerated mother, Lorenzo struggled with depression, anxiety, and anger throughout his youth. At 17, he almost re-entered the system of mass incarceration he had come from. It was then he snapped in and began his journey to wellness.
It started with an education at Arkansas Baptist College and continued with him facing his own emotional challenges, eventually becoming a mental health advocate. Since then, Lorenzo has been a keynote speaker at numerous venues across the country—from organizations to universities to government agencies—exploring themes such as toxic masculinity, therapy taboos, and more. He has also presented at TEDxFayetteville and TEDxPointParkUniversity.
An entrepreneurial changemaker and current Chief Visionary Office for The Confess Project, he has transformed the organization into a national grassroots movement. To date, his team has trained over 1,300 barbers in more than 20 cities. Fast Company named The Confess Project as one of “The 10 most innovative health companies of 2021.”
Lorenzo’s parent nonprofit, L&J Empowerment, supports several other of his initiatives including the recently opened Joy & Wellness Hub in Little Rock, Arkansas. The space offers wraparound services for marginalized communities in areas such as employment, transport, economic mobility, and healthcare access. In addition, Lorenzo believes building generational weatlh is key and has launched several family businesses that not only generate opportunities for his wife and daughter, but help everyday folks thrive.
Community comes first in all of Lorenzo’s endeavors—whether it's the people he serves or the talent he hires. He believes that when you empower individuals, you empower the community. His book, Jumping Over Life’s Hurdles and Staying in the Race, threads together these lessons to tell a story of how he became the visionary he is today.
With the ultimate goal of prosperity for the community he serves, Lorenzo now trains business professionals in workplace settings on mental health and diversity–including wellness tips for diverse employees and how human resources can better support LGBTQ, people of color, and people with disabilities. He has given trainings for Snapchat, Gillette, Google, Texas Rangers, and more.
Lorenzo is a 2022 Ashoka Fellow, 2020 Roddenberry Foundation Fellow, and 2020 Echoing Green Fellow. In addition, he is a recipient of the Public Lifesaver Award from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and a Multicultural Outreach Award from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). He previously served as an adjunct professor at Arkansas Baptist College.
His work has been featured in countless media outlets including Oprah Magazine, BET, CNN’s Great Big Story, NPR’s Weekend Edition, Revolt on PBS, Black Enterprise, Men’s Health, Huffington Post, as well as brands such as Kenneth Cole and the Minnesota Vikings. He has also made appearances on Love & Respect with Killer Mike, Jay Z’s Roc Nation, Nick Cannon Mornings, The Today Show, The Kelly Clarkson Show, Jordan Peele’s Monkeypaw Productions, and more.