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Kim Hunter Lewis

Local Banker Enhances Job Skills With DSLCC Degree, Certificates

Clifton Forge, VA (Seept. 17, 2021) - Kim Hunter Lewis was a non-traditional college student when she attended Dabney S. Lancaster Community College. Slowly but surely, one course at a time, while working a fulltime job at a local bank, she earned not only an Associate Degree in Business Management but also two Certificates, in Business Fundamentals and Office Management.

“I just loved my time at Dabney,” says the 1978 graduate of Clifton Forge High School and mother of two. “It changed my life.”

Lewis has always gravitated toward the business world. She was working toward a banking certificate at DSLCC right after high school, took a few classes at another community college, and started a family, but didn’t get serious about completing her education until her children were grown and had earned business degrees of their own.

“I expected my children to get an education, and I realized I needed to do it too,” she says. She asked her boss at Highlands Community Bank, where she has been employed for the last 7 years, if she could take an extra lunch hour so she could begin taking classes at DSLCC. “She said, ‘go for it’,” recalls Lewis.

“Dabney made everything possible for me,” she says. Lewis says she took full advantage of all of the services the college offers, from the Achievement Center and the testing lab in the library to online courses and help with scheduling from advisors. She says several of her instructors were utilizing Zoom classes long before the pandemic. A public speaking course she took at DSLCC has been instrumental in helping her express herself to groups of people.

She particularly enjoyed being in class with young people, who often challenged her with new ideas about the business world. “They’re fearless,” she laughs.

Lewis did consider continuing her education toward a four-year degree, but ultimately decided that she didn’t want to incur that debt, going into her retirement years. “I don’t have any regrets about that,” she notes. “I’m very happy with my associate degree and my job.”

Lewis is the Operations Assistant and BSA (Bank Security Act) Assistant at Highlands Community Bank in Covington, where she performs a number of services, such as opening new accounts or helping with online banking.

She’s usually the first person that customers speak with, and she takes customer service very seriously. “I’m often their first contact on the phone,” she notes, and she wants to make sure that they have a good experience.

That focus on customer service as well as finance has led her to positions in her community. She is a member of the Advisory Board for the DSLCC Business Program, where she would like to emphasize the importance of education in furthering students’ careers toward better pay and benefits.

She was recently appointed to the Alleghany County Electoral Board and she serves as secretary of the Covington/Clifton Forge Chapter of the NAACP.

There seems to be a trend toward business in the Lewis family.

Daughter Kaprice Lewis Watkins landed a good job with an Associate Degree in Business Management from DSLCC and a Certificate in Medical Coding and Billing from National Business College. Kaprice is a Senior Service Representative for Labcorp.

Son Kyler Lewis earned a Bachelor’s Degree in business from Radford University and is employed as a Sales Consultant CelluarSales (Verizon) in Richmond.

Son-in-law Markeen Watkins has Associate Degrees in Liberal Arts and General Studies from Virginia Western Community College and a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from Averett University. He is operating his own business, which was a longtime dream.

Why business? “I guess it’s my personality,” says Lewis. “I love to meet people and talk to people. And it’s important to learn how to manage your money.”

"I am delighted to work with Kim on our Business Advisory Board and have a front row seat to her career growth and success,”comments Rachael Thompson, who heads up DSLCC’s Business Program. “I am impressed by her business acumen and, more importantly, her enthusiasm in supporting DSLCC students and the community as a whole. Her willingness to give back to DSLCC and help produce the next generation of successful business graduates makes her a model alumna."

“For me, being at Dabney opened up my mind,” adds Lewis. “It was all a fabulous experience.”

For more information about the DSLCC Business Program, contact Thompson at (540) 863-2890 or email rthompson@dslcc.edu.

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