C. Scott Lewis
AVP Business Banker, Benchmark Community Bank, Farmville, VA
- Nottoway High School, Nottoway County Public Schools
- CTE studies: Fundamentals of Marketing; Computer Applications
- Additional studies: Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a double major in Economics and Finance, Virginia Commonwealth University; Associate degree in Business Administration, Southside Virginia Community College
Acing the audit
by Jessica Sabbath
When C. Scott Lewis started his banking career, he expected to spend the majority of his day at a computer in a back office. However, as a business banker at Benchmark Community Bank, he spends a lot more time meeting directly with customers—both individuals and business owners—to understand their financial needs. Building those relationships has become his favorite part of the job.
“I love getting to know them and their families on a one-on-one basis,” says Scott. “As a bank we pride ourselves that we know our customers by name.”
Scott says these long-term relationships are important. He enjoys helping individuals and businesses achieve major milestones, such as financing major purchases or helping a startup business grow. “We can help families get their child his or her first car or purchase their first home or help parents with college planning,” says Scott.
Scott took a marketing course in high school where he was taught important fundamentals of business and customer service. “These are definitely principles that still apply day in and day out in my career,” says Scott.
The biggest challenge has been helping local businesses weather the economic impacts of the most recent recession and staying up to date on the ever-changing federal regulations of banks. “In the banking world, compliance is always changing,” says Scott. “Staying up to date with compliance and governmental regulations has really been tough over the last five to ten years.”
Scott hopes to earn his MBA in the future and wants to continue at his community bank. “We’re a 12-branch, com- munity-based bank, and we strive to give back and be involved with our community. Finding ways to be in your career but also serve and give back to our customers and our community has been really fulfilling.”
Auditor, Capital Asset Management Team, Virginia Auditor of Public Accounts
- Middlesex High School, Middlesex County Public Schools
- CTE studies: Accounting I; Accounting (dual-enrollment with Rappahannock Community College, including one year as teacher’s assistant); Business Law; Design, Multimedia, and Web Technologies
- Additional studies: Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in Accounting, Longwood University; Virginia Construction Contracting Officer (VCCO) certification; pursuing a Master of Accountancy at Virginia Commonwealth University
Acing the audit
by Jessica Sabbath
As an auditor of Virginia’s agencies and museums, Candice Owens combines her knack for accounting with her interest in policy.
Candice is part of the Capital Asset Management team at the Virginia Auditor of Public Accounts (APA). She is tasked with helping state agencies improve their finances and ensuring public funds are spent according to laws and regulations.
As part of her job, Candice has audited agencies, such as the Virginia Lottery and the Virginia Community College System, and other state-run properties, such as Gunston Hall, York-town Victory Center, and Christopher Newport University.
“No agency is ever the same,” Candice says. “That’s the fun part. There’s always something different to learn.”
Candice got a head start on her career path in high school. Her accounting courses helped her discover she had a talent for accounting. “It just clicked,” she says.
Her teacher also was inspirational, sharing stories of his time as both a public accountant and auditor. She became active in Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA ) and, later, the college division of the organization, Phi Beta Lambda (PBL).
The knowledge she gained in high school translated well to college. Even in her freshman year at Longwood University, Candice was tutoring other accounting students.
Candice first learned about APA through job fairs at Longwood.
“I like meeting new people and helping agencies become better,” Candice says of her job. “I like coming back and seeing things they’ve implemented.”
Audit Associate, KPMG LLP, Norfolk
- Hickory High School, Chesapeake City Public Schools
- CTE studies: Accounting; Advanced Accounting
- Additional studies: Bachelor’s in Business Administration, University of Richmond; CPA licensure pending
Gaining big dividends from Accounting classes
by Veronica Garabelli
Lauren Graf had a job lined up with KPMG LLP – one of the largest accounting firms in the world – before graduating from college.
“That’s the good thing about the accounting field – that’s very common in this field,” says Lauren, an audit associate in the company’s Norfolk office.
That’s not to say Lauren hasn’t worked hard to get to where she is today. As an accounting major at the University of Richmond, Lauren helped found the school’s professional business fraternity, Alpha Kappa Psi. She also participated in six accounting externships, which are similar to internships but generally shorter. After completing her externships (four which were with the “Big Four” accounting firms, which includes KPMG), Lauren was admitted into KPMG’s global internship program and did half her internship in Norfolk and the other half in Dublin, Ireland. She finished that internship in the summer of 2012 and by October of 2013 she had received an offer letter from KPMG.
As an audit associate at KPMG, Lauren works with a team that audits clients’ financial statements. She says her favorite part about her job is also the biggest challenge. “Everything is always new; there’s not a lot of consistency,” she says. “You really have to be ready to learn in this career field. If you were looking for the easy way out, this is not that job.”
Lauren took her first accounting class in high school because she was always interested in finance and ended up loving the class.
“Once I started taking the classes, I liked the way it worked,” she says. “It came pretty easily to me.”
The classes also gave her a leg up when taking her first accounting classes in college, which were “almost a review” of the accounting principles she learned in high school. She advises high school students who want to become accountants to take advantage of opportunities that come their way because “you never know what will happen,” she says. “Really take your classes seriously because in the end it will pay off, and I believe that I am proof of that.”
The Career Clusters logo and its extensions are the property of the National Career Technical Foundation, as managed by NASDCTEc. Some content on this page is from the publication, R U College & Career Ready? - 2017 Edition; and is used here with permission from the Virginia Business Publications LLC and Trailblazers in the Demographics and Workforce Section of the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service at the University of Virginia.