It is said that with a lot of hard work and a little luck, anyone can achieve their dreams. That’s exactly what Latisha Lee ’08 has done — and is still doing each and every day.
“I’ve been here since July 8, 2008,” says Lee, who prefers to be called Tish, of her work at the Bank of Lancaster in Kilmarnock. With Tish’s educational background, determination and hard work, the Bank has given her various responsibilities and positions over the past seven years including an officer promotion within the last year.
“Let’s see, I started as a Bookkeeping Assistant, then in the Customer Care Center; I was the Business Day Processor … then Deposit Operations Analyst and now the Deposit Operations Officer,” she says. “Basically, now I research new products and services.”
She remembers when growing up that most of the other little girls wanted to be singers or hairstylists. Tish wanted to be a banker. Banking was a way for her to be involved with problems that needed solving. Specifically, she could be involved with solving mathematical problems that needed solving.
Math for Tish has never been something that intimidated her, but rather, a puzzle or a trick with an answer.
“With math or anything you take what you know and take what you don’t know … but you always take what you know to figure out your answer,” she says. “If you take what you know, you’ll always find the answer.”
A Northern Neck native, Tish grew up in Richmond County and attended Rappahannock High School where she graduated in 2005. Upon graduation, she enrolled at the Rappahannock Community College Warsaw Campus, thanks to the advice of an aunt who attended RCC as well.
“I was able to attend class while maintaining my work schedule,” says Tish of her time at RCC. “I was working full time at the Hardee’s in Warsaw.”
As she found a work/school balance, Tish was able to make connections with the faculty who would help guide her in the financial direction.
“I took accounting with James Alston at RCC,” says Tish. “He pushed me and he gave me difficult things too. He made me think more. It wasn’t easy.”
Though she did not spend much time on campus due to her job and other responsibilities, she credits her time at RCC for preparing her for the professional world, which happened to be just around the corner from where she grew up. And two months after graduation in May 2008 with her Associate of Arts & Sciences Degree in Business Administration, she had a job — the only job she applied for.
“When I walked in here the first time and I met the Assistant Vice President and the Vice President and they welcomed me with open arms,” remembers Tish. “Coming out as a college student … made me a little bit nervous. They pushed me and gave me great instruction and I had no trouble.”
Tish is happy at the Bank of Lancaster. As she walks through the company headquarters in Kilmarnock and flashes her big smile around, anyone could tell that this is where she belongs. Everyone at the branch locations knows who she is as well, and they light up when she walks in for a visit.
She’s decided to continue her education in Hampton University’s accounting program. Tish reports that she had “no trouble” transferring her credits to HU and will start this fall in their online program.
When asked if she regretted not taking the “traditional” route that many high school graduates follow, that is, enrolling in a four-year program somewhere, the mathematical mind of Tish takes over.
“Most people want you to just automatically go to a four-year university,” she says. “But for me, RCC was fantastic. You go two years … it’s cheaper. Rather than spending $60,000, you can probably cut it in half if not more.
“When you go to the universities, sometimes the professors don’t have the spare time to give you because there are so many people there that they have to teach. It’s not that they don’t want to give you the time; they just don’t have the time. You get more touch and feel at the community college.”
Her long-term goal is to eventually become a vice president in her operations department at Bank of Lancaster. But while she is working her way up the corporate ladder, she has become an example and exemplar to young people in her community on how to succeed and achieve a goal.
“I just met a young lady in Warsaw and she was telling me that the job that she had was not where she wanted to be,” says Tish. “I told her just always pursue her dreams and to never give up.
“It may take time, but I’d rather take time than to give up what I’ve worked for. I can speak from experience that I knew banking was what I wanted to do. Never lose interest in your future goals and always have faith.”