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This Week We Feature Young Professional Akima R. S. Lettsome

With a passion for customer service and entrepreneurship, our Young Professional Akima R. S. Lettsome is a mother of two who is determined to be the best she can be in her job and in her graphic design business that she hopes to see grow in the future. Photo: Provided
Our Young Professional said that while she loves the stability of a steady job, which the bank provides, she does her graphic design on the side. Photo: Provided
Our Young Professional said that while she loves the stability of a steady job, which the bank provides, she does her graphic design on the side. Photo: Provided
Lettsome said that aside from juggling the two sets of responsibilities – referring to the bank where she works and her business, she is also a mother and has had to learn to manage her time effectively, as she still has to meet deadlines that clients give to her. Photo: Provided
Lettsome said that aside from juggling the two sets of responsibilities – referring to the bank where she works and her business, she is also a mother and has had to learn to manage her time effectively, as she still has to meet deadlines that clients give to her. Photo: Provided
Lettsome advises young people to always put God first in everything that they do. Photo: Provided
Lettsome advises young people to always put God first in everything that they do. Photo: Provided
By N. Johann Earle

With a passion for customer service and entrepreneurship, our Young Professional Akima R. S. Lettsome is a mother of two who is determined to be the best she can be in her job and in her graphic design business that she hopes to see grow in the future.

Growing up in the Long Look area of East End, Lettsome completed her primary education at the Francis Lettsome Primary School before moving on to the then BVI High School.

Following high school, she commenced studies at the H. Lavity Stoutt Community College (HLSCC) but because she moved to the United States, she did not complete studies at the local tertiary institution. Lettsome, however, restarted college life when she settled in the USA, first in New Jersey then in Atlanta, Georgia.

While there she attended another community college, completed her Associate’s degree, and then moved on to DeVry University where she was able to earn her Bachelor’s degree in multimedia design before returning home to the Virgin Islands in 2012.

According to Lettsome, moving all the time was hard, especially the first time as her mother was sick. However, she said she struggled to re-adjust socially and educationally. She eventually moved from New Jersey where she lived with her mother and went to Atlanta, Georgia to live by herself.

As time progressed, Lettsome got accustomed to the American education system and performed well, ending up on the Honour Roll, the Dean’s List and the President’s List.

She described the American college life as rigorous and not “laid back” like in the VI.

Return to the VI

Our Young Professional said when she returned to the territory she was pregnant at the time and following the birth of her first child, she was a stay at home mom for a while before going out to work.

Lettsome eventually found work in an office of a Notary Public and remained there until she was laid off because business at the time was slow.

She started working at the National Bank of the Virgin Islands in October of 2014 where she has been recently promoted to the position of Credit Support Officer from Customer Service Representative.

Lettsome got interested in graphic design from watching her brother who works in graphic design. “I’ve always liked computers and my brother works with computers as well so I guess watching him I got to like it. In addition, when I got to HLSCC I did desktop publishing, Photoshop, and stuff like that. I really like it. It is not simple. It is something that is complex but once you get the concept you can do it. You find different avenues to solve the same problem,” she said.

Learning to manage her time

Our Young Professional said that while she loves the stability of a steady job, which the bank provides, she does her graphic design on the side.

Lettsome said that aside from juggling the two sets of responsibilities – referring to the bank where she works and her business, she is also a mother and has had to learn to manage her time effectively, as she still has to meet deadlines that clients give to her.

She said working in the bank where she interacts daily with different customers with different attitudes and temperament has taught her what customer service really means. She believes this has caused her to become a better businessperson as she can deal with interpersonal relationships in a skilful way. “You have to be able to communicate effectively with your customer so that you really don’t have to bombard them too much to get what they need and what you need to finish the job.

Asked where she sees herself and her business venture in the next few years, our Young Professional said she does not see herself leaving her employers unless her business takes off in such a big way that she has no choice but to devote herself to it on a full time basis.

“If you have a business on the side then you would hope that it becomes what you do for a living. If it works out that way then so be it. I hope to develop it more…get a little more out there so I can take on a bit more customers as time goes on,” she said.

Lettsome advises young people to always put God first in everything that they do. “Always make sure you pay your tithes. I believe in that. If you do your part he will do his part. Try to live right and have a repentant heart. You do your part to keep your slate clean in your live and good stuff will come to you from that,” she said.

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