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Richmond media agency owner to speak at fall 2017 commencement

Dec 5, 2017

Posted in: News

By Tim Bajkiewicz, Ph.D., Associate Director

Aurelia Lewis
Aurelia Lewis

Aurelia Lewis of Lewis Media Partners, an integrated media agency in Richmond, will be the commencement speaker at the Richard T. Robertson School of Media and Culture ceremony on Friday, Dec. 8 at 2 p.m. at the Greater Richmond Convention Center, Exhibit Hall B.

"I am excited and honored to be talking to your graduates, and I am humbled to share with them my story and my journey after college," Lewis said.

Hong Cheng, Ph.D., director of the Robertson School, said students will want to hear about Lewis' career.

"Ms. Lewis’ success story in managing her own advertising company, her courage to explore the unknown and her leadership in the media industry and in the Richmond community are all inspirational and enlightening to our graduating class," Cheng said.

Lewis launched her business in 1998 while taking care of her two- and four-year old children. She said she didn't start out with a company in mind.

"The company evolved. The joke around the office is that I’m always saying 'I think that I can help you', and I never said 'no' to anyone," Lewis said.

Lewis Media Partners currently has 20 employees who develop and manage media strategies for more than 34 local, regional and national clients. Two of those employees, Jackie Niblock and Beth Saunders, are current adjunct faculty members in the Robertson School who teach an advertising class. Saunders was Lewis' first employee.

Lewis began her career at The Martin Agency, an international advertising agency based in Richmond best known for campaigns like the GEICO gecko. As an associate media director for 12 years, she won awards for her work on that account, Residence Inn by Marriott and Virginia Tourism.

She joined the Robertson School’s advisory board in 2016. She has served on the boards of the Virginia Home for Boys and Girls, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, the Salvation Army and several neighborhood organizations.

She says her most active passion is conservation. She is a founding member of Capital Trees, a Richmond nonprofit focused on creating a greener and more environmentally responsible city. She also advocates for the protection of natural resources throughout Virginia.

"Inviting a media professional as our commencement speaker can present a successful role model to our graduates and strengthen the ties of the Robertson School with the media industry," Cheng said.

Lewis said she hopes students get something from her speech to help with what she called "so much uncertainty as to the next step in your life."

"Up until now, there has been a fairly straightforward plan: get an education so that you can get the job of your dreams. The road isn’t always easy and there can be some barriers, such as fear, that can prevent you from moving forward. Don’t ever let fear get in your way. Use fear as a force to move you forward," Lewis said.