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Thriving in challenging environments

Lewis Scholarship supports Carey students
Posted January 9, 2014
Tony Lewis with Lewis Scholarship recipient, Varghese Abraham Tony Lewis with Lewis Scholarship recipient, Varghese Abraham

In today's corporate world the future is uncertain, but graduate education provides a competitive edge. When Anthony "Tony" Lewis, Bus '96 (Cert), '99 (MBA), started working for the C&P Telephone Company of Virginia in 1986, he had no idea what vast changes lay ahead, for the industry and for him. 

During Lewis's nearly 30-year tenure, his company has undergone three name changes — C&P Telephone to Bell Atlantic to Verizon — and transformed operations dramatically, going from a basic local phone provider to a global leader in broadband and video services as well as digital telecommunications. With the tenacity that he learned at an early age from his parents and grandparents, guidance from a mentor inside the company, and the lessons taught at the Carey Business School, Lewis was able not only to survive all these transitions, but rise through the ranks to the executive level.

"Hopkins has a formula that works, and it worked for me as a black male. I could, literally, apply the principles that I was learning in classes during the weekend and at night to the job the next day. It was perfect."
Tony Lewis

Lewis credits much of his career success to the education that he received in the Carey Business School's Leadership Development Program for Minority Managers and the Carey MBA program. To help other motivated future business leaders pursue their graduate education at Carey, he has established the Anthony A. Lewis Scholarship, with a preference for those in financial need whose undergraduate degrees are from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Supporting graduate students through increasing financial assistance is one of the goals of Rising to the Challenge: The Campaign for Johns Hopkins.

Lewis earned his own undergraduate degree from Elizabeth City State University in North Carolina. Although he received an excellent education at this HBCU, he was thrilled when his company — which was Bell Atlantic at the time — offered to cover the cost for him to broaden his business education by attending Carey. "Hopkins has a formula that works, and it worked for me as a black male," Lewis said. "I could, literally, apply the principles that I was learning in classes during the weekend and at night to the job the next day. It was perfect."  Because of that experience, Lewis chose to give back to the school in a way that he hopes will inspire minority students to take a closer look at the university.

In addition to establishing the scholarship, Lewis was one of the volunteers for Carey's inaugural corporate advisory group. He now serves on the Dean's Advisory Council, whose members support the dean and the school by sharing their perspectives on the school's direction, providing philanthropic resources, helping cultivate key resources and partnerships, and advising on career placement and business trends. Like his fellow alumni and volunteers, Lewis is committed not only to increasing access to Carey's rigorous business education, but also to producing graduates who understand how to create strategic partnerships and improve our society, and who can thrive in tough environments — just as he has.  

Today as Verizon's mid-Atlantic region vice president of state government affairs, Lewis is the face of the company in Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia. He still relies on some of the lessons he learned in business school as he faces the daily challenges of his position. And there are many. Customers depend on Verizon for services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. "One of the company's biggest hurdles is that we have remnants of an old regulatory structure that still really only applies to us. No matter who we compete with, we alone have certain rules in place in each of my four coverage areas," said Lewis.  His challenge is to move Verizon from that old regime to a place where it can compete with Google, Apple, Twitter, Comcast, and a myriad of startups that are providing broadband data and connective services. In addition to all of that, when the cable goes out during a big game, he's the guy who gets the call.  "It's an awesome responsibility, but I love every minute of it," Lewis said.