'04 BBA, General Business Concentration
Kim Hopkins is a motivated and determined woman. When she sets her sights on something, she typically achieves it.
After graduating from high school, Hopkins worked for Service Merchandise while a student at Drury College. During her senior year at Drury, she was promoted to District Operations manager over fifteen Service Merchandise stores located in four states. The promotion meant she had to move to Ohio and postpone her college study.
Over the next 20 years, Hopkins’ hard work led to fourteen promotions within Service Merchandise. She also married and her son, Chance, was born when she was 35. Hopkins and her family eventually moved to Nashville, home of Service Merchandises’ national headquarter, where she became Regional Operations Manager of 250 stores. “I worked every single position and knew that company inside and out. If you teach me something, I go with it.”
While Hopkins’ considered herself “blessed” to be able to learn so much in her career with Service Merchandise, finishing her college degree was still important to her. “I used to fly in corporate planes all over the country with leaders in the company. I was the only one who didn’t have a degree, and I always felt ‘less than.’ “
Hopkins set her sights on management and determined the best way to accomplish that was to secure her Bachelor of Business Administration. Not sure at first how her previous college work would fit into her new degree plan, Hopkins found the personal attention she received at Belmont University’s Adult Degree Program to be compelling and convincing. "I met with Dean Jimmy Davis, who sat down and spent time going over my goals with me, which made me feel like a million bucks. I was so taken with Belmont.”
Hopkins started at Belmont in 1998, attending while working full time at Service Merchandise and raising her son, Chance. "I chose Belmont because I felt it would give me a high quality business degree. It turned out to be the best decision I ever made."
Hopkins says Belmont "catalyzed" her. "I was so focused this time, I even amazed myself. I knew this was important to my life and to my growth as a professional. While I was taking classes at Belmont, Service Merchandise closed down. After 23 years with the company, I was one of the last people out of the last store, locking the doors for the final time. I knew I needed my degree to be able to have a chance at the same professional opportunities I had at Service Merchandise.People always say that no one can take away your education.”
At times, finishing her degree was difficult, but Belmont’s business program gave Hopkins the management tools to maneuver in corporate America and allowed her to leverage her strengths for advancement. “I was still a mom, still had my work, still had to help my son with his homework. I just made adjustments and kept my focus on what was at the end of the tunnel: the value of my degree. I'm confident that the experience prepared me for my long-term career goals. Plus, I have set a phenomenal example for my son."
Hopkins graduated from Belmont in 2004, earning the Richard C. Lutz Outstanding PBBA Student Award her senior year. Hopkins says her business degree continues to pay off. "The education I received at Belmont prepared me to grow into leadership and administrative positions."
While still earning her BBA, Hopkins began working for Metro Government of Nashville and Davidson County in their Purchasing Department. She earned four promotions, including three since graduation, and in 2008 became Contract Specialist Buyer.
“After my experience with finding myself out of a job after 20 years with the same company, I know I wouldn’t have had these new opportunities if I hadn’t earned my Belmont degree, “ says Hopkins. “ Now, I’m in a window office.”