Page 24 - William Woods University - Winter 2013-14

WINTer | 2013-14 The Woods Magazine
Basketball to bakery, William Woods
University alum Vern Watkins certainly
didn’t think he would end up where
he is now after graduation in 2012.
Watkins is the chief operations officer
for Nissi’s Cakes, a small business in
Hampton, Va.
A big job for a recent graduate, but
for Watkins this is just the first step in
his journey in life.
Watkins was a
forward on the
WWU men’s
basketball team,
playing in 52 games,
scoring 315 points,
steals, 18 blocks,
assists, and 148
rebounds. He shot
percent from the
field in two seasons.
Vern was a
focused player and
student who had a
tremendous knack
for keeping things in
perspective,” Nick
Totta, men’s basketball coach, said.
Vern had a unique ability to stay even
keel and balanced regardless of the
situation. It made him a favorite
amongst his teammates and served
him well on the court and is
benefitting him now off the court.”
Running a bakery wasn’t the first
career Watkins had in mind. He had
lined up a job to
work for an oil
company in Africa
with his brother-in-
law after graduation.
However, when that
fell through,
Watkins decided
to look elsewhere.
My mom always
had a dream of
having a bakery,” he
said. “She asked me
to go into business
with her and that’s
where we are at
right now.The
responsibilities are
split 50/50, but she has input into
everything about Nissi’s. It’s her baby.”
Nissi’s Cakes, named after his
mother, opened in 2012. Watkins, who
was a business marketing major
at WWU, takes care of most behind-
the-scenes work.
Basically my job here is to work on
the marketing, packaging, advertising,
and bookkeeping. I log about 50 hours
a week,”Watkins said.
Even after the long work weeks,
he doesn’t always get to relax.The
demands of a small, independent
business are 24/7.
I keep the books for the business,
which is something I actually didn’t
think much about. It takes so much
time and you really have to pay
attention to every detail. Sometimes
I even find it hard to make myself
do it,”Watkins jokes.
Bookkeeping isn’t the only thing that
surprised him about his new career.
It’s crazy how much patience
you have to have in this business,”
Watkins said. “It honestly caught me by
I was a basketball
player on campus so
I already understood
the importance
of teamwork, but
my classes really
strengthened my
knowledge of the
business world.