In 2014, I had the opportunity to be a part of the Leadership CREW class. One of the most impactful topics for me was volunteerism -Time, Talent, Treasure. While we all have various responsibilities and are in different points in our lives, we all have an opportunity to give back. Some may choose to donate money to an organization, while others use their talent and skillset to sit on a community board. After much self-reflection, I decided to volunteer my time and pay it forward by joining the CREW Network Committee.
Fast Forward to 2019. The Atlanta Chapter has expanded its student outreach to include local high school students through the CREW Careers Program. We knew that this educational program had endless possibilities, and we wanted to connect with other CREW Network chapters to hear their experiences and gain from their lessons learned. In a nutshell, the CREW Careers events were either a one-day or multi-session program using local real estate developments, projects or sites to showcase the many career options available within commercial real estate. The biggest takeaway from our conversations was to know our audience, remember to be mindful that they are students, and to be impactful with our engagements. That resonated with our committee, which decided to partner with two local high schools for the inaugural year.
Last November, Katherine Brown and Bruce Kellogg attended the 2018 College & Career Motivation Day at Grady High School in the City of Atlanta. They were guest speakers to four classrooms, approximately 25 students per class for 45 minutes each. Katherine stated, “In my nine years as a licensed broker, the Real Estate industry has provided me with a range of professional skills, as well as a tight and growing network of people. I was drawn to the CREW Careers Program, because I am passionate about sharing my experiences in hopes that students will feel inspired to move toward this career path. My daughter will soon complete her senior year at Grady High School, and I have seen first-hand how guidance towards the various degree options can be helpful as students move closer to making a career decision. Our goal at CREW is to provide an opportunity to open a dialogue with students and be an aid in spreading our knowledge on an industry we know and love.” It was an exciting new experience for our committee, and we looked forward to Round 2!
In February, myself, along with Bruce Kellogg and Cheryl Faulkner, attended Career Day at Centennial High School in Roswell, GA. We met with 50 students within three classes, ranging from freshman to seniors who are enrolled in the Business program. While we had a PowerPoint presentation to reference, our group wanted to create a learning atmosphere where the students felt comfortable to ask us questions. Our goal was to inspire students and introduce the endless career opportunities available to them in the commercial real estate industry. We further discussed educational degrees that are transferable/relatable to our industry and real estate programs within local colleges in GA. Additionally, we explained that there are many trade schools that focus on important careers that are vital to the industry. We believe that our input to them was both helpful from the educational and career perspectives, as well as from the life perspective. Career Day was a great opportunity for students to discover networking skills and a brief introduction to LinkedIn. As a follow-up, the committee will coordinate a site visit to Avalon to discuss what it took to create that development. We all agreed that we learned as much from them as they did us!
One student stated, “I thought the presentation was wonderful; it was very helpful with the career path I want to go into. Also, Cheryl, Bruce and Jen had wonderful personalities, and made everything very interesting. This presentation actually had me interested in doing real estate. Overall, it was great.”
In the Fall, CREW Careers will make its second appearance to Grady High School to coordinate a site visit and attend their 2019 College & Career Motivation Day.
By introducing career awareness, the students received a glimpse of the real world. The teachers and school counselors were thankful that an organization, such as CREW, comprised of industry veterans, volunteered as guest speakers.
Want to be involved and inspire the next generation of leaders?
April 25th is “Bring A Girl to CRE Work Day” and CREW Network is promoting this day nationally. The Atlanta Chapter is encouraging our members to take the initiative to bring a high-school student to shadow them that day. Even if it is after they get out of school, take that day to meet with a high-school GIRL and introduce her to Commercial Real Estate. Register your participation and download planning resources at BringAGirlToCREDay.org
Jennifer (Jen) Nyquist is Senior Production Analyst at Walker & Dunlop. Her specialties include comprehensive feasibility studies, affordable housing, financing, asset management and due diligence. Her professional accomplishments, academic background, and broad real estate experience make her a uniquely qualified individual who uses a holistic manner and therefore creating better buildings, neighborhoods, and cities for today and generations to come.
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