Dave Schiller, SIOR Reflects on his experience at the NEXUS Cornell Summer Program

Thirty high school students from across the USA participated in a 12 day NEXUS Summer Program at one of America’s great institutions of higher learning: Cornell University.  The NEXUS program enabled the students to learn about career paths in real estate as it endeavored to develop young – and future – diverse leaders. 

The program is well conceived. It clearly opened the eyes, ears, ​and minds of the participating high school students. Professor Dustin Jones is an excellent, dedicated leader on the Cornell Campus. Supporting this effort knowing people like Prof. Jones are at the helm should make us all confident not only in the concept, but in its execution.

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Aaron Barnard SIOR, Laurie Tylenda, SIOR, and I delivered two classes to the students on the Cornell campus. The classes focused on the wide variety of opportunities available in commercial real estate as well as the role of the broker in the transaction process. The students also participated in tours to local retail malls and Hudson Yards in NYC for some real life examples and learning.

Following their tour of Destiny USA, Joe Lewis SIOR, John Clark SIOR, and I met the students at the offices of Cushman & Wakefield/Pyramid in Syracuse.  We introduced the students to young real estate professionals.   Young agent, Cory LaDuke, articulated the challenges and the opportunities in starting his 4-year brokerage career. The second presenter was Jonathan Metelus, originally from New York City. Jonathan is a Cornell alumnus with real estate experience and responsibilities who is now living in Syracuse. He is an exceptional role model exemplifying the qualities and work ethic necessary for success in real estate related careers. The students connected to his story, his personality, and his advice.
Two young women among the students questioned how we as brokerage firms and real estate companies help to promote diversity. Professor Jones stepped in at that point then explained that THIS is the effort. He explained his challenge to find African American applicants to his real estate program at Cornell. He expressed the hope that this program will encourage the students to apply to business and real estate programs. The opportunity is to apply, earn acceptance to schools, learn, then work hard to excel.

This preliminary encounter with - and participation in – NEXUS  helps us to be confident that the support we offer will have impact on the lives of young people.  Moreover, it inspires us to be better, and to continue to extend a helping hand to all young people trying to get a foothold in the CRE industry.