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  • hughjwade

Thanks Grayson!

We grew and so did he."

In late 2022, Hugh and I met with Grayson Cornelison, a young high school student, at SeteamDot on Benson. Grayson had expressed an interest in real estate and his mom, already knowing Hugh, made the introduction. This coffee meeting was not intended to be anything special, however, it was the beginning of 18.5 months of work culminating in the West High graduation this month. In February 2023 Grayson joined Spire Commercial as our intern working when able on admin tasks and special projects, as well as sitting in on meetings and soaking up the goings-on. Early in the partnership, Grayson expressed his desire to improve our social media.

Grayson had the idea to start a social media company catering to restaurants and their social media needs. We said, “Great! Use Spire as your guinea pig,” and he seized the opportunity. The wiz kid got to work, making videos and Canva images and scheduling one or two posts a week. We have had fleeting attempts at social media campaigns in the past but when things got busy and we found ourselves in the nitty gritty of CRE, it always went by the wayside. Our new Chief Marketing Officer was hitting his stride allowing us to do our thing with no lull in weekly social posts.

Grayson again came to us and explained he was part of this new thing called the Anchorage School District’s Business Academy. In short, Grayson would be able to take college classes through the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and if he completed an internship plus a final presentation, he would be able to get high school credit and college credit! Pretty cool right? So when he asked us if we would be down to facilitate the internship part, it was a no-brainer! We were already doing it. 

The schedule of a high school junior/senior is a busy one! Fortunately for all parties, commercial real estate is a flexible and agile environment. Grayson impressively communicated his availability and set clear expectations as to what he would be able to do or not do all along the way. This can’t be understated, when Grayson said he would get back to us or complete something, he did. Through Grayson’s own admission, communicating and interacting with adults was one of the most valuable aspects of his internship and something he definitely excelled at. 

Fast-forward to the last few weeks, and we were attending the “Business Academy Internship Partners EOY Celebration” and Grayson's final presentation summarizing the Academy, he passed everything with flying colors and graduated from West High on May 14th.

In summary, the Business Academy opportunity fell into our laps, and I'm glad it did! I recommend that other businesses work with Business Academy students in the future. Grayson was able to tangibly contribute by providing social media and marketing insights and then executing those insights. In turn, our business exposed Grayson to the world of commercial real estate, entrepreneurship, and the greater Anchorage business community. For those looking to make an impact and provide opportunities for Anchorage students, look no further. Students take advantage! The Business Academy facilitates real-world experience, education, and a relationship with the University of Alaska Fairbanks; it's invaluable. As Hugh said, “Our experience as a business participating in the Business Academy internship program was terrific. We worked with West High student Grayson Cornelison over his junior and senior years. He brought new advertising ideas to Spire Commercial Real Estate. It was quite organic. Grayson communicated what he thought he could do, and we proceeded down the road together. We saw a marked uptick in exposure. Grayson got to put his ideas into actual application. In the end, it was very productive and fulfilling. We grew, and so did he.” 

Best of luck to Grayson as he heads off to Utah to attend university in the fall! Spire is open to having more interns. If you know of any students or young people looking for real-world experience, let us know!



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