Some day, many years from now, this year’s class of brokers, financiers, architects and engineers on our annual Young Professionals will have the scars to show that, at the worst possible moment for the industry and the country, they proved themselves.
While it’s difficult to find anything good about COVID-19 and the havoc it has wreaked on every aspect of life on planet Earth, the old saw about experience being the best (and most brutal) of teachers holds true. The class of 2020 is currently going through something that their elders never experienced and, hopefully, the next class will have safely passed by.
But, it is teaching some very important lessons along the way. It is teaching patience and persistence. It is teaching compassion and understanding. It is teaching dexterity and creativity.
Yes, this year’s class of Young Professionals had a career before the coronavirus hit. And, to be clear, the last seven months do nothing to cast a shadow on what happened before. But, all of those who were chosen for this year’s list demonstrated — and demonstrate — grit.
Even when the walls were closing in, they were dragging deals over the finish line. Even when their offices were shuttered, they were still calling their clients and answering their needs. Even when things seem so dark, the disposition of those we spoke to were unfailingly sunny.
And, while all Americans attempt to grapple with questions of the death of our fellow citizens in this plague and the racial and gender disparities that have torn our country apart, so many of those we chose have given back.
To be sure, Young Professionals feels less festive this year than in years past; it feels almost like a sacrilege to uncork the champagne and toss the confetti. However, this year’s class has learned things that they will take with them forever. That will sustain them a lot longer than some bubbly. — Max Gross