NORWALK, Conn. -- When Sean Cahill, principal and managing director of the Avison Young office in Norwalk, hired an intern this past summer, he expected to do most of the teaching.
Cahill hired Dreshawn Lewis, a participant in the Norwalk Grassroots Tennis's summer intern program that helps late teens get real world business experience, to intern at Avison Young. It is an international commercial real estate company with thousands of associates in 70 offices.
What happened surprised everyone — particularly Cahill.
"He first touched our minds and hearts with his sincerity and thoughtfulness," Cahill said of Lewis. "We thought that we were helping an economically disadvantaged teen get some business experience, but we soon realized we had brought in a person who was determined to make an impression on us about how to get a new process contributing to our business."
Lewis was assigned to build the company's database for the Fairfield/Westchester office using a new CRM system. The firm was adopting the system across the globe, but no one locally completely understood it or was using it yet.
Lewis listened to what was needed and focused on collecting and entering data correctly. He asked executives about their information usages and linked data within the database to help improve management information posted in real time, Cahill said.
He met regularly with Lewis to give him more background on the commercial real estate industry and to guide him in his future career decisions.
Lewis applied his new understandings to the project, which he was leading, ,Cahill said.
The result was a working database that defined sales and management processes and created information that every associate could use and management would rely on to report up to the region, Cahill said.
Lewis, a Norwalk Grassroots Tennis player, is now a senior youth coach and mentor within NGT as well as a second year student at Western Connecticut State University.
Norwalk Grassroots Tennis is a tennis, academic and career support program for underserved youth funded largely by the greater Norwalk community.
For more information about the internship program, contact Chris Hulse, firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 203-939-1770.
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