Maddy Spear ’18


1. What was your major/minor and when did you graduate?

Double major in English Literature and Business Administration. Graduated in 2018.

2. What is your current position (title, company, location)?  Can you describe a typical day?

I am an Associate Retail Broker with Colliers International in Richmond and Norfolk, VA. Every day is a little different- especially during COVID-19! I work in the office 2-3 days a week and spend the rest of the week working from home. Most of my days are spent cold calling and reaching out to local and regional businesses (restaurants, retail stores, etc.) on behalf of the landlords who own the shopping centers I represent. In addition to cold calling, I negotiate leases, proposals, and tour with various groups interested in the retail centers and spaces I represent. It is so rewarding to facilitate the expansion and startup of many thriving businesses in my community.

3. How did your major prepare you for your current job?

My English degree has proven a major asset in my professional career as it prepared me to read and understand leases with a close attention to detail and draft quick, comprehensive emails. My phenomenal courses in the business administration major, including my courses with Kim Gower and Negotiations with Smita Oxford, equipped me for the daily challenges of working and have aided in my professional success. Every day I find myself utilizing the lessons I learned in their courses.

4. How did you become interested in your field?

I didn’t know much about commercial real estate until I interned with my current employer during the summer of 2017. Through that opportunity, I learned that I thrive in a fast paced work environment and I enjoy that no two workdays are the same.  My interest in Commercial Real Estate grew when I was able to see entrepreneurs take a perceived need in their community and turn it into a successful business idea.

5. What’s the best career advice you ever received?

Dr. Gower taught me that we must work through difficulties no matter how busy and overwhelmed we may feel. Everyone is busy and it simply isn’t an excuse this day and age. Through her courses, I learned to hustle and perform well under pressure which has set me apart from others in my professional career.

6. Was there a professor, advisor, or fellow student who made an impression on you or helped you when you were at UMW?

It is so hard to pick one! Obviously, Dr. Gower influenced my work ethic and way of thinking- especially towards social justice issues. I also made some of my best friends at UMW- Emily Lowrie and Sophia Hamdan always supported me and pushed me to reach my goals!

7. What’s your fondest memory of UMW?

Playing for the women’s ultimate frisbee team, Mary Massacre!

8. Are there any special accomplishments you’ve achieved after college that you’d like to share?

I joined the Special Olympics Young Professionals Board in Richmond and have helped facilitate many successful fundraising events.

9. How would your family or friends describe you in seven words or less?

“Inclusive, thoughtful leader who inspires and motivates” – Emily Lowrie

10. In one sentence, what advice would you give current business students? 

Don’t make excuses for yourself and push through difficulties as it will separate you from others.