WASHINGTON, PA (December 6, 2021) – Washington & Jefferson College’s academic experience gave alum CJ Norman ’19 the foundation to start his career in real estate, but Norman credits another important aspect of the W&J experience for the recent success of his start-up real estate firm, Black Oak LLC: alumni mentorship and the strong bonds formed between W&J graduates.
Norman was able to begin his career shortly after graduating from W&J, starting his career in real estate as a funding specialist for Lending Home. His experience in the real estate industry sparked his interest in a few investment properties, and he turned to another W&J alum – agent Michael Pohlot ’10 – to help him with his search.
“Once I found out Mike was a fellow alum and football player, we just connected,” Norman said. “Mike helped me get my license, and Mike, myself, and Jalen Morris ’16 are the ones who started Black Oak.”
Norman is also sincerely grateful for the well-rounded academic background he received from W&J, and for the guidance of Max Miller J.D., M.B.A., assistant professor of business and entrepreneurship.
“My financial economics major gave me the necessary understanding of investing and its associated risks, but W&J also pushed me to take classes that I wouldn’t normally take,” he said. “What I learned at W&J allowed me to talk to a variety of people about diverse subjects, which is something that is very helpful in a field that is based on sales and relationships. I was also lucky to take two classes with Max, who has been a great resource due to his extensive knowledge of startups.”
Norman’s experience in sales has proved influential for the growth of his young company, helping him to close over 200 deals in the past calendar year. However, he believes his success is equally due to his education and his alumni connections, some of whom he has helped with real estate transactions.
“At the end of September, I helped two of my friends from W&J buy their first home,” Norman said. “To help two of my friends and fellow alumni find their starter home really was a great experience for me.”
Now, Norman hopes to help current students just as W&J alumni helped him.
“I’ve been fortunate to have our alumni mentor me, so I’d like to help our current students in a similar manner,” he said. “I want to make sure students realize how feasible it is to get a real estate license, even if students are only able to do it part-time to make some extra money.”
Norman’s continued career advancements at such a young age are a true testament to the lifelong learners that W&J creates. The extensive alumni connections that Norman has leveraged pay homage to our motto: Juncta Juvant, which is Latin for “together we thrive.”
About Washington & Jefferson College
Washington & Jefferson College, proudly located in Washington, Pa., is a historic liberal arts college founded in 1781 that values ethical leadership, professional readiness, and inclusive communities. Our highly customized and intellectually engaging student experience develops professionals of uncommon integrity to lead in an ever-changing world. For more information about W&J, visit www.washjeff.edu, or call 888-W-AND-JAY.