1. University of Virginia
  2. Arts & Sciences

Yagel

Jonathan
VP of Business Development and Director of Communications at Spire
All of those papers and essays prepared me to do everything from business development to branding to marketing to PR to social media. All of those fields fundamentally rely on connecting with people, particularly through writing, so I was ready.

I loved studying English because I'm very interested in how we utilize narrative to relate to each other and to the world around us. I loved studying English at UVa because I've always sought to surround myself with individuals who enjoy what they do and passionately seek the things that matter to them. Although I didn't know it at the time, this nexus was a perfect preparation for what I've been doing since leaving the sublime grounds of Mr. Jefferson's University.

After leaving Charlottesville, I spent some time in Brazil, building a trade school and teaching English to children from favela communities. When my visa renewal was rejected (that's a longer story), I came back to the States and began a very hurried job search. I ended up writing a choose-your-own-adventure style cover letter, asking some friends of friends to let me join the technology business they'd recently started. It worked. I didn't know much about business or technology, but I was able to develop the narrative of the company's founding and mission. All of those papers and essays prepared me to do everything from business development to branding to marketing to PR to social media. All of those fields fundamentally rely on connecting with people, particularly through writing, so I was ready.

Now, as the company is growing and we're starting to hire more, I am coming to appreciate even more how rare it is to find people who can clearly and concisely communicate a message. Good writers are hard to find, but I believe in UVa English, so if you're looking for a job, give me a shout at jonathan@spire.me!

(I have a lot of favorite books from UVa classes, but my favorite is probably TS Eliot's Complete Poems and Plays: 1909-1950. I have my annotated copy on the shelf next to my bed so that, in case of a fire or other disaster, I can grab it before running out of the house.)