Jordan Daniel ’11 never wanted an office job again. From Spain, he maintains his legal and real estate careers—and provides new opportunities for Geneseo students.

By Kris Dreessen

In his daily 9 to 5, Jordan Daniel ’11 looks out from his desk and onto the busy streets of Madrid. Sometimes the neighbor kids holler to each other in Spanish as they run down the hallway. The baristas at his regular coffee shop know his daily order. On his days off, he can easily catch a high-speed train to explore a beach town or a new city, or savor tapas and drinks with friends.

“I grew up in the ’burbs and never really lived in a large city before, so it’s been amazing,” says Daniel. “The people and the food are wonderful, and the quality of life is incredible. And being immersed in Spanish has been essential to ultimately becoming fluent in the language.”

Daniel is a law clerk for a New York City-based firm that specializes in residential and commercial real estate purchases, sales, and leasing. During the pandemic, Daniel realized he never wanted to work in an office again. He joined his current legal firm in 2021, actively seeking a remote position.

It’s wonderful, he says, though with a few odd features. He has never met his colleagues in person, though he meets with them online all the time. In addition, Daniel is a real estate broker for properties in Eastern Long Island and the Hamptons. “I started traveling in high school and college and loved it,” says Daniel. “As you can tell, I haven’t stopped.”

Daniel is among the nearly 13 percent of full-time employees nationwide who work from remotely—not in an office—as of 2023, according to Forbes. Forbes indicated another 28 percent of full-time employees work a hybrid model, going into a physical office some of the time. The number of remote workers is expected to rise to 22 percent by as early as 2025—an 87 percent increase from pre-pandemic levels. Many people desire the same set-up that Daniel has: Data suggests 98 percent of employees want to work remotely, at least part of the time.

Daniel credits his aunt Jacqueline with sparking the international passion that has shaped his path and his desire to never be tied to an office again. As a university study abroad administrator, she led many study abroad programs for students and invited Daniel to one in Italy when he was 16. That first trip ended his United States-only perspective.

“It was eye-opening, to say the least,” he remembers. “I fell in love with Italy. I was always curious how other people live, and it was so different from my own life. It inspired me to see everything I can.”

Headshot of Jordan Daniel

Jordan Daniel ’11

He later traveled to Morocco, South Africa, Indonesia, and several other countries with friends and family, all of which “increased my global awareness, tolerance, and patience tenfold,” he says.

At Geneseo, Daniel initially entered undeclared and “found his groove,” he says, as a business student, minoring in Spanish. He spent a Geneseo academic year at Universidad Francisco de Vitoria in Madrid, though his stringent budget prevented him from doing much exploring around Spain.

“I don’t want to have regrets, but if I have one, it would be that when I was there, I kind of stayed put in Madrid,” he says. “I didn’t do as much as I would have liked.”

Daniel recently gave two gifts to SUNY Geneseo.

The Jacqueline Levine and John Borek Endowment for Study Abroad Education will provide a scholarship to Geneseo students who study abroad and is named after his aunt and uncle, who passed away in 2020 and 2021, respectively. Three students have received the $1,000 annual scholarship so far.

“They raised me in a way,” he says of his aunt and uncle, “and showed me important ways to live my life, for which I am grateful. They taught me to take chances and not have any regrets. With this scholarship, I can honor my aunt and uncle and maybe change a student’s life in a small but long-term way.”

The scholarship provides disposable cash for students traveling abroad, enabling them to afford museums, concerts, and exploratory trips within the country they are visiting.

“I’m sure there are students in the same boat as I was—on the fence about doing an activity that would take them out of their comfort zone. I want to give them that opportunity, to make the most of their time there.”

Daniel’s second gift was to the School of Business to help bolster the new data analytics major, including hiring student fellows and teaching assistants and supporting faculty efforts to develop liaisons with industry leaders to build an employment pipeline for graduates.

As a student, he says, former professor and dean Mary Ellen Zuckerman was his academic advisor and mentor. When she shared goals for the new major, Daniel said he felt he had to support it. “Zuckerman was the best listener, patient and compassionate, and she also gave me some of the best real-world advice I needed as a student. She supported what I wanted to do and encouraged us all to try new things to see what would fit.”

Geneseo introduced the data analytics major in Fall 2022. There are 22 students enrolled. Geneseo will launch a microcredential program in data analytics open to all February 2024.

The field is so practical and relevant, says Daniel. He’s glad it’s growing at Geneseo. “Its relevance will only continue to grow, and I’m happy to support it,” he says. “I’m thrilled to see more students take an active interest in the subject.”

Jordan Daniel standing in sand dunes in Qatar.

Doha, Qatar. /Photo provided by Jordan Daniel ’11