Young Professional 2018: Brett Spooner
Brett Spooner, Founder, CEO and Managing Partner at Gravis Law
Education: Juris Doctor
Hometown: West Richland
How long have you lived in the Tri-Cities? Since 2010
Do you have family? Pets? A wife Tracy Spooner; two daughters, Sloane and Iris; two cats, Sage and Sky; and two horses, Missy and Vi
Briefly describe your company: We serve communities across the nation by providing affordable and uncomplicated access to world-class legal services.
How long have you worked there? I started the company in October 2013.
What word best describes you? Visionary
Your biggest flaw? I never shut down.
Biggest pet peeve? Complacency
Dream vacation? World cruise (Six months and lots of time to write)
Favorite book? Otherland series
Favorite movie? “Braveheart”
Favorite musician? Radiohead
Favorite sports team? With a ball?
Favorite website/app? Slack
Favorite Tri-City restaurant? Frost Me Sweet
Favorite thing to do in the Tri-Cities? Inspire change
What thing would people be most surprised to learn about you? I write a lot of science fiction
If you could have dinner with one person (living or deceased) who would it be? Nikola Tesla and Tyrion Lannister
Describe your job: As a serial entrepreneur, I have founded and am presently actively involved with numerous other businesses. I also manage a series of personal and syndicated investment companies. At Gravis Law, as my 6-6 job, I set the vision and pace of the organization as we seek to innovate, uncomplicate and solve national accessibility issues in the practice of law.
Like many attorneys, it’s probably in my genes. I grew up being told by all those around me I would become an attorney. I loved to argue and debate and am naturally right (sarcasm). Truthfully, I fought that stigma for many years, and instead immersed myself in computer science and technology. At some point, I realized I enjoyed business and human interaction more than software code and took the educational pursuit toward the law. Thereafter, it became my goal to know and understand the law, specifically as it related to business strategy, and for the purpose of simplifying it and empowering myself and others to success.
Mentors: The most impactful mentors in my life — mother, father, grandparents, aunts, uncles — all taught me grit, persistence in failure, work ethic, and that nothing worth my time would come for free, easy or fast.
Toughest career decision? I have to make tough choices on a daily basis, but I think many things related back to my choice to become an attorney. It was a huge personal choice to own the good and the bad stigma that came with that designation, and thereafter I made it my goal to change my personal and societal bias to the industry.
What do you like most/least about your job? I love most to empower people. I love least those that won’t help themselves. Empowering is not doing.
First job: I come from a family of commercial fishermen and was one of the first in fishing lineage to graduate college. I was raised in a small coastal town and grew up on boats at sea scrubbing decks and slinging fish. Sometimes when I close my eyes I can see a vast ocean, so firsthand testament that the movies and books that romanticize it are true in part. However, its exceptionally grueling and dangerous work, boats are slow, fish are fickle, and patience is mandatory. I grew up fast, still have all my fingers, and I’m more disciplined and patient for it. Additionally, in the breaks between labor, I learned to love reading and writing while at sea.
Achieving work-life balance: I don’t believe in work-life balance, but I swear by work-life integration. There is not a distinction in my life between work, and those times I’m not working. That is not to say there are not “things” I am passionate about that I can’t always address, but know if they are truly passions, then I should seek to integrate them into my existence.
The journey toward these “things” can be complex and paradoxical. I maintain that if a person seeks a deeper understanding of their interests, sets small and large personal and professional goals in pursuit, and mutually strives to understand the small and larger societal problems that intersect those interests, then existence becomes integrated and work is merely another conduit of what becomes real passion.
In our family, we talk about life and passion this way. We have weekly meetings every Sunday night to talk about what we care about and why. We set goals for the week and year and seek intersecting problems to solve. We encourage our children to face life head-on with us, and we talk regularly about what went well and what went poorly. We encourage each other to seek out things to be passionate about, and emphasize a civic mind toward societal problems, that in turn will result in deeper personal, professional and community growth.
Work is not absence of family or life, it is just another pursuit of passion for the sake of the improvement of existence, self and community. Therefore, work must be integrated, or life is a lie.
Community involvement: I believe deeply in capitalism for cause. A strong economic climate will have more impact than any individual personal donation. There are countless adages on this, but we should not give people fish, we should teach them how to fish. To that end, I spend thousands of hours a year volunteering my time empowering people and organizations.
Among many others, I sit on the Gesa Credit Union Board, Tri-City Regional Chamber of Commerce Board and am a co-founder and board chair at Fuse SPC. The theme is organizations that educate people and small business in a way that improves the economic climate of their community, and subsequently the prosperity levels of all.