Reno’s Melissa Molyneaux: ‘I have always loved learning about people’
Read more: Northern Nevada Real Estate Journal, April 2018This is among a series of stories included in the April 2018 edition of the Northern Nevada Real Estate Journal (NNREJ), which the NNBW publishes on a quarterly basis to provide various real estate market updates across the region. To read more from the April 2018 series of NNREJ stories, click the links below: • Reno’s Shoppers Square: Summer 2018 modernization plans were decades in the making • Amid Sears, Toys ‘R’ Us closures, Northern Nevada retail market forges ahead • Reno-Sparks area sets record at $375,000 for median home prices • Need for Reno-area big box space key focus in tightening industrial market
RENO, Nev. — In 2005, Melissa Molyneaux was working at the Nevada Small Business Development Center at University of Nevada, Reno when longtime office properties broker Tim Ruffin of Colliers International offered her an entry-level marketing position under his tutelage.
Molyneaux has since parlayed that innocuous offer into a management position at the Reno Colliers office, where she oversees 10 brokers and four employees, all while continuing to work as an office properties broker.
It’s an impressive career arc for someone who had no aspirations of entering the world of commercial real estate.
“This whole career path has not been planned,” Molyneaux says with a laugh. “To this day, I can’t believe I became a commercial real estate broker. I never even knew the job existed. It’s always fascinating to me that I ended up in this business.”
A major steps in her career development was getting her real estate license, which allowed Molyneaux to show properties, meet with clients and discuss transaction details.
It was there – working closely with clients and helping people overcome myriad challenges to find properties for their businesses — that she found her passion for the profession.
“I have always loved learning about people, how they got to where they are and how they got to Reno, and I just stayed on that path,” Molyneaux says. “I don’t save lives or do anything earth-shattering, but I really do like helping businesses with their real estate needs. It sounds simple, but there are always things that come up, and I lose a lot of sleep over transactions and worry about clients as if it were my own building — if someone tells me they have a vacancy, I have an incessant need to fill it.”
Molyneaux and Ruffin worked for more than a decade as one of the region’s most successful office properties teams. In 2015 Molyneaux became co-manager of the Reno Colliers office, and as Ruffin edged closer to full retirement, Molyneaux assumed full management duties for the office in 2016.
Ruffin, whose lengthy career in Northern Nevada began in 1997 and includes more than 1,200 commercial real estate transactions, mentored Molyneaux during her early years and imparted decades of hard-won wisdom and experience.
Molyneaux, in return, proved an apt pupil and quickly established her own reputation in the region’s tight-knit commercial real estate community as a highly competent female broker in the male-dominated industry.
Her efforts haven’t escaped notice by her peers in the Reno office or throughout the Colliers organization.
“I couldn’t be more proud of Melissa,” says Roxanne Stevenson, senior vice president of retail services, whose career spans more than three decades. “The commercial real estate brokerage industry is skewed toward men; however, Melissa has capitalized on being a woman in a field where you are gauged on production.
“That success, along with her professionalism, work ethic, market knowledge, reputation and leadership skills have advanced her to be one of the most successful office brokers and managing directors in not only Nevada but in the entire Colliers International organization.”
Managing the other brokers in the Reno office and its support staff, as well as forging the strategic direction of the office, has brought a new set of challenges for Molyneaux.
And just like becoming a commercial office properties broker, running an office is another role for which Molyneaux never planned. However, it’s a role she’s embraced — and excelled in.
“I have watched Melissa grow and thrive and have consistently admired her passion for the business and support for all of us in the Reno Colliers’ office,” Stevenson says. “She has busted through barriers and never played the victim. She put her head down and just worked harder.”
It helps that many of the brokers in the Reno office are noted experts in their respective commercial real estate industries, such as retail, office, land and industrial. Molyneaux has brought on a few new brokers, and providing training is another relatively new area for her.
With the additional employees, the Reno Colliers office will move later this year from the Museum Tower at 100 W. Liberty St. to a new building under construction by McKenzie Properties off Kietzke Lane past the roundabout at Neil Road.
“Credit to all the managers out there, because it is a very hard job,” Molyneaux says. “Management is super hard because you just can’t please everybody.
“Everybody (in this office) has been very complimentary on how we are doing,” she adds. “The financial strength of the company probably goes in hand with Reno’s growth, but this office has done consistently better. We have really high employee satisfaction, and we have a great team of employees.”
Another twist in her career path is the journey into motherhood. Molyneaux and husband Brian Pick, a partner with McDonald Carano, welcomed their first child in January of 2017, a baby girl named Charlotte, or “Charlie” for short.
The delicate art of balancing her career aspirations and some heavy corporate responsibilities with the equally important responsibilities of motherhood have proved both challenging and rewarding.
“I don’t want to miss a minute of Charlotte’s time, but I do find a lot of satisfaction in what I do (in my job),” Molyneaux says. “But when I go home, I give all my energy to Charlotte. She’s changed my world.”
And after 13 years in the game, Molyneaux still loves the fact that no day brings the same set of challenges, no two transactions the same problems to overcome.
“It really keeps it fun,” Molyneaux says. “I really do find my job fascinating. Even to this day I still learn something new. That’s what keeps it interesting and keeps me up at night.”
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