It was a day full of surprises.

On Friday, Sept. 1, the Realtors® Association of Maui (RAM) honored three of its members during its annual installation ceremony at the King Kamehameha Golf Club in Waikapu. Those members were 2017 Realtor® Broker of the Year Jeannie Wenger, 2017 Realtor® Salesperson of the Year Elizabeth Wood and 2017 Affiliate of the Year Melissa Salvador. All three women were recognized by RAM for their business and real estate accomplishments, as well as their spirit, character, professionalism and volunteer work.

Like her fellow honorees, Salvador, an account executive with Old Republic Title Company, was taken completely by surprise. “It truly was an honor,” she said. “I was surprised and then overcome with emotion that my peers felt I deserved this recognition.”

Salvador entered the real estate market in 2009. At the time, she was working as a massage therapist at a Wailea resort. “I had just had a baby and bought a home,” she said. “No one was getting massages, so I had to figure something out quick. My husband and I were buying an investment property at the time and the lender suggested I give lending a try, so I did. I was a loan officer for five years before moving into title and escrow.”

Since then, she’s cultivated a thriving career—and learned a few lessons along the way. “There is no instant success; it takes patience, persistence and heart,” she said. “There’s a lot of turnover in the real estate field. But those who have been in it for a long time have endured ups and downs in the economy, kept up with technology and trends…and not given up. So anyone thinking of getting into it better be in it for the long haul and be ready to work their butt off, because you have to juggle a lot to do it right.”

Salvador also discovered that real estate is never boring or predictable (and that’s a good thing). “Real estate is never dull and has many facets, so it keeps me on my toes,” she said. “I love positioning myself as a ‘partner’ to our clients, which for me are Realtors® and lenders. Then we win together. I like to see their business grow and the joy and freedom that success brings to them and their families. I get to use my marketing and creative background to help agents market themselves, as well as my organizational skills to multitask many projects. Like I said, it’s never boring.”

And Salvador’s organizational and multitasking skills extend beyond the workplace: She’s always willing to lend a helping hand whenever it’s needed. In 2011, Salvador decided to bring a few pies to the annual Veterans Day picnic at Kalama Park, a free event for active and inactive veterans and their families—and she’s been serving up slices of pumpkin pie every year since. She’s also prepared meals for residents of Ka Hale A Ke Ola Homeless Resource Centers in Wailuku and played in bocce tournaments to raise funds for Habitat for Humanity Maui and the Aloha BackPack Buddies program, which provides healthy weekend meals to elementary school children from food-insecure homes throughout the academic year. And earlier this year, she chaired the first-ever RAM’s Big Deal fundraiser benefitting RAM’s Presidential Scholarship Fund. “We raised over $27,000 in scholarship money for Maui County high school graduates—that’s 27 $1,000 scholarships,” she said. “Knowing that I’m helping people who need a helping hand inspires me to give back. I’ve been so blessed with health, family and love…and I’ve got plenty to share. And helping others just gives you a warm fuzzy feeling you can’t get anywhere else.”

Salvador credits her professional success to her ever-supportive family—and her work family, too. “I’m so grateful for my family’s support and I’m lucky to work for a company that allows me the time to be involved in community events,” she said. “I couldn’t be so generous with my time if it weren’t for my family and my company, Old Republic Title. Both have key people who inspire me to volunteer, such as my dad, who’s a veteran and on the Maui County Veterans Council, plus Patrick Kilbride and Lydiamae Presbitero from Old Republic Title. They’re all angels to me.”

Written by Sarah Ruppenthal

Originally published in The Maui News – October 7, 2017

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