SPOTLIGHT ON: Melanie Williams
Mary Prenon | April 2016
Giving Back to the Community Is Simply ‘Great’ Business
Melanie Williams, a Realtor for the past 11 years, believes that to be a good real estate agent, you have to be involved in the communities where you do business.
“As Realtors, our job is to list and sell properties in the community, but I believe you also have to give something back,” she said. That being said, the Houlihan Lawrence real estate agent also practices what she preaches.
Williams was recently honored with the “Great Business Person” Award from the Boys & Girls Club of New Rochelle, where she has been a volunteer for the past five years.
“It was really quite a surprise,” she said. “I got a call from the executive director who told me they were going to honor some local people who have contributed their time to the Club. I thought that was a nice idea and then she told me that I was one of three who were being honored this year!”
Williams got involved with the Club in 2011, providing tutoring for children after school. The following year, her son Chad, who was a high school senior at the time, also began volunteering at the Club. In 2013, she started working with the fundraising committee and has been an active participant in planning their events.
Their most recent event, the “BE GREAT” fundraiser held in February at the VIP Country Club in New Rochelle, raised more than $125,000. Williams’ donations of a weeklong timeshare in places like Williamsburg, Virginia and Orlando, FL received some of the highest Silent Auction bids.
“What attracted me to the Club was the fact that they charge families only a nominal fee for children to use the Club and its services,” she said. “There is a big price differential and that’s why fundraising is so important. They wanted to keep the Club affordable and provide a safe place for children to go after school when parents are still at work.”
Williams also loves the diversity that New Rochelle offers. “There are some very wealthy areas, and then some not so wealthy, and everything in between. Even though it’s a city, there’s still a sense of community here,” she added.
She joined Houlihan Lawrence last May after spending about 10 years with Coldwell Banker, also in New Rochelle.
Williams earned her real estate license in 2005, shortly after moving into a new home in the Queen City. “The house needed a lot of renovations, so I took a decorating class and really enjoyed redesigning space. That eventually led me to real estate.” At the time, her children were in school, and she also needed a more flexible career.
Prior to real estate, her Pace University degree in Literature and Communications landed her some very interesting positions, including media services for the former WNEW-TV and public relations and sales for Essence Magazine in Manhattan. At the time, the magazine also had a TV show that highlighted people who were making a difference in their local communities. “This also got me thinking about community service,” she said.
After her children were born, she left the city for the suburbs and became a full time mom for a few years. She was also very active in the school system. Today, her children are grown – Trent is 22 and Chad is 19.
Williams still loves the flexibility of her career and also loves working with both buyers and sellers. “For buyers, real estate is the best vehicle to building wealth and a lot of families need that benefit,” she explained. “I help them go from renting to buying, and I’m so happy to see the excitement on their faces. It brings me a lot of joy.”
For sellers, Williams appreciates the confidence her clients have in her. “That’s an honor in and of itself,” she said. “When they’re happy with the job I’ve done by getting it sold, many times they’ll refer me to their friends and family, and again that’s an honor.”
When she’s not listing, selling, or volunteering, Williams likes to travel and especially enjoys seeing what America has to offer. Some of the places she’s visited include Tennessee, Arizona, California, Virginia, Florida and more. “It’s such a beautiful country and traveling across it has really broadened my perspective,” she said.
As for her volunteer work, Williams has no plans to stop. “You do these things but don’t realize that what you give is so much appreciated,” she said. “Community service goes a long way.”