Melissa BradleyOwner and founder, Bradley Real Estate, 13 offices, with headquarters at 851 Irwin Street, San Rafael, 94901; 415-531-3567; BradleyRealEstate.com

Age: 42

Residence: San Rafael

Professional background: 20 years selling real estate, 16 years as a broker owner of my own real estate brokerage.

Education: High school, real estate school

Tell us about yourself and your company: I was born in Marin County. My parents were hippies that lived in Bolinas Beach. I later moved to Fairfax and San Anselmo. When I was 9, I had my first real job delivering newspapers. I hated it. But I was very good at selling new subscriptions. I guess you could say I found my calling of “selling” at an early age. When I was 16 I started assisting my grandmother, Sue Bradley in real estate. At age 22, I got my license and at 26 I opened my own brokerage. I have always had the philosophy of giving before getting. I believe that is why I have done so well. I am constantly sharing and it always comes back to me 10 fold or more.

I trust the universe, and have great faith in God. I am a self confessed obsessive perfectionist. It’s more important to me to get things right than to make money. Luckily this mindset has afforded me a highly successful business. I believe greatness in every business comes from this way of thinking. First, be the best, and the money will follow.

Is there a major accomplishment in the past year or so that you would like to share?: Just recently I have been getting involved in local politics and policy. It wasn’t intentional; it just fell in my lap. While I don’t plan to run for office, I see myself being involved because I care about my community.

What is the achievement you are most proud of?: I am most proud of my four children: Jason, 12; Bobby, 9; Summer, 7; and Sunshine, 3.

What is your biggest challenge today?: My biggest challenge is time. It’s hard to squeeze everything that interests me into the 24 hours and 7 days that we are allotted.

[caption id="attachment_75542" align="alignright" width="160"] Melissa Bradley[/caption]

Words that best describe you: Passion. I have passion for whatever cause I am currently pursuing. I think this has been instrumental in my success. I like to think if you don’t wake up jumping up excited about your day, then you are in the wrong business.

As a successful female professional, what were the biggest obstacles you faced and how did you overcome them?: I hate to use the cliche but the “ol’ boys club” was as real as ever in my business, and on top of being a woman, being young, and not having a formal college education. I had a lot of strikes against me going in. I think perseverance and knowing that I’ve always taken the high road made all the difference. One of my favorite expressions is “Get up one more time than they knock you down.” I had to remind myself of that many many many times. There were plenty of days that I cried and felt it was too rough to go up against huge corporations, but I knew that I what I had to offer was better, so I just kept going. I would dust myself off myself after getting mentally beat up, and jump to my feet ready to fight the good fight again.

How do you think your profession will change in the next five years?: Technology is changing this world swiftly with information gained so quickly, and the real estate business is always evolving. But I have no fears of the Internet taking our place. Real estate is enormously about relationships and about trust. A machine or a program can never replace the personal component of the consultation and advice of a real person.

Who was your most important mentor? And tell us a little bit about that person: While my mother Sherry Bradley was never a ardent sales person, she mentored me in the respect that I saw her never giving up. She raised me as a single mother and worked two jobs for some time to solely support my younger sister, without any other assistance during our childhood years. She gave me encouragement that I could do and be whatever I set my mind to. She has always been there for me, and she is my true hero.

What advice would you give to a young woman entering your profession or the work world today?: I would keep the end goal in mind, never mind the naysayers, stick to your principles, do the right thing always, and reinvest a large portion of your profit back into your business.

Most admired businessperson outside your organization: Oprah. She seems to keep a really good prospective on where she came from. She has poise, and tact, and seems to genuinely want to share her wisdom with everyone.

Current reading: A locally produced book: The Best Laid Plans: Our Planning and Affordable Challenges in Marin by Bob Silvestri

Most want to meet: Dolly Parton. Dolly also came from very humble beginnings, so I feel I can relate to her. She seems to have such a lovely spiritual energy and also is so feminine and fun. I love her music, it makes me happy and I bet if I met her she would have me in stitches laughing.

Stress relievers: Swimming, walking, writing and reading. Getting sunshine and fresh air in our beautiful county.

Favorite hobbies: Spending time with my children and husband traveling to other countries and within the U.S. We especially love beach vacations but my favorite city is Rome, I’ve been there three times, and would love to go again soon. Rome is very romantic to me, more so than Venice or even Paris.

Is there something we didn’t ask that you would like to add?: Thank you for this honor, it means a lot to be acknowledged.