Julie Minto and Melissa Morrissette, partners at LLB&B, are the Real Producers' July 2023 featured Brokers in Charge.
Their firm’s reputation is well respected throughout the region, and the duo is considered valuable resources for input on impactive local real estate issues by entities ranging from the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce to USA’s Mitchell College of Business, and all points in-between.
Their partnership is also a story of friendship, both cut from similar cloth with an interconnected network of family, friends, and mutual interests.
That said, the tale of their first business introduction was that of parallel lives lived mostly apart, until a fateful lunch meeting set up in the early 2000s.
Here is their story from both perspectives.
GROOMED TO LEAD
LLB&B President and Qualifying Broker Julie Minto graduated from St. Paul's in 1984 and attended Auburn, picking up a degree in Consumer Affairs and graduating in 1988.
After getting married, Julie’s goal was to buy a boutique and continue her apparel career. Upon finding out that she was expecting their first child, she promptly pivoted due to wanting more job flexibility. She obtained her real estate license and placed it with Lane, Lyons, Burton & Bullock (now LLB&B) Inc. Real Estate.
“The principal was an aunt of my husband who brought me into real estate. I’ve been here ever since.” Minto said.
Her rapid rise to success did not go unnoticed by the partners.
“They would always kid me saying, ‘One day you will buy the business’ but of course I was skeptical. About halfway through the decade, it became more serious, and I started diving into the details about what went with ownership.” Minto said.
“It was at church where I overheard Melissa say that she was about to take a new pharmaceutical position. I knew she was very successful in her career, and it was at that moment that I asked her to go to lunch with me to recruit her into selling real estate. It was the best sales pitch I ever made.”
Melissa Morissette is the Vice President and Co-Owner of LLB&B and graduated from St. Paul's in 1979. She then graduated with a B.A. in history in 1983 from Sweet Briar College in Virginia. She initially wanted to practice law and worked at a local firm before changing her mind.
“In 1985 I got married and had my first two children in 1988 and 1990. At the time my mother was a pharmaceutical sales rep and encouraged me to interview for a position. I started out working for a contract pharmaceutical company.” Morissette said.
As time progressed, Melissa successfully moved up the ladder, working for different companies while moving into management. She eventually felt the need to step back and spend more time with her family.
“In the early 2000’s my travel schedule expanded. I was at church when my current business partner, Julie Minto, asked me to have lunch and pitched me on buying a real estate company with her, even though I did not have a real estate license at the time.” Melissa said.
“When I got into real estate, I knew nothing about it and was completely blind about how things worked. It was a leap of faith. In retrospect, the fact that I had worked at a law firm put me at ease with the decision. Having had both legal and sales experience, it was the perfect combination to be successful in real estate.” she added.
After officially joining forces and buying the company in late 2003, Julie and Melissa quickly combined their talents to elevate LLB&B to next-level success.
“Coming in from corporate America, I looked at the book of business that LLB&B had. All our eggs were in this one basket when there were a lot of places to sell.” Melissa said.
“We worked very hard on trying to expand our business model, while not giving up the Spring Hill market. I think that we've been very successful in doing that,” she added.
Both partners feel strongly about being good stewards of the community. Their active involvement ascends to the national level.
Melissa was President of the Mobile Area Association of Realtors in 2010 and Realtor of the Year in 2011. She serves on several boards, including Leadership Alabama, the South Alabama Center for Business Analytics, Real Estate and Economic Development, the Mitchell College of Business Executive Advisory Board, the Industrial Development Board, and the Industrial Park Board.
Julie served in various roles on the local, state, and national levels of the REALTOR Association including, President of the Alabama REALTORS in 2015. As the REALTOR Party Member Involvement Liaison for the National Association of REALTORS (NAR), she promoted realtor advocacy nationwide.
“In 2018, I was asked to be the liaison for the Realtor Party Member Involvement Committee, which involves going across the country and speaking at associations about the REALTOR party and advocacy in general. Today I enjoy serving on the NAR Board of Directors” Minto said.
Moving forward into 2023 and beyond, the partners want to keep their company’s level of excellence while continuing to grow.
“I think protecting our culture is particularly important. We try to be as helpful to our agents as we can, while also striving to give the best service possible to our clients.” Melissa said.
“Having been doing this for 30-plus years, I will tell you that when I started, 1 out of 100 transactions was hard. Today, 1 out of 100 is easy. Working through all the intricacies of that is critical to us.” Julie said.
When asked about any advice they would give to those willing to follow their career path, Melissa offered insight from the viewpoint of one who made a wholesale career change.
“I would tell people that it's a lot harder than you might think it is. Selling a house isn't the most difficult part, putting the puzzle pieces together between the sale and the closing table can be very challenging. Be willing to work, learn as much as you can from the start and continue to learn as you develop.”