Mollie Majors had been working in the corporate world for nearly 15 years when her employer eliminated her management position and freed her to pursue another interest – real estate.
But as Majors talked with a local Crye-Leike recruiter during an interview, she felt like she was asking the wrong questions.
She also wondered why it sounded like the recruiter was trying to convince her that Crye-Leike would be a great place for her to hang her license.
Then Majors realized what was wrong: Instead of the recruiter interviewing her, she was supposed to be interviewing the recruiter.
“When you interview for a job in the corporate world, they’re trying to figure out if they want to hire you,” Majors explains. “Real estate is different. Instead of me trying to convince her to hire me, she was telling me about the tools and services Crye-Leike offers.
“When I realized what was going on, I started asking better questions.”
Believing Crye-Leike would be a good fit for someone accustomed to working for a sizable corporation, Majors went home and told to her husband she would be launching her new career at the company.
“Going from working for a big corporation to being an independent contractor was scary, but at Crye-Leike, I didn’t feel alone, I felt like I was part of a large and successful business.
“A small firm wouldn’t have worked for me because of my background.”
Nearly 18 years later, Majors is still with Crye-Leike, and as the newly christened broker of the company’s Ooltewah branch, she’s also back in management.
Since taking over for longtime broker Dan Griess in February, Majors has once again discovered there’s a night and day difference between the working in the corporate world and running a real estate business.
“Managing independent contractors is very different from managing employees. My agents don’t work for me, I work for them, so it’s my job to make sure they have everything they need to be successful and help them with any issues that arise.
“This is new to me, but after working as an independent contractor for a long time, I’m used to it.”
Majors started with Crye-Leike in 2004; a year later, she began serving as a recruiting manager. When the housing market crash of 2007 eliminated the need for recruiters (“You don’t need a recruiter when no one is getting into real estate,” Majors quips), she returned to selling.
Majors says Crye-Leike had placed her on solid ground before the crash, which allowed her to remain in real estate until the market recovered.
“I was able to build up enough clientele to get over the hump,” she shares.
Four years ago, Majors earned her broker’s license without the intention of actually serving in the role. But when Griess stepped down from the position after leading the office since it opened in 2007, she was willing to take his place.
After growing up in Cleveland, Majors graduated from Cleveland State Community College before studying business administration at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
While at UTC, she slipped her foot in the door at Provident Life & Accident Insurance Company, which hired her to work part-time in exchange for what Majors says was generous pay and benefits.
“I even received paid vacation, which was rare in the early 90s,” she smiles.
Majors stayed with Provident after completing her undergraduate degree. During the years that followed, she ascended the ranks of the company and worked a variety of jobs until the day she accepted a position the company immediately phased out.
As she sat stunned in her car, she called her husband, Brian, and expressed her uncertainty about what she should do next.
“I had done this for 15 years,” she says. “I felt lost.”
Majors’ husband told her it was a good time for her to do something new. Since she had been planning to earn a real estate license and work part-time as an agent, she decided to take a leap of faith and registered for classes at TREES Real Estate School.
Majors has now been in real estate longer than she was in group insurance.
“When I started out, I wasn’t sure I’d make it. Now, when I look back, I can’t believe I’ve been doing this for more than 15 years,” she marvels.
Majors says her husband and four cats have kept her sane as Crye-Leike has renovated its Ooltewah branch, and that their home on Missionary Ridge has provided a welcome retreat at the end of each workday.
Once things at the office settle into a groove, she’s looking forward to taking a cruise with her close friends, cheering on the Lady Vols basketball team and occasionally going to the beach.
Although Majors still represents buyers and sellers, she says it’s her privilege to spend a large portion of each day presiding over her group of “team-oriented agents and solid producers.”
“I wouldn’t be successful as a broker if I didn’t have such a successful group of agents to lead,” she muses. “I’m trying to learn a new role and be what they need, and they have been incredibly supportive.”