President, Rutland Florida Gulf Group LLC
Melissa Rutland is proud of the “CCIM” acronym that follows her name. It stands for certified commercial investment member, and only about 16,000 people nationwide have achieved that designation. Furthermore, just 1% of CCIMs are women, she says.
“It’s like a CPA for people who are making commercial real estate investment decisions on a financial basis, such as tax consequences, how things are going to be treated on a balance sheet, whether to rent or buy … those sorts of things. I consider myself more of an adviser than a salesperson. You’re helping businesses make really important decisions on a daily basis, like where to locate their projects and how to analyze performance.”
Rutland was in the self-storage business before transitioning into commercial real estate. In 2016, Rutland was one of 30 women selected to take part in the Women’s Executive Leadership Program at the University of Pennsylvania’s prestigious Wharton School.
“To be (with) all of these CEOs and other amazing women from all over the international spectrum, it was just incredible,” she says. “I felt very honored to have been a part of it, to be able to participate and learn among those women, who are outstanding and highly accomplished in their fields.”
One takeaway from Wharton was the importance of having an open mind. “There’s always a solution that maybe you don’t see,” she says. “Being around these women who are decision makers in really large companies, it was amazing for me to hear how the corporate environment is really restrictive on how they thought. Sometimes the solution was right there in front of them, but they just wouldn’t have thought of it. Keep your eyes open and keep an open mind.”
— Brian Hartz
Name: Melissa Rutland
City of residence: St Petersburg
Twitter handle: @MelissaJRutland
Employer: Rutland Florida Gulf Group
Birthplace: St Petersburg
Years on the Gulf Coast: 38
Marital status/children: Single
Alma mater/degree: Flagler College, Business Degree
Best place to network: Kahwa Coffee
Messy desk or clean workspace: Clean with multiple projects going
Eat lunch out or at your desk: Depends on the day. I prefer to eat out.
Best business lesson ever learned: Think through a situation three times to think of all possible outcomes.
Weirdest job you’ve ever had: I’ve been a plethora of things…model, hostess, dishwasher, bus girl, baker, drycleaner, Gap sales associate.
A website that makes your job easier: Loopnet and Costar
App you use the most: Evernote
One thing you do everyday: Make a list
Community group you’re most involved with: YMCA
Favorite off-hours activity: Working out
Two people, dead or alive, you’d like to have dinner with: I have three. My dad, Marilyn Monroe and Warren Buffett.
What you would be doing if you could pick another career: Motivational speaker
Top item on your bucket list: Bora Bora
Your happy place is: On the water
Your biggest fear: Failing
Favorite Ted Talk: So many to choose from …
Skill you’d like to learn: Spanish
Who would play you in a movie about your life: Julia Roberts
Describe yourself in three words: Spiritual, inspirational and loving