Melanie Thomas was running an independent brokerage in Orlando when she first heard about eXp Realty in 2017. Broker associate Mitch Ribak had sent her an “eXp Explained” video, but she did not pay much attention, because she had built a profitable small business known for being responsive, knowledgeable and honest. However, when her business partner relocated in 2018, Thomas decided to give eXp Realty a serious look.
“I re-evaluated whether it was cost-effective to continue as a solo broker and keep all the overhead and pain points that come along with that, as opposed to joining eXp, where even with a cap to pay, I still would be saving more money than if I had to continue paying all the office and broker expenses on an annual basis,” Thomas said. “From that standpoint alone, it was a no-brainer once I actually examined the eXp model in-depth.”
Since joining eXp Realty in 2018, she has been impressed by the financial rewards and the collaboration that she has seen through Workplace, eXp World and in-person events. One example is the 2019 Shareholder Summit, where she attended a meet and greet hosted by ONE eXp, part of eXp’s diversity and inclusion initiative, which supports career development, champions fair housing principles and provides networking opportunities that encourage cultural awareness.
“I saw that eXp was making a concerted effort to promote diversity, which is something that resonated with me in a major way,” said Thomas. “That very day, I joined the Black eXp Network (B.E.N.).”
Later that year, Fee Gentry, co-founder of ONE eXp and an eXp World Holdings board member, appointed Thomas to lead B.E.N. to help foster her vision for the group that she founded.
As Chief Operating Officer of B.E.N., Thomas has led and contributed to several initiatives:
- eXp World and Workplace-based Black History Month events, which included keynote speakers, a solidarity walk and DJ/mixer
- A B.E.N. Roadshow, which has highlighted the stories of Boston native and eXp real estate agent Ronnie DeVoe (of “New Edition” fame) and Weston, Florida ICON agent Melissa Miller
- The inaugural B.E.N. Mid-Summer Summit in Palmas del Mar, Puerto Rico that featured innovative educators, influencers and thought leaders
- The Agent Accelerator Academy, a program that teaches real estate agents how to change their mindset and grow their business
Thomas Says B.E.N.’s Motto Is Culture, Not Color
As of October 2021, B.E.N. was one of the most active ONE eXp affinity groups with more than 3,800 members.
“Our mission is to grow a global community of 100,000 Black eXp Network Agents and Allies by 2030,” Thomas said. “I want to emphasize the ‘Allies’ part in that mission because our motto is ‘It’s about Culture, not Color.’ All are welcome to join us in this movement to celebrate our shared culture, build our businesses and help continue to make eXp bigger, stronger and better, and show agents on the outside that this is a place where they can make a home.”
Reflecting on her 16 years in real estate, Thomas said eXp Realty is the best choice she could have made.
“eXp is the best model to build a business in the industry that has ever been created,” Thomas said. “I wish I had taken it seriously sooner. I would encourage anyone not taking full advantage of the tools we have available to us, to buy in, and don’t waste any more time.”
Learn more about Melanie Thomas:
Years in real estate: Since 2005.
- eXp Realty (July 2018-current)
- Outside The Box Realty (March 2013-July 2018)
- Ameriteam Realty (July 2009-March 2013)
- Millennium Realty Group (July 2006-July 2009)
Main focus: Single-family homes, investment properties, first-time buyers.
Number of people on team: None! I’m an individual agent.
Accolades, accomplishments & awards:
- Chief Operating Officer of the Black eXp Network
What is one thing about eXp that surprised you?
“I was surprised by the level of collaboration and information sharing that takes place amongst our agents at all levels. That was definitely not the norm in my previous experiences in the industry.”
Best tip to share with other agents:
- When it comes to eXp agents, I cannot stress enough — Get connected and plug in on Workplace! If you are not there, you are leaving money on the table.
- Agents outside eXp — join eXp and see No. 1.
10 Fun Things About Melanie Thomas
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Being on any beautiful beach with no cell phone.
Who is the person you most admire?
My mother Ms. Barbara Kay Robinson. My first love, my hero and my best friend.
One thing you can’t live without?
One trait that has led to your success?
Always being my authentic self.
What celebrity would play you in a movie or TV show?
Shucks, if I’m casting I’m aiming high — Halle Berry (or pre-Will Smith Jada Pinkett).
People who can’t spell.
Little known fact about yourself?
I was an associate producer of an independent film in the early 90s.
Song you never tire of?
“Rock With You” by Michael Jackson.
Real New York pizza.
Your epitaph will say:
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