Kelly Leighton

Last Updated: March 17, 2017 | View all posts by Kelly Leighton

Kara Chen, a Realtor® with Keller Williams of Central PA East in Hummelstown, and Melissa Shipley, a Realtor® with Berkshire Hathaway HomeService in Pittsburgh, are two of the 50 finalists for Realtor® Magazine’s 30 Under 30 class of 2017.

For Shipley, this is the last year she is eligible, so she figured why not apply? The Realtor® described herself as “very involved” in the industry. She is on the Board of Directors for the Realtors® Association of Metropolitan Pittsburgh and she is also involved with the local Young Professionals Network.

“I am very active besides selling homes,” said Shipley. “I help new agents in our office get started, and I try to guide them in ways to be successful,” she said.

Shipley has been a licensed agent for about seven years, and has been practicing for five. Upon graduating from Duquesne University in 2009, she found job prospects bleak. She struggled to find a job, and was working in a hotel, which she hated.

“I knew I needed a new challenge,” she said. “I saw advertisements to become a real estate agent, so I took an interview with a manager and she told me I would be great at it. I didn’t like what I was doing, so it couldn’t hurt. I went to school at night and got my license in about two months. I wanted a new challenge,” she said.

Shipley has accomplished much in the industry. In 2016 alone, she received 18 top sales awards from Berkshire Hathaway HomeService.

Chen is another agent in the commonwealth that made the list. She has only been an agent for two years, but has seen much success in that period of time, having sold over $20 million of real estate. She also serves in her company’s Board of Directors and was nominated by her peers and Harrisburg Magazine as a Local Real Estate Leader in South Central Pennsylvania.

“I feel blessed to have had a huge trajectory in a short amount of time.” said Chen. “I was in medical school at Penn State in Hershey and had some health issues, so I decided to take a break from academia and start a family. While I was at home taking care of my son full time, I felt a pressing need to start paying off my medical school loans. Through prayer, I decided to go into real estate.” she said.

Since then, Chen’s career has taken off, and she recently gave birth to her second son. She hasn’t taken any time off though. She showed a house the day after she gave birth and had two settlements the same week.

“I don’t want my family life to hinder my work life, and I don’t want my work life to break into my family life. I love being a mom, and I love being a Realtor®. I am grateful to my supportive husband and friends who encourage me to do both, and do them well,” says Chen.

Judges will pick 29 of the finalists, while one finalist, the Web Choice Award winner, will be chosen by readers. Voting will open today at 1 p.m. and go until Friday, March 24 at 1 p.m. You can vote once every 24 hours.