You might say that Melanie Stecura was destined for a successful career selling exactly the sort of real estate she now handles as one of Philadelphia's top agents, typically historical or architecturally unique properties throughout southeastern Pennsylvania. Exposed to art, architecture and real estate throughout her childhood -- her mother owned her own real estate brokerage in New York -- Melanie then earned a degree in art history at The University of Redlands in California. Afterward, she returned to New York to work as a fine-art dealer at a gallery in Soho, all the while pursuing side interests in architecture and design. In 2007, Melanie moved to Philadelphia and knew it would require a career change. She realized that the salesmanship and discretion that were central to her success in the gallery world would serve her well in real estate sales. Her track record has proven her instincts were correct: She joined Kurfiss Sotheby's International Realty that year and has been a consistent top 10 agent at the company since 2008. "I am completely devoted to my job and know that customer service is paramount," says Melanie. "I know my clients' time is valuable, and I focus on getting them through the process and standing up for them whether they are buying or selling." She is a tough negotiator and takes a creative, full-service approach to marketing properties, which includes staging and event planning. A resident of Queen Village and mother of two sons, Stecura also is fluent in Ukrainian.