Takin’ Care of Business
Michael and Lannin Braddock stay busy with their jobs and parenting but still find time to help in the Leland community.
“If you want something done, ask a busy person to do it. The more things you do, the more you can do.” – actress/comedian Lucille Ball (1911-1989)
Michael and Lannin Braddock are always somewhere. If it’s not one thing, it’s the next thing.
“It can be a little interesting sometimes, yes,” Michael says. “There’s definitely no moss growing under our stones. We’re rolling stones, that’s for sure.”
The Braddocks live in Leland’s Brunswick Forest community and have turned their love for their city into several endeavors that help its citizens. With platforms in real estate, health and government, their lives are a constant outreach to serve others.
Michael, who turns 36 in September, has been an onsite sales executive for Brunswick Forest for 10 years. He’s also vice chairman of the Leland Tourism Development Authority, where he helps formulate a “strategic plan to find out how we can engage more people locally, regionally and nationally to develop our beautiful town.” And, he’s a board member of the Cape Fear Council of Boy Scouts of America, where he led a $120,000 fund-raising effort.
Lannin, 40, is a commercial real estate agent and founder of The Braddock Group, LLC, a company listed as co-campaign chair (along with Marnie Williamson of The Isles Restaurant in Ocean Isle Beach) of Novant Health’s A Path Forward Campaign, which is raising funds to provide treatment, community education, programs and support centers for mental health and well-being in the Brunswick County area. Lannin also is on the board of directors of Novant Health Foundation.
“And then you throw a 3-year-old in the mix …What is the saying? The busiest people get things done?” Michael says. “If we ever go on vacation, it’s usually wrapped around a business conference.”
The Braddocks’ daughter, Emilia, turned 3 in July.
“I work from home and she is constantly here with me, since she’s not enrolled in a play group or day care or preschool, and we have a lovely young girl who comes a couple of days a week and takes care of her,” Lannin says. “That was one of the things that was really important to me. Since she’s been a baby, she’s been on multiple real estate trips. Michael’s in residential real estate and I’m in commercial, so I’ll be in a commercial place and she’s over there picking up rocks…”
The couple met through co-workers at Brunswick Forest and married in 2015. Back then Lannin was a property manager who oversaw leasing of The Villages, the 160-acre retail, dining, medical and professional area of the development. Michael worked in home sales. “We went out on a few dates and it turned into an engagement,” he says.
Michael started in real estate in 2004 with a master-plan community and worked in similar communities in Ocean Isle Beach, Chattanooga, Knoxville and along Lake Oconee in Georgia. In Leland, he’s helped promote Brunswick Forest through “The Forest Life Show,” a former weekly video series of various onsite neighborhoods, and did a Facebook Live series for the Town of Leland called “Adapt, Attack, Advance,” to help local business owners gain visibility during the onset of COVID-19.
Lannin grew up in Baltimore and attended an all-girls boarding school, Oldfields School, in Glenco, Maryland, where she first caught a glimpse of her future work. There were classmates, she says, who struggled with issues related to mental and behavioral health and seeing their lives day-to-day planted a seed. She wanted to help.
After graduating from Radford University with a communications degree, Lannin returned to Oldfields as a communications department intern and later as assistant director of admissions. She then was director of admissions at Aiken Preparatory School in South Carolina from 2005 to 2007, before becoming a property manager at Brunswick Forest, where she oversaw building operations of the welcome center, fitness center, wellness center and golf club.
But it’s her work with Novant that she’s pushing as a necessity for Leland, Brunswick County and the surrounding area. The goal of Novant Health Brunswick Medical Center’s A Path Forward campaign is to raise $3.5 million to help people with substance abuse, mental and behavioral health and eating disorders, and to provide ways to detect problems earlier, such as in schools. The plan is to expand the emergency room at Novant’s Brunswick Medical Center with five beds reserved for behavioral health patients and to staff schools with more nurses trained to “look out for these kids.”
The campaign’s soft phase began in 2019, and last February pushed its launch with a disco-themed party complete with disco ball, a Diana Ross impersonator and Twinkies. It raised $40,000.
“Mental health in our country is a huge problem, and in our county it’s a huge problem, and there’s really more that can be done,” Lannin says. “And with COVID, there’s a problem with mental health because people are isolating from their friends and family and routine. A routine is so important, and this is adding to the stress, and it gives us even more reason to propel forward.”
Lannin stresses the importance and sensitivity of this work.
“Mental health is an umbrella for a wide berth of many things, from postpartum depression to schizophrenia to suicide to everything in between, so it’s a hard concept to share with people. Some might think it means one thing, but it can mean another.
“You can raise money for cancer, but mental health is swept under the rug or it’s seen as embarrassing. You have to break down those barriers and say, yes, it’s affecting women, men and children. It’s a vast ocean of subject matter to talk about.”
So how do these two busy people find time to relax?
Before COVID-19, Lannin found solitude and personal time by working out or in Pilates class. “Now, I love to go for a run or a long walk in the morning just as the sun is coming up,” she says. “That’s kind of my time, to listen to what I want, to think about what I want to think about. I’m not a mom, not a wife. I’m just me. Talk about mental health … I enjoy being around people, and I get my energy from their energy. But I have my downtime, for me.”
If Michael is away from the office and doesn’t answer his phone, chances are he’s in channel waters at Wrightsville Beach.
“I enjoy standup paddleboarding,” he says. “It’s a very relaxing setting. I’ve had a pod of dolphins in front of me, and that’s cool because you’re not making a wake. I went Sunday morning, and the water was so calm you could see schools of baitfish swimming around. I leave the cell phone in the car and go for about two hours and have time to think and reconnect with nature. Just to have time to be in the present.”
Keep an eye on these two. They’re just busy enough to accomplish good things for Leland.