Congratulations Sarina Russo – Ambassador of the Month
Same Sky is happy to announce Sarina Russo as The Ambassador of the Month for September. From day one she has been a pillar of positive energy and support for the Same Sky mission.
Question and Answer with Sarina Russo, a leader in career education, training and placement. She is the founder of Sarina Russo Group. Sarina shares advice and stories about starting a business and being an entrepreneur.
Q: Why did you start your own business? What do you attribute your success to?
A: A combination of inspiration and desperation. I had no savings and was living from one pay packet to the next to finance the mortgage. I had four jobs on the go – a legal secretary, the body corporate secretary of my apartment block, a job cleaning display units and a night school typing teacher.
When I opened ‘The Office’ Business Academy, I gave myself six months to make it. After six weeks I knew we were going to succeed. I made more money in the first three months than I did as a legal secretary in a year.
I attribute my success to having found a job that was not really a job, but a game of life.
Q: What inspired you to devote your work to employment training and education?
A: I am inspired by the power of self-belief and how it transcends education, training and employment. Self-belief creates pathways to opportunities. I believe we all have the potential to make a difference, not from what we hold or where we’re from. It comes from what we have in our minds and in our hearts, and from the determination to pursue our goals. I want to teach people to accept who you are today, in pursuit of what you want to be tomorrow. Your future begins the moment you set yourself a goal with these words: I can . . . I will.
Q: How do you adapt to the current economic climate?
A: Everyday businesses are faced with different challenges including the economy – the Sarina Russo | Group of Companies is no different. It’s how you react to the challenge that makes a difference.
You can be the best in the world at what you do, but forces beyond your control can still damage your business. Never think that the unforeseeable won’t happen to you. Believe me it will happen. It’s how you embrace that inevitability that will govern your future.
Always have ‘uncertainty’ money to protect yourself against the unforeseeable.
To me a challenge is an opportunity to assess your product or to assess your service and to understand what has changed in the marketplace. It’s an opportunity to revive, to renew, to re-engineer.
Q: What obstacles do you see women entrepreneurs facing today?
A: Too many people, including women, are put off by pessimists. The people who say ‘Don’t do it . . . the economy, the government, the failure rate’. Female entrepreneurs must understand the major key to their future is them. To have to be more become more.
In fact, in times of adversity people with a can-do attitude will find a silver lining. Pure persistence pays off in the end.
Q: Tell me about a time when you faced a particularly difficult obstacle in business.
A: In 2009, the Rudd Government changed the Welfare to Work policies and closed down 10 of my high-performing offices in Queensland.
This happened throughout the entire industry. I was shocked. The contract was worth approximately $50 million and around 250 jobs were at risk. Other employment providers closed down their offices and made their staff and management redundant.
I thought how could we make this change and make it better for the company and for the staff many who had given me 10 or 12 years of commitment and passion – they didn’t deserve to be disrupted and have their lives changed.
We decided to re-engineer ourselves. In less than 18 months, no-one has lost their job, I have all my executives on board, we transformed the 10 Queensland offices without contracts into training centers. We are now not only working with the Federal Government, but also with the Queensland Government. The profit we made in 2010 was greater than previous years. Why? Because as a leader I put myself on the line for what I believed in, which was my brand, my intellectual property, my commitment to my staff, my commitment to my management. What we lost in Queensland, we have won in the UK. So now I have a global expansion after one of the most incredible challenges in my life.
Q: What are some adjectives your friends might use to describe you?
A: Fellow Australian entrepreneur Graham Turner described me as goal orientated, very focused and no shrinking violet in a recent magazine article. You can read the full article at http://www.bmag.com.au/person-of-the-year/sarina_russo.html
Q: What would be your #1 piece of advice for women entrepreneurs?
A: I think in the past women used to marry for financial independence and then would be disappointed if it didn’t meet their expectations. My advice is to empower your self and become financially independent. However, it is what you become and not what you have that is really important for any person. It is constantly learning and constantly evolving and never giving up on your dreams.
Do you have questions for Sarina? If so, send them to firstname.lastname@example.org for a chance to have you questions answered on our blog.
Interview conducted by Tania PrizioFiled under TRUNK SHOWS | Comments: 0