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Networking is the Key to Woman Business Owner’s Success

Marina Sirras’ business is to make other business’ legal recruiting and staffing problems go away. And she’s been at it through her company, Marina Sirras & Associates LLC, since 1987.

MS&A helps firms and corporations throughout the world connect with the resources they need and specializes in the placement of attorneys and administrative staff at all levels of experience within legal settings. The company also provides consulting services for office expansions, growth strategies, mergers and practice group acquisitions. MS&A is successful and held in high regard in the industry---a tribute to Sirras’ knowledge, business sense and networking skills.

Prior to launching MS&A, Sirras spent several years as a marketing analyst at the A.C. Nielsen Company and then joined Warwick & Legler, a mid-sized New York advertising agency. Her professional career was going very well when, in 1968, she left the workforce to be a stay-at-home mom, and spent the following seventeen years raising her kids and volunteering her time to community activities.

In 1986, Sirras rejoined the workforce and began her career in legal search at one of the largest search firms in New York. A year later she partnered with a former colleague and they formed a Manhattan-based, legal-search firm.

In October 1987, just three weeks after they incorporated, the stock market crashed. Although the new company suffered a setback along with the rest of the economy, Sirras used her networking talents to drum up business and the company recovered within a year. Her partner left the company in 1991, so she took over full control and Marina Sirras & Associates was born. Through continued networking, and the addition of her daughter in the company, Sirras continued to grow MS&A’s reputation, sales and staff.

By 2001, a third of MS&A’s clients were coming from businesses in the World Trade Center and from the surrounding area. The 9/11 assault on the towers brought business to a complete stand-still for the next five months and Sirras subsequently lost two fulltime employees.

Sirras’ husband had heard a radio ad for the U.S. Small Business Administration and suggested contacting them for help. She was directed to the Baruch College Small Business Development Center and met with business counselor, Allison Lehr. After determining that her business was eligible for an SBA Economic Injury Loan, Sirras applied for a $100,000 loan, and was overjoyed when she actually received a loan for $154,000.

As a result of the SBDC assistance and the SBA loan, two jobs were saved, one new job was created, and according the Sirras – revenues increased by 150%. Now, Sirras has six recruiters working in her Manhattan office and has recruiters working remotely in Texas, Washington, DC, and Massachusetts.

Sirras is currently the president of the National Association of Legal Search Consultants, and being considered an expert in her field, is frequently solicited for her take on industry development and trends.

From her experience, Sirras offers optimistic advice for other aspiring entrepreneurs--- “Analyze what you are capable of, what your niche is, and go for it. And be resourceful; networking is your best tool. It’s amazing what you will be able to accomplish.”

-by DeAnn Misilmeri