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Sarina Russo – the new Madonna?

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Sarina Russo – she started her business with just nine students, and now, more than 5000 students graduate annually from Sarina Russo Schools and Sarina Russo Job Access places over 25,000 people into employment. Fresh from the Clinton Global Initiative annual meeting, the business great joins Peter Switzer on Sky News Business Channel’s SWITZER.

So where did her empire in education begin?

“It was a little business school where we’d teach people how to become a secretary, even though I’d been a fired legal secretary,” Russo says.

“It’s taken 31 years. It didn’t happen overnight,” she says of her success. “I must have been someone who wanted more, I wanted to become more and the only way I was going to find out was through rejection.”

Elevate your thinking

Speaking from personal experiences early in her business life, Russo says to succeed, it’s in the way you handle challenges and move forward.

“If anyone has just been fired or has been rejected by their loved one or whatever, just elevate your thinking and think what else can I do with my life,” she explains. “You can allow two things to happen; you can allow someone to sabotage through their thinking or through your own self-belief, do something about how you feel and move forward.”

However, Russo says it’s not simply a matter of being positive. “It’s about elevating your thinking and always seeing a silver line through every challenge.

“Everyone has challenges. We have challenges whether it’s a bank loan rejected or you didn’t get your promotion or you may find you don’t have enough money … Sometimes we let events affect the rest of our lives but it happens to all of us,” she says. “It’s not what happens, it’s what you do about it.”

Find a passion

A crucial part of starting a business, says Russo, is to find the motivation that will propel you towards success.

“My advice to anyone who wants to start a business is find a passion,” she says. “Two things motivate you – either inspiration or desperation – either one will work and for me I was desperate. I was a fired legal secretary and 31 years later we actually touch thousands of peoples’ lives all over the world.”

Have a vision

Now hiring over a thousand staff all over the world, Russo’s business is certainly a success story. Russo believes the basis of a strong business is the leader’s vision and their ability to persuade others to help them achieve that.

“We became multi-national because I, as a leader, have a vision and one of the greatest skills you must have as a leader is to be able to execute the vision and have great people behind you,” she says. “We have over 1000 staff. In fact, 1100 staff all over the world helping me to execute this vision.

“I’d like to become the Madonna of education, training and recruiting in job creation,” she says. “She’s made it in music so why can’t I do it in education and enhancing someone’s life? As you enhance someone’s life, you’re actually enhancing your own and that, to me, is richness.”

Check out Peter Switzer’s SWITZER on Sky News Business Channel, Monday to Thursday from 7pm.

Watch Sarina Russo on SWITZER TV here.

Want to become a better leader? Learn lessons from an unlikely source – Playboy – here.

And, if you’re looking to work on your business rather than being stuck in it, book in for a complimentary business assessment today with Switzer Business Coaching

Important information: This content has been prepared without taking account of the objectives, financial situation or needs of any particular individual. It does not constitute formal advice. For this reason, any individual should, before acting, consider the appropriateness of the information, having regard to the individual’s objectives, financial situation and needs and, if necessary, seek appropriate professional advice.

Published on: Thursday, October 21, 2010

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