Leisa: Hello, I’m Leisa Holland-Nelson and welcome to another edition of Women Mean Business, where we’re going to take you up close and personal with extraordinary women doing extraordinary things. My guest today is Samira Salman of Salman Solutions, an extraordinary firm, actually. Samira, welcome to Women Mean Business.
Samira: Thank you so much, Leisa. It’s a pleasure to be here.
Leisa: Tell us about Salman Solutions.
Samira: So, I founded it about nine years ago, and what we do is build and grow companies and brands, we put deals together and we raise funding. So, our clients are two buckets: they are either companies who are looking to grow; they need capital, they need strategy, they need team; or, our clients are the investors; high net-worth individuals in family offices who are looking to put money directly into companies and deals.
Leisa: So how do you find your clients, or how do they find you?
Samira: So, most of my clients come to me. It’s a lot of referral and word of mouth. I speak a lot. I’ve spoken at the Bush Foundation and the UN, and so I get a lot of exposure that way, and then people find us through LinkedIn, and through our website.
Leisa: Is there a particular industry that you’re working in?
Samira: We work in several different industries. So, our specialties are professional services, luxury and consumer goods, and consumer tech. But through our partners we will do energy, or real estate, or different types of industries. So, we have partnerships with firms that do similar work that we do, and investors who look to invest in different industries. And so, either we will handle it directly or we will work with our partners.
Leisa: Tell me what brought you to start Salman Solutions. What were you doing before?
Samira: So, I was corporate tax lawyer. I practiced law for eight and a half years. I was in-house at Shell oil company was my last real job. I was also the vice chair of the American Bar Association Energy and Environmental Taxes Committee, so we wrote tax law with Congress. And there I did a lot of corporate m&a type of deals on the public side, and I just woke up one day and I was like, I want to do something different. And I really enjoyed the problem-solving aspect of business. I love to get in the financials, roll up my sleeves, see what’s not working and then propose solutions and implement those solutions. So, I just started a consulting firm, and from there it grew, and a couple of years into we started also the capital raise component of consulting and building the companies. I started the firm here in Houston, Texas, and then I moved to New York, but now we have offices in Houston and New York.
Leisa: How many people are in your firm?
Samira: So, all of our relationships are 1099. We build teams per project. Ok, even the people that work (Leisa: I totally understand.) directly with me are teams per project, so that way we can source the best solution for the client. So, some clients need this kind of lawyer, some clients need a different type of lawyer, some clients need different graphic designers or user experience professionals, or whatever the problem is we are going to solve. We have a really large rolodex, so that’s fantastic.
Leisa: Rolodex. You might need to explain what that is.
Samira: So, we have a lot of connections in different industries, and we know, you know especially because I practiced law for so long and I worked in public accounting firms. So, we really know a lot of the service providers, globally, and who specializes in what, and what type of industry. And if we don’t know, we can call somebody and they can refer us.
Leisa: Well, my last question for you is, actually it’s almost a double fold question because I’m curious what inspired you in the first place to go on this track, but secondly, what advice do you have for someone who wanted to achieve the success that you have achieved? Making the transition, getting to make the transition in the first place? What would you say to someone?
Samira: That’s a great question. So, what inspired me is I really like helping people with business and I’m very good at it, and I wanted to do something that used all of my talent. So, when I practiced law, that used some of my skills and talents, but I would have to put my creative side away and not be able to say, well I think you should change the marketing, or, you know, I think you should change the graphic design this way. And now, I can advise on the totality of the business, so it allows me to kind of be in my highest and best use, and use all parts of my brain and skill sets. My advice is that you have to really follow your passion. You have to figure out, what are you passionate about, what are you really good at, and you have to work at it every single day. Especially for entrepreneurship. It is not for the faint of heart. It is not an easy thing to do, and you have to really, I love my work. Like, if you’re like, Samira, here’s five billion dollars, I would do the exact same thing tomorrow, the next day, and the next day as they are planned in my calendar now. That’s how much I love what I do. And I think that anybody that wants to do this kind of work you have to really love it. You can’t be in it for the money or the glamor or whatever, you have to do it because you love it, because it’s not easy, but it’s very fulfilling and rewarding.
Leisa: Thank you very much.
Samira: You’re welcome. Thank you for having me.
Leisa: There you have it, another extraordinary woman doing extraordinary things. I’m Leisa Holland-Nelson, Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of Astoundz, your one search, one click, one company for all of your interactive needs, website search engine optimization and social media. You can find me at astoundz.com or follow me on Twitter @lhnelson. We’ll be back again next week with another edition of Women Mean Business.
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