MEMBER SPOTLIGHT - SERENA MINOTT
Contributed By: Naomi Massave Berry, Attorney at Carlton Fields and WCC Communications Committee member
Serena Minott calls herself an “Attorney for Entrepreneurs.” Like her clients, Serena has built a business from the ground up, and has followed her dreams throughout her career.
One of the dreams that Serena achieved was living abroad. After graduating from George Washington University National Law Center, Serena practiced corporate law at a law firm in Washington, D.C., honing her skills as a transactional lawyer while saving her money for a year abroad. Serena lived in Valencia, Spain from 2005-2006, where she volunteered at a non-profit teaching life skills to mentally disabled people, and achieved her goal of truly becoming integrated into the local community.
After returning from Spain to Washington, D.C., Serena began positioning herself to move to South Florida. She worked as a contract attorney while renovating her house, which she would eventually sell before relocating to open her own firm.
Serena was born in Jamaica, but went to high school in Florida and attended the University of Florida for her bachelor’s degree, and felt that Miami was the right place to make her permanent home. In July 2007, Serena and her partner, Keesonga Gore, founded their law firm, Minott Gore, P.A. At the beginning, Serena spent a lot of time networking to build a client base in Miami, where neither she nor Keesonga had practiced law. She joined BNI, where she started building a professional network and getting referrals. She landed her first client in January 2008.
Serena knew that her target clients were small business owners and entrepreneurs, but needed to develop her niche practice area. She found that her clients and prospective clients kept asking her trademark questions. In addition to corporate law, Serena had some trademark experience, and realized she could expand her business by carving out a niche in trademark law. Later on, when thinking about what type of product Minott Gore could offer, Serena and Keesonga came up with the idea for www.flatfeetrademark.com, which launched in December 2008, and expanded their business to an entirely new level. The addition of the online practice spurred the firm’s growth to serve clients on a national and international level. Serena thinks her specialization in trademarks helps people to remember her from networking events, along with her tag line, “Attorneys for Entrepreneurs.”
Serena’s advice for anyone who wants to start their own business is to be prepared not to make any money for a year to 18 months, and to find a great partner. “It’s really challenging on your own, and you can run yourself ragged,” she said. Serena said even if you just find a strategic partner who can give you advice and serve as a sounding board, it’s essential to have a strong partner to help you start your own business.
Once the firm experienced some growth, Serena had to adjust her schedule. At the beginning, she estimates that 40% of her time was spent on legal work, while 60% was spent on business development. As Minott Gore gained more clients, Serena found she had to be more judicious in managing her time and external commitments. Now, she tries to dedicate Monday through Thursday to legal work, and leaves Fridays open for networking and one-on-one lunch meetings. Serena says she tries to meet 1 or 2 strategic people at each event with whom she would like to form a relationship. Serena noted some of the seeds she planted while networking three or four years ago are now starting to bear fruit. “It’s not who you know, but who knows you and eventually people will remember you when they have a need for your services.” To stay top-of-mind with new and existing clients, Serena writes a monthly newsletter about trademark news and current events for their mailing list.
Serena believes the WCC is the premier networking association in Miami. Serena likes that the WCC couples useful information with networking, and feels she can learn from the more senior members as mentors and role models. “It’s like playing tennis with a better partner,” she said.
Serena is a member of the board of directors at the WCC. She is also on the board of directors of the YWCA, a member of the Board of Advisors for Femfessionals, and a mentor at Girl Power. Serena’s philosophy on networking is that you have to be committed and at least join a committee at an organization in order to build a network and get referrals. Serena said she gets a lot of fulfillment from her work with Girl Power, where she gets to see the impact the organization has on local girls firsthand. She really enjoys spending time with her 16 year-old mentee, who helps her put the world in perspective.
Serena N. Minott
Minott Gore, P.A.
Attorneys at Law
201 S. Biscayne Blvd., Suite 2800
Miami, FL 33131
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