Elizabeth Ricci

Co-founder of Rambana & Ricci

Elizabeth Ricci is an award-winning immigration attorney in Florida’s capital city of Tallahassee. She practices primarily business immigration with a focus on EB-2 National Interest Waivers for entrepreneurs and tech consultants.

She has taught immigration, written several scholarly publications including an entry in the Encyclopedia of the Supreme Court, and received honors ranging from the Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice’s pro bono award to the Martha Barnett Woman Lawyer of Distinction.

Active in her community and profession, she serves on several committees including as a Presidential appointee to the Selective Service System Board. A TedX speaker and repeat political talk show panelist, she has also appeared on CNN, MSNBC, BBC, Univision, Fox and Friends, and in the New York Times as well as Wall Street Journal.

What is your typical day, and how do you make it productive?

Tuesdays are designated for my three Rs (reading, researching and responding to clients). I designate hours for client appointments plus some time for the three Rs each weekday over the rest of the week.

How do you bring ideas to life?

I have lots of ideas! Whether my idea is profit driven, just for fun or impact, I try to be systematic but flexible to turn it into reality. For example, my daughter recently wanted to have a booth at a local farmer’s market. We researched what was trending at similar markets in our area, put together the inventory and promoted it on social media. She was able to make some pocket money while having fun outside.

What’s one trend that excites you?

I am excited to see so many consultant clients successfully embrace Artificial Intelligence and other Critical and Emerging Technologies. As long as we understand the risks involved and do our research, AI can benefit all of us.

What is one habit that helps you be productive?

I practice the 20/80 time management rule. (Knowing that about 20 percent of my effort accounts for 80 percent of my results, I make the most of that 20 percent.)

What advice would you give your younger self?

Change- from new technology to styles to people- is inevitable. So, learn to adapt and welcome it. Grow from the new opportunities that change can bring.

Tell us something you believe almost nobody agrees with you.

The spoon is the best utensil!

What is the one thing you repeatedly do and recommend everyone else do?

Spend quiet time. Whether I’m on the treadmill, in my car, or on a walk, I spend at least 30 minutes per day in quiet. I find that I’m able to resolve problems and come up with ideas when I am not distracted by noise.

When you feel overwhelmed or unfocused, what do you do?

I am lucky enough to work with my husband Neil and bring our Mini Australian Shepherd Hamilton to the office every day. Sometimes I bounce ideas off Neil or walk Hamilton under the oak trees behind our office to regain focus.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business or advance in your career?

I like to support my entrepreneurial friends like Tara Goodfellow from high school who became a career coach. I was sending her clients including my own kids for customized resume help and ended up hiring her to maximize and upgrade my own LinkedIn profile. Shortly thereafter, I was hired by a school psychologist for a National Interest Waiver. The service paid for itself (and the client was happy with her Green Card).

What is one failure in your career, how did you overcome it, and what lessons did you take away from it?

I was devastated that I did not pass the bar exam by two points. Coming so close taught me discipline and persistence. I spent the next six months studying full time. When my second set of results came around, I scored high enough to swear in to several jurisdictions.

What is one business idea you’re willing to give away to our readers?

Whether you are an immigration law practitioner, IT consultant, or a spoon salesperson, have a niche and become an expert in that niche.

What is one piece of software that helps you be productive? How do you use it?

About two years ago I invested in practice management software to collect information and compile evidence. It cut down data input by about 80%. It was worth every penny.

What is the best $100 you recently spent?

I’ve had dead watches laying around for years. I finally had the batteries replaced. Not only do I now have one less thing to check off on my perpetual list, but I can finally wear some special family pieces.

Do you have a favorite book or podcast from which you’ve received much value?

Without a doubt, Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People” greatly improved my social and business networking skills.

What’s a movie or series you recently enjoyed and why?

I finally watched HBO’s historical drama “Rome”. It was fascinating to learn how the Senate functioned and judges were appointed by Caesar. (The cast and set were fantastic, too.)

Key learnings:

  • Designate time to get work done and quiet time for yourself.
  • Be an expert in your niche.
  • Take advantage of opportunities, perhaps with the use of emerging tech or newly gained contacts or old friends.